Solar Panel Cost Per Sq Foot (1000 to 3000 sq. ft)

Solar panels are a big investment, so it’s important to calculate the cost. Each home has a different demand for power and electricity consumption, so we need to work out the cost per square foot.

Applying the solar tax credit offsets the initial cost output. According to recent Consumer Affairs statistics, the average cost of installing a basic solar system in your home averages between $11,000 to $15,000 (type & wattage not defined) to offset your power costs. 

What is the home solar panel cost per watt with that baseline price? Using averages, expect to pay $2.33 to $2.88 per watt. For smaller supplementary solar panels, costs average about $100 to $400. 

Solar panel costs for homes have drastically reduced, making solar energy a better alternative.

Solar Panels Covering A Roof Of A House
Solar Panels Covering A Roof Of A House

How Much Does a Solar Panel Cost Per Sq Foot in Your Region?

Solar panel costs range for the average home, including equipment and installation, and a 6kW system ranges between $13,000 to $19,000 before appliance tax credits and state incentives.

That’s a possible starting cost, and once you apply for all the state-funded clean energy programs, solar energy becomes that affordable alternative.

Washington leads the pack as the greenest state, followed by Oregon and New Hampshire. While Kentucky has the least expensive solar energy costs, and Hawaii has the most costly.

Now that we have a cost starting point, let’s dig deeper. How much do solar panels cost for an average 2500 sq ft home, and how do size and style fluctuations apply to your home?

What Affects the Cost of Solar Installations in Your Area?

Solar panel and installation costs are determined by where you live and the labor expenses that affect installation costs. Also, we’ll touch on this later, but sources from the Department of Energy suggest that cost averages are decreasing.

Cost determinators include:

  • State and local green energy plan incentives, tax credits and rebates,
  • Demand for local solar panel installations
  • Labor cost
  • Suntrap harvest depends on your roof or property space
  • Your overall consumption rate (check your utility bill)

What Costs Are Typically Included?

Most solar panel companies and installers include the basics of equipment, permit and inspection costs, and sales taxes. 

These are all susceptible to change based on your solar company provider. Here is a breakdown:

  • Energy storage units
  • Solar PV panels, mounting racks, and solar inverters
  • Labor costs, including onsite assembly and mounting
Solar Panels Covering The Roof Of A House
Solar Panels Covering The Roof Of A House

How Many Solar Panels For my Average 2500 Sq Ft Home?

The answer is complex as it depends on how much electricity you consume and the types of solar panels you install to absorb the available sunlight in your area. Prepare to use 24 to 30 panels.

Living in the sunshine state will give you more power over the year. 

Experts calculate that the average household consumes 900kWh (kilowatt-hours) every month. Consumption increases in peak months like July when air conditioning draws on the supply. Or Thanksgiving and Christmas when the entire family is at home and the lights are on.

Examine your electrical bill and review your consumption rates to calculate an estimate. Solar panels cost on average $4,000-$6,000.

This cost fluctuates according to the system parameters and types of panels. (Solar panel cost per square meter is roughly $43 to $107.) 

Kilowatt guideline based on solar panel system size:

  • 3kWh produces 3,600 to 4,800kWh annually
  • 5kWh produces 6,000 to 8,000kWh annually
  • 10kWh produces 12,000kWh to 16,000kWh annually

Solar panel cost is one factor. Batteries and additional equipment are another. Potential solar energy consumers need to understand that a 10kWh system should more than cover all of their consumption needs based on average household consumption. Batteries are not included.

However, a 5 or 6-kWh system is a perfect supplement to diminish your high consumption cost during peak times.

Consumers need to answer whether they want to become completely self-reliant on their solar panels and batteries or do they want to supplement their current utility provider. 

Solar Panel Installation Man Drilling Panels
Solar Panel Installation Man Drilling Panels

State Solar Panel Costs and State Credit

Based on Consumer Affairs, Kentucky is the least expensive state for solar panel costs, while Hawaii is the most expensive.

One of the main reasons for installing a solar panel system is that the ITC allows for a 26% tax credit on systems installed between 2020 and 2022. The credit expires in 2024 unless Congress grants another credit.

Consult the homeowner’s tax credit to review all the possible tax credits or rebates in our area.

Switching and installing a solar energy system could save approximately 75% in electricity costs.

State6kWh system installment cost (average)Tax credit rebate amount (26%)
Florida$13,920$3619
Kentucky$13,101$3406
Hawaii$19,560$5085
Maine$16,073$4179
Solar Panel Tax Rebate For 6kWh System Per State

So, How much do Solar Panels Cost for 2,000 Square Foot homes? 

To drill these numbers down further, let’s look at Arizona, where a typical 2000 sq ft home has the sixth-highest electric power bills in the country. The average cost in Arizona for a solar panel system installation is around $13,706. 

They average around $130 per month but reach a peak of $450 per month during the oppressive heat in summer.

