How Much Does Solar Electric Cost?

Solar Costs (PV)

Solar Photovoltaic have been around for decades in offering electric energy independence both on Grid and Off Grid. In order to understand these benefits, first we must understand what the general function is of each type of On-Grid and Off-Grid system.

On-Grid (Grid-Tie, Net Metering)

With On-Grid System, Power in form of electricity is collected by the sun and then is transferred directly to the meter and/or you direct house load.

The Cost and Benefit Analysis is as such

  • Average system price can range on average is 25-40,000 USD.
  • Government incentives offset this depending on the state up to normally 30% (Check http://statesolarincentives.net/) for more details on your nearest state.
  • Payback after incentives are typically around 15-20 years for an average system life of 25-30. This means that after year 20 of having the system, you can be placing more funds in your pocket.

Off-Grid

With Off-Grid System, Power in form of electricity is collected by the sun and then is transferred directly to your battery bank or if have a direct current applicance (DC), you can have it operate only when sun is out (water fountain, air duct, fan, etc).

The Cost and Benefit Analysis is as such:

  • Average system price can range on average is $5,000-30,000 with installation, depending on what devices you want to power and how much energy you wish to offset.
  • Many are combined with a back up generator in case solar is not available.
  • The nice thing for these types of systems is that the initial investment is usually lower, and the liability much less meaning, less red tape to deal with through government and more energy focused on your actual live PV system.
  • These are designed for mostly remote locations where utilities can be expensive or nearly impossible.
  • You can allow system to be only an emergency back up during power outages, peak load times of business or seasonal use (i.e. vacation home, brewery production for summer time, cidery, etc).
  • Payback after incentives are typically lower because cost of labor can be significantly less without expensive certification and insurance premiums making the labor a fair fraction of the total cost.
  • Because incentives would be lower, labor cost less, and opportunity cost high with not using expensive trenching services or delivery fees from utilities, payback can be less than 20 years.

Note: these estimate figures are only estimates and based of many different forms of system installations with different load profiles and outside factors relating to system payback. Every customer is different!

One of the biggest questions that we get asked is, How Much Does Solar Electric Cost?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not always cut and dry.  There are many factors that determine the cost of your new Solar Electric System, including:

  • System Type – Because of the need  for a 100% solar fraction, as well as large battery storage banks, the cost of a 1kw off-grid PV system will typically be far higher than the cost of a similarly sized grid-tie PV system
  • System Size – Again, a smaller Grid-Tie system with a smaller solar array and a smaller solar production would cost less than a larger Grid-Tie PV system with a larger array and more components
  • Incentives & Rebates – while the Federal is the same 30% for everyone, state and local solar energy incentives, rebates and tax credits vary from location to location – a new system owner in California may get less of their system paid back by state incentives than the owner of a similar system in New Jersey.
  • Installation Labor & Material Costs – The time to install a system, as well as additional hardware, etc that is needed will be a major factor in determining the cost of your new solar electric system.  Obviously, again, larger jobs will have more labor and material costs than smaller jobs.

To make finding an affordable solar electric system as easy, quick and painless as possible, our team of solar professionals will work directly with you to design a system that meets your needs, desires and budget, as well as determine what incentives, rebates and outside funding sources are available to help offset your initial investment.

 
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