Installing solar panels at home can be a practical step towards saving on energy bills and saving the environment. However, it must be noted that solar panel installation is always a big investment despite being able to pay for itself in the years to come.
If you are thinking of getting solar panels at home, great! However, brace yourself with the possible expenses that may come along in line with installing a solar panel these days. Though it is expected that solar panels will cost lower and lower in the years to come, its current cost is still on the higher end of the spectrum.
Typical Cost Of Installing Solar Panels
The usual cost of installing solar panels is $6 to $9 per watt.
This includes the solar panels, inverter box, wires, and installation.
Factors That Affect The Price Of Installing Solar Panels
Solar panel. Solar panels are not uniform in prices. Their prices can be affected by their size, brand, quality, and certifications. The type of solar panels usually determines costs. Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are the most expensive but is the most efficient. Polycrystalline silicon is more popular because it offers a balance of performance and capacity. The cheapest of all is the thin-film or amorphous silicon. However, this one is the least efficient of all.
Installation. Expect that the cost of installation of solar panels will be on the higher end if you consider professional installation. DIY installation, on the other hand, is cheaper. Basically, you give $2 every watt for professional installation.
Household needs. An average American home usually consumes 920 kilowatts per month. The more kilowatts your household needs, the more you have to pay for the solar panel system. The lesser your needs are, the cheaper the price will be. This can be explained by the fact that a one-square foot solar panel can generate 10 watts of electricity. So the more kilowatts you need, the bigger the system is required. Average homes usually require a 100 sq. ft. solar panel. But, bigger homes may need 400 to 800 sq. ft.
System. The size of the system you are trying to install can also be a big determinant of the cost of solar panel installation. You have choices to get a system that generates 10, 25, 50, or 80 percent of the household needs if you cannot afford a system to deliver 100 percent of your needs.
Amount of sun. How many hours do you get sunlight in your area? This will determine the number of solar panels you have to install to generate enough energy for your household. So, if you get a lot of sun, you don’t have to install a large system, which means your overall solar panel installation cost will be lower.
State and local rebates. When installing solar panels, you can get rebates that can make your overall costs lower. However, it must be noted that not every state offers rebates and not every rebate is the same. For instance, Arizona offers a rebate of $2.50 to $3 per watt while California offers $1.90 to $2.50 per watt.
Tax credit. On top of state and local rebates, you can also take advantage of the federal tax credit. This is 30 percent of the total cost of the solar power system after local rebates have been deducted.
Permits are usually an added expense when installing solar panels. Most local building departments will require a permit even if you are installing a simple solar heating or energy system.
Tips Before You Decide To Install Solar Panels
Calculate how much electricity your home needs per month. This will determine the right system to install at home. Then, check whether your budget can afford it or not. You may also weigh in the details on whether this will be worth it or not.
When choosing a solar panel to be installed, choose not what is cheapest but what is the most efficient for your needs. Take note that you may want to check for certifications of solar panels you purchase to ensure they will qualify with government rebates.
Go for solar panels that will offer a longer term warranty. Some offers 10 years warranty while you can get better deals from other brands like REC Solar, Suntech, Sanyo, and Hanwha SolarOne has a 25-year warranty period.
If you are considering doing the installation yourself, you must purchase DIY solar panel kits. These kits have detailed instructions on how you can successfully get the solar panels going for your household’s electricity needs.
Choose an experienced contractor when you need professional help. The credibility of one company is essential towards ensuring that your solar panel system will work as expected and will last for a long period of time. Make sure as well that the contractor is licensed and insured. You may need to ask for price quotations from various contractors so you can pick the best one that will offer you the best deals.
Prepare your roof for solar panel installation. You may need to contact the local zoning department to discuss your plans. Also, you need to find a roof contractor to inspect the integrity of your roof.