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How Much Will It Cost to Install Solar Panels on My Home?

If you’ve been searching the web to answer that question, you’ve probably found there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

The cost of solar panels is made up of factors that are almost as unique as you are. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the size of your home.

It’s based on individual factors, like where you live, your energy habits, and how much of your current energy use you’d like to replace with solar power.

New Incentives for Going Green

The good news is… new Solar Tax Credits are making renewable energy more attractive and attainable than ever, with federal credits reimbursing you for 30% of your system cost.

And there are additional tax credits that vary by state. For more information on all the incentives available where you live, visit www.dsireusa.org. In some cases, rebates can decrease the cost of your system significantly.

Conservation Is the Best Place to Start

Before you make the switch to solar, you’ll want to double check that your home is as efficient as possible. Every dollar you spend on reducing your current energy use will save you $3 - $5 on the cost of solar panels.

Your Current Energy Habits

To get an idea of how much solar power your home requires, you’ll need to know how much energy you use each month. Solar Electric Panels are sized by kilowatts. Your electric bill measures how much energy you use in kilowatt-hours. A kW is a unit of energy, and one kilowatt-hour equals one thousand watts acting over a period of 1 hour.

To find your average daily usage, take the number of kWh from your bill and divide by 30. So if you used 600 kWh last month, your average daily usage was 20 kWh per day.

How Much Sun Do You Get?

You’ll then need to find the number of full sun hours per day for your area. Click here to find out your sun hours. Divide your kWh per day by the number of full sun hours. For this example, we’ll use 5 hours per day. Twenty divided by 5 is 4, so you would need a 4 kW solar panel system to completely power your home.

If you’re just interested in replacing some of your energy costs with solar power, you could install a 2 or 3 kW system to decrease 50 to 75% of your dependence on non-renewable energy. For the lower initial solar investment, you would still enjoy significant energy savings.

So What’s the Cost of Solar Panels?

On average, a 4kW solar panel system costs about $32,000 before rebates and incentives. When pricing systems, it’s best to call for several quotes. Most installers provide a free site evaluation and quote.

There are additional components such as inverters, meters, and breakers that may be required for your system. To learn more about these items, download our free Solar Power Manual.

How Long Until My Solar Panel System Pays for Itself?

The formula for determining solar panel payback time is the cost of the system minus your yearly energy savings.

Payback time is determined by the price of your system, your power bill, energy prices, and the appreciation or value of your home.

Non-renewable energy costs are increasing, especially as our resources become scarce or are proven harmful to the environment. But the technology and accessibility of solar power is improving. And with today’s tax incentives, you’ll enjoy a faster payback time.