Homeowners interested in solar panels may be apprehensive because of the cost. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), an average 6-kilowatt-hour (KWh) system costs between $16,000 and $21,000. While solar panels can definitely be worth it, it’s imperative to determine your home’s solar potential before making such a big investment.
We at the Home Media reviews team created a solar panel cost calculator that estimates your system costs and provides a detailed look at what a move to renewable energy would look like for you. Get a customized estimate by entering details about your energy usage and house, including its size, layout and roof design. We’ll also provide a snapshot of your long-term solar energy savings.
Calculate Your Solar Panel Installation Cost and Savings
Use the tool below to get estimates and determine if a move to solar energy is the right investment for your home.
How Much Does Solar Cost?
Use the calculator to see how much you could save!
Factors That Affect Solar Panel Costs
Our solar cost calculator evaluates several factors to determine how much going solar will cost. We’ve provided a breakdown for each factor below.
- Average monthly electric bill: Your monthly electric bill helps us estimate the right system size to meet your energy needs. It also helps us determine your potential long-term savings. A solar energy system might not provide adequate savings if you have low energy usage or if energy rates are low in your area. Enter an accurate average of your energy usage per year to get the best results.
- House size: Our solar panel calculator evaluates your home size to determine how many solar panels you need. Larger homes will need more panels for adequate power.
- Location: Location helps us determine the closest solar companies and estimated energy rates in your area. We use your area’s average solar panel cost per wattage to estimate your installation costs. These estimates will vary based on your chosen company, current energy usage and available federal and state solar incentives.
- Number of floors: Single-story homes with simple roofs have the most straightforward installations. Multi-story homes require more panels to meet proper energy needs. Multi-story homes can also affect roof layout. A complex layout or inadequate roof space to accommodate solar panels can increase costs.
- Roof pitch: Your roof’s pitch, or angle, impacts your solar panels’ efficiency. South-facing panels with a 30- to 45-degree tilt provide the best results. These positions will vary based on your location and local weather conditions. You may require additional mounting equipment to ensure your solar panels are in the best position. Your solar installer will consider your roof angle when designing your system.
- Roof type: Some roof types are better suited for solar panel systems than others. For example, asphalt shingle roofs require the fewest costly modifications. Metal roofs with standing seams don’t require installation drilling, reducing labor costs. Tiled or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roofs need additional notifications to make them suitable for solar installation.
- Solar battery: You can include a solar battery in your cost estimation. Solar batteries store the excess energy your system generates for later use. They can be battery backups during a power outage or offset high energy rates during peak times. Solar battery banks can also be used at night or during periods of low sunlight.
- Surrounding shade: Shade decreases your solar panels’ efficiency, making it harder to absorb the necessary sunlight. Roofs with little to no shade are well-suited for solar power systems. Homes with constant shade from nearby trees and other tall obstructions aren’t ideal for rooftop solar panels. Some solar companies provide ground mount systems, but they usually cost more and take longer to install.
How Solar Panels Can Save You Money
Despite the cost-saving advantages of solar energy systems, homeowners often hesitate to spend the large amount of money needed to go solar. Customers want to be sure that such a significant initial investment will pay off in the long run.
On average, solar panels pay for themselves in six to 10 years. This is known as the payback period. The time frame will fluctuate depending on your system size, current energy usage and estimated monthly savings.
Our solar calculator will provide your estimated lifetime savings from going solar. This is a 25-year estimate based on the typical lifespan of monocrystalline solar panels, the best type of panels available. You’ll also get estimates for your yearly energy costs with and without a solar system.
You can achieve a faster return on investment (ROI) by using state and federal solar incentives and rebates. These incentives offset the installation costs of your system, leading to a quicker payback period. You can receive additional savings from net-metering programs, which allow you to sell the excess energy you generate back to the power grid. You receive credits for this energy that can be applied to your future utility bills or paid back to you at the end of the calendar year.
Recommended Solar Resources
We’ve provided the following resources to help with your solar energy conversion:
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