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12 Solar panels cost. 12 solar panels cost

12 Solar panels cost. 12 solar panels cost

    How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in 2019?

    In 2019, a typical residential solar system may set you back between 11,200 to 14,400 to install after tax credits and rebates.

    Solar energy is a long-term investment. To budget correctly, you must look at costs and savings over 20 years and determine the payback period and payback amount. The right calculation includes:

    • The cost of photovoltaic panels and other components
    • What your solar installer charges
    • Your current and electricity bills
    • Any applicable federal, local, or state tax credits
    • Projected savings on your energy bills

    Put it all together and you can calculate the actual solar panel cost for your home. If you want to skip all the math, we advise getting a free quote from a solar power professional. If you’d like to figure out the costs yourself, then keep reading and learn how the math works.

    Breaking Down the Cost of Solar Panels

    The standard way to evaluate a solar panel system cost is cost-per-watt or dollars-per-watt. This measurement is calculated by taking the total cost to install the system (parts and labor) and dividing by how much power it produces in kilowatts (electrical output). For reference, the average U.S. home would use a 4kW-7kW solar system.

    Solar panel price will also vary based on the state you live in, the installation company, and any rebates and incentives you collect. In 2019, someone in California can expect their cost-per-watt to range anywhere from 4.39 for a small system to 3.56 for a vast system.

    At the time of this writing, solar panel installation costs range between 7-9 per watt. So a 5kW system would cost around 25,000-35,000 before rebates. While that cost is a stiff pill for many households to swallow, it’s common for utility companies to offer incentives or subsidies to offset solar system costs.

    For example, a system that costs 18,000 has a payback period of about 20 years. The cost of a solar panel today is around 3 per watt, and the extra cost of installation brings expenses up to 5- 6 per watt. Installation costs for PV systems include both labor and the electronics needed to tie the solar array into your existing electrical system.

    Homeowners interested in solar roofs should note solar shingle systems are more expensive than the traditional roof installation. Energysage estimates solar roofs can range from 4.15 cost per watt to as much as 8.14 for the more advanced offering from Tesla’s Solar City.

    How to Calculate Solar Energy Costs

    Find Out How Much You Can Save with Solar

    Solar Power Cost Calculator

    Find Out How Much You Can Save with Solar

    Estimated Savings with Solar

    The rule of thumb is that the average U.S. household consumes electricity at the rate of one kilowatt per hour (kWh). There are about 730 hours in each month, and the national average price of a kWh of electricity is 0.10. So an average monthly bill would be around 73 for 730 kWh of electricity.

    The average electricity bill can vary considerably if you have non-standard items, such as a hot tub, or some electrical appliances running continuously. Extended computer use, plasma screen TVs and video games consoles can also make an impact. Your usage will also increase significantly in months when you run an air conditioning unit or heater. Finally, the cost of electricity varies widely across the USA, from as low as 0.07/kWh in West Virginia to as much as 0.24/kWh in Hawaii. To get a precise estimate, you’ll want to adjust our estimated calculations to fit your electricity usage patterns.

    A conservative value to use as a solar panel’s generating capacity is 10 watts/sq. ft. This value represents a panel conversion efficiency of about 12 percent, which is typical. This means that for every kW you generate, you need about 100 sq. ft. of home solar panels. If the sun shone 24 hours a day, you could put up 100 sq. ft. of panels and have enough energy to power the average home.

    solar, panels, cost

    The average sunshine across the country varies. In Seattle, Chicago, and Pittsburgh you’ll likely get up to three hours of direct sunlight. In states like Colorado and California, you’ll probably absorb five or six hours of sunlight. Homes in sunny Arizona can get nearly 7 hours of sunlight per day.

    The amount of average sunshine means that the size of the panel array required can vary, anywhere from 400 sq. ft. to 800 sq. ft. (i.e., 4 kW to 8 kW), depending on where you live. You’ll need more panels if you live in a location that gets less sunshine per day, and fewer panels if you live in a location that gets more sunshine.

    How Utility Companies Affect Solar Power Costs

    If your utility company allows you to have net metering — that is, they supply you with a special meter that will spin backward when you generate more electricity than you use — your annual bill can average out at zero. Because of shorter days in the winter, you’ll likely be a net purchaser of electricity in that season and a net producer in the summer months. A grid-tied system like this is different than off-grid systems used in remote locations with no electrical service; those require batteries, which can significantly increase overall system costs.

    Standard Solar System Components

    As we mentioned earlier, equipment is another factor to consider when calculating how much it costs to install solar panels. Each standard residential solar array uses four components:

    Solar panels – captures the sun’s energy and converts it to electricity Controller – protects batteries by regulating the flow of electricity Batteries – store electricity for later use Inverter – converts energy stored in a battery to voltage needed to run standard electrical equipment

    The entire system, plus installation, is what drives solar panel costs. Plus, equipment like batteries sometimes need to be replaced over time.

    The good news is that the costs for solar panels are expected to continue to drop as thin film panels from companies like First Solar, Nanosolar, and AVA Solar become available to the residential market, which could drop to 1-2 per watt — and at volumes that are several times today’s total output.

