The question we all want to know, how much will solar panels on my home cost?
First off, what do we need to know about solar panels? How much power they can produce is important. What is also important is how much power does your home or office need?
Let’s define a couple terms first. The difference between power and energy.
Power is commonly referred to as the “watt” in solar terms. If you have a 100 watt light bulb, when you switch that light on it is going to emit 100 watts at all times. Which leads us into energy.
Energy, the transfer of power over a given time. Have you ever heard the term kwH (kilowatt hour)? Of course you have, and you’ve likely said, well how does my kilowatt hour and my solar panel power capacity correlate? It’s not exactly straight forward. I’ll explain why…
Your electric company will provide you your energy usage (kwH) per month usually. This could be say 900 kwH. Remember, whenever you see that H (hour), this is power over time = energy. So how does 900 kwH tell me how many kw needed for solar panel system you may need to cover 100% of your energy needs. The answer, it doesn’t really.
Let’s get back to the 100 watt light bulb. If you left that light bulb on 24 hours per day that would be 2.4 kwH per day, or 72 kwH per month. Now, 900 kwH is the US average home energy use, so there are 2 points to this comparison. One, turn off your lights when you aren’t using them! Two, if you add up everything in your home that uses electrical power, that would be the size system you would need. There is a very good chance you will need a 10 kw system, or 15 kw system. Just so you know, the average system purchased in the US for residential use is 5 kw.
Back to the point of this article. How much will it cost?
The cost for solar panels is quoted by the “watt”. In 2017 the average per watt install price is between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt. For your information, this price has dropped each year and is 9% lower then in 2016.
So now you have a better understanding of how to size a solar panel system. Do you want to cover 30% of electricity needs, 50%, etc.? Please make sure to check out your state incentives on this site and remember, 30% federal tax credit goes down in 2019 and by 2023 this incentive is gone! Now is the time to get your solar panel estimates.