How Much Do Solar Panels Cost

Using solar energy is a very practical approach nowadays. You will not only be helping the environment in the long run, but you will also save a lot of money in your utility bills. Whether you want a partial solar energy system to power your pool heaters or a full system to power everything in the household, you are on the right track.

True enough, installing solar panels at home is not always cheap. In fact, even the simplest solar panel system talks about thousands of dollars already. However, it must be noted that solar panel installation will pay off for itself in the long run. Hence, this investment is something really practical for every homeowner out there.

The Cost Of Solar Panels

The cost of solar panels ranges from $4 to $9 per watt.

The lower end of the spectrum refers to solar cells or panels alone. The higher end, on the other hand, speaks of solar panels including wires, inverter box, and professional installation.

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Solar Panels

Solar cells. There are actually three main types of solar cells that you can choose from to make up your solar panel. Each type has different efficiency rating and so as different price tags. The most expensive yet the most efficient of all solar cells are those made from monocrystalline silicone. The cheapest of all is made from amorphous silicon. This uses the least amount of silicon making it the least efficient of all solar cells. The most popular type, however, is the polycrystalline silicon solar cells as they offer a balance in terms of performance and economy.

Size. The size of the solar panel is measured in two ways such as the physical size and the wattage size. The latter basically affects solar panel costs. A panel that is producing 100 watts per hour will basically be cheaper as compared to a panel producing 200 watts per hour. The more watts a panel produces, the more expensive the panel will be. In terms of the physical size, larger panels are more expensive simply because they produce more watts per hour.

Quality. Good quality solar panel can last up to 25 years. Any solar panel that is below this quality will be cheaper but is not usually a good buy. To learn about the quality of the solar panel you are purchasing, check the warranty being offered by the manufacturer. The length of the warranty tells you how confident the manufacturer is when it comes to their product. So if the warranty is short, the quality may not be as high as you expect good quality solar panels to be.

Efficiency. Highly efficient panels are more expensive obviously, but they are always the better choice. Panels with high efficiency are guaranteed to be built with higher grade products and have less resistance within the module.  You can check the efficiency of solar panels through the ratings provided by the PTC or PVUSA test conditions.

Manufacturer. Solar panel prices also vary from one brand to another. Top solar panel brands are Suntech, MEMC, Hemlock, Trina, and a lot more. However, it does not mean that these large manufacturers offer the most expensive solar panels. For instance, Suntech, a manufacturer based in China, offers some of the most efficient solar panels at competitive prices.

Installation. Solar panels can be installed professionally or in a DIY manner. Professional installation of solar panels will usually add $2 to $3 per watt to your purchase. Hence, DIY solar panels are basically a lot cheaper to purchase.

Location. The price of solar panels can also be affected by the amount of sunlight you receive in your area. Solar panels for areas with not too much sun exposure are usually more expensive.

Additional Costs

Some localities will require acquiring a permit before you can install solar panels. This is true whether the solar panel system is big or small.

UofM Morris Solar Thermal System
Photo by CERTs

Tips Before You Buy Solar Panels

Know your needs first in solar panels. Calculate how much electricity you need per month so you can determine the right size and kind of solar panel system to install at home.

Always choose solar panels that are of good quality and highly efficient. Solar panels are investments that mean a lot of money so you don’t want to end up with low quality solar panels.

Get solar panels with a long warranty period. The length of warranty speaks of the quality of the solar panels most of the time.

Purchase solar panels from large manufacturers. This is not only for quality and efficiency reasons but as well as a guarantee of product support most of the time. Also, a large company has a huge chance of surviving than small companies. For instance, if you are getting 25 years of warranty for the product, it is important that the company is stable enough to exist during the whole duration of the warranty.

Buy solar panels from reputable and reliable suppliers only. This will make sure that all their products are of good quality.

If you are going for professional solar panel installation, choose an experienced contractor to do it for you. Be certain as well that the contractor is licensed and insured to protect your investments during the installation process.

If you are thinking of installing the solar panels yourself, make sure you know how to do so appropriately. Follow instructions from the kits carefully to ensure efficient installation to last you several years of service.

If you want to save money on your solar panels, you may consider using scrap solar cells. These solar cells are broken during manufacturing and are sold for very cheap prices, basically less than $3 per watt. You just need a lot of these solar cells to bring out the wattage you need for your solar power needs.

Advantages Of Solar Panels

For those who are having second thoughts regarding solar panel installation, here are some of the great advantages of this investment:

Clean and sustainable. Unlike fossil fuels, solar panels bring no negative effect to the environment. It converts sunlight to electricity without causing air or water pollution at all.

Renewable. The source of energy of solar panels is the sun, which cannot be depleted. Hence, solar panels can generate unlimited energy without worries of shortage in the long run.

Fixed cost. It may be expensive to purchase solar panels and install them in your home. However, a solar panel system usually pays for itself in ten years. Hence, once the initial cost has been paid for, you can guarantee free energy moving forward.

Scalable. Even if you have started with a fairly small solar panel system, it can be easily modified and supplemented to meet additional demands of energy.

Adaptable. Solar panels can be used almost anywhere and for almost any purpose. This is true no matter where you are and what type of environment you are living at.

Leave a Reply