Solar Power Costs
Solar power costs less than you think. Solar panels are finally starting to spread across American homes as well as homes in other parts of the world. The costs of solar power remained frustratingly high for a few decades, but the price has plummeted in the last 15 years, and more and more homeowners are realizing that they can actually afford to have some panels installed.
Basic Cost of Solar Panels
There are many types of solar panels that are different sizes and have different energy efficiencies, so the price can vary depending on what type of system you’re installing. However, the type of solar panels for homes has become standardized, so the prices are generally predictable. According to CleanTechnica.com, the price is about $0.70/watt. The larger the roof and the larger the system you want to install, the more expensive it will be.
Because the price of solar panels has significantly decreased, the total cost is now mostly made of permitting and installation costs. The average total cost for a residential solar system including panels, installation, and everything else is $4.72/watt. This price can change depending on the state because of different tax credits and other programs that lower the final cost, with total cost ranging between $3-7/watt.
Solar Panel Loan Programs
Despite the price at almost $5/watt, the upfront costs can be very low. Some solar panel installers offer low interest loan programs with no upfront payments. The loan is gradually paid off with your monthly solar panel savings, instead of traditional monthly payments. Once the loan has been paid, you will start keeping the savings from your reduced energy bill.
Lease Programs for Solar Panels
In addition to loan programs, there are also lease programs and solar PPAs. Lease programs often require no upfront payment. As opposed to the loan program, you will not own the system, but you will get a share of the monthly energy bill savings. Solar PPAs work in a similar way. According to SolarCity.com, the homeowner signs a contract to pay a fixed rate for electricity for a number of years which protects him from increases in the cost of electricity. You won’t own or pay for the solar panel system; you only have to pay your monthly payments.
If you purchase a solar system outright, you will have much higher upfront costs, but you will own the system and keep all of the savings from your energy bills. The cost depends on the size of your house, but it typically costs between $50,000-$100,000 for the system and installation. Fortunately, you have access to federal and possibly state government tax credits. These programs can significantly reduce the costs. Generally, the energy bills savings will pay back the investment in about ten years.
Whatever way you decide to pay for a solar panel system, you can do so affordably and realize savings in just a few years. Solar power costs less than it ever has, and now is a great time to invest in your own system.