How Much Do Solar Panels Cost To Install?

The cost of your solar energy system is determined by figuring out how much your electricity bill is over the course of a year, determining what percentage of that bill you want to offset, and then designing a system to meet your specifications. That part is pretty straightforward. But once you determine this information, you probably want to know how much solar actually costs for the system size that is designed.

So what does YellowLite charge for a range of system sizes?

For residential systems, our pricing includes "inventory" and "other expenses." Our "inventory" includes the solar panels and the balance of system. "Other expenses" include our permitting department, installation, electrical work, miscellaneous expenses, as well as profit.

Our main line of panels that we sell are Canadian Solar (standard), SolarWorld (mid-tier/American), and SunPower (premium/American). The price and efficiency of each panel brand was listed in a previous blog, but we will share that table once again here:

Model

Efficiency

Cost Per Watt

Canadian Solar CS6P-265P

16.79%

$0.69

SolarWorld Plus SW 285 Mono Black

17.00%

$0.81

SunPower E20 Series

20.40%

$1.85

 

The price of the panels are fixed at a specific cost per watt. No matter if you purchase five or fifty-five panels, the cost per watt for each panel is going to remain the same. That is not the case with a lot of our other expenses. For example, our permitting process is a fixed cost no matter the size of the system that you install. For the most part, so is the cost of our panel crew when they perform the actual installation as well as the electrical crew when they connect your system to the electricity grid.  

The following three tables present our cost structure for our three main panel lines. Keep in mind that the majority of our customers purchase systems ranging between 5-9 kW. How many panels would this be? Usually between 17-31 panels, on average. It should be noted that the pricing is contingent on a cash purchase. If you finance your system through loans, your system cost may be greater than the stated values.

Canadian Solar CS6P-265P with STRING INVERTER

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

1 to 2.9kW

3.0 to 4.99kW

5.0 to 6.99kW

7.0 to 8.99kW

9.0 to 10.99kW

11 to 14.99kW

15 to 19.99kW

$4.19

$3.72

$3.25

$3.07

$3.02

$2.93

$2.84

 

SolarWorld Plus SW 285 Mono Black 285W Mono BLK/BLK 1000V   with STRING INVERTER

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

1 to 2.9kW

3.0 to 4.99kW

5.0 to 6.99kW

7.0 to 8.99kW

9.0 to 10.99kW

11 to 14.99kW

15 to 19.99kW

$4.35

$3.89

$3.42

$3.23

$3.19

$3.09

$3.01

 

SunPower E20 Series

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

Price ($/Watt)

1.8 to 2.99kW

3.0 to 4.99kW

5.0 to 6.99kW

7.0kW to 9.99kW

10kW to 14.99kW

$5.95

$5.56

$5.04

$4.80

$4.55

 

This pricing also is represented on our solar calculator, which you can find on our website. This is also the current pricing that you will get when you call in and speak to one of our solar consultants. We do offer other panels lines including Suniva, LG, and others upon request, so the pricing for other brands will vary slightly. If a customer chooses a ground mount instead of a roof mounted system, the charge is 30-35 cents per watt more for the trenching and cost of the concrete. If a customer goes with microinverters instead of a string inverter, the cost is also higher.

It should be apparent from the tables that the cost per watt of a system decreases the bigger your system is. Since so many of our costs are fixed in nature, it is often better to go with a bigger system to offset a greater portion of your electricity bill in order to take advantage of economies of scale.

According to Energysage.com, the average system in America is around 5 kW in size and costs $3.70 per watt. The cost of the average system across the country would be $18,500 and after the 30% Federal tax credit is applied, the cost of the system would be $12,950.

We can use Canadian Solar as an example of our pricing to make a comparison to the national average. For a 5 kW system, we see that the price would be $3.25 a watt. This would come to a price of $16,250. After the 30% Federal tax credit is applied, the cost of the system would be $11,375.

 

Our pricing is lower than the national average. At the same time, Ohio as a state is also a little bit more affordable than the national average as seen by the following diagram: