Homeowners who would like to reduce or stop having a monthly electric bill have found an alternative in solar energy. With the right equipment and installation, a solar system can become the main source of energy for a home of any size. The solar panel cost for a kit is $10,000 to $15,000 on average for a system that can eliminate the need for electricity completely. This type of kit includes 12 to 21 solar panels, depending on the kit that is needed to supply power. Solar systems require a battery backup that is priced at $2,000 to $8,000, depending on the number of batteries that are needed. Professional installation of solar panel systems is recommended to avoid common mistakes that can be made by homeowners trying to install a system on their own.
Average Solar Panel Cost
Individual solar panels cost $100 to $800 at large home improvement stores. They are available from 100 watt to 250 watt for boats, RVs and 12-volt systems. Panels can be bought separately to add onto an existing system or with a charger and inverter to start a new system in a home. Solar panel costs will depend on the size and voltage needed to replace the electrical usage, so it is important to know how much electricity a home uses on average by looking at three months’ worth of electric bills. This will give a homeowner a good idea of what they need to start with, then if additional panels are needed, they can be purchased to supplement a system.
Solar Panel Cost Per Watt
Solar panel prices are based on watts. It is important to know the amount of kilowatts a home uses per day and the amount of sun the area receives in order to secure the right solar panel. A 10-watt solar panel costs $70, while a 100-watt solar panel costs $200. The more energy a home uses for activities such as cooking, cleaning and watching TV or running fans, the more solar panels the home will need. It may be difficult for homeowners to reduce the amount of electricity used on a daily basis, so it would be necessary to have a large number of solar panels that are capable of supplying the energy needed.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are made out of silicone cut from a crystal. The sun heats the solar panel, causing electrons to move and creating a current. The current moves through the panel into the home supplying electricity as needed. Off grid solar systems store energy in very large batteries that distribute the energy to where it is needed.
Photovoltaic Solar Panel Cost
PV solar panels cost $250 to $450 per panel. There are two different PV panels available to homeowners and businesses called monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Both are cut from silicon and produce the same amount of power, but monocrystalline tends to have a uniform appearance while polycrystalline can resemble broken glass. PV panels can be purchased from over a dozen different manufacturers with wattage that ranges from 0-50 to 280-350. The amount of energy produced by the solar panels depends on the amount of sunlight they are exposed to. Most solar panels will produce a small amount of energy in overcast conditions but need direct sunlight to produce the maximum amount of energy they are capable of. Rooftop installation is a popular choice among homeowners, but ground poles are also an option.
Residential Solar Panel Cost
The cost of solar panels will depend on if a home is going to be grid tied or off grid. The meaning behind a grid tied system is that solar energy reduces the use of electricity used by the community grid. In the event of a power outage, the solar panels also stop working to prevent the flow of energy into the community grid, which could injure line workers. Grid tied systems do not require batteries and are capable of running maintenance-free for three to four decades. Grid tied systems can reduce or even eliminate a monthly electrical bill. Alternatively, a complete off-grid system requires expensive high-maintenance batteries that have a lifespan of about five years. One battery costs $5,000 to $8,000 on average. Batteries are not meant to be long-term energy sources for a home or business because they cannot handle the workload of electrical needs. Batteries also have to be disposed of properly according to guidelines and regulations when it is time to replace one.
Some homeowners might like to have a solar charger for small electronics, such as phones, tablets and cameras that costs $100, or a solar generator that can keep large appliances working for short periods of time while camping or in an emergency that costs $1,400. Full-sized solar panel prices are $300 to $700 according to the wattage each one is capable of producing. The solar panel cost for a full grid tied system initially costs $10,000 to $15,000. Once installed and fully operational a grid tied system does not require any maintenance for the rest of its lifespan. Solar panels are made to be resistant to wind, rain, heat and cold temperatures.
Commercial Solar Panels Cost
Commercial solar panels cost $1 to $2 million. Businesses who would like to reduce their carbon footprint to help preserve the environment and save money on electricity have the option of installing rooftop solar panels as an alternative.
Benefits Of Solar Panels
Solar panels are a maintenance-free supplement to community grid electricity. Most panels have a lifespan of 30 years or more. With the capability to furnish enough electricity to replace the use of a community grid at times, solar panels offer a way for homeowners to reduce or eliminate their electricity bill while also reducing their carbon footprint and increasing the overall value of their home.
Solar Panel Manufacturers
Homeowners should do some research before choosing a manufacturer. Learning a company’s track record, help center availability and warranty information can be a deciding factor in which company to choose. There are over a dozen panel manufacturers that supply solar panels, batteries, inverters and full kits to homeowners and businesses. A few of the well-known manufacturers are Sharp, ET, Trina Solar, LG, Suniva and Zebra energy.
Sunpower Solar Panels Cost
Sunpower Energy is a company that provides full systems for homes and businesses. They offer professional installation and a 25-year warranty on their products.
Are Solar Panels Cost Effective?
The initial cost of solar panels can be daunting, but over time the panels prove to be a good investment as they reduce the electricity bill and carbon footprint of a home. The short-term aspect may not seem efficient to some, but the long-term ability to save money and environmental resources makes a good argument for the use of solar panels.
Where To Buy Solar Panels
Individual solar panels can be bought at large home improvement stores, manufacturers or online. Full solar kits meant for home use should be bought from a company that specializes in solar energy. When deciding where to purchase a full solar kit, the homeowner should make sure the company has professional installation, system support and a warranty to cover the system.
Used Solar Panels
Used solar panels can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of new panels. Used panels are sold as is, without the option of returning them or a warranty. Used solar panels should be inspected before purchasing if possible.