# Solar Panel Cost Per Square Foot

This post is a continuation on a theme of addressing more specific solar power questions. This particular one will answer a very common one – How much do solar panels cost per square foot? Any solar power professional will first mention that this is not exactly the right question to be asking. While there is often a correlation between house (and roof size) and energy usage, the sizing and cost of a solar panel system has much more to do with average annual energy usage.

Many homeowners want to know how many solar panels they can fit on their rooftops. This is an understandable initial reaction when first considering solar power.

Let’s answer the question with three different scenarios, and at the same time show why it is the wrong question to be asking –

1.

Roof Size – 1,500 square feet
System Size – 5 kilowatt
System Cost – \$15,000
Solar Panel Cost Per Square Foot – \$10

2.

Roof Size – 2,000 square feet
System Size – 5 kilowatt
System Cost – \$15,000
Solar Panel Cost Per Square Foot – \$7.5

3.

Roof Size – 3,000 square feet
System Size – 5 kilowatt
System Cost – \$15,000
Solar Panel Cost Per Square Foot – \$5

As you can see, there is no exact solar panel cost per square foot. In the three scenarios listed above, all of the homes were of different sizes yet used the same amount of electricity. While this may not be typical, it would not be too difficult to find three homes that fit this situation.

Again, the point is that the cost of a solar panel system is directly tied to how much electricity a homeowner uses, not the size of a roof.

The typical 5 kilowatt system will take up between 350 and 400 square feet. Since the average American rooftop is at least 1,500 square feet, most homeowners have more than enough space for a solar panel system that will fit their energy needs.

To sum up, the main cost determinant when buying solar panels is average yearly energy usage, not roof size.

1. Walter Byrum says: