In this article we are going to discuss solar panel cost , which is really two different questions. When people ask the question, “How much will solar panels cost,” they could really be asking either, “How much does a solar panel cost,” or “How much will it cost for enough solar panels to power my house?”
The first question is more directly related to solar panel cost, so we’ll cover that first. The answer is a little tricky because it depends on whether you are planning to buy pre-made solar panels or make them yourself. For premade solar panels, a single panel can cost about $900, or $12 per watt. A medium sized system to provide power to a small or very energy efficient house might cost $25,000 and a solar system to power a large house could cost $50,000+.
Most people don’t know this, but it is actually fairly easy to build your own solar panels. With a few common tools, the right knowledge and some effort on your part, you can build a solar panel for as little as $200. I found the best guide for building your own solar panels, which includes where to buy the solar cells, what tools and materials you will need as well as step-by-step videos.
There are many federal, state and local tax credits, rebates and incentives available that can reduce solar panel cost. These incentives could save you up to half the cost of a solar power system. You can check the website for your state government to see what is available in your state.
The second possible meaning of a question about solar panel cost is, “How much will it cost for enough solar panels to power my house?” It is difficult to give an answer for a specific house because there are a lot of factors including how much electricity your houses uses, where in the country you live (and how much sun you get), which direction your house faces, etc. So, in order to answer the question, we’ll make some assumptions and give answers for a “typical house”.
In order to figure out the solar panel cost for your home, the first thing you need to know is how much electricity your house uses. The best way to figure this out is to look at a monthly electricity bill to see how many kilowatt hours or KWH you use per month. Multiply the KWH by 1000 to get your monthly Watt/Hours of electricity. If you divide that number by 30, that is your average daily electricity usage. Then you’ll need to divide that number by the average number hours of sun per day you get in your location. To be safe, use the number of hours per sun on the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight. Now you know how much electricity you need to generate per hour of daylight to power your home.
The average installed system will cost $7-9 per watt. So, multiply the average hourly watt hours you need to generate that you got from the last step by something between $7 and $9 and that is what it will cost for solar panels with enough capacity to power your house.
I created a solar power calculator spreadsheet to do all the calculations for you. Just enter in the KWH number from your electric bill and it will estimate how much it will cost for solar panels to provide electricity to your whole house. It’s part of my home solar and wind power 6 part mini course. When you sign up for the 6 part mini course, you’ll be able to instantly download the solar power calculator.
So, now you can calculate how much it would cost to power your whole house from solar power. Does that seem like a lot of money? It will be – initial solar panel cost is the biggest drawback to solar power. Tax breaks can help a lot – you can save up to half the cost with credits, rebates and incentives. You can also save a lot of money by building your own solar panels. You can build a solar panel yourself for as little as $200. I got all the guides and 1 is definitely the best. It includes where to buy solar cells, what tools you’ll need and complete step-by-step videos.