    Assuming that installation and auxiliary equipment costs can be reduced to around 1 per watt, then a 5 kW system in upcoming years may cost as little as 10,000, with a payback period of about 10 years. This makes the future of PV solar installations much more attractive.

    How much solar panels cost vary across a multitude of factors. Want to get an idea for how much you can save? Try our solar savings calculator or give us a call to find out!

    solar panels cost

    Over the past decade, the cost of a solar electric system (solar PV) has dropped significantly. With the advent Made-in-WA solar components and a production incentive rate paid to WA property-owners who install grid-tied solar, the numbers of homes with new solar systems in our state has skyrocketed.

    Click the above graphic to view larger file.

    You too can get clean renewable solar electricity to meet a portion of your annual energy needs.

    How Much Electricity Do You Use?

    When determining what solar PV can do for you, the first question is how much electricity do you need? That is, how many kilowatt hours per year of electricity do you currently use? Before you call a solar installer for a bid, gather up your electric bills and figure out your usage. Then the solar system can be tailored to both your site and your usage.

    Evaluating Your Home for Solar

    Sunlight is the fuel for all solar technologies, and the term solar resource refers to identifying how much of it is available in a given collector area. Three significant factors affect the power output that you can expect from a roof or ground mount solar installation: direction the roof is facing, shading, and roof pitch.

    • Direction: South-facing is ideal. Southeast and southwest facing roofs will still receive a lot sun. East and west facing will receive less, but may still receive enough sun. Roofs that face north facing will not receive enough of solar resource to make sense.
    • Shading: Solar panels should have direct access to the sun, with little to no shading, for 6 hours of direct sun per day year-round. Common things that may reduce sunlight are shade from buildings, trees, hills or roof features like large chimneys.
    • Pitch: The ideal roof is between 20 and 35 degrees, though steeper and flatter roofs may still work.
    • Sufficient space is also a factor. When designing solar for a particular roof, the panels must be arranged not to cover up vents, skylights, chimneys, etc. Often the limiting factor on system size is the available roof space.
    • You can learn about your site’s possible power output from the PV Watts website or from Google Project Sunroof online tool.

    Site Assessment

    For an accurate cost estimate of solar for your home, a solar installer should visit your home to measure solar exposure and roof space, evaluate your electric breaker panel, evaluate your site, make a plan for panel locations, wire runs, inverters, production meter, and any other components. They will discuss with you any site specific concerns or factors that affect cost.

    • The solar installer will design options for you taking into consideration things like fire code requirements for distance from the peak of the roof.
    • After the site assessment, the solar installer should provide a proposal with system options, estimated power output for each option, diagram or text explaining the rooftop plan, and terms of the contract.
    • The solar proposal should estimate for you the annual and long term savings on your electrical bill, as well as payments to you from incentive programs and tax benefits so you can see the long term benefits, the upfront costs, and payback time period. The following incentives apply if the home owner qualifies:
    • 30% federal income tax credit.
    • State of Washington Incentive – paid at a per KWH rate for the solar electricity your system produces before any gets used. Annual maximum of 5000. Highest payment rate for Made in Washington solar panels. Payments are made once a year for 8 years or until you’ve earned back 50% of the cost of the system (including sales tax), whichever occurs first. A solar system is classified as “residential” when it is sized 1 to 12 kW; larger than 12 kW is classified as “commercial” size.
    • Net Metering – electric bill savings.
    • Possible additional incentives your utility may offer.

    Homeowners Associations

    If your residence is governed by a Homeowners Associations (HOA’s), visit this page of resources about Solar HOA’s. Learn more about the Solar Incentives for Washington homeowners. Here is a link to RCW 64.38.055 from the Washington State Legislature to governing documents concerning solar panels. Check out a presentation on this topic from March 2015 concerning HOAs and solar.

    On March 4, 2021 Solar Washington welcomed back Kathleen Kapla, principal of Kapla Law PLLC, who addressed laws, guidance, and model resolutions for HOAs in Washington as they pertain to solar PV. Kathleen returned from her March 2015 presentation for Solar Washington to provide a refresher and any updates that have occurred in this area since then. Click to access a recording of the presentation (free, but registration required to view recording).

    Price Financing Your Purchase Installation

    Residential size solar systems are systems of capacity up to and including 12 KW. System range from around 15,000 to 30,000 depending on system size, specific components, complexity of installation and other factors. So, it is about the same as buying a new car.

    These financial institutions, based in Washington, specialize in solar-specific loans for home-owners:

    Another option is to utilize a Home Equity Line of Credit on your existing home loan.

    The Clean Energy States Alliance in partnership with the federal Office of Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy published a free guide to help homeowners navigate the complex landscape of residential solar PV system financing. Download the complete Homeowners Guide to Solar Financing (PDF).

    Hiring a Contractor

    Do your homework. Call more than one installer and get several bids before choosing a company to install solar on your property. Review our list of Consumer Questions! Ask the companies if they abide by the SEIA Code of Ethics.

    Setback from Roof Peak and Sides

    International Fire Code dictates how much of the roof can be covered with solar panels and how close the panels can go to the ridgeline. Your solar installation company should know and understand these rules.


