How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels? (2024 Guide)

Climate change is changing the world on a physical level never before seen during remembered human history. It has become painfully obvious that human reliance on fossil fuels must decrease dramatically as quickly as possible. Even formerly renewable, power-generation sources, such as hydroelectric dams, can’t be relied upon to meet the energy-consumption needs of citizens and visitors because of growing, widespread droughts. 

With energy costs related to traditional power companies based on fossil fuels skyrocketing around the country because of climate change and other factors, we understand that homeowners need an alternative that protects both the environment and their wallets. Solar power is a free, readily available resource. It places a minimal amount of stress on the environment and makes the cost of access to power easier.

An Overview of Cost

From a cost perspective, the transition to solar power via a system of solar panels requires a serious upfront investment. The cost depends on a wide range of factors, including the geographic region and state of the installation, the system size, the manufacturer, and any renovations that an installer or other contractor must perform to set up the system.

Typically, the initial cost for solar panels matches approximately the base price of a new, low-end automobile before the application of federal solar tax incentives, state incentives, and other incentives that significantly bring down the price. Additional costs both for installation and the life of the system, respectively, include permits, non-panel equipment such as necessary inverters or an optional whole-home backup battery, installation-related labor, regular inspections and rare maintenance and repair calls. 

Yet, a homeowner enjoys amazing savings over time that more than make up these costs. Also, they never again have to worry about traditional power grid outages from down power lines or overuse of the grid affecting their lives. Even better, they might be able to make money off their system by selling some of the power back to their closest traditional utility company.

New Solar Install

Thinking About All the Details

Before discussing cost further, it’s important to discuss the installation process and everything a homeowner might experience that can impact their budget. Typically, a homeowner must wait up to four months for the installation to take place after they start discussing the possibility of setting up solar power with a solar energy company. 

The company sends an installation expert, known as an installer or installation engineer or technician, to the home to perform a basic property inspection. They must determine if the roof or another structure can handle the weight of various types of panels or a specific type the homeowner discussed with them over the phone. They also check out electrical systems to confirm that the home’s wiring can handle the power distribution. 

Experts agree that a homeowner should invest in a second opinion from an electrical engineer who has prior experience with solar power systems to check that the equipment and other recommendations made by the solar energy company are sound and beneficial to the homeowner. With either technician, the homeowner might learn that they need home, landscape or wiring updates that require the work of one or more additional contractors.

The homeowner can expect to fill out a lot of paperwork that features complex information about clean energy programs, initiatives, rebates, tax credits and renewable energy certificates. The installer might also point out paperwork that the homeowner must complete to meet building permit and other requirements. Once the homeowner signs the contract and the equipment eventually arrives, the installer reinspects everything and prepares the installation zones, such as racks for the panels or circuitry and inverters that connect to the panels. A building and safety inspector with the local municipality or state must then approve all the work. If everything meets their requirements, the local utility connects the grid to the homeowner’s new system.

Solar Energy Costs: The Basics

The installed cost of a solar power system starts with the equipment and labor fees that the homeowner must pay the contractor. A homeowner might pay everything upfront with cash or a loan or set up a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). The latter pays off the cost over time through the power generated and sold back to a utility. 

The homeowner receives back some of the cost, approximately 30% in the form of a federal tax credit, which gives them their “net cost” total. If the homeowner also finds manufacturer, retail or other rebates, they can take that amount off the total as well when estimating the net cost. For example, the homeowner might receive an energy incentive from the state that provides them with a rebate based on a per kW estimate. 

Most cost estimates are based on a kilowatt (kW) standard. In Colorado, a homeowner might expect to pay $23,100 before the tax credit, and $16,170 after the tax credit. The average cost per watt can run approximately $3.85 cash PPW (sometimes $3 in certain scenarios). The federal tax credit value was 26% in 2020 ($6,930), for example. These amounts don’t take into account any money the homeowner might save from separate rebate and other incentive programs. The per kilowatt cost also decreases with larger systems and the use of whole-home batteries to store backup power.

Given the upfront costs, many homeowners procure a smaller system (5 or 6 kW) and rely on a mix of solar and traditional power. Although this setup doesn’t provide the greatest amount of savings over time and impacts the environment more than a larger system, it’s a fairly decent transitional setup that allows the homeowner to immediately start protecting both the planet and their finances and prepare for a future upgrades that remove their reliance on the grid entirely. With a smaller system, they can expect to rely upon it 50% of the time.

Solar incentives

Breakdown of Solar Panel Costs

Solar panels (polycrystalline, monocrystalline and thin film) make up the majority of the cost. A homeowner can expect to pay approximately $16,000 after tax credits on average for the panels. Of course, low- and high-end differences exist based on type and size with the range between $8,000 and $40,000. 

