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Why Do Solar Panels Cost So Much?

2021-03-16T20:46:07+00:00
  • A photo of a house with solar panels on an orange color roof with windmills in the background, set against a blue sky on a sunny day

People are often surprised by the high costs when they install solar panels for their homes. After all, the price of the panels themselves is sometimes just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how much residential solar power systems cost. Depending on where you live, which company you purchase your solar power system from, and other variables, you may have to make a significant investment that costs more than the actual solar panels themselves.

Why are solar panels so expensive? One of the reasons for the high costs is that solar installers sometimes bundle in other expenses to cover their marketing, labor, and overhead. You can avoid these high costs by comparing bids from multiple companies and choosing a company that keeps the additional charges to an absolute minimum.

However, we will note that sometimes these added costs are justified and necessary. For instance, the condition of your roof plays a significant role. If your roof requires any repairs, you’ll need to complete these before installing your solar panels. Furthermore, if you have a roof with an especially steep angle or several different levels, it can be much more difficult to install your panels as opposed to a structure with a “typical” roof.

Environmental factors like trees and landscaping can make an impact as well, as can the quality of the existing electrical wiring in your home. Making sure your roof is accessible and your electric system is up to code goes a long way toward mitigating these extra expenses.

There are many other variables that affect the cost of solar panels for the home. One of the most impactful factors is your location. Different parts of the country receive differing amounts of sunlight on a typical day, which can dramatically increase or decrease the efficiency of your solar installation.

Solar panels, in some parts of the Pacific Northwest, will only receive around four hours of direct sunlight per day, while some areas in the American Southwest get eight hours or more. The less direct sunlight your panels receive per day, the more panels you need to power your home.

Another variable is the quality of the solar panels you purchase. Of course, higher-quality panels will cost more up-front, and you can save quite a bit of money on initial setup costs if you opt for less durable panels. However, this is a double-edged sword. The money you save up-front on cheaper solar panels will likely come back to bite you in the long run, as those panels degrade faster than more expensive ones.

Solar panels can also be much more expensive if you live in an area without sufficient solar incentives. The federal solar investment tax credit will expire in 2022, meaning the 22% deduction homeowners enjoy for solar installations in 2021 is on its way out. Beyond that, it all comes down to the solar incentives offered by your individual state, and those vary considerably depending on where you live.

Whether you buy or lease your solar panels can play a major role in how much solar panels for your house cost. Buying your solar power system up-front requires a significantly higher initial investment, but it also means that you’ll enjoy more robust savings down the line.

As you can see, there are quite a few layers involved when answering the question of how much residential solar panels cost. If you need some help figuring out how much solar panels for your home will cost, feel free to contact one of our LGCY Power Energy Consultants at your convenience. Our expert representatives can walk you through every expense involved with residential solar panel installations to help you determine the most cost-effective plan for you.

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