Finding out how much solar panels cost can be a full time job.
Anyone who has ever tried to get simple answers about the price of solar power knows how difficult it can be.
When you start your solar power journey, it seems like everything should be so easy.
Maybe you even thought you’d be able to order solar panels like you order lunch at a fast-food restaurant:
“I’ll take a few of those 200 Watt SunPower panels and a Xantrex inverter to go, please.”
Somewhere along the line, however, you probably realized that things weren’t as simple (or delicious) as ordering a Big Mac and fries.
Why does solar panel cost have to be so complicated?
Well, for one thing a solar installation can be expensive and you should take your time.
Purchasing solar panels requires the same kind of research that you would put into any other major purchase. After all, getting a bad meal at a restaurant is nothing compared to the hassle of a problematic solar installation.
The expense alone could explain why it takes time to learn how much solar panels cost. There are also some other factors that come into play when you’re dealing with the price of solar panels.
One of these factors is the type of solar system you want to install. Your choices include a solar electric system or solar hot water panels. These are actually very different technologies with very different price ranges.
Solar electric panels (photovoltaics) use sunlight to create electricity and that electricity is then used in your home or sold back to the electrical grid. Solar hot water panels, on the other hand, heat your water to save you money on your gas or electric bill.
A solar domestic hot water system is generally much less expensive than a full-scale solar electric installation.
Another thing to consider is the dizzying variety of government incentives that are available. Before you can find out how much solar panels cost, you need to find out which government incentives are available in your area.
Is there a federal incentive or tax break you can take advantage of? How about a state or municipal grant that could help pay for your solar panel installation? Maybe your utility company has a program that rewards people who go solar and ease demand on the electrical grid.
Getting answers to all of these incentive questions is an important part of determining how much solar panels cost.
Another factor that will have an affect on solar power price is the size of the solar panel system you’re interested in. If you purchase a system that will cover all of your electricity usage it will cost more than a system that is designed to lower your electric bill.
It’s a pretty simple idea that is very easy to grasp: A bigger system costs more money.
A final factor that can determine how much you pay for solar panels is financing. The financing options available could mean the difference between paying tens of thousands of dollars or getting your solar panels for free.
That’s right, some of the available solar leases and power purchase agreements mean that you won’t have to pay a cent to enjoy all the advantages of solar energy.
On the other hand, if no financing options are available you could be looking at having to pay your solar bill up front and that can get a little pricey.
Okay, so finding out how much solar panels cost can get a little complicated. You’re probably wondering just what you’re supposed to do about it.
You’ve started off on the right foot by coming to Solar Power Beginner and learning as much as you can about solar energy and how it works. This will give you the information and the confidence you need when you decide to take the next step: Getting a solar quote.
Since there are so many factors that can affect how much solar panels cost, your best course of action is to speak with a qualified solar installer who knows your area and the incentives that are available.
Most installers offer a no obligation quote free of charge so you can get some hard numbers and know what kind of investment you’re looking at. A solar quote may not make installing solar panels as easy as ordering a Big Mac, but it will take a lot of the guesswork out of the process.