    • Once you and your chosen installer agree on the system details, either you or your installer must apply for the necessary building permits per city ordinance (maybe none), electrical permit, and utility interconnection application. Your installer will create a line diagram which is part of the application.
    • Once your utility approves your interconnection, an installation typically lasts one to three days for residential rooftop; longer for ground mount.
    • When installation is complete, an electrical inspection is required.
    • Within five to thirty days, your utility will install a new production and net meter and then your solar system begins producing power that saves you money on your bill.
    • You must register your solar system with WSU Energy Office and pay a one-time fee of 125 in order to receive your annual WA production check. Click this link to register.


    • You probably want to add your solar system to your home-owners insurance policy.
    • Use your paid invoice to document your purchase to get your federal tax credit.
    • Apply annually to receive your state Incentive payment.
    • Check the system at least monthly to make sure it is working.
    • Clean the solar panels at least annually or more often if you notice dust and pollen accumulating. Follow manufacture’s guidelines.

    Solar easements

    Here is a link to RCW 64.04.150 concerning solar easement definitions.

    How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Missouri? (2023 Savings Guide)

    Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

    Written by Karsten Neumeister

    Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace. Learn About This Person

    Reviewed by Melissa Smith

    Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral. Learn About This Person

    Why You Can Trust EcoWatch

    Our content is created and advised by solar industry experts. giving you the information you need to make Smart decisions about solar for your home. No other site has access to the same data and insider information as EcoWatch, and you can rest assured our reviews and rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

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    Find the best price from solar installers in your area.

    Looking to go solar in Missouri? It’s a great place to go solar, not only because the cost per watt for photovoltaic (PV) panels is below average in the Show Me State but also because the typical energy consumption in is well above average. However, the cost of solar panels in Missouri is still a concern for many residents considering converting to this clean energy source, and many homeowners don’t even know if they can afford solar equipment.

    In this guide, we’ll be discussing the average cost of solar panels in Missouri, some things that can affect your pricing, how to save money in the conversion process and more. This guide should help you decide if solar is right for your Missouri home and how much a system will save you over time.

    What Will Your Solar Panel System Cost in Missouri?

    Solar panels are often priced on a per-watt basis in the solar industry, and the typical cost per watt in Missouri is 2.59.

    Since most Missourians need systems totaling around 10.5 kilowatts (kW) or 10,500 watts, that means the average conversion cost sits at 27,195 before any tax credits or 19,037 after the federal investment tax credit (ITC) is applied.

    This number can fluctuate heavily based on the size of the system you need. The table below includes some average pricing based on your monthly energy consumption, your home size and more.

    Solar System Size Energy Use (per month) House Size (sq ft) Total Cost Cost After the Federal ITC Energy Savings (over 25 years, after system is paid off)
    8 kW 800 kWh 1,400 20,720 14,504 12,880
    9 kW 900 kWh 1,600 23,310 16,317 14,490
    10 kW 1,000 kWh 1,800 25,900 18,130 16,100
    11 kW 1,100 kWh 2,000 28,490 19,943 17,710
    12 kW 1,200 kWh 2,200 31,080 21,756 19,320
    13 kW 1,300 kWh 2,400 33,670 23,569 20,930
    14 kW 1,400 kWh 2,600 36,260 25,382 22,540

    Astrawatt Solar

    Outstanding Regional Installer

    How Do Missouri’s Solar Compare to the National Average?

    Missouri’s typical cost per watt for PV equipment is 2.59, which is a little lower than what most other states pay — 2.66. That means that your money goes a little further in terms of wattage and power production per dollar when converting to solar energy in Missouri than it would in most other states.

    While per-watt are below average in the state, residents in Missouri also use more electricity than those in most other states, averaging around 1,039 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month. To offset the above-average energy costs, homeowners in the state need above-average array sizes, so the total price to convert is above average.

    Most Missourians pay around 27,195 before the federal credit, which is a little more than 3,000 over what most U.S. residents pay — 23,940. After the federal credit, the total in Missouri comes in at 19,037, which is a little over 2,000 more than what most Americans pay, which is 16,758.

    As such, your money goes further on a watt-per-dollar basis, but you’ll end up spending more than the national average on your home solar array in Missouri because of the larger system size required to offset the above-average energy demands.

    What Are the Main Factors of Solar System Costs in Missouri?

    The average price for a solar array in Missouri might sit at around 19,000 after the federal credit, but the typical range for systems in the state is between 14,504 and 25,382. The 10,000 difference between the lowest and highest typical is due to a few different factors that can affect your system total. Some of the most influential solar panel cost factors in Missouri include the following:

    • How much energy you consume per month
    • The efficiency of the panels you have installed
    • Add-on solar products, like solar batteries

    We’ll explain how each of these factors can affect your total solar panel installation costs in the following sections.

    Missouri’s Above-Average Energy Needs

    One of the most significant cost factors when it comes to installing solar panels is the amount of energy your home consumes on a monthly basis. Larger systems are required to offset higher rates of electricity usage, and adding more panels to offset your energy demands will naturally be more expensive.

