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How Much Are Solar Panels Per Square Foot

Thursday, October 06, 2022

If you are interested in solar energy, you have probably asked yourself this question: What is the price of solar panels per square foot? The size, kind, brand, and area in which you live are among the variables that affect the answer to that question. Keep reading if you are curious about how much it costs to install solar panels on your residence or business premises.

Solar panels are devices that convert energy from the sun into electric energy. They are composed of a series of interconnected cells called photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV cells are made of semiconductor materials, like silicon.

When sunlight hits a PV cell, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms. These free electrons flow through the cell and into an electrical circuit, where they can be used to power electric devices.

The brand, the kind and size of the panel, the location where you reside, and other variables all affect the price of solar panels.

Types of Solar Panels

Solar panels can be classified as either monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film. Monocrystalline solar panels are created using a single silicon crystal. They often cost more and are more effective than polycrystalline solar panels and are usually black.

Polycrystalline solar panels are created using multiple silicon crystals which makes them appear blue. Usually less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels and as a result are cheaper.

A thin coating of photovoltaic material is used to create thin-film solar panels. They are less efficient than monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels but are usually cheaper.

Size of solar panel

Solar panels can be classified as either monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film. Monocrystalline solar panels are created using a single silicon crystal. They often cost more and are more effective than polycrystalline solar panels and are usually black.

Polycrystalline solar panels are created using multiple silicon crystals which makes them appear blue. Usually less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels and as a result are cheaper.

A thin coating of photovoltaic material is used to create thin-film solar panels. They are less efficient than monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels but are usually cheaper.

Brand of Solar Panels

Solar panels come in various brands, each with a range of prices. Some of the most well-known solar panel manufacturers include; SunPower, LG, Panasonic, Canadian, and Trina solar panels are.

With an average efficiency of 21.45%, SunPower is one of the most effective solar panel manufacturers. They are some of the most costly solar panels on the market. Their price per watt ranges from $0.70 to $0.80.

LG is less efficient than SunPower, with an average efficiency of 17.80%. LG solar panels cost per watt typically ranges from $0.50 to $0.60, making them less expensive than SunPower solar panels but more expensive than Panasonic solar panels.

Panasonic is less efficient than LG, with an average efficiency of 16.30%. Panasonic solar panels are the most cost-effective on the market, as their costs per watt often ranges from $0.40 to $0.50.

Canadian solar panels have an average efficiency of 16.60% and their cost typically ranges from $0.40 to $0.50 per watt. Trina solar panels have an average efficiency of 16.20% and their cost per watt usually ranges from $0.40 to $0.50.

Location

The region also plays a significant role when determining how much it will cost to establish a solar panel. But how does it affect? The irradiance of sunlight available; How bright is the area where you are?

An average system will work fine if the region has enough sunshine. However, you will need additional panels to generate adequate power if there isn't much sunlight. This ultimately results in increased expenses.

Federal, state, and municipal incentives: The cost of solar energy is significantly reduced by the federal solar tax credit, or ITC, worth 26%. Additional solar tax credits and refunds are provided by the state and domestic governments. The benefits will vary depending on the area.

Market factors: The average price will also be affected by several market considerations. These include installation competition, labor costs, regulations, task volume, etc. The sum of these elements will determine the solar panel's ultimate cost and installation cost.

Solar panels will generally be more expensive in states with high electricity prices, like California and Hawaii. They will be less costly in states with low electricity prices, like Texas and Oklahoma.

The average price for solar panels in California is $0.70 per watt, while the average price in Texas is $0.40 per watt.

Additional costs

There are also some additional costs to consider when installing solar panels, like the cost of batteries, inverters, and installation.

Cost of Batteries

The cost of batteries depends on the type of battery you choose and the size of the battery.

Lead-acid batteries are the most common type of battery used for solar energy, and the cost per battery typically ranges from $100 to $200.

Lithium-ion batteries are a newer type of battery that is more efficient than lead-acid batteries and cost per battery typically ranges from $200 to $300.

Nickel-cadmium batteries are less expensive than lithium-ion batteries but are not as efficient.

Nickel-metal-hydride batteries are more expensive than lithium-ion batteries and are more efficient.

The various sizes of batteries include; 100 Ah, 200 Ah, and 400 Ah.

The 100 Ah battery is the most common size used for solar energy. The average cost of a 100 Ah battery is $100. The 200 Ah battery is less standard and typically costs $200.

The 400 Ah battery is the least common and typically costs $400.

Inverters

The cost of batteries depends on the type of battery you choose and the size of the battery.

Lead-acid batteries are the most common type of battery used for solar energy, and the cost per battery typically ranges from $100 to $200.

Lithium-ion batteries are a newer type of battery that is more efficient than lead-acid batteries and cost per battery typically ranges from $200 to $300.

Nickel-cadmium batteries are less expensive than lithium-ion batteries but are not as efficient.

Nickel-metal-hydride batteries are more expensive than lithium-ion batteries and are more efficient.

The various sizes of batteries include; 100 Ah, 200 Ah, and 400 Ah.

The 100 Ah battery is the most common size used for solar energy. The average cost of a 100 Ah battery is $100. The 200 Ah battery is less standard and typically costs $200.

The 400 Ah battery is the least common and typically costs $400.

Installation

Installation of solar panels consists of putting the solar panels on your roof and connecting them to your home's electrical system.

