How much do solar panels cost to install on my home?

solar panel cost

“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. It mostly depends on the size and energy needs of your home and your solar energy system. However, there are some key factors you should consider that can help you get a better idea of how much your home's solar panels will cost.

Factors that will affect solar panel costs include:

-Your solar plan -Your location -Net metering -Solar incentives -Your credit

Now, let’s talk about each of these solar panel cost variables in more detail.

1. Your solar plan

The biggest factor that impacts how much solar panels will cost is the type of solar plan you choose. That’s because solar panel costs can vary depending on how you pay for them. There are three ways to get residential solar panels: you can lease your solar panels, you can buy the power your 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 system equipment and get to keep any solar energy produced by the solar energy system in return. If you choose a PPA, you’re only paying for the solar power that the solar panels produce, and Vivint Solar owns and maintains all of the solar panels and solar energy system equipment. Notably, the cost of solar electricity per kilowatt-hour with a PPA (basically the equivalent of 1,000 watts of electric power used over one hour) is often lower than the electricity rate that a traditional utility company charges.

Owning your home solar panels through an outright solar energy system 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 solar panels is by financing the purchase through one of our preferred lenders, or a third party of your choice.

2. Your location

Where your home is located will also determine your solar panel costs as well. That’s because your the location of your home will determine other factors like the size of your solar panels. The size of your solar panel system will depend on how much average sun exposure your roof gets. The more direct sunlight your roof receives, the more power your solar panels can produce. 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-expensive solar energy 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. This larger solar energy system might cost more per kilowatt-hour than a smaller system on a sunnier roof, but it may still be more cost-effective than using electricity from your utility company.

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 panels will cost.

3. Net metering and solar incentives

Net metering

An important part of the solar panel cost 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.

Government incentives

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.

4. Credit can also affect solar panel costs

Many people buy their solar energy systems by taking out a loan and paying off that loan over time. In order to qualify for a solar loan with most solar companies, you’ll typically need a credit score of at least 650. There are some banks and credit unions who will issue solar loans for those who have less than a 650 credit score, but if you want to work with the solar company’s internal loan department, you’ll need to improve your score if it’s not already high enough.

The better your credit score is, the less your new solar panel system will cost you as far as interest is concerned.

If you don’t have a 650 credit score, you might want to improve your finances first so we can help you get your electric bill in order afterward. Once you qualify for a loan, one of our Vivint Solar reps will happily help you take the necessary steps to install a solar energy system for your home which can potentially help you save money on your electric bill, helping free up your budget and finances.

So, How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The fact is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your solar panels’ cost will vary based on a variety of factors. Even the amount of sun your roof gets can affect how much your solar panels will cost. The more direct sunlight your rooftop receives through the year, the more solar energy your panels can create. The more solar energy they can create, the more cost-effective they will be.

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.

See how much solar could save you!

To get a free quote, call 877.987.5591 or fill out the form below.

Related Articles

Enjoy more insight on creating the home you want to live in.

Copyright © 2021 Vivint Solar Developer, LLC. All rights reserved. Vivint Solar Developer, LLC (EIN: 80‐0756438) is a licensed contractor in each state in which we operate. For information about our contractor licenses, please visit