This is a good time to install a photovoltaic solar power system on your property. Residential rooftop PV solar panels cost per watt installed has been dropping, and newer technology is enabling a far greater efficiency – that’s more solar energy converted into electricity for home usage – for less money.
Your options for buying, leasing, Purchasing Power Agreements (PPA, see below) are expanding, and many homeowners are getting solar panels installed on their rooftops for zero down.
In this guide:
- Cost per Watt
- Total System Cost
- Cost Factors
- Rooftop Installation Considerations
- PV Solar Panels
- Buying, Leasing, and PPA Options
- BiPV Solar Tiles
- Thin-Film Solar Laminates
- PACE Solar Finance Program
- Solar System Payback Period
The national average residential solar cost per watt installed is $2.96 for a typical 5kW ($14,800) to 7kW ($20,720) PV solar panels system when installed by local installers, before the 26% solar investment tax credits from the federal government.
Did you know? The 26% solar tax credits have recently been extended by congress through the end of 2022. Notably, solar ITC apply to the full amount paid for the installation of a new solar panels system.
Depending on the state you live in, your quoted cost per watt can range from $2.80 to $3.22, on average, when installed by a (small) local solar panel installer.
Note that solar investment tax credits (ITC) are being phased out, gradually, with the amount of tax credits decreasing from 26% to 22% in 2023 (the final year for solar ITC).
How Solar Pricing has Decreased Over Time In 2008, the cost of a solar power installation was $8.82 per watt.
|Small Home||Average Home||Large Home|
|Home Size||1 – 2 bedrooms||3 – 4 bedrooms||5 bedrooms|
|System Size||5 – 7kW||7 – 8.5kW||9 – 10kW|
|System Cost||$14,800 to $20,720||$20,800 to $25,160||$26,640 to $29,600|
|After Tax Credits||$10,952 to $15,333||$15,350 to $18,618||$19,714 to $21,904|
Note: The federal solar investment tax credit is 26% through 2022, and 22% in 2023. After the recent extension by congress, the program is slated to end on December 31st, 2023.
Homeowners take note: large solar installers with national presence like SunRun and Vivint Solar (acquired by SunRun in 2020) will have higher costs per watt installed vs. a small local solar installer due to much higher marketing and customer acquisition costs for large installers with national presence.
Based on the recent data from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL),
the average price per watt installed by Vivint and SunRun in 2020 has been ranging between $4.00 and $5.00 per watt. In fact, SunRun’s and Vivint prices per watt installed have increased in 2020 over 2019 due to higher marketing costs in 2020.