How much do solar panels cost to install on my home?
“How much do solar panels cost?”
This is one of the most common questions people ask about going solar. And truthfully, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer; solar panel costs can vary quite a bit from home to home. However, there are three key factors you can consider to help you get a general idea of how much home solar panels will cost.
1. Your solar plan
The biggest factor that impacts how much solar panels will cost is the type of solar plan you choose. Basically, there are three ways to get residential solar panels: you can lease your solar panels, you can buy the power solar panels produce through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), or you can pay for the whole solar power system outright or through a solar loan.
If you lease your solar panels, you’re paying to lease the solar panels and equipment and get to keep any energy produced by the solar energy system in return. If you choose a PPA, you’re only paying for the power that the solar panels produce, and Vivint Solar owns and maintains all of the panels and equipment. Notably, the cost per kilowatt-hour (basically the equivalent of 1,000 watts of electric power used over one hour) is often lower than the rate that a traditional utility company charges.
Owning your home solar panels through an outright purchase is more costly upfront, but can help you save more money in the long run. To calculate the cost of solar panels, multiply the size of the solar system (measured in kilowatts) by the cost per kilowatt. One way you can avoid the large upfront cost of purchasing panels is by financing the purchase through one of our preferred lenders, or a third party of your choice.
2. Your location
The size of your solar panel system will depend on how much average sun exposure your roof gets. If you live in an area with a lot of sunshine, your roof probably gets enough sun each day that you only need a relatively small, less solar energy expensive system. Your roof is probably pretty proud of itself.
On the other hand, if you live in an overcast climate and your roof is a little Vitamin D deficient, you may need a larger, somewhat more expensive solar panel system.
If you’re interested in learning how much average sun exposure your roof gets, set up a free consultation with a Vivint Solar rep. They’ll be happy to give you an idea of how many solar panels you’ll need and how much solar will cost.
3. Net metering and solar incentives
An important part of the solar equation is the availability of something called net metering. Net metering is a billing mechanism that helps solar customers sell the excess solar power that solar panels generate to the grid. A net meter looks similar to your regular meter, but it measures both the electric power you’re drawing from the grid and the excess solar power that your solar energy system is putting back onto the grid. Although net metering rules vary from state to state (and even utility to utility), you will generally receive some kind of credit on your monthly electric bill – which, if you’re selling a lot of solar power back to the grid, will become something you actually want to see every month.
The value of the credit you receive for excess energy varies, so it’s important to get familiar with net metering laws in your area before you go solar. One of our reps would be happy to discuss how net metering works in your area if you’re interested in learning more.
If net metering isn’t available in your state, don’t worry – there are dozens of other state and federal solar incentives that can offer additional savings. This site has an easy-to-use database that can help you find policies and incentives in your area. Go ahead and check it out to find more local and federal tax credit programs.
Of course every home is different, so the best way to find out how much solar panels will cost is to schedule a free consultation with a solar rep.
How to Go Solar
Vivint Solar makes renewable energy a simple and affordable alternative. We take care of everything from solar system design, to paperwork and permitting, to installation and maintenance.