Solar Panel Installation for Homes: The Average Prices Explained

solar panel installation

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The cost of solar panels is less than 25% of the price it was in 1990.

Solar panel installation costs have fallen as the technology continues to mature. Still, it doesn’t get on your roof for free. So how to solar panel installers come up with their pricing for home solar panels?

Keep reading to see the breakdown.

What Goes Into a Solar Panel Installation?

The best way to know what it will cost to get a solar panel installation is to ask professional contractors for a “shopping list” of sorts.

The common components of a solar energy system in your area will likely include:

  • Solar panels
  • Solar inverter
  • Mounting system
  • Battery backup system (optional)
  • Gas, Diesel, Propane backup system (optional)

Battery Backup Systems and Generators

A battery backup system is required if you’re trying to be off-grid. A battery backup system may end up costing as much as the solar and the install, and affects how and where the inverter is installed.

The constant costs and maintenance of gas, diesel, and propane systems is one reason that batteries are coming into favor. Yes, the upfront cost causes many to stagger, but it will save over the lifetime of the system.

Going off-grid or using a battery backup will understandably make your system more complex, and therefore more costly.

Different Types of Solar Panels

Something that changes the price of home solar panels by a large margin is that not all solar panels are created equal. There are three main types of photovoltaic solar panels in use today, and this causes a direct effect on solar panel prices and solar panel cost. They are:

  • Monocrystalline silicon solar cells
  • Polycrystalline silicon solar cells
  • Thin film solar cells (TFSC)

TFSC are great because of their flexibility. You’re able to use them in a range of situations that a rigid system can’t.

Monocrystalline silicon solar cells come from a single crystal of silicon and carefully sliced into thin wafers. Polycrystalline silicon solar cells are made up of bits of several silicon crystals.

Monocrystalline solar cells are the most expensive, but only by a few cents per Watt. As the Watts increase, though, so does the price. It’s more expensive, but the efficiencies from monocrystalline make it a clear winner for saving on electricity bills in the long run.

Solar Inverters

A key part of solar panel installation, solar inverters convert DC power to AC.

If you’re going to get a battery backup, this has to be arranged in advance for this reason. Batteries must receive DC power to work effectively. After the battery gets its DC power, the inverter will change it to AC.

A solar inverter system hooked up to a battery costs about ten times as much as each inverter type otherwise would.

There are again three options to choose from if you’re not going with a battery backup.

  • String inverter
  • Power optimizer
  • Microinverter

Microinverters invert each panel individually. Power optimizers have a separate and direct line to the inverter. String inverters are the base type, and cheapest, which links all solar panels together before going through the inverter.

The larger the system of solar panels you have, the larger the inverter, the pricier the system.

Things Are Heating Up

Solar panel installation is trending toward a high demand in coming years as prices for solar technologies fall. Currently, installation is only 24% of the total cost of a home solar power system. Since this sector is seeing so much growth, you’ll likely see a lot of other costs drop as well.

Interested in more solar facts and guidance? We have the latest in technology and home improvement tips to keep you busy. Keep browsing to stay ahead!