The installation cost is influenced by the size of your system, the style of your roof, and how complicated the installation is.

Kilowatts are the unit of measurement for the size of your system (kW). A household solar panel system typically costs $15,500 to install.

Residential solar panel systems typically cost $11,040 per kW.

A residential solar panel system typically pays for itself in four to eight years.

A home solar panel system's average return on investment (ROI) is between 20 and 25 percent.

The roof you have will determine how difficult the installation will be.

The installation will be simpler and less expensive if you have a flat roof instead of a pitched roof.

Do Solar System Prices Vary Based on Home Size?

Larger homes often have more solar panels since they need more power. However, you could still come across some smaller homes that use more electricity each month than bigger ones. Additionally, even identically sized residences may have different energy demands.

Consequently, it would not be accurate to say that the size of the property only determines solar panel costs.

What considerations will impact the size and type of solar system you setup?

  • Power Requirement: The electricity your residence requires each month determines the kind and dimension of the solar system you need. Larger solar systems are needed for homes with higher electrical needs. Due to the increased power use, there would be an increase in costs.
  • Roof Material and Space: Solar panels are often fixed or put on top of residential buildings. The term "roof-mounted systems" is used to describe them. Because they take up no room in your yard and are comparatively inexpensive, roof-mounted systems are pretty popular. Roofs, nevertheless, are also unique. There might be differences in the roof spaces of even two 1,000-square-foot homes. The materials used for roofing also differ. The tools and workforce required for installation will vary depending on the kind of roof. A solar array, for instance, can be installed on a metal roof, a flat roof, a shingle roof, etc. But different personnel and equipment are required for each roof. Despite having a similar system or owning a roof with the same square footage, the price to install solar panels will differ.
  • Costs of Equipment: The sort of equipment you select will also affect the price of solar panels. As we previously stated, different brands charge differently for their solar panels. Usually, it depends on the brand and quality. Therefore, you must conduct thorough research before purchasing a solar system. By doing this, you can be confident that the system you bought will provide you with energy in the most cost-effective manner. Regarding the setup of solar panels, the cost is a significant barrier. Around 97% of homes are deterred from installing solar panels because of inflated prices. But the federal, state, and municipal governments' solar grants and incentives help to offset part of that expense. Finding the ideal rewards for you is the only difficulty. Here are some excellent rebates, discounts, and incentives that you may use.
  • Incentives from the Federal Government: The Federal government advocates for renewable energy. Consequently, all taxpayers are qualified to deduct up to 26% of the costs associated with installing a solar system. Only costs related to the residence you occupy may be written off. Some allowable expenses for the claim are system assembly and installation costs, on-site labor costs, installation-related wiring and piping costs, etc. The good news is that you can carry it over to the following year if your additional tax exemption is greater than your tax obligation. This tax credit is only meant for industrial solar systems and is scheduled to fall to 22% by 2023 before becoming a permanent 10%. Homeowners will not benefit from ITC any longer after 2024.
  • State Incentives: You should research the incentives your state provides since they operate similarly to the federal government. While the incentives vary by state, they all fall between $500 and $5,000.
  • Solar Panel Rebates: These incentives are provided by the government, solar panel producers, and utilities. They are made to lighten the eventual consumer's load by installing solar systems. The installer receives the rebates and then gives the customer the benefits.
  • Tax Privileges: These are financial incentives with the indirect goal of lowering the price of installing solar panels. They assist homeowners in avoiding potential sales and property taxes. In the long term, the tax benefits provide no further savings. Sales tax and real estate tax exemptions are typically included. Reductions in sales taxes lower the solar panel's initial price. In contrast, exemptions from property taxes let owners avoid paying additional taxes on their property since their home's value has increased due to solar system installation.
  • Solar Renewable Energy Credits: A homeowner is eligible for the preceding tax incentives for each megawatt-hour (MWh) a solar system produces. Homeowners can freely exchange these credits with utility companies. The value of the credit will be determined by the market situation (supply and demand). However, SRECs need to be submitted to the IRS. They form a portion of the annual revenue of the property owner.
  • Performance-based Incentives (PBIs): These serve as ongoing incentives for the generation of electricity. Since they are performance-based the amount of power generated directly benefits the owner of the solar system. Although the amounts are small, they are paid to the solar owner as bonuses.
  • Net Rationing:¬†Homeowners can receive a discount on the long-term solar installation cost through net metering. It is specifically designed to support homeowners using residential solar panels. Your system generates kWh, which are exempted from the energy bill. Net metering seeks to guarantee that you profit from each kWh your system produces. Any extra electricity generated by your system is fed into the primary grid.

Actual Solar Panels Cost

Typically, solar panels costs per foot ranges from $4 to $10. However, a lot of solar contractors base their estimates on the number of watts required to meet the energy requirements of your property.

Usually, their prices per watt ranges from $2.53 to $3.15. An estimated price is shown before tax credits and breaks.

The price of solar panels will depend on the size and kind of your company's solar installation. The price of a solar system increases with size.

A commercial solar system ranging from 10 kW to 2 MW costs about $1.83 per watt. Beyond 2 MW, more extensive systems have a lower cost per watt, at $1.06.

For systems ranging from 25kW to 100 kW, the cost to build a solar system for a small or medium-sized company ranges from $43,000 to $175,000.

You could be able to pay back up to 45% of the cost of your solar panels in only one year courtesy of tax breaks and subsidies for commercial solar installations.

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