    The average Missourian uses 1,039 kWh per month, according to the Energy Industries Association (EIA), which is well above the national average. A good portion of this energy is dedicated to cooling homes in the hot, humid summers and heating them in the cold winter months.

    If you use even more energy than average, then you can expect your installation total to be significantly higher since you’ll likely need additional panels, close to the average high of 25,300. If you have below-average rates of consumption, then you’ll probably have an installation cost closer to the average low price of around 14,500.

    We do recommend oversizing your system a bit. Even though that means paying a little more initially for your system, offsetting as much of your utility bills over time as possible will very likely lead to greater savings in the long run.

    Panel Efficiency in Missouri

    Missouri homeowners enjoy an average of 206 sunny days per year, which is right in line with the national average. That means residents can justify either lower-efficiency panels, which are less expensive but produce less energy in all cases, or high-efficiency panels, which are more costly but generate more usable electricity at all times.

    If you opt for low-efficiency panels, your upfront costs will probably be significantly lower — sometimes thousands of dollars lower. However, you’re unlikely to offset all of your electric bills, given the high energy needs in your state. As such, your initial costs will be below average, but your savings over time will be compromised.

    We recommend instead going with high-efficiency monocrystalline panels. These will cost you more at first, but they will let you maximize your energy savings, making them a better financial decision in the long run.

    Missouri’s High Risk of Power Outages

    Finally, whether or not you choose to install solar batteries will play a major role in your total system price. In general, solar batteries offer two primary benefits to solar customers.

    First, they provide additional savings in areas where net metering isn’t available because they let you overproduce electricity and call on that excess for free when your panels underproduce. Second, they let you maintain power through blackout conditions.

    Net metering — also called net energy metering or NEM for short — is mandated in the State of Missouri, and the credit rate per excess kWh is set to the retail rate for electricity. That means solar batteries won’t provide the net energy metering benefit to Missourians as they would to residents in other states.

    However, Missouri is the seventh most likely state to experience power outages due to high demand and an aging infrastructure. As such, maintaining electricity through power outages is a pretty significant benefit of installing a solar battery.

    Doing so will add around 10,000 to your installation total, on average. We generally recommend against choosing a battery unless you need power for medical equipment or just want to pay more for the convenience they provide.

    Additional Costs of Going Solar in Missouri

    In addition to paying for the actual panels, you’ll run into some other costs in Missouri when converting to renewable energy. We’ll discuss some other charges you should be aware of below.

    • Administration costs and product markup: Your solar installer will likely help you file for local tax incentives and rebates, but they may charge an administration fee for that service. In most cases, these will be minimal and total no more than a few hundred dollars. Some installers also mark up the of the equipment they buy to help maximize profit, and that markup can cause fluctuations in your pricing as well.
    • Additional solar equipment: Aside from panels and batteries — if you choose to install them — your solar array will also require racking equipment to mount your panels and wiring, conduit and inverters to connect your panels to your home’s electrical system. These additional pieces of equipment are sometimes included in the panel cost, but some installers charge separately for them. These can add up to a few hundred dollars as well.
    • Building permits: Building permits are mandated in Missouri for all home solar energy systems, and most municipalities in the state charge fees for filing for permits. The fees can range from around 25 to 200 or more, depending on which city you live in. You might also get charged for the post-installation inspection.
    • Interconnection fees: Your electric company will likely require an inspection of your system before it can officially be connected to the grid and activated. Some utility companies charge an interconnection fee, which includes a fee for that inspection. The fee usually falls between 25 and 100, but some companies charge more.

    What Maintenance Costs Can Solar Owners Expect in Missouri?

    The upfront price of solar panels in Missouri might be high, but the ongoing costs are usually non-existent. Most Missouri homeowners never need to pay for panel maintenance over the lifespans of their systems.

    Some solar customers pay for panel cleaning once or twice a year, as washing off pollen, dirt and debris can help maintain your panels’ maximum efficiency and production rate. However, since Missouri sees above-average rainfall each year that naturally keeps panels clean, the service isn’t a necessity.

    Any mechanical issues you experience with your panels should be covered by your solar panel warranty, so it’s unlikely you’ll be on the hook for maintenance or repairs, either.

    Which Solar Financing Options Will Help You Save the Most in Missouri?

    Missourians have access to the four primary solar panel payment options, which include cash purchases, solar loans, solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs).

    We recommend a cash purchase to most solar customers because it leads to instant panel ownership, avoids your having to pay interest and leads to the lowest long-term system price and highest savings overall. Paying in cash is less accessible in Missouri than in most other states, though, given the above-average cost of a rooftop solar power system.

    A solar loan is, in our opinion, the next best option. You’ll pay interest over time, which will drive up your total cost, but many loans come with 0-down options, which makes them far more accessible than paying cash, especially in a high-cost area like Missouri.

    Cash payments and loans both let you take the federal solar tax credit, which has an average value of 8,159 in Missouri. Unfortunately, leases and PPAs don’t give you access to the credit.

