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How Much Does Solar Energy Cost?

The cost of solar energy has declined substantially, over 70% in the past decade. Because of that, the popularity of solar power systems has risen dramatically.

However, how much does solar energy cost? Today, over 2 Million solar power systems are installed on residential properties in the United States.

Even so, that is still just a small drop in the bucket. Less than 1% of the energy consumed in the entire country comes from solar panels.

Solar energy Installations Solar Energy Expensive seia

Why doesn’t everyone use solar? Many people think solar energy cost is too expensive for homes. Installing a solar power system for your home can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. That may seem like a significant investment. But compared to the $200,000 you could spend on electricity bills over the life of the solar power system, it’s cheap.

In fact, solar power has become the cheapest electricity in history, according to the International Energy Agency report in 2020.

Read More:

Net Zero & The Importance of Solar Panel System Size

Don’t Sign A Solar PPA or Lease – Why They Are Bad 

NEM 3.0 – How California Solar Is Changing In 2022

30% Solar Tax Credit Is Back! – Inflation Reduction Act

Solar Panel Installation Cost

Converting light into electricity with no moving parts is a much different enterprise than using turbines to generate power – such as coal, natural gas, and wind farms. Because they have no moving parts, solar panels for homes usually last a very long time, anywhere from 25-50 years or more.

Each solar panel can cost from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the quality of the panel and the company selling it.

Batteries are another investment, one that doesn’t make sense for everyone. That is a different story if you need a battery to keep some important medical equipment going during a blackout.

However, if you just want a solar battery backup storage for the luxury of having power at all times, the cost of the battery might not be worth it. Current costs for solar backup batteries can range from $10,000 to $45,000, so make sure you pick the right solar battery backup system for your home.

If you live in an older home, your main service panel may need to be upgraded for the extra electricity that the solar energy system will provide.

The main service panel (a.k.a. the circuit breaker panel) is responsible for distributing electricity from the rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels system to the various circuits in your home. The majority of people won’t need this upgrade, but if you do it will cost around $2,500 for replacement.

Solar Panel Equipment Costs:

  • Each Solar Panel Can Cost From $1,000 to $2,000
  • Inverters Are Valued Around $200-$400 Per Panel
  • Mounting & Other Hardware Runs About $100 Per Panel
  • Ground Mounts Require More Materials That Costs An Additional $100 Per Panel
  • Battery Prices Can Range From $10,000 to $45,000
  • Upgrades To Your Home’s Electrical Infrastructure Are Usually Quoted At $2,500-$6,500
  • Other Additional Parts, Such As EV Chargers & Generators Will Vary In Cost

Have question? Give us a call and speak with one of our solar experts.

Option One, Your Optimum Choice To Go Solar!

Other Costs For Solar Panel Installation

Your home may need an assessment from a qualified electrician to determine how much electricity you will use or if there are any ways to reduce your consumption. On average, the cost of residential electrical inspections ranges from $100 to $400. However, home energy assessments from Option One Solar are complimentary for all our customers.

Solar power Costs is Solar Energy Expensive option one solar

Other solar energy costs will include installation, permitting & inspection fees, sales & marketing expenses, and other labor-intensive costs. Filing documentation with city offices and utility companies can cost up to $1,000, depending on the size o the system and the timeframe to get everything filed for PTO.

The share of “soft costs” for solar panel installation can surprise customers that aren’t informed about the entire process. Rest assured that Option One Solar does not include any fees that aren’t necessary for documentation and labor.

Each home is different and requires customized design and installation. Option One Solar only hires experienced technicians with the proper skills and knowledge.

How Long Does Solar Take to Pay for Itself?

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Solar panels for homes will pay for themselves with savings from electric bills alone. The amount of time needed for this process is called the “Solar Payback Period.”

To reach Net-Zero for your solar power system, you need to calculate the total cost of the solar panel system, subtract the tax incentives, then divide that by the amount you save on electric bills every year.

For California homeowners, this Solar Payback Period will range from 6-10 years and largely depends on the size and total cost of the system. Since California electricity rates go higher every year and your solar payments will stay the same, this time period will be reduced every year.

Recycling The Solar Panels

There is no huge need for solar panel recycling right now because of the extremely long lifespan of solar panel technology. By the time your solar panels become obsolete, the industry will have time to make improvements to solar panel recycling infrastructure, drastically reducing the impact of production on our environment.

Solar Energy System Maintenance

is solar expensive clean solar panels solar panel cleaning solar during snow days solar power system

With proper maintenance, your solar panels will last much longer than the 25-year warranty. But the question remains, what is proper solar panel maintenance?

Key Aspects Of Solar Panel Maintenence:

  • Solar panels for homes don’t have moving parts and require very little maintenance
  • Normal rainfall will wash away most debris from solar panels
  • It is generally recommended to clean your solar panels twice a year with water – just make sure the water is not too hot or cold!
  • Keep an eye on your monitoring app. If you notice a dip in energy production, it might be time to clean your solar panels.

Dish soap and other types of cleaners can leave residue on your panels that may reduce production and act as a magnet for even more dust. We do not recommend the use of any soap when cleaning your panels.

Option One Solar always keeps an eye out for alerts on every solar panel we install. If we notice an issue with your solar energy system, we’ll try to fix it as soon as possible. If the issue cannot be fixed remotely, we will contact you to schedule a time for our tech support team to handle the issue.

For more answers to going solar – Solar FAQ

Is Solar Worth The Cost in California?

Going solar may seem like a significant investment. For most homeowners, $15,000 is a big chunk of change. But comparing the cost of solar panels to rising electrical bills is pretty cheap!

Would you rather pay $15,000 or $200,000 for your electricity?

Option One Solar systems are guaranteed for 25 years. Buying a solar power system is like paying a flat fee for electricity for 25 years or much longer. 

If you stay with traditional electricity, the rising rates yearly are projected to cost up to $200,000 for the same 25-year period. When you compare the numbers, solar power is very cost-effective. Especially when you understand that solar is a home investment, not a bill.


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Limited time offer from 05.12 to 06.12 for all new solar + battery system installation. Now is the best time to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. One of our solar energy consultants would be happy to explain how it all works.

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