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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The New GAF Solar Roof: Cost & Comparisons – The Ultimate Guide

Solar tile roofs are becoming a popular option for homeowners who want to use renewable energy. Instead of installing solar panels on top of your roof with a racking system, photovoltaic cells are integrated directly into the shingles or tiles that make up your roof.

Both BiPV shingles and traditional solar arrays offer a service life of 25 years or more, and they make sense from a financial standpoint. However, if you’re among the homeowners who prefer the look of a traditional roof without PV modules, you might be interested in a solar roofing system.

GAF is an established provider of high-quality roofing materials, and they recently developed the Timberline Solar Energy Shingles. This product is characterized by being the first nailable solar shingle in the market, which makes the installation process much simpler.

  • GAF has designed a solar shingle that can be easily installed by roofing contractors, making the overall process easier for homeowners.
  • Normally, homeowners need to contact two separate companies to install their roofs and solar panels.

GAF offers complete roof replacements that include solar shingles, similar to how Tesla Solar Roof works. In other words, you cannot use their solar shingles for a partial roof upgrade. This is not a problem for new construction projects and homes that require a complete roof replacement.

However, if your roof is relatively new and in good condition, traditional solar panels have a lower cost and a quicker payback period. There are also solar shingle providers who offer partial upgrades, where only the roof areas that will be used to generate electricity are upgraded.

GAF: Innovation is a part of their DNA

GAF stands for General Aniline & Film, and they are currently the largest provider of roofing and waterproofing solutions in North America.

GAF introduced the Timberline roof shingle in 1967, and it became one of the most popular roofing products in the US. One of the companies that merged to create GAF was RUBEROID which launched the first individually cut asphalt shingle in 1912, and the first interlocking shingle in 1933.

GAF Energy was created in 2019 as a separate business unit, with the goal of providing solar solutions for residential and commercial buildings. GAF and GAF Energy are sister companies, both owned by Standard Industries. There are two main product lines:

  • The DecoTech system integrates solar panels into the roof structure, allowing a flush installation without separate racking.
  • The Timberline Solar roof system uses solar shingles instead of traditional PV modules, and GAF has developed the first nailable solar shingle in the world.

GAF Timberline Solar shingles installation
Source: GAF Energy

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Residential Solar Power Is Breaking Records – Solar Prices Increase

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) publishes the US Solar Market Insight report each quarter, in collaboration with the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Their 2021 Q4 report was published on December 14, and the outlook is promising despite recent supply chain issues around the world.

source: Alternative Power Solutions Inc.

  • The US exceeded 100 gigawatts of solar power capacity early in 2021, and more than 15 gigawatts were added between January and September 2021.
  • A total of 5.4 GW were added in the third quarter, and data for October – December 2021 will be available in the next SEIA report, which is expected for March 2022.

Solar power accounts for 54% of the new generation capacity installed in the US during 2021, making it the electricity source with the fastest growth. Wind power follows in second place, representing 35% of new capacity. This means solar and wind power account for 89% of total capacity additions in 2021, while natural gas represents 10% and all other sources only account for around 1% (this includes coal).

  • Fossil fuels still dominate the grid, providing 60% of the electricity used in the US according to the Energy Information Administration. Natural gas represents 40%, coal represents 19%, while petroleum is used to generate the remaining 1%.
  • However, this could soon change with the current growth rate of wind and solar power. Renewables are providing 20% of the electricity consumed, and more than half comes from solar panels and wind turbines.

For the first time on record, the US installed more than one gigawatt (1,000,000 kilowatts) of residential solar power in a single quarter. More than 130,000 home solar systems were set up in Q3 2021, at an average price of $3.06 per watt. If this pace can be sustained, the US will soon be installing over 500,000 home solar systems per year!

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