How Much Does A Solar Electric System Cost?
As much as we wish it were so, this isn't a question simply arrived at by taking a quick look at your roof and telling you how many panels we can put up, at such-and-such a price as being the best approach for you. While there ARE some companies that do that, we feel that would be a great disservice to you. Southern View Energy will always conduct a home energy analysis to determine how much power you currently use, and are likely to need in the near future. We’ll also assess how energy efficient your home really is, by looking at such things as your attic insulation and ventilation. Why there? Because the attic is where many homeowners are literally losing most of their heating and cooling dollars. We'll also identify other potential structural or system deficiencies that may be present, so that you have a "full 360 degree" view of what's costing you power today. When done, we’ll deliver you a clear assessment of what we believe can serve you in the most effective manner in your quest to reduce energy needs --- and of course, go solar!
Many times it is a mix of energy conservation improvement(s) and solar. This is quite a different approach from many "solar electric companies". How? Because conservation steps may “cut into” (even if for a very short time) some of your budget that might otherwise have been spent on them installing (more) solar. But we are so strongly committed to doing what’s right in this regard, that if by taking a “whole house approach” in measuring your solar potential results in the conclusion that doing some simple and practical things first means a bit less solar now, that's what we'll recommend. Because it makes your total investment yield even bigger and longer-lasting rewards. And, with you needing much less energy than before a solar installation can provide an even larger share (possibly all :) of your needed energy supply!
That said, you wanted to know how much solar might cost. Solar panels themselves have come down in price significantly over the last 4 years, and now appear to be stabilizing at the $0.60 - $1.00 per watt (retail, pre-tax & shipping) range. The very broad range you see there though is simply due to panel types (particularly at the lower-cost end) having different power output consistency, lifespan expectancy and overall performance. A typical, single panel that you might install on your roof would today be rated for between 250 and 350 watts of peak output total, and therefore will cost anywhere from $150 (lower wattage & grade) to $350 (larger wattage & grade) each, or so.
A complete solar power system also needs several other components, such as inverters, cabling, junction boxes and safety switches, and will of course have its installation cost. The total installed cost of a residential solar electric system is typically in the range of $3 - $5 per watt of rated DC power. This cost range is again due to the variety and quality (grade & source) of materials, size of the system (smaller systems cost more on a $ per-watt installed basis than larger ones) as well as the difficulty that might be present at a particular installation site.
Quality, design and the site’s ease (or difficulty) of installation play a part in determining cost and is all the more reason to consult with the solar experts of Southern View Energy. Don’t forget, too: Federal tax credits of 30% of the entire installed cost of the system, plus any local utility rebates that may apply to you help to defray any initial investment significantly.