How much is the cost of installing solar panels?

If you are considering the cost of installing solar panels then you must have wondered, just how much do photovoltaic panels cost? While energy from the sun is free, renewable and an ideal alternative energy source, you need to factor in the solar panel costs, installation cost, plus any required maintenance costs of the panels. Then estimate your potential energy savings determine how many years it will take to pay for your investment.  Depending on the state in which you live, there may be subsidies or tax credits available that you can take advantage of.  Once you've determined your total cost, divide that number by the number of years it will take for it to pay off and use this figure as your yearly cost of the solar panels. However, once your energy savings have equaled your investment cost you obviously still own the solar panels and continue to benefit from the ongoing solar energy savings.

Costs of installing solar panels

Home Solar InstallationMajor factors in the cost of having a photovoltaic system installed are the type of solar energy technology you choose to use, and how many watts of power you wish to install. To calculate how many watt of power you will need to produce, look at your current electric consumption from reviewing your electric bills and measure the dollars/watt ratio. Solar panels are currently selling in between $4 and $6 per watt of rated power output. A panel to install on a roof top rated between 100 and 300 watts and therefore will cost between about $400 and around $1500.

Of course you don't necessarily need to produce all of your own energy.  You can stay connected to the electrical grid and have your system automatically switch to the grid during those time when you're not producing enough of your own energy.  If you like, you can start small with a modular system and add additional panels as your finances allow.

Additionally, one must consider the installation cost which can bring the cost up to $8 - 10 per watt of rated power. If you are ambitious or have some technical experience you may be able to install the solar panels yourself and realize some significant savings.  If you're concerned about how the panels will look on your home you may consider hiring an architect to spend an hour developing a plan to make them blend in with the design of your home.  Some types of new panels even function as shingles, so they can be installed on newly constructed homes or when your house needs to be reroofed and the system is not at all obtrusive as it blends right into the roofline.

Typical solar energy systems for the home

Typical home sized solar energy systems are in the 1000 to 5,000 watt range so the cost of photovoltaic panels range from about $8000 and $50,000 dollars to install. If you have the option to choose solar energy and get off the grid based electrical system then a typical system would cost you approximately $30,000-40,000 for a single family house which includes upfront costs, installation cost, solar panels, inverter box, wiring etc. This can seem like a tremendously costly project however many states in the US are providing generous solar energy rebates which can cover up to as much as to 80% of the total cost. So with a rebate the cost would be in the range of $2000 to $10,000.

How much electricity can installing solar panels generate per year? How far could your bill for electric slide?  It is about $300 to $2500 per year depending upon the type of technology used, the type of installation and the region in which you live. Given a typical solar panel life cycle of between 30 to 50 years, these systems are able to generate approximately $9000 and $120,000 worth of electricity over their life time using current average electrical charges in the US.

You can install these systems on most any type of home from homes using traditional construction, shipping container homes, cob or straw bale homes and more.

You can also consider installing other energy saving devices in conjunction with your solar panel project.  Ceiling fans for instance can help cut down on both air conditioning and heating costs if used properly in an installation project.  You can also configure your system to heat your water so you realize savings here as well.

After factoring in the cost of equipment and installation you can see that this is definitely a wise long term investment. They will easily pay for themselves, typically in less than ten years, and thereafter continue to provide you with essentially free power for the rest of their useful lives. In addition, by installing solar panels you will be making a significant contribution in reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources and making a positive environmental impact.

3500 Watt PV+SMA Inverter, Grid-Tied Solar Power Kit by Sol Electric
Amazon Price: $7,627.86 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 15, 2013)