How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
How much are solar panels?
The cost of solar power has dropped significantly in the past several years. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a decade ago, an average 6-kilowatt hour residential solar system could cost more than $50,000. Now, the upfront cost of a typical home installation ranges from $16,200 to $21,400—which is a 62% annual decrease.
How many solar panels do I need?
The first step is determining your goals. Do you want to minimize your carbon footprint? Maximize your return on your investment? Save as much money as possible? Most people want to save money while minimizing their environmental impact – this is why a solar array is one of the most popular residential renewable energy solutions in America.
To calculate how many solar panels you need, you first need to determine your roof’s usable surface area. Next, you must take into account the climate of your region and the sunlight available during peak times of sun exposure. Other factors to consider include the wattage and relative efficiency of the solar panels as well as whether net metering is available.
These are the questions you need to ask yourself:
– How much solar power will you need?
– How many Watts do you currently use?
– What affects solar panel output efficiency?
– How many hours of sunlight do you get in your area?
– What is the effect of solar panel size?
How much do solar panels save?
According to Green Match, the costs of your solar panel installation can be recouped over the next 15 to 25 years depending on the size of your system and any money you earn from exporting excess energy back to the National Grid.
Although larger systems are more expensive, they also produce more energy and ultimately save you more in the long term. A 5kW solar system could pay for itself after 15 to 20 years; a 4kW system would take 16 to 22 years, and a 3kW system would take 21 to 25 years.
The Feed-in Tariff ended in December 2019. Some people who don’t get the results they need from the scheme can now apply for payments for any renewable energy they export back to the National Grid via the Smart Energy Guarantee scheme which launched in January 2018. This is a better option for households and businesses than going off-grid. A new law means all licensed energy suppliers with 150,000 or more customers must provide at least one Smart Export Guarantee tariff, while smaller suppliers can offer a tariff voluntarily.
What impacts the cost of a solar panel installation?
Like most things, prices for solar panels vary depending on quality, demand and where you live. For example, the average cost of a 5kW system (the more wattage, the more energy) in California is about $15,000 which is higher than customers in New Hampshire who can pay as low as $9,000 for the same system. In some cases, you can even get solar panels free of charge but we don’t recommend this since it involves leasing and not owning the panels.
Solar system size and Equipment Type
A designer’s goal in sizing a solar system is to find the optimal balance between energy demands and solar resources. There are three main aspects designers factor into their calculations.
– Budget constraints
– Space constraints
– Energy offset
Gather the kilowatt-hours usage from your electric bill. You’ll want to have full 12 months of usage to be able to look at peaks and valleys in usage over a year. Energy consumption spikes in the summer and winter with heavy use of your A/C and heating units.
You can calculate the average amount of kilowatt-hours (kWh) you’ll use in your home each month by adding up how much power you’ve used during all of your bills for the last year and dividing by 12 to figure out your monthly average. For example, if you have a monthly bill that totals $100 five months a year and $150 the sixth month, your average monthly consumption would be $500 divided by 12 months or 40 kWh.
Figure your daily kWh usage. Divide by 30 to determine your daily kWh usage.
How much solar do you need? To figure out how to size your solar system, take your daily kWh energy requirement and divide it by your peak sun hours to get the kW output. Then divide the kW output by your panel’s efficiency to get the estimated number of solar panels you’ll need for your system.
Solar system sizing is a difficult task, one that requires many factors to be considered. The orientation of the panels is key as if they are installed facing a different direction than the sun’s path, you’ll get far less energy generated.
Should You Lease Solar Panels?
Whether you’re purchasing or leasing a solar energy system, financing is a very important part of the decision-making process because financing can have numerous effects on your costs, maintenance responsibilities, and other factors.
Solar Leases are a great option for homeowners with poor or limited roof space. A third party owns and maintains the solar panels, while you enjoy the benefits of lower utility bills. A solar lease provides a simple way to switch to solar power for your home or business. A solar lease is a power purchase agreement between you and the installer. Under this arrangement, you pay a set fee per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by the system each month.
Leases and PPAs might be a great shortcut for solar because they are relatively easy to understand versus a complex 30-year solar lease or PPA. Because these third-party owners are the ones that sign the contract and you’re not financing anything, leasing a solar system makes it easier to access your savings on solar now.
The solar electricity you generate is not free. You will have to pay the third-party owner of the system for these benefits throughout the duration of your lease/PPA.