Find Affordable Solar Panel Installation
Learn about how professional solar companies install solar panels. Discover the average costs of both solar panels and professional installation.
There are many benefits to switching to solar power. Solar power relies on specialized panels, which absorb energy from the sun to convert into electricity. Solar panels are typically mounted on your roof, but you can also get external panels placed around your home. Roof mounted panels are typically more efficient because they have a direct connection to your home. They are also placed higher than external panels, which makes it easier to absorb sunlight.
For both homeowners and businesses, a primary reason to switch to solar energy is the cost. Solar panels are initially expensive to install, but you quickly make up for the purchase with how much you save on a lower electric bill. There are also options to sell back your unused energy. Installing solar panels also increases the overall value of your home. Others install solar panels because they are environmentally friendly and a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Installing Solar Panels
The majority of solar panels are installed directly into your roof. Typically, the best place for solar panels is southern facing. This gives the panels the most access to sunlight. The panels themselves must be carefully positioned. If the tilt of the panels is off, you may not get as much sunlight. This is a much bigger issue in the winter, when the sun is not as high. Another issue with tilting your panels is avoiding lifting. Lifting occurs when the panels are angled to catch the wind. A strong enough breeze can change the position of your panels, and in severe storms, your panels may even be torn away from your roof.
In addition to properly tilting your panels, you must provide proper spacing between each panel. Most panels require four feet of distance, but this may vary slightly based on the panel. Solar panels are mounted with steel bolts. Once the panels are secure on the mount, you must connect the panels to your electrical supply.
Positioning is even harder if you are installing ground panels. There are two types of ground panels, fixed and tracking. Tracking solar panels shift and follow the sun throughout the day to ensure maximum exposure, while fixed panels are stationary. Both panels are mounted into the ground, with tracking panels using modified mounts to allow them to move.
Because positioning the panels is so important, as well as the connection process being complex, you are strongly encouraged to hire a professional company to install your solar panels. Professional solar installers also have knowledge about the best panels on the market. Many companies also get discounts on panels, which makes it less expensive than buying panels on your own. Some solar companies, such as Forme Solar, offer promotions and deals that can see you getting solar for $0 down. Monthly or yearly payment plans can make the daunting up front cost of Solar installation a non-factor.
Maxeon Solar, previously known as Sunpower, is one of the innovators in solar panels. Maxeon was one of the first companies to start using IBC N-type