The reliability of solar panels and their ability to save on power bills have been proven in millions of installations worldwide. Solar panels have been used successfully at all project scales, ranging from small home systems with less than 20 modules, to utility-scale solar farms that cover hundreds of acres. High-quality solar panels have a service life of more than 25 years, and the leading manufacturers offer solid warranties that protect your investment.
However, the upfront cost of going solar in the US can be high. Consider the average photovoltaic system prices reported by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in their quarterly Solar Market Insight Report from December 2021.
- Residential solar systems: $3.06 per watt ($3,060 per kilowatt)
- Commercial solar systems: $1.45 per watt ($1,450 per kilowatt)
- Utility solar system with fixed panels: $0.89 per watt ($890 per kilowatt)
- Utility solar system with tracking panels: $1.01 per watt ($1,010 per kilowatt)
Based on these numbers, a homeowner planning to install a 5-kW solar panel system can expect a price tag of around $15,300. For a larger 10-kW system, the average cost doubles to $30,600. The savings achieved by solar panels during their service life are much higher than their ownership costs, but paying the full price upfront represents a major expense.
Reducing the Solar Payback Period to Zero with Loan Financing
Many homeowners and businesses use loan financing when going solar, which lets them avoid the upfront investment.