    A lease can be a good option for some homeowners who can’t justify spending 19,000 on a solar array and who won’t qualify for a solar loan. Leases come with no upfront charges and usually lead to instant savings. However, the savings over time are significantly lower, as you’ll never pay off your panels like you would with a cash payment or loan.

    We typically don’t recommend PPAs to anyone. They’re super accessible because of minimal credit requirements and no money down required, but leases tend to save a little more over time and are about as widely available.

    If you want to keep your options open, we recommend checking SunPower and Sun Solar. SunPower is a national solar installation company that provides access to all four payment options, while Sun Solar is a local company that accepts everything other than PPAs.

    You can also use our solar calculator to find out what your solar array will cost, decide which options you can afford and then choose the one that seems most appealing based on the information in the table below.

    Financing Method Total 25 Year Savings (estimated) Initial Costs (estimated, after the ITC) Monthly Payments (estimated) Payback Period (estimated)
    Cash 18,292 19,037 0 13 years
    Loan 13,000 0 79 to 198 17 years
    Lease 5,000 0 105 N/A
    PPA 4,000 0 105 N/A

    What Are Other Ways You Can Save When Going Solar in Missouri?

    With installation being well above average in Missouri, it’s important to find as many ways to save money throughout the process as possible. We’ve come up with a few money-saving tips for Missouri solar customers, including the following:

    • Taking advantage of solar incentives
    • Choosing a high-efficiency panel brand
    • Avoiding solar batteries

    We’ll explain how each of these tips can save you money and include approximately how much each can save in the following sections.

    Take Advantage of Missouri Solar Incentives

    One of the best ways to keep your initial and long-term costs to a minimum in Missouri is to take as many solar perks as you can.

    All Missouri residents have access to the federal tax credit, which provides an average potential savings of 8,159 in your area. There are also a few financing programs for solar equipment available in the state that can help keep financing costs down, including the Show Me Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing program and the Set the PACE St. Louis program.

    The state also offers a solar property tax exemption that prevents your property taxes from going up after solar conversion, and the net metering program is hugely beneficial and helps offset as much of your energy bills as possible, even when your panels aren’t producing power at night.

    You might also have access to local Missouri solar incentives and rebate programs, depending on where you live and who your utility company is. Columbia Water Light, Evergy, Ameren and Empire District Electric all offer solar rebates to help keep initial costs as low as possible. These alone save between 2,000 and 6,500, on average.

    Choose a High-Efficiency Panel Brand

    Another great way to maximize your energy savings over time is to choose a high-efficiency solar panel brand like Maxeon. These panels will cost you more at first, but they’re more likely to help you continue to offset your electricity rates, especially as the panels naturally degrade over time and lose efficiency.

    Keep in mind that you can get away with lower-efficiency panels in the Show-Me State, thanks to the average amount of available sunlight and the one-to-one NEM that’s mandated in the state.

    However, high-efficiency panels are more likely to eliminate your electric bills entirely, and if net energy metering ever goes away or gets downgraded — as is happening in many states — you’ll still be set up for maximum savings.

    Don’t Install a Solar Battery

    Finally, we recommend staying away from solar batteries if you’re looking to save money on your solar photovoltaic system. They might be appealing because of the frequency of blackouts in your area, but they add an average of approximately 10,000 to your system price, and since the state has a great NEM program, they likely won’t boost your savings at all.

    Avoiding a battery for your home will save about 10,000, on average.

    What Are the Typical Costs of Missouri’s Solar Installers?

    Each solar installer in Missouri has different pricing for labor and equipment, although a system from most will still fall between 14,500 and 23,300. The table below includes a side-by-side comparison of some of the best solar installers in Missouri, including a look at the relative cost to help you decide which will fit into your budget.

    Solar Company Superlative EcoWatch Rating (Out of 5.0) BBB Rating Average Cost (–)
    SunPower Best National Provider 5.0 A
    Blue Raven Solar Best Solar Financing 4.5 A
    Sun Solar Outstanding Local Installer 4.0 A
    Zenernet Solar Outstanding Regional Installer 4.0 NR
    Astrawatt Solar Outstanding Regional Installer 4.5 A

    How Are Solar Costs and Regulations Trending In Missouri?

    The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that the price of solar panels in Missouri has dropped by around 53% in the last 10 years, which is a significant dip.

    It’s believed that advancements in manufacturing and an upward trend in solar demand — which has led to mass production — have precipitated this downward price trend. We expect to continue to come down in the near future.

    Unfortunately, we’re expecting the available solar incentives to become less available or less appealing in the coming years. Although there are no plans to reduce the net energy metering credit rate or get rid of incentives, the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal was met in 2021 and hasn’t been renewed.

    Since the RPS goal is often what drives incentives to expand and improve, we wouldn’t be surprised if they start disappearing or getting less advantageous since the RPS goal has expired. If something does change for the worse, we’d expect it to be the net metering program, as this is the incentive that is changing the most commonly across the country.

    With lower than they have been and an expectation of decreasing incentives, we think now is the best possible time to go solar in Missouri. You can use the tool below to get free solar quotes customized for your home and energy demands so that you don’t miss out.