Polycrystalline solar panels or cells are cheaper than monocrystalline because they’re easier to manufacture and less efficient than monocrystalline. They’re usually seen at commercial locations. Blue monocrystalline panels, which have a higher price tag, provide more efficiency but react more sensitively to high temperatures. A homeowner can also choose panels made of thin film that the installer can glue onto roof tiles and other surfaces. They’re not affected as much by heat, but they have lower long-term efficiency and the shortest lifespan of the three options (i.e. replacement required before 25-year lifespan of other products).

The cost of panels also depends on the total number of panels the homeowner needs for their location. In a total-generation setup, a homeowner might need between 25 and 35 panels since a single panel typically produces 1 kilowatt-per-hour (kWH) of energy/power every day. If the homeowner currently uses approximately 32 kWH of energy/power daily, then they need approximately 32 panels. Of course, if the homeowner decides to go with a 50/50 system, they need fewer panels. 

Additionally, some homes utilize other on-site heating and cooling equipment and resources that increase or decrease the cost of their utility bills, such as a thermal HVAC system or a hot tub, respectively, which the homeowner must take into account when deciding on the total number of panels. The fastest way for a homeowner to calculate the number is to take the monthly kWH stated on their utility bill and divide it by 30 days to give them a rough estimate of the monthly average. 

Special Consideration: Low Generation Days

When determining cost, a homeowner also needs to take into account the primary method of solar power generation. When the panels fail to receive full sunlight, such as on a heavily cloudy day or at night, the amount they pay and save changes depending on the type of panel. Some new panels are designed to utilize any level of sunlight to generate power. 

That said, solar energy companies and installers recommend that a homeowner still take into account sunlight hours. A homeowner should multiply the average amount of energy their home needs by the number of full or peak hours of sunlight for their geographic region and then divide by the wattage for a specific brand of panel. They can perform this calculation with different brands and make comparisons. This will let the homeowner know if they can power their entire home with solar panels.

To reduce reliance on costly traditional utilities during on overcast days and at night, a homeowner should consider installing a whole-home, backup battery. Batteries designed to last an estimated lifespan of between 10 and 20 years cost approximately $12,500 to $15,000 installed on average. If a homeowner opts to install a backup battery at the same time as the panels, they face additional upfront equipment fees but may actually enjoy better overall installation costs because the installer isn’t forced to make separate special appointments.

Solar Farm

Why Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Government agencies and others offer clean energy programs that feature either rebates or tax credits to help offset the costs. Some government entities and utility companies offer other incentives and even low-cost loans to deal with costs. Although a state-level rebate might still fall under federal income tax requirements, some utility companies offer a one-time rebate that isn’t normally taxed on federal returns. 

The other method to recoup or save money is through selling extra power generated during bright, sunny peak hours to the closest utility company, which typically pays half the amount they charge for their own power. As a result, the homeowner is literally paid to switch to solar and continue to generate solar power for the lifetime of their system. It’s a passive income stream.

But what about energy savings as compared to traditional utilities? Homeowners pay up to $200 per month on average for electricity nationwide. With solar panels, they can see up to $1,500 in savings without taking into account potential passive, solar power revenues. The amount that a homeowner saves depends on a lot of different factors, including the quality of the system they procure, the number of sunny days in their geographic area and the amount of power they’re trying to generate. To determine savings, they should take their estimated net cost and divide that amount by the amount they already save every year on their traditional utility bill.

Other types of savings also exist. Insurers consider solar panel systems and backup batteries forward-thinking investments that increases home value. They often offer a discount, commonly known as a solar or green discount, as a percentage off the homeowner’s policy premium. A homeowner can also enjoy using their solar system as leverage when negotiating the sale of their home. Buyers often value pre-existing systems that make it possible for them to reap all the benefits of solar power immediately without waiting years to balance out the upfront costs.

Critical Cost & Savings Considerations

It’s important to keep in mind that this type of system doesn’t save money immediately because of the upfront investment, which doesn’t exist with use of a traditional electricity grid. It can take five years or longer for a homeowner to start benefiting from the system. The national average is approximately seven years. The amount of time depends on the net cost and the homeowner’s choices, such as installation of a backup battery or an agreement to a net-metering or solar-buyback contract.

It’s also critical that a homeowner perform the installation of a solar power system before state and federal tax incentives go away. They can use the tax credit toward the cost of solar panels and cells, permit and inspection fees and developer fees, if applicable. They can also apply it to contractor labor costs, which include onsite preparation, assembly of any structures or equipment and installation of a first-time, solar power system, inverters, wiring, mounting hardware, energy-storage devices (3 kWH or higher installed 2023) and sales tax on all the above.

