You’ve probably heard about how solar energy can reduce your electricity bills, but how much do solar panels really cost? The easiest way to calculate the average cost of solar panels is to look at its price in dollars per watt, which is relatively consistent across the United States.
How much do solar panels cost?
In 2017, most homeowners are paying between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt to install solar, and the average gross cost of solar panels before tax credits is $16,800. Using the U.S, average for system size at 5 kW (5000 watts), solar panel cost will range from $10,045 to $13,475 (after tax credits).
That’s nine percent lower than it was a year ago, and solar panel system costs are continuing to fall. However, to really understand what a single solar panel will cost and what a complete solar system will cost, it’s important to compare prices quoted to homeowners in your area – total costs can vary depending on the state that you live in.
Average cost of solar panels based on system size
Knowing the average cost per watt is helpful, but what does $3.16/watt actually mean for you? The cost of installing solar on your home or business depends on how much electricity you want to generate – a bigger system will cost more, because you’ll need to buy more equipment and more labor will be needed to install it.
The average solar energy system size in the U.S is approximately 5 kilowatts (kW). Based on the average price of $3.16/watt, a 5kW system would cost $11,060 after tax credits. Below are some average 2017 quotes for other solar energy systems by size:
- 6kW solar energy system cost: $13,300
- 8kW solar energy system cost: $17,700
- 10kW solar energy system cost: $22,100
These prices reflect the cost of a solar energy system after deducting the federal solar tax credit, which reduces your solar system cost by 30 percent. Some states, local governments, and utilities also offer rebates and other tax incentives that can further reduce the solar system costs in your quotes from solar installers.
The price of solar panels will also vary from state to state. EnergySage analyzed quote data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to develop a range of solar panel system prices for top solar states:
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