    How much do solar panels cost to install? Average 2022 and why it’s worth it

    Whether you want to save on your monthly power bill or secure a future with no power outages, the cost of solar panels may well be worth it long-term.

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    If you’re curious to know how much solar panels cost to install and whether it’s worth having the work done to your home, you are not alone. Solar energy is ‘booming’ in the United States, with an average annual growth rate of 33 percent and a drop in price by 70 percent in the last decade, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In a nutshell, installing solar panels is considered a pretty hot trend right now – pun intended.

    According to the home services website Fixr, the average cost to install solar panels on a home is 18,000. In the U.S., the installation ranges from 7,000 for a 1.9 kW supplemental system installed on a roof to 70,000 for a 10 kW system for a fully off-grid home. But, of course, the actual cost depends on several factors.

    Factors that affect the cost of solar panels

    Before a solar professional can give you a cost estimate to install panels on your home, they’ll ask you many questions about your energy usage and what you want out of a system, if your aim is to reduce energy bills and be more eco-friendly for example. Then, they’ll calculate that cost based on the following factors:

    • Your geographic location–Solar panels and the labor to install them cost more in different regions.
    • How much power you want to offset
    • The size of your roof
    • Your usage patterns
    • The efficiency of the home
    • The cost of the equipment
    • If you wish to add a storage system
    • Other expenses like permits, warranties, and municipal fees.

    Most homeowners install solar panels on their homes to save money on their energy bills. And according to Jamie Haenggi, executive vice president and chief operating officer of ADT Solar, ‘most consumers save on par or less of their regular energy bills.’ However, how much homeowners save varies. ‘You can have neighbors with identical systems, and they will see different levels of savings on their bills,’ says Jayson Waller, founder and CEO of pink energy. ‘Usage patterns, the efficiency of the homes, the location of the panels, amount of shading, and even how much you entertain are all contributing factors.’

    Waller likes to direct homeowners to other advantages of solar energy, like future-proofing your home against power outages. ‘When you have battery storage, power outages don’t affect you. Also, more people own electric vehicles and work and school from home. So they can’t have a power outage and still do their jobs.’

    However, Haenggi points out that home energy costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation. ‘Since 2019, these costs have risen 12 percent,’ she says, ‘and as much as 20 percent in the west.’ She likes to ask homeowners whether they prefer to invest in their power company or in the value of their own home. She says they’re foolproofing their future energy independence by investing in solar.

    According to the ADT Solar website, the average homeowner saves between 1,220 and 1,972 per year and can recoup their investment in 9 to 12 years. But, of course, this depends on the system’s total cost, the value of incentives, and any financing charges.

    Other top reasons to consider installing solar panels on your home include:

    • Renewable energy is earth-friendly and doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.
    • Increased home value–as much as 4.1 percent, according to a 2019 Zillow study.
    • Solar works everywhere, even in regions with low amounts of sunlight.

    Cost of installing solar panels

    Sometimes, solar power sounds too good to be true. That’s because the few cons are frequently dismissed. So here are a few you’ll want to consider.

    • Solar panels are ugly. Let’s face it, despite the increase in home value, solar panels do nothing for curb appeal.
    • Not a DIY job. Unless you’re skilled in solar installation and replacing roofing, this is a job best left to the pros.
    • You may not have a large enough roof to house all the panels you need.
    • Without battery storage, the reliability of solar is spotty.

    How to determine the number of panels you’ll need

    The following calculations give you an idea of your solar needs before shopping around. First, obtain your 12 past utility bills or access your account online. Next, find the ‘kWh used.’ This number reflects your energy consumption for the month. To calculate your monthly average, add up the monthly kWh used for a year and divide by 12.

    For a daily average, divide your monthly kWh average by 30. For example, a monthly average of 975 kWh gives you a daily average of 32.5 kWh. Since the typical solar panel produces about 1 kWh per day, you’ll need around 33 panels for this illustration. However, according to Waller, how much energy a panel produces depends on its quality, type, material, and location.

    Fixr estimates the panel cost for this size system at around 7,500 to 18,000, depending on each panel’s type, brand, and wattage. In addition, you’ll have the cost of the inverters, the mounting system, and the labor.

    However, your actual need also depends on your energy goals. For example, if you want to replace your home’s energy use with solar, you’ll need to add battery storage to hold excess power for non-sunny hours, like night, and a few more panels. A solar battery system costs from 4,000 to 14,000, according to Fixr. But remember, if you only want to supplement your energy consumption with solar, you can get away with a smaller system.

