Solar Panel System Costs: June 2022 Update

If you like to follow solar energy news, you’re probably familiarized with the quarterly report published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The publication is officially called the Solar Market Insight Report, and the SEIA collaborates with consulting firm Wood Mackenzie to bring the latest data about the US solar industry. The latest edition was published on Tuesday June 7, 2022.

Panasonic solar panels on a hip roof
via Panasonic

The SMI report provides useful information such as the average cost of solar panels by market segment: residential, commercial, and utility scale.

If you’re considering solar power for your home or business, you can check the latest edition of the report to get an idea of typical costs.

Keep in mind that some price variation is normal depending on the equipment brands used, as well as your location and the solar installation company hired for the job. However, any offers that are significantly higher or lower than the average prices should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

According to the latest figures provided by the SEIA in June 2022, US homeowners can expect to pay around $3.07 per watt ($3,070 per kilowatt) when going solar. This means a 5-kW system will cost around $15,350, and a 10-kW system will cost around $30,700.

  • Consider that the SEIA analyzes traditional solar panel systems connected to the grid without energy storage. If you decide to add a home battery, the system price will normally increase by $10,000 or more.
  • The price figures in the SMI report also exclude the effect of solar incentive programs. This means your out-of-pocket cost can be much lower if your state or utility company offers financial incentives for going solar.

Here we will review the most relevant facts in the Q2 2022 SMI Report, focusing on current solar panel costs, and how they are expected to behave in the near future.

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How Are Solar Panels Installed? Solar Panel Installation Process

A solar power system is composed of many electrical and mechanical components, beyond the solar panels themselves. A racking system is used to keep the panels firmly anchored to your roof, and they are connected in circuits with special weatherproof wiring.

The strings of solar panels are then connected to an inverter, which converts their electricity output from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Also, most solar installations now include a monitoring system, which can be used to track productivity and detect performance issues.

There are also optional components such as batteries, which convert your solar panels into a 24/7 power supply. Depending on how your system is designed, a battery may be wired in different ways.

You can use a hybrid inverter designed for both solar panels and batteries, or you could install a separate battery inverter, if the unit connected to your solar panels is not compatible with them.

Here we will review the installation process of solar panels. Note that this blog post is informative and is not intended as a DIY guide.

SolarTech Universal panels on a residential rooftop
via SolarTech Universal

A professional installation is strongly recommended if you want to use traditional solar panels, due to their weight and the risks of working at height with electrical components.

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How to Choose the Best Solar Panel Brand and Installation Company

A solar power system offers a guaranteed return on investment, but only if you use high-quality products installed by professionals. Remember that solar panels are electrical devices, and they need adequate wiring and protections like any other system with voltage and current.

LG solar panels on a snowy rooftop of a two story house with a gable roof via LG Solar

Also, consider that solar panels are intended to operate for decades, and they need a reliable racking system that resists high winds and other harsh weather conditions.

Before installing solar panels for a home or business, a very important step is choosing your product brands and installation company. Keep in mind that solar panels are only one part of a functional photovoltaic system, and you need to ensure that all components are safe and durable.

For example, you need a high-quality inverter to convert the output of solar panels into a stable AC voltage supply, and you need a tough racking system to hold the modules in place.

In this guide, we will provide some recommendations when choosing solar panels, inverters, and other system components. We will also discuss what to look for when comparing solar installers, to ensure that all elements of your PV system are properly installed.

The last thing you would want is purchasing a top solar panel brand, only to have your warranty voided by a poor installation procedure.

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