Solar panels are rapidly spreading over American rooftops as prices continue to fall within reach of more homeowners. Whether you’ve just skimmed the surface of going solar or are deep into your search already, we’ve gathered all the questions most people have about buying a solar system.
As a leading residential solar installer in the Orlando area we are here to help you find the best way to power your life, improve your community, and protect our planet. From covering the cost of solar to optimizing your solar savings, and offering financing options, we’ve done the homework for you.
Panel prices keep coming down while energy prices can fluctuate
Depending on the kind of solar power system you prefer, and how much of your grid power your want to offset, you could pay as little as $2,000 or as much as $40,000. However, most homeowners pay between $16,323 and $30,525, not counting the 30% federal rebate, which ultimately results in a 30% discount. If you don’t pay that much in taxes, it rolls over for up to 10 years.
With energy prices on the rise, this may be the perfect time to go solar. Improvements in this field of technology have made it more cost-effective and easier to set up, and this trend too appears to be continuing. Homeowners have several options available to them now which weren’t around before, bringing solar into the reach of those with smaller budgets.
Here are a few things to consider that will affect how much you pay.
Monocrystalline – $1.00-$1.50 per watt
This technology will get you the most energy efficiency while taking up the least amount of space. These solar cells are made up of a high-purity silicon which is very efficient at converting the sun’s light into electricity. A sheet of silicon is cut to form solar cells, which are arranged to create panels. These have the longest life expectancy and often come with a 20 to 25-year warranty.
Polycrystalline – $0.90-$1.00 per watt
These have a lower efficiency than Monocrystalline, but they fit better into smaller budgets without taking up a lot more space. In the manufacturing process, multiple crystals of silicon are melted and poured into molds to form the solar cells. This makes the silicon less pure and less efficient, but it cuts down on waste and production cost. The resulting modules are blue in tint.
Thin-Film/ Photovoltaic – $0.70-$1.00 per watt
These are extremely flexible and versatile, made by layering photovoltaic material on metal or glass. They cost less, but they will require a lot more space in order to power residential homes. They also have a shorter lifespan, lasting an average of 14 to 17 years. Therefore, they come with shorter warranties. One benefit of thin-film technology that has the others beat is its high tolerance to heat.
Solar Panel Installation Cost Breakdown
Here’s a closer look at the cost breakdown of a home solar installation, based on findings from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory:
Labor: $0.30 per watt
Inverter price: $0.12/Wdc – $0.39/Wdc
Structural BOS: $0.10/Wdc
Electrical BOS: $0.19–$0.27/Wdc (Varies by inverter option)
Sales tax varies by location; weighted national average: 6.9%
Electrician: $19.74–$38.96 per hour (Varies by location and inverter option)
Laborer: $12.88–$25.57 per hour (Varies by location and inverter option)
Burden rates (% of direct labor) Total nationwide average: 31.8%
Incentives that offset cost of solar panels
Florida homeowners can claim 30% of their solar system’s cost as a deduction on their income taxes. Also, if your tax liability is less than 30% of your solar system’s cost, you can roll the remaining balance over to the next year for up to 10 years, essentially a 30% discount on your solar power system.
Also, with net metering your power company will offset your monthly bill kilowatt per kilowatt for your surplus power, and in some cases actually cut you a check for the surplus, at the same rate you pay them for power.