How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Not many people know all the financial costs and benefits of solar panels. How expensive are they to install? How much can one save on utility bills and solar incentives? Educating Americans on these numbers is the first step toward increasing awareness about how to save the environment through clean energy solutions.

One of the myths of solar panel system installation is that it is expensive. While there are initial upfront costs associated with the system, labor, permitting fees and overhead, the cost per watt and overall expenses of installing residential solar systems has drastically fallen across the nation in the past few years.

In California alone, since the start of the California Solar Initiative in 2007, the average price of a system has dropped by at least 30 percent, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy. Not only has the price of the systems themselves fallen, but due to incentives, tax credits and utility company rebates, the costs continue to plummet.

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Solar Panel Cost in Southern California

At the moment, the average size of a residential photovoltaic (PV) system is 5 kilowatts (kW). Many systems typically range from 2 to 10kW, which usually cost anywhere from $10,000 to $36,000, according to Energy Information. However, with the 30 percent federal tax credit, Energy Sage writes that a 10kW residential system in California can cost between $22,750 to $25,200. This figure does not even include local government or utility rebates.

To calculate how much your initial investment will save you in the future, consider not only how much your utility bill is now & how much it is expected to increase, but how much sunlight your roof typically receives.

“But the most important factor is the amount of sunlight that shines in your area throughout the day: For example, all things being equal, a 10kW solar system in southern California would produce about 20 percent more electricity over the course of a year than a system in the Northeast,” Energy Sage explains.

In addition to the sunlight consideration, those interested in solar should realize that the most expensive or well-known solar panels on the market do not mean they are the best solution for your home energy needs. Many times, the more informative way to approach the cost of a system is to calculate the cost per watt. Usually, if you invest in a larger system, you will have a lower cost per watt.

“Over the last 20 years, the cost of these systems has decreased by a factor of seven,” Solar Panel Cost Guide writes. “As the residential and commercial demand for solar panels increases and the efficiency of the technology improves, they will continue to drop and overall return on investment will rise.”

Are you not quite sure what size would be best for you or whether to lease or buy your system? While it may seem that the solar industry is difficult to navigate, our team of helpful experts will make the process manageable. Contact SolarMax Technology today for a free consultation to help you identify available rates, incentives, solar savings and go over your customized system’s design.