One of the first questions that many who are considering solar power ask is – how much do solar panels cost?
The rest of this post will go into detail concerning the costs of a solar panel system.
First of all, the price for a solar panel system can vary widely based primarily on how much energy a homeowner uses. Parts for a solar panel systems can cost just a few thousand to as much as $20,000 or more for really large systems. All of the following numbers are for grid-tied systems.
Let’s take a closer look at the costs involved.
The costs for a solar panel system can be broken down into three main categories – panels, inverter, and balance of system (BOS).
#1. Solar Panels
Wholesale pricing for individual solar panels is now less than a dollar per watt. A typical solar panel can produce about 260 watts. Most American homes will need anywhere from a 3,000 watt system to a 10,000 watt system, on average. The number of panels would then be between 10 and 30 approximately. A 20 panel system is very common – leading to a price of about $5,000 – just for the panels.
The inverter is a very important part of a solar panel system. This device takes the direct current (DC) electricity from your solar panels and converts it to alternating current (AC) electricity that your home uses. Prices for inverters vary depending on the size of the solar panel system and the brand name of the inverter. The typical price range for inverters is between $1,000 and $3,000 based on the two factors just mentioned.
#2. Balance Of System
While the panels and inverter are two of the primary components of a solar power system, there are other vital items needed. Everything else that goes into making residential solar power work is called the balance of system. The BOS includes cables, wiring, mc connectors, charge controllers, and racking mounts. The costs for the BOS is about 50 cents per watt, or about $2,500 for an average sized system.
Adding these three costs together yields a price of about $10,000 for a typical sized solar panel system. It needs to be stressed that this is just for materials, alone. The total cost of solar is a few thousand more due to installation costs and inspection, permitting, and utility connection fees.
The good news is that homeowners that do not have the many thousands needed to go solar can still make it happen. The industry has matured to the point where there is plenty of financing available for those who need green energy lending. Many financial institutions offer low rates which brings payments close to or even less than what homeowners currently pay for traditional energy.
Check out the cost savings of solar page to see how much you can save by making the switch to solar power.