Once you apply for the tax credit minus $3557, the cost is around $10,149 per system. (There is no maximum amount on the tax credit.)

Arizonans have paid around $15600 in electrical costs over ten years. This figure does not consider the rising cost of traditional energy costs. The cost of Arizona electricity alone covers installing efficient solar energy with the power to spare.

Another way to look at the ten-year cost of electricity expenses is to apply the 75% savings toward your electrical bill, which will drop from $15600 to $3900.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Run a 1500 Square Foot House?

It’s a complex question, and many factors determine the answer. On average, expect to install 14-17 boards.

Let’s explore solar panel types and which is right for your roof and state. The basic concept for solar energy is the same but technology has caught up to the solar panel and battery industry.

Popular solar panel types:

Perhaps you’re wondering, does it matter?

A solar panel does one thing and converts sunshine into energy.

Your choice for your home depends on your budget, the roof space, the direction of the sunlight facing your roofline, and what energy goal you set for your family. There is also an aesthetic appeal.

Solar Shingles:

These sleek shingles are becoming the trend in solar energy on rooflines. They have a sophisticated look, mimic regular shingles, and are as durable as asphalt shingles; they convert sunlight into energy to power your house. 

Each shingle can produce 13 to 67 watts of usable energy depending on light conditions and angles. They’re weather resistant. They’re energy-efficient in two ways: they insulate and produce. They’re more costly for a few reasons, but you can take them if you move.

Pros:

  • Look sleek and add energy efficiency
  • Transportable (not unlike other roofing materials)
  • Add value to your home
  • 20-30 year lifespan

Cons:

  • Not as productive as standard solar panels
  • Require specific roof slope for optimum exposure
  • Degrade faster
  • Not as readily available

Costing:

The disadvantage is the high cost. Solar shingles cost between $60,000 to $75,000 to install. This cost reflects your roofline, size, local availability, and contractor rates.

This price tag may influence your decision, but having an attractive power source option at your fingertips may persuade others who detest the unattractive look of standard solar panels.

Polycrystalline Panels

Polycrystalline panels are what we associate with solar energy and are the original panels developed in the solar industry. They look similar to monocrystalline, but cost differences, space considerations, and energy output set them apart.

These rectangular panels or cells are made of melted silicon, and as the industry has perfected and improved production methods, costs have decreased.

However, polycrystalline panels are not as efficient at converting sunlight into energy as their ‘mono’ sister panels and will influence the amount of energy your solar panels produce.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easily installed
  • Contractors are familiar with installation methods
  • Produce reliable solar energy

Cons:

  • Less attractive
  • Produce less energy than other types
  • Large

Costing:

Polycrystalline solar panels are a less expensive option. Contact your local solar energy panel supplier to see what type they provide and their cost differences alongside the panel’s kWh generation.

Mono And Poly Solar Panels Two House With Different Solar Panels
Mono And Poly Solar Panels Two House With Different Solar Panels

Monocrystalline Panels

Monocrystalline panels look very similar to polycrystalline panels, but they are made from pure silicon. Once you study them, one of the prominent differences is the uniform color.

Both types rely on photovoltaic cells, but the silicon is altered to create a more efficient solar cell in monocrystalline panels.

This altered cylindrical shape is responsible for producing a more efficient panel. To understand which type of crystalline panel is better for your home, consult a sun score calculator. 

Monocrystalline panels are more effective because of the innovative technology behind their design. This design improvement allows them to capture more light and produce more energy. 

This efficiency per panel means that you will require fewer panels to receive the same result and can be a better solution. If you have a smaller roof space and wonder how many panels I need for a 1200-square-foot house and can it manage? It can.

Pros:

  • More efficient & capture more energy
  • Require fewer panels & less roof space
  • Better results & durability

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Not attractive

Costing:

Monocrystalline panels may cost more than poly, but you will need fewer panels to achieve the same results. Cost is relative as monocrystalline panels not only outperform, they have a longer lifespan and may be a better alternative in the long run.

Poly vs. Mono Solar Panels

Solar panel sizes depend on the brand, but average dimensions are 65” x 39” (17.9 sq ft panel), but mono panels produce 350W while polys generate 300W for the same size.

Considering your home’s roof space, consider this: 20 mono panels produce 7kW, and poly’s produce 6kW of power.

So, how many solar panels do you need to run a 1500 sq ft house? Expect to use between 12-18 panels, again depending on the type of panel, the amount of energy you want to produce, and the amount of direct sunlight.

The math doesn’t work out into exact measures when calculating smaller or larger spaces, so how much do solar panels cost for a 1,000-square-foot house? You’ll need about eight panels and expect to spend about $9,000.

To answer how much does a 1000 kW solar system cost? Expect to spend $11,000 on the low spectrum, but depending on the extras, you can spend up to $60,000.