    Tips for choosing a solar panel installer

    Since installing solar panels is beyond the skill set of the average DIY homeowner, you’ll probably want to hire a professional. ‘Look for a reputable company you can trust,’ Haenggi says. ‘Someone who’s in it for the long term and has solid financial stability.’ When shopping for a local solar installer for your home, ask the following questions:

    • How many years of experience do you have? Waller suggests finding an installer with at least ten years of experience.
    • How many installations have you done?
    • Do you have an installation crew, or do you hire subcontractors? You want the company to perform its own work.
    • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
    • Do you offer a power production guarantee? A production guarantee (PG) states that the system they install will produce a guaranteed amount of energy over a certain length of time. Haenggi says this is important because panels lose efficacy over time.
    • How many employees do you have?
    • What size system do you recommend for my home? If you’re comparing quotes from several companies, always compare apples with apples.
    • Is your quote my cost before or after tax incentives?
    solar, panels, cost

    Other solar panel cost considerations

    If the cost of solar is prohibitive, Haenggi suggests getting an energy audit of your home. She says that an ADT Solar pro will evaluate a home’s efficiency and make suggestions of other ways to reduce consumption. Many power companies offer the same service. ‘Implementing these efficiency tactics can reduce consumption by 10-15 percent,’ she says. Whether you go solar or not, she recommends investing in an energy audit and the recommendations that come with it.

    If going solar aligns with your life plan, you have a lot to look forward to. Besides cost savings, you’ll be doing your part to invest in your home and your home planet.

    The Cost of Solar Panels: Is It Worth It?

    Do the benefits of solar panels outweigh their costs?

    Nathaniel Riley brings 28 years of experience in financial services, including merger-arbitrage trading, hedge funds, and alternative investments.

    ​Somer G. Anderson is CPA, doctor of accounting, and an accounting and finance professor who has been working in the accounting and finance industries for more than 20 years. Her expertise covers a wide range of accounting, corporate finance, taxes, lending, and personal finance areas.

    Skylar Clarine is a fact-checker and expert in personal finance with a range of experience including veterinary technology and film studies.

    What Is Solar Power for the Home?

    Homeowners who install solar power systems can receive numerous benefits: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs and the magnitude of the gains can vary widely from one house to another.

    This article will help homeowners make the financial calculations required to determine the viability of solar power in their homes.

    Key Takeaways

    • Those seeking to go green may want to consider equipping their home with solar panels.
    • Not only is solar power good for the environment, but you can earn money selling back excess power to the grid.
    • While costs have come down over the past years, installation and maintenance of solar panels can be quite expensive.
    • Solar panels are best suited for homes that receive ample sun exposure throughout the year.
    • Before committing to solar power, be sure to understand both the social and economic factors.

    Understanding Solar Power

    In principle, working out whether it makes financial sense to install solar power for your home is simple. You will need to calculate:

    • The cost of a solar power system
    • How much energy it will produce
    • What you would otherwise pay for the same amount of energy
    • How many years it will take for your upfront investment to pay for itself in saved energy costs
    • Whether the system will pay for itself in five years

    If it does and you have the upfront capital, it’s probably a great idea. If you’ll have to wait longer for savings or take out a loan to afford the system, you’ll need to think the decision through carefully.

    In practice, however, things are not this simple. There is a large variation in each of these factors, and that can make the costs and benefits of installing solar power for two homes—even if they are neighbors—radically different.

    There are some tools that can help, though. Solar Reviews offer a calculator that will quickly provide you with representative costs and savings for a solar power system in every part of the U.S. Calculators like this are a good place to start if you are new to solar energy and want to understand the basic cost model.

    In the rest of this article, we’ll take you through each of the key factors you should consider when calculating the costs and potential savings of solar power for your home.

    Before getting solar panels, get quotes from several reputable installers to compare.

    The Cost of Solar Power for Homeowners

    First, let’s look at the cost of installing a solar power system for your home. The average, upfront cost of a residential solar power system is between 3,500 and 16,000.

    Why the huge range of costs? Well, a lot of the variation depends on the size of the system you’d like to install and the type of panels you want to use. Whatever system you use, keep in mind that solar power is capital intensive and the main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar module will almost certainly represent the largest single component of the overall expense.

    There are some additional costs, as well. Other equipment necessary for installation includes an inverter (to turn the direct current produced by the panel into the alternating current used by household appliances), metering equipment (if it is necessary to see how much power is produced), and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear. Some homeowners also consider battery storage. Historically, batteries have been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid (see below). The installation labor cost must also be factored in.

    In addition to installation costs, there are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries (if installed) generally need replacement after several years of use.


    While the above costs are relatively straightforward—often a solar installation company can quote a price for these for a homeowner—determining subsidies available from the government and/or your local utility can prove more of a challenge. Government incentives change often, but historically, the U.S. government has allowed a tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s cost.

    details on incentive programs in the U.S., including programs within each state, can be found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables Efficiency (DSIRE) website. In other countries, such information is often available on government or solar advocacy websites. Homeowners should also check with their local utility company to see whether it offers financial incentives for solar installation and to determine what its policy is for grid interconnection and for selling excess power into the grid.

    97.7 gigawatts

    The U.S. installed 19.2 gigawatts of solar PV capacity in 2020 to reach 97.7 GWdc of total installed capacity, enough to power 17.7 million American homes.

    Calculating Your Energy Production

    The second factor you’ll need to consider in your calculations is the amount of energy your system will produce and when it will do that. This can be a very complicated calculation to make, even for experienced solar engineers. However, let’s run through the basics.

    One of the most important considerations is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location; in other words, how sunny it is where you live. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels and the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.

    Equally important is your home’s orientation: For rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.

