One the first questions people ask themselves when pondering whether or not they should invest in a solar power system is – how much do solar panels cost? There are few precise cut ways to answer this question, and in this article, we are going to examine the components that affect a solar panel’s price as well as give you some averages to help you form realistic expectations regarding the costs. First, let’s take a look at some of the factors that determine the price of a solar panel.
- Efficiency: Not all solar panels are created equal. The efficiency of a solar panel varies according to the quality of the solar cells that make up the panel. Cells can be different sizes, can be made of various materials, and are created through different engineering techniques. All of these factors come into play, and some solar panels will be able to convert sunlight into energy better than others.
- Size: Size plays a huge role in defining the price of a solar panel. Obviously, smaller ones will be less expensive and vice versa. The tradeoff is that smaller ones will provide less power than bigger ones.>
- Materials Used: There is a range of materials that are used to create solar cells and solar panels. The effectiveness to convert sunlight to electricity varies among them, and some are more difficult to make than others. Also, if one is considering installing an entire solar power setup, extra equipment and permits increase the cost. This is yet another factor that has to be taken into account when pricing solar panels.
Price Per Watt
Walmart sells a 40″ x 27″ solar panel for $100. That is a pretty big solar panel, but the question you have to ask is – how effective will that be? What is more important than the physical size of a solar panel is how much power it can put out. Most professionals who install solar panels are going to tell you that it’s the solar panel’s wattage that matters. Depending on your power needs, you’re going to need more or fewer watts to power all of your utilities, and this is why when you pay for solar panels, you’re not paying for the physical size. You’re paying for the wattage. In the case of that $100 panel from Walmart, it is rated at 100 watts. Thus we can note that for a single solar panel, the price is $1 per watt. Now, keep in mind that $100 is the price for just the panel itself and does not include all of the other supplies and accessories you will need to entirely put together a solar power setup (wires, mounting attachments, inverter, etc.).
With that being said, a full solar setup ends up being a little pricier. The average price to install a solar system for a home as of 2017 is $2.87 – $3.85 per watt; however, the price is steadily lowering year after year. In the big picture, a 5,000-watt setup would average between $10,000 and $14,000. Here are some prices for different solar power system sizes:
- 6,000 watts: $13,000
- 8,000 watts: $17,700
- 10,000 watts: $22,100
Finally, the state in which one lives in determines how much a solar panel installation costs. For example, in Florida, the price ranges from $10,800 to $15,200 while in Washington it ranges from $15,100 to $19,700 for a 6,000-watt system.
The one thing you can be 100% sure of as of now is that when purchasing an individual solar panel, the price is typically $1 per watt. As far as the installation of an entire solar power setup, there are a lot of factors that will cause the price to vary; however, there are some ballpark ranges you can look at. There are formulas online that can help you figure out how many watts you need to fully support whatever project you have in mind. Our suggestion is to go check them out, and the averages we give you here will help you calculate just how much your dream solar panel setup will run.