Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports weddings
CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Electrical, HVAC & Energy Efficiency > Solar Panels

Solar Panels Cost


How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

 
 average costMedium: Varies Based on Project 

Most solar systems work alongside existing power lines, and can be used to heat water, provide light, heat the air in a home or generate electricity.

Typical costs:

  • Installing a solar-powered swimming pool heater ranges from $2,500-$7,000, but averages $3,000-$4,000. Extremely low operating costs will repay that expense in 1.5-7 years, depending on local fuel prices. Solar pool heating is the most cost-effective use of solar energy for many climates, according to the US Department of Energy, which gives a detailed description of solar pool heaters and selection tips.
  • Solar-powered home water heaters cost $1,000-$3,500 (including installation) but have extremely low monthly operating costs and can be used in any climate, according to the US Department of Energy.
  • The cost for a solar heating system can vary widely. A simple do-it-yourself window air heater collector to heat one room can be made for several hundred dollars. Depending on the type, size and configuration, having a contractor install a complex system to heat several rooms or an entire house can be $25,000-$100,000 or more. The most cost-effective solar heating systems usually provide 40-80% of a home's heating needs; it's often impractical to supply 100 percent of the heat needed and most building codes and mortgage lenders require a back-up heating system, according to the US Department of Energy.
  • To provide electrical power, a small-scale solar energy system producing about 1 kilowatt costs $10,000-$15,000, and provides a fraction of the average home use; a 2 kW system meeting most of the power needs of an energy-efficient home is $16,000-$20,000; and a 5 kW system providing all the energy needs of most conventional homes runs $35,000-$45,000. Prices vary based on building and system configuration, the type of equipment selected and other factors. Generally it costs less to install a system in a new home rather than remodeling an existing one, although it can be practical to install a solar system while replacing the roof.
  • Completely remodeling a traditional non-energy-efficient home to convert it to all-solar-systems (lights, heat, water and electricity) can run $100,000-$200,000 or more and is rarely done on older houses.
Related articles: Home Addition, Vinyl Siding

What should be included:
  • The Department of Energy describes different types of solar systems, with selection tips.
  • Many solar modules now look similar to roof shingles, blending in with a home's exterior; This Old House[1] gives an overview.
  • Generally, large solar systems are better suited to warmer climates with a high solar fraction, which is the typical percentage of daylight hours with a cloudless sky. The Southwestern US typically has a solar fraction of 80 percent; in the Northeastern US it's about 50 percent.
  • Check with your local building department; usually a permit is required to install a solar heating or energy system, even a solar water heater.
Discounts:
  • As an incentive, the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 allows homeowners a tax credit of 30 percent or up to $2,000 of the cost of a solar system; often there are also state or local tax credits or rebates.
Shopping for solar panels:
  • Nextag.com[2] compares prices for do-it-yourself solar pool heater kits.
  • The Colorado Solar Energy Industries Associations provides a guide for hiring a solar contractor.
  • Search for solar installers[3] through the American Solar Energy Society or search the member directory[4] of the Solar Energy Industries Association to find contractors, distributers or manufacturers by state.
  • Get written estimates from at least two companies. Find out how long they've been in business, and what training or certification they have. Ask to see pictures of previous projects; request and contact references.
post Post   Comments (4)  
CostHelper News


7 Tricks To Make Home Appliances Last Longer
Give your household equipment a little workout now and then, to make sure anything mechanical will perform well when needed. Periodic exercise can extend the usable life of many items. || Posted October 14 2013


5 Important Things to Know Before a Tornado Hits
This week the Midwest has been battered by tornados, which are one of the most violent and destructive type of storms nature has in its arsenal. || Posted November 19 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Solar electric system
Amount: $26,000.00
Posted by: BaileyW in Rochester, NY.Posted: April 10th, 2013 07:04PM
Type of Panels: 28 x 250 Watt Suniva polyContractor: Qwiksolar
With 25 year micro inverters
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
solar system
Amount: $56,000.00
Posted by: Carol in SoCal in Julian, CA.Posted: May 8th, 2012 07:05AM
Type of Panels: 28 250watt panels w/battery packContractor:
This was a quote from a contractor. I'm trying to get other estimates as this seems high.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Solar Panel
Amount: $19,000.00
Posted by: H.V. in Culver City, CA.Posted: February 25th, 2012 03:02PM
Type of Panels: PVContractor: Sungate
1.5kW - 6 PV panels
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
solar panel
Amount: $28,000.00
Posted by: J.K. Verma in jammu, IN.Posted: October 8th, 2009 11:10PM
Needed cost prize of solar power generation systems of 1MW in J&K.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam


 

Comment On Your Experience With Solar Panels
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Type of Panels: Contractor: 
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1205726,00.html
  2.  www.nextag.com/solar-home-heating-system/stores-html
  3.  www.findsolar.com/
  4.  www.seia.org/directory
More Home and Garden Topics
Check Out All Costs for Home and Garden How Much Does Heating Oil Cost? How Much Does Painting a House Cost? How Much Does a Fence Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com

 
Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
Cost of care
Paid: 0.00
Wow, some of these previous comments seriously concern me. We have a dentist carrying on about how much it cost for his entire education and the cost of building and supplying an entire office... [more]
-Jason B
Dental Implants Cost
Generac 22kw quote
Paid: 18000.00
Recently quoted$18k for 2,400sq ft. Home. The generator itself is $5,300 with transfer switch. Nearly $13k install seems very high... [more]
-Jon Rad
Standby Generator Cost
2013 honda crv ignition cylinder repair
Paid: 180.00
Locksmith came to my house and repaired lock cylinder in an hour... [more]
-Brad Cowan
Ignition Lock Cylinder Replacement Cost
Teacup Pig
Paid: 100.00
Looking for a teacup pig. I’ll pay $100-300 if you have what I’m looking for in my price range please let me know... [more]
-Evelyn Hernandez
Teacup Pig Cost
You will not believe this!
Paid: 75000.00
Non emergency flight from Tucson to Phoenix this was 2021 I could have flown around the world several times what a 130 miles was these people need to go to jail for fraud and theft!I will never pay the huge bill chapter 7 only costs $2500... [more]
-Paul Polito
Air Ambulance Cost
L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 multilevel laminectomies with micro disectomies.
Paid: 0.00
I had laminectomies and refused to have spinal fusion. I made a complete recovery. I had my surgery Apr/2020. Returned to work in mid-June. Feel good as new today. No back stiffness or pain... [more]
-Jose A Elizondo
Back Surgery Cost