Solar Panel Installation Cost
How much are solar panels?
Solar panel installation cost is one of the major expenses when switching from traditional electricity providers to solar energy. However, the numerous incentives and local rebates, cumulated with the increasing competition on the market started to reduce the figures on the solar panel installation bill. According to The Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL), the installation cost was reduced from over $10 per installed watt in 2001 to 6.21 per installed watt in 2011 in the United States. Comparatively with Germany, the actual major player on the solar panel industry, which has reduced the price with over 50% in 2006-2011, reaching a price per installed watt of $3.42, the prices in the US are still high.
In order to understand where does you money go, it is necessary to have a close look at the types of installation available, as well as on how they can affect your budget.
How much do Solar Panels cost: Company installation
Choosing a company for your solar panel installation seems to be the wisest thing when you are not the DIY type of person. However, along with the company workers also comes the installing bill. The installation cost charged by a company needs to cover the materials used, the employee wages, their taxes and a small profit. Therefore, the actual bill is considerably higher than if you purchase the materials and do it yourself.
Yet, there are some advantages associated with hiring a company deal with the issue. First, you get the hustle and bustle of the actual installation out of your hands and just enjoy the finite product. Secondly, there are great chances that you obtain rebates from the price of materials or a better offer for the panel cells when opting for a company. They have previously collaborated with suppliers and are most likely to obtain good deals that a one-time buyer does not benefit of. Last, but not least, the company will provide you complete coverage if something is not properly installed or is broken during installation, so that your budget will not be affected by unwanted accidents.
When choosing a company, the solar panel installation cost is known beforehand, so that ulterior surprises should not arise. Usually, a team of professionals evaluates the type of roofing and determines the fastening system and the materials which will be needed for a proper put in place of the solar panel system. The average cost for residential panels in US is $6.21 per installed watt, with a higher rate in California, where the price reaches $6.58 and smaller prices in Arizona and New Jersey, where prices fall under the $5.80.
One of the main causes of price variation is the time needed to perform the installation. If in the sunnier areas which are more appropriate for PV panel installation the costs are smaller than the national average, the areas with less sun or less space for positioning the panels have considerably higher rates for such type of procedures. Another reason for variable prices is the size of the panel system. The installation cost for solar panels (<10kwh) is usually higher than the cost required for commercial systems.
Do it yourself installation can really cut off on costs. Producers offer clients the options to purchase the panels and mount them on the roof without specialized help. However, this type of attempt is suitable only for those persons who have successfully completed other DIY projects and have the necessary tools. Investing in tools from scratch, cumulated with the panel cost and the time consumed discovering how to best use them to serve your purpose may result in a more expensive alternative than hiring a specialized company.
The actual price of DIY installation varies on the types of supply materials used, the tools needed as well as on the installer’s skills. Take into consideration the fact that “time is money” too. Furthermore, accidents resulted in damaging the system, the roof or the electric tools, will be (financially) supported by the installer.
Solar Panel Installation “Soft Costs”
Additionally to the actual solar panel cost, there are extra expenses which must be considered when choosing to switch to solar energy. Gathered under the name of “soft costs”, these expenses represent those fees and taxes which must be paid towards the local authorities or towards the other parts involved in the process. The very first step in the installation process will require obtaining the necessary permits, which also involve paying fees towards the local authorities. Once the panels are up, they need to be connected to the local grid (for an additional fee, of course). Then there are inspection fees and other add-ons which increase the solar panel installation final cost.
Solar Panel Lease
A compromise solution for having solar energy without spending a fortune on PV panels, installation and permits is the solar panel lease. In this case, the providing company supports the installation cost, as well as the cost for additional permits and taxes and purchases the panels which are going to be mounted on the client’s roof. The same company will make the periodical inspections and maintenance work, if necessary.
The client provides the surface onto which the panels will be mounted (the roof) and signs a contract with the providing company to benefit from the solar energy for ad additional price (lower than standard electricity rate). The client also pays a lease each month until the end of the contract.
Solar panel installation cost is estimated to continue its descendant trend for the following years. Taking into consideration the raised awareness regarding environment problems (solar energy advantages) and the government’s implication in the issue, the odds are good for this type of renewable type of electricity. Furthermore, the lease options and the solar panel farms arise as great options for obtaining solar energy for those who cannot afford the relatively large investment needed for a fully operational solar panel system.