Why Are Solar Panels So Expensive?

In 2019, the national average for the cost of a home solar panel system was over $12,000. Thatโ€™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 systemโ€™s cost by 30%, but this doesnโ€™t tell the full story as to why solar panels are so expensive to install.

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But the cost of installing a solar system isnโ€™t only affected by the price of the panel. Other considerations include the cost of:

Hardware

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 youโ€™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.

Labor and Installation

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.

Electrical System Improvements

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.

Permitting

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

Warranties

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.

Experience Short- and Long-Term Savings with Solar4America

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 2019) 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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