How Are Solar Panels Priced? by sadmin

Posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are typically priced in dollars per watt ($/W). Sometimes you’ll see solar prices expressed relative to dollars per watt peak ($/Wp), dollars per watt AC or dollars per watt DC. For the time being, though, don’t worry about the details. The important thing to remember is that, when you buy and install a solar electric system,you’re paying for the capacity to generate your own electricity for many years into the future.

So how much do solar panels cost? A good starting point right now would be around $7.00/W DC. The gross cost of a typical residential solar power system would be around $35,000. Here’s a quick rundown of the math:

  • Five kilowatt (kW) solar home energy system (5 kW = 5,000 watts)
  • $7.00 per watt * 5,000 watts = $35,000

Admittedly, this is a boatload of moolah. But there a couple things to keep in mind. Solar power is likely a good bet for you, IF you meet one or more of the following criteria:

(1) You live in a state where solar rebates are available. In the best cases, solar rebates and other incentives — in combination with the 30-percent federal solar energy tax credit — can reduce the out-of-pocket cost of a solar power system by 50 percent or more.

(2) You live in a state where electricity is expensive. (Folks in the Northeast, California, Hawaii and a handful of other states, I’m talking to you.)

(3) You live in a state that gets TONS of sunshine. Arizona, for one, is a great place to install solar panels.

When you get a proposal for your solar home energy project, you’ll likely see the pre-incentive solar cost and the post incentive solar cost. Ideally, you’ll see both costs expressed in both DC watt and AC watts.

Questions? Please feel free to post them below.

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