You’ve found out all information about the solar home systems: their design, necessary equipment, installation, environmental and economic benefits, and so on. Now you wonder how much they cost and can you provide money for their purchases. Each solar system for household is a story in itself, and its price depends on many factors (Recommended reading: Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Homes):
The size of your home – Of course, larger homes require more expensive solar systems, and vice versa.
- Geographical location – Prices vary from state to state and from city to city within the same state. Therefore, before buying you should inquire well, and visit all solar companies in your city or state.
- Type of the solar home system – Modern solar systems are more efficient, but their associated equipment, installation and maintenance are very expensive.
- The energy needs of the household – Greater need → higher price.
- The purpose of the solar system – Price depends on whether these systems are used for home heating, additional space heating or to generate electricity.
- The amounts of sunlight during the day – You’ll need more solar panels on the roof if you live in a location with less sunshine per day. It means that you will need more money to these collectors.
In the United States, the average family consumes electricity at a rate of 1 kW per hour. Each month has about seven hundred and thirty hours, and the average price of one kilowatt of electricity is about $0.10. From this it follows that the average electricity bill of one American household is around 0.74 dollars for 730 kWh of electricity.
The installed cost of solar panels is between six and nine dollars per watt. So, a 5kW solar home system would cost around $30,000. There are utility companies that offer various incentives, and some provide subsidies even 50% of the entire solar system costs. For example, a system that costs 18,500 dollars has a payback period of nearly twenty years. The cost of one solar collector is about 3 dollars per watt, and additional costs (for the installation of all the necessary equipment) are about $5- $6 per watt.
If additional equipment and system installation costs can be reduced to 1 dollar per watt, then a 5 kW solar home system can cost just 10,000 dollars. In that case the payback period would be only ten years. This makes solar heating systems very attractive. Prices are very different, but the average solar home for smaller households costs a little over 12,000 dollars, and the payback period is eight to ten years.
Of course, the equipment is the most expensive of all factors (installation, maintenance, repairs, taxes), and makes up about 50% of the total system cost. The solar panels account for about 30% of total costs. It is about $6,500 for a typical household (panels by 3-8kW cost $4,000-$15,000). See how much each factor costs (as a percentage of the total price):
- Solar panels 30%
- Balance of system 20% (about 2,500 dollars)
- Labor 15% (about 3,000 dollars)
- Permits and inspection fees 15%
- Operational costs 20%
Maybe this will seem expensive some people, but when we consider the relatively short payback period, it makes things different. Once you install the solar home system, electricity bills will be much lower and you will not regret it. The environment will also be grateful!