Congress originally planned to allow tax credits to lapse by 2024. Instead, in August 2022, they extended the program and raised the credit discount on installations from 2022 to 2032 to 30%. They also allowed homeowners to take the credit for systems installed on and before December 31, 2019, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the discount is set to not drop to 26% again until 2033 and then 22% in 2034, volatile political changes in the country over the last several years prove that a simple change in the control of the House of Representatives and Senate or politically motivated lawsuits could lead to the sudden cessation of the program. Experts advise homeowners to take advantage of the savings now while the opportunity still exists.

5 Ways to Increase Solar Panel Efficiency

Understanding Solar Panel Efficiency: Factors, Optimization, and Future Prospects

Table of Contents Solar panels are a great way to generate clean, renewable energy for your home or business. But how efficient are solar panels? And what factors affect their efficiency? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at solar panel efficiency. We’ll discuss how solar panels work, what factors affect their efficiency, and how you can maximize the efficiency of your solar panel system. We’ll also provide tips for choosing the right solar panels for your needs, and we’ll discuss the environmental and economic benefits of solar energy. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of solar panel efficiency and how you can use it to your advantage. Factors Affecting Solar Panel Efficiency The efficiency of a solar panel is determined by some factors, including: The type of solar cell used. The most common type of solar cell is the crystalline silicon solar cell. Other types of solar cells include thin-film solar cells and organic photovoltaic cells. Crystalline silicon solar cells are the most efficient, but they are also the most expensive. Thin-film solar cells are less efficient, but they are also less expensive. Organic photovoltaic cells are the least efficient, but they are also the least expensive. The size of the solar panel. The larger the solar panel, the more energy it can produce. However, larger solar panels are also more expensive. The orientation of the solar panel. Solar panels should be oriented so that they face the sun as directly as possible. This will maximize the amount of sunlight that the solar panel can collect. The tilt of the solar panel. The tilt of the solar panel can be adjusted to optimize the amount of sunlight that the solar panel collects during different times of the year. The amount of sunlight that the solar panel receives. The amount of sunlight that the solar panel receives will vary depending on the location of the solar panel. Solar panels that are located in sunny areas will produce more energy than solar panels that are located in cloudy areas. In addition, there are other factors that can affect the efficiency of a solar panel, including: The temperature of the solar panel. Solar panels are less efficient at higher temperatures. The amount of dust and dirt on the solar panel. Dust and dirt can reduce the amount of sunlight that the solar panel can collect. The age of the solar panel. Photovoltaic panels will gradually lose efficiency over time. How to Maximize Solar Panel Efficiency There are several things you can do to maximize the efficiency of your solar panels, here are 5 ways: Installing your solar panels in an area with high sunlight exposure Facing your solar panels south (in the Northern Hemisphere) or north (in the Southern Hemisphere) Tilting your solar panels to the optimal angle for your location Cleaning your solar panels regularly Using a high-quality solar inverter Have Solar Questions? Call the Denver Solar Experts: Tips for Choosing the Right Solar Panels When choosing solar panels, there are a few factors to consider: The efficiency of the solar panels. This is the most important factor to consider, as it determines how much energy the panels will produce. The efficiency of a solar panel is measured as a percentage, and the higher the efficiency, the more energy the panel will produce. The size of the solar panels. The size of the solar panels will determine how much power they can generate. The larger the panels, the more power they will generate. The cost of the solar panels. The cost of solar panels varies depending on the brand, efficiency, and size. It is important to compare the costs of different solar panels before making a decision. The warranty on the solar panels. The warranty on the solar panels is important to consider, as it will protect you if the panels malfunction. Make sure to read the warranty carefully before making a decision. Here are some tips for choosing the right solar panels for your home:  Do your research. There are many different types of solar panels on the market, so it is important to do your research before making a decision. Read reviews of different solar panels, and compare prices and features. Get multiple quotes. It is always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different solar companies before making a decision. This will help you get the best possible price on solar panels. Work with a reputable solar company. When choosing a solar company, it is important to work with a reputable company that has a good track record. This will help ensure that you get the best possible installation and service. How to Optimize Your Solar Panel System There are a number of things you can do to optimize your solar panel performance. Here are a few tips: Install your solar panels in a sunny location. The amount of sunlight that your solar panels receive will directly impact their output. If possible, install your solar panels on a south-facing roof or in a location that receives plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day. Keep your solar panels clean. Dirt, dust, and debris can all reduce the efficiency of your solar panels. Make sure to clean your solar panels regularly to remove any buildup. Angle your solar panels correctly. The angle at which your solar panels are installed will affect how much sunlight they receive. In most cases, you will want to angle your solar panels so that they are facing directly south. However, the optimal angle may vary depending on your location and the time of year. Use a solar tracker. A solar tracker is a device that automatically tracks the sun throughout the day, keeping your solar panels pointed in the optimal direction for maximum sunlight collection. Solar trackers can increase the efficiency of your solar panel system by up to 30%. Oversize your solar panel system. Oversizing your solar panel system means installing more solar panels than you

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The Future of Solar Energy Storage Innovations in Battery

Shaping the Future: Breakthroughs in Solar Energy Storage

Table of Contents Solar energy storage is one of the most promising technologies for storing solar energy. Batteries can be used to store excess solar energy during the day and then use that energy to power homes and businesses at night. Battery storage can also be used to provide backup power during power outages. This article will discuss the benefits of solar energy battery storage for solar energy systems. We will also explore the different types of batteries that are available for solar energy storage and the factors you should consider when choosing a battery for your solar energy system. The Problem With Solar Energy Storage Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of energy that has the potential to power our homes and businesses for decades to come. However, one of the challenges of solar energy is that it is intermittent. Solar panels only generate electricity during the day, and they cannot generate electricity when it is cloudy or raining. This means that we need a way to store solar energy so that it can be used when the sun is not shining. There are several different ways to store solar energy, but the most common method is to use batteries. Solar energy storage batteries store the energy that is generated by solar panels in chemical form, and they can then be used to power devices when the sun is not shining. However, there are some problems with using batteries to store solar energy. First, batteries are expensive. Second, batteries have a limited lifespan. Third, batteries can only store a limited amount of energy. As a result of these problems, solar energy battery storage is still a relatively new and emerging technology. There is a lot of research being done to develop new and more efficient ways to store solar energy. In the meantime, some things can be done to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of solar battery storage. For example, researchers are working on developing new battery technologies that are more affordable and have a longer lifespan. They are also developing ways to store solar energy in other forms, such as thermal energy or hydrogen fuel cells. Addressing these challenges means researchers are making progress in developing more efficient and cost-effective ways to store solar energy. This will help to make solar energy a more viable option for powering homes and businesses. The Rise of Battery Technology The rise of battery technology has been a major factor in the growth of the solar energy industry. In the past, batteries were too expensive and inefficient to be used for solar energy storage. However, recent advances in battery technology have made it possible to store solar energy at a cost-effective and efficient level. Different battery technologies are being used for solar energy storage. Some of the most common include: Lead-acid batteries Lithium-ion batteries Flow batteries Each battery technology has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lead-acid batteries are the most affordable option, but they are also the least efficient. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than lead-acid batteries, but they are also more efficient. Flow batteries are the most efficient battery technology, but they are also the most expensive. The type of battery technology that is best for a particular solar energy system will depend on several factors, including the cost, efficiency, and size of the system. The rise of battery technology has made it possible for solar energy systems to store energy for use at night or during cloudy days. This has greatly increased the versatility and reliability of solar energy systems, making them a more attractive option for homeowners and businesses. Read more related articles: SOLAR BATTERY BANK: CHOOSING THE RIGHT STORAGE FOR YOUR SOLAR PANEL SYSTEM HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOLAR POWER SYSTEM FOR YOUR HOME HOW LONG DO SOLAR PANEL BATTERIES LAST? THE ANSWER REVEALED Have Solar Questions? Call the Denver Solar Experts: Innovations in Battery Technology for Solar Energy Storage The rise of battery technology has been a major driver in the development of solar energy storage systems. In recent years, there have been significant innovations in battery technology that have made solar battery storage more affordable, efficient, and scalable. Some of the most notable innovations in battery technology for solar energy storage include: The development of lithium-ion batteries The development of flow batteries The development of solid-state batteries Each of these battery technologies has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of battery used for photovoltaic energy storage, but they are also the most expensive. Flow batteries are less expensive than lithium-ion batteries, but they have a lower energy density. Solid-state batteries are still in development, but they offer the potential to be more efficient and durable than lithium-ion and flow batteries. The development of these new battery technologies is making solar energy storage more and more viable as a way to store renewable energy. As battery prices continue to fall and battery performance continues to improve, solar battery storage is expected to become an increasingly important part of the global energy mix. The Future of Solar Energy Storage The future of solar energy storage is bright. As battery technology continues to improve, solar energy storage systems will become more affordable and efficient. This will make it possible for more people to use solar energy to power their homes and businesses, even during times when the sun is not shining. Solar energy storage systems can also be used to provide backup power during power outages. This is a valuable asset for homes and businesses that are located in areas that are prone to power outages. In addition, solar energy storage systems can be used to help stabilize the electric grid. By storing excess solar energy during peak production times, solar battery storage systems can help to reduce the need for fossil fuels during peak demand times. Key Trends Driving the Future of Solar Energy Storage The cost of battery technology is declining rapidly. The efficiency of

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