How Our Solar Panel Pricing Calculator Works
Our solar panel pricing calculator utilizes data provided by Google’s Project Sunroof, nationwide solar industry averages, as well as information supplied by you, the user.
In simplest terms, what we are doing is breaking down your daily power requirements, how many peak sun hours your home receives every day, and how much of your electricity bill you are trying to offset in order to determine your daily power generation requirements.
We then find the most appropriate solar panel system for your daily requirements and multiply the daily wattage by the average cost per watt in your state.
So for example, if your daily electricity usage is 7700 watts or 7.7 kilowatts, the best system for you is an 8 kW system. You can then multiply the average cost per watt in your state by 8000.
Your Daily Energy Usage
It’s easy to determine your exact daily energy usage needs, all you need is your energy bill. Once you have your energy bill handy, look for your monthly energy usage in kilowatts. While most energy bills will have this listed somewhere, if you can’t find it, you can call your utility company and ask them about your monthly usage.
Once you’ve figured out your monthly usage, you can divide that number by 30 to get your daily usage, and then again by 24 to get your hourly usage. Hold on to these variables for now, we’ll use them in the calculation in just a second.
Your Peak Sun Hours
Next, you’ll need to figure out your peak sun hours. We use data provided by Google’s project sunroof for this data, but you can use another source if you’d like. The high end for this value is going to typically be about 6 hours for some areas in the Southwest United States and as low as 3.5 hours in the Northeast United States.
Calculating Your Daily Energy Production Needs?
Once you have determined your peak sun hours, the first thing you’ll want to do is convert your hourly energy usage from kilowatts to watts by multiplying the value by 1000. So if your hourly energy use is 1.25kW, that would convert to 1250 watts.
Next, divide this value by your peak sun hours. For example, your home receives 4 peak sun hours, so 1250 / 4 = 312.5.
Finally, multiply this value by 24 (the number of hours per day). So using the values above, this would be 312.5 x 24 = 7500 watts or 7.5kW. In most cases, this means you would want to install an 8kW solar panel system.
Calculating The Estimated Cost Of A Solar Panel System
Once you have the estimated size of your solar panel system in mind, you can then find out the average cost per watt for solar panels in your state or even the exact cost per watt of the specific solar panels you’re looking at.
You’ll then multiply the cost per watt by the total watts of your solar panel system. For example, if you’re in the state of Florida, you’d multiply $2.46 by 8000 for an estimated cost of $19,680.
Keep in mind, this amount does not include the 26% federal tax credit. If you adjust the price for the amount you’ll save on taxes, the total becomes 14,743.20. We’ll explain more about this credit below.
How Does System Size Effect The Price Of Solar Panels?
The overall size of your solar panel system, the size of the panels, and the panel efficiency will also have some impact on the overall cost of the solar panel system you install.
Solar Panel Wattage
Solar panel wattage essentially equates to how much energy a solar panel can produce in one day. A 150w solar panel produces 150 watts per day and a 370w solar panel produces 370 watts per day.
So if you buy solar panels with higher wattage, you’ll need fewer solar panels to produce the energy you’ll need. However, this does not necessarily mean the solar panel system will be less expensive as the higher wattage solar panels will typically be more expensive than lower wattage alternatives.
Solar Panel Efficiency
The efficiency of the solar panels you purchase will also impact the overall cost. Solar panel efficiency is essentially how much of the sunlight the solar panel is exposed to is converted to usable energy.
So if a solar panel converts 18% of the sunlight it is exposed to into usable energy, it is 18% efficient.
Most solar panels are going to be between 15% and 20% efficient, however, some very high-end solar panels can go up to 22%.
The more efficient the solar panel the more energy it will produce, which could impact the total number of panels you’ll need. However, just remember this does not necessarily mean it will be less expensive as the more efficient panels will typically cost more.
What Other Factors Impact Solar Panel Pricing?
There are a number of other factors that can impact the cost of your solar panels. One of the biggest can be any additional costs that your solar panel installer includes. For example, in addition to standard costs, there may be a need for repairs to your property, additional construction, or additional material costs.
Another major factor that can impact the total cost of solar panels is how much shade there is at your property. So if your house has plenty of sun exposure, you will be able to capture as much sunlight as possible during the peak sun hours. However, if your house is shaded or prone to sun blockage, this will impact the overall amount of energy each panel will be able to produce.
How The 26% Solar Tax Credit Works
The US Federal Government offers a 26% solar tax credit known as the investment tax credit. While the tax incentive itself is a little bit more involved, in simplest terms, you’re allowed to deduct 26% of the total cost of your solar panel system from your federal tax bill.
This incentive was recently extended until January 1, 2023, so while there is plenty of time to act, there is a time limit on this incentive.
The incentive only applies to people who have bought their solar panel systems. So if you’re leasing your solar panel system or signed a PPA with a solar installer, you can’t claim the tax credit.
Other Solar Panel Incentives
In addition to the federal tax credit, there are also plenty of other local and state tax incentives available. There are also lots of different solar rebates available on a state-by-state basis.
In many cases, solar panel installers will offer their own incentives as well. For example, many installers have been known to “round the federal tax incentive up” to 30% by adding a 4% discount to the solar panel installation.
You can do a little research about solar panel incentives and rebates in your state, or if you want to save time, just click here to have top-rated solar panel installers near you contact you with quotes.
So Are Solar Panels Worth It?
While solar panels aren’t right for every city, if your city has good energy rates and suitable solar ratings then solar panels may be a good idea for your home.
While you won’t eliminate your energy bill overnight, you will essentially be swapping it for a lower financing bill. However, over time, you will end up saving tens of thousands of dollars as well as adding significant value to your home.
If you’d like to get a fast, no-obligation quote for a solar panel installation at your home, you’ve come to the right place! We can pair you with top-rated solar panel installers near you from our nationwide network of installers.