Batteries

To keep things interesting, have you considered investing in storage batteries? Combining panels with batteries creates a hybrid solar system that allows you to store the energy your panels generate.

Batteries are a wise addition. Your panels generate more power in the middle of the day when consumption is the lowest. Storing it for later use is ideal.

Batteries to complement your panels cost anywhere from $200 to $15,000. Before you commit to installing solar panels, you should understand how the two systems work together.

Most residential grid-tied systems use lithium-ion batteries that cost between $7000 and 14,000 to install. The bonus here is that what energy you don’t consume is stored in batteries or sold back to the power grid.

Battery brands:

  • Tesla Powercell costs $8,500 
  • Electric PowerPod 2 costs $13,000
  • Sonnencore costs $9,500

Solar batteries also qualify for the 26% tax credit, and many states offer additional battery-saving rebates. If you’re wondering how long solar panels take to pay off? Typical investment repays per household average of eight years in the USA.

Solar Panel Cost FAQs

Calculating the cost of going solar depends on many variables. Here are a few answers that will make deciding easier if going solar is suitable for your family.

How many solar panels do I need to create 1000kWh per month?

The average consumption is around 900kWh per household, and 300W panels like polycrystalline will need about 27 boards, which includes a conversion loss of 23%.

According to house size, how many solar panels do I need to generate 1500kWh each month?

3000 sq ft home requires 27-38 panels
2500 sq ft home requires 24-30 panels
2000 sq ft home requires 19-25 panels
1500 sq ft home requires 14-17 panels 
1200 sq ft home requires 10-12 panels (or 6kWh need 330 sq ft)
Based on industry standards.

Sources

General Solar Panel FAQ

What Problems Do Solar Panels Solve?

In environmental terms, solar panels can potentially solve a handful of problems, including;
1. Air pollution
2. Water pollution
3. Greenhouse gases
4. Reduction in fossil fuel use

For individuals, solar energy allows you to become completely self-sufficient when it comes to your electricity needs and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Are 3 Important Uses Of Solar Panels?

The three most important uses of solar panels are;
1. Solar electricity. This can be used to power almost any appliance in your home, including TVs, computers, and fridges.
2. Lighting. In addition to the use of low-power, LED lightbulbs, solar panels can provide an efficient, low-cost, and environmentally friendly way to provide lighting to homes. 
3. Portable solar. In our modern, always-connected lives, our phones, tablets, and computers are almost always with us, and all run on batteries. Portable PV chargers can help keep our batteries topped up no matter where we are, as long as there is some sun to charge them.

Do solar panels give you free electricity?

Once the cost of the array is paid in full, the energy it produces is free. There are ongoing maintenance costs, too, such as annual panel cleaning, etc. 

How much will my electric bill be with solar panels?

Suppose your solar array includes a solar battery backup system, and it is large enough to fully cover your energy usage per day. In that case, your monthly electric bill will be next to zero dollars, even with a grid-tied system. 

If your solar array does not include a solar battery backup system, then at night, your house or business will use grid electricity. That cost will vary but expect to pay from 1/3-2/3 of your average electric bill, and that cost will fluctuate seasonally. 

Do you save money with solar panels?

The simple answer is, Yes, you save money with solar panels. There is an initial upfront cost, but since solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, you will save money over time. You will also begin to see monthly savings in energy bills, but there are other ways that solar panels pay you back. Those include:
1. Adding value to your home or commercial building 
2. Monthly decreases in energy costs
3. The ability to add more energy appliances without increased monthly costs
4. The potential for tax credits for going solar

Can solar panels power a house 24-7?

Most definitely! Solar panels can certainly power a house 24-7, with the addition of a high-quality inverter and a suitable battery bank, of course. To power, a house under normal usage will require a massive solar array, though, and there will be a very expensive initial financial outlay.

Do I need to tell my energy supplier I have solar panels?

This depends on where you live, but in most cases, it’s not necessary to inform your energy supplier that you have solar panels. That said, you may be producing excess power with your solar system, in which case you may be able to sell that excess power back to energy companies.

In this case, you’ll naturally need to be in contact with them. 

What Are Solar Cells Known as and Why?

Solar cells are also called photovoltaic (PV) cells. They are called so because the term ‘photovoltaic’ literally means light i.e. photo and electricity i.e. voltaic.

These cells generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. This effect basically causes the generation of free electrons from the semiconducting silicon material of the solar panel when sunlight hits its surface.

What Type of Solar Panels Are Most Efficient and Why?

There are currently three types of solar panels available in the market that are:
1. Monocrystalline
2. Polycrystalline
3. Thin-filmed

Among these, monocrystalline solar panels are known to be the most efficient among all others.

Does heat enter your home through the roof?

Absolutely. Heat enters your home through your roof, and on a hot day your attic can get up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Through conduction, heat from the sun warms your roof which then warms your attic and the rest of your home.

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