    And then you must factor in the size of your system. Solar panel size is quoted in terms of the theoretical electrical output potential in watts. However, the typical output realized for installed PV systems—known as the capacity factor—is between 15% and 30% of the theoretical output. A 3 kilowatt-hour (kWh) household system running at a 15% capacity factor would produce 3 kWh x 15% x 24 hr/day x 365 days/year = 3,942 kWh/year or roughly one-third of the typical electricity consumption of a U.S. household.

    How Much Will You Save?

    Once you know how much a solar power system will cost upfront, and how much energy it will produce, you can (theoretically) predict how much you can save in energy costs per year.

    This is another tricky calculation, however, because a lot depends on how you pay for electricity at the moment. Utilities often charge residential consumers a flat rate for electricity, regardless of the time of consumption. This means that instead of offsetting the expensive cost of peak electricity production, homeowners’ solar power systems merely offset the price they are charged for electricity, which is much closer to the average cost of power production.

    However, many utility companies in the U.S. have introduced pricing schemes that allow homeowners to be charged at different rates throughout the day in an attempt to mirror the actual cost of electricity production at different times: This means higher rates in the afternoon and lower rates at night. A PV solar array may be very beneficial in areas where this sort of time-varying rate is used since the solar power produced would offset the most costly electricity.

    Exactly how beneficial this is for a given homeowner depends on the exact timing and magnitude of the rate changes under such a plan. Similarly, utilities in some locations have pricing schemes that vary over different times of the year due to regular seasonal demand fluctuations. Those with higher rates during the summer make solar power more valuable.

    Some utilities have tiered pricing plans in which the marginal price of electricity changes as consumption rises. Under this type of plan, the benefit from a solar system can depend on the electricity use of the home; in certain areas subject to rates that increase dramatically as consumption increases, large homes (with large energy needs) may benefit most from solar arrays that offset high-cost marginal consumption.

    solar, panels, cost

    For some homes, it might even be possible to make money by selling solar power back to the grid. In the U.S., this is done through net metering plans, in which residential consumers use the power that they put into the grid (when the rate of electricity generation from the solar array is greater than the rate of household electricity consumption) to offset the power consumed at other times; the monthly electric bill reflects net energy consumption. The specific net metering regulations and policies vary across regions. Homeowners can refer to the DSIRE database and should also contact their local utilities to find more specific information.

    Calculating Solar Power Costs

    At this point, you will be in a position to make a final calculation, and an assessment of whether solar power makes sense for you.

    The overall cost and benefit of a solar system can theoretically be evaluated using the discounted cash flow (DCF) method. Outflows at the beginning of the project would consist of installation costs (net of subsidies) and inflows would arrive later in the form of offset electricity costs (both directly and through net metering).

    However, rather than using DCF, the viability of solar power is usually evaluated by calculating the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar will typically be calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour (/kWh or ¢/kWh)—the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To approximate the LCOE, one can use the following equation:

    LCOE (/kWh) = Net Present Value (NPV) of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership / Lifetime Energy Output (kWh)

    The useful life of a PV solar module is generally assumed to be 25 to 40 years. The cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be discounted to find the NPV. The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility; remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.

    Is Solar Power Worth It?

    Once you’ve worked through all of these calculations, you’ll likely end up with a single number—the number of years it will take for a solar system to pay for itself in savings from your energy bills. If you live in a sunny part of the country and have high utility bills at the moment, you could be looking at a system that will reach this point in five years. Other homeowners may have to wait 10 or 20 years to reach this point.

    In other words, most homeowners will eventually see a benefit from a solar power system; it might just take decades for this to be realized. Whether it is worth installing such a system therefore often comes down to a number of much less technical factors than those we’ve listed above: how long you are going to stay in your home, the subsidies available in your area, and simply whether you want to do your bit for the environment.

    Pros and Cons of Solar Panels for Your Home

    Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time, some economic costs may be defrayed by the social benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which may be more important to you than a purely monetary evaluation.

    • Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
    • Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
    • You may be eligible for certain tax breaks
    • Installation and maintenance costs are still high
    • Solar only works when the sun is out
    • Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
    • Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring

    Can a House Run on Solar Power Alone?

    Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining—when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.

    Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels?

    Depending on where you live, it is possible that the system can pay itself back and more over time. This is because you won’t be spending as much money buying electricity from your utility. If net metering is in place, you could reduce your bills even further.

    How Much Does a Solar Panel Cost?

    have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from 11,000 to 15,000.

    How Long Will It Take To Recoup the Initial Cost?

    Depending on where you live and the size of your system it can take, on average, anywhere from 10 to 20 years to break even on a solar installation.

    The Bottom Line

    Determining whether to install a PV solar system may seem like a daunting task, but it is important to remember that such a system is a long-term investment. In many locations, solar power is a good choice from a financial perspective.

    Even if the cost of solar power is found to be marginally more expensive than electricity purchased from a utility, homeowners may wish to install solar power to avoid future potential fluctuations in energy costs, or may simply wish to look beyond their personal financial motivations and use solar for green living.

    solar, panels, cost

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