26 panel solar system on a beautiful tile roof

In 2019, the national average for the cost of a home solar panel system was over $12,000. That’s even after tax credits were factored in. Size is one of the most important variables in what a solar system costs. While a 2kW solar panel system might cost just under $6,000 before tax credits, a 25kW system can cost upwards of $74,000. The federal solar tax credit can reduce a solar system’s cost by 30% (steps down to 26% in 2020, then down to 22% in 2021 and after 2021, the residential credit drops to zero while the commercial credit drops to a permanent 10 percent), but this doesn’t tell the full story as to why solar panels are so expensive to install.

The cost of installing a solar system isn’t only affected by the price of the panel. Other considerations include the cost of:


Higher efficiency panels cost more. You might not need the most efficient ones to power only your home, so you can save there, but the costs of other equipment are important as well. Power inverters are needed to convert solar energy to electricity. There are centralized inverters (serving the entire system) or string inverters and power optimizers that attach to each panel, which you’ll also have to pay for.

Mounting the system adds costs as well. The more complex the mounting system, the more it will cost. This is a major consideration when deciding to install the solar system on your roof, or to a tracking system on the ground.


Any solar company will charge you for the time and effort it takes to install solar panels. If your roof has an unusual angle or multiple levels, the complexity of the job can make it more expensive. Installing panels on tile or slate roofs can be more complicated. Arranging panels for maximum energy production can cost more as well.

In addition, you may require landscaping work to make room for solar panels or the equipment needed to install them. You might want to consider trimming branches and shrubs ahead of time. But you may still need a tree pruner and the solar installers may require additional room to work, so this stage can add costs to your solar panel installation.


Your home electrical system may require upgrades to accommodate the solar panel system, or to simply bring it up to code. Performing any electrical updates in advance can help spread out the costs. In the long run, these updates make it easier to install and provision solar power systems. They can also help make costs more manageable.


Local permits may be required to perform home improvements such as installing solar panels. Check with your municipality’s regulations to see whether any apply. You’ll have to obtain the necessary permits (and pay the fees) before starting work, or else face stiff fines and penalties.


Most solar panel installations come with a comprehensive warranty. You want to get the most out of your system. Warranties may cover everything from equipment to workmanship. Research the types of warranties out there and what your installer offers to ensure it provides budgetary advantages and the potential for future savings.


PetersenDean specializes in professional solar panel installation and helping customers find the most affordable plan to fit their budget. You can take advantage of federal tax credits (remember, these end in 2021) and our best-in-class 25-year warranty for full coverage. To learn more, call 888-893-5222, or reach out to us online to request a no-obligation estimate on your solar installation project in California, Nevada, Arizona, and other states we serve.

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