The Real Cost of Solar
The “real cost” of solar is often a question people have when doing research about this rapidly growing energy source. The average U.S. homeowner would need a system between 7kW and 10.5 kW to be able to offset their energy use for one year. Systems are between $26,000 and $39,000 at these sizes. As of 2016, homeowners have been paying $3 or $4 per watt, with the average falling around $3.57 per watt. For homeowners that are able to purchase a system, you can factor in the federal solar tax credit to the price, which reduces the cost of the system by 30%.
After the 30% tax credit, this tends to be the general rule of thumb when speaking to solar system pricing, but be sure to note that the costs can vary depending on the state you live in. Here, we add about $5,000 for every 2 kilowatts:
· $12,500 for a 5kW system
· $15,000 for a 6kW system
· $20,000 for a 8kW system
· $25,000 for a 10kW system
· $30,000 for a 12kW system
Bigger systems will be more expensive, but they will also result in more savings. If you have a large roof, your solar supplier will install as many panels as they can to maximize your offset and your savings.
Luckily, the average homeowner does not even have to purchase the system to see savings. With a lease, loan, or power purchase agreement (PPA), solar customers can often have a system installed for no money out of pocket and just start saving on their monthly electric bills — some of these companies are even able to help their customers achieve savings of up to 40%. Solar installers across the country offer this option, but they’ll maintain ownership of the system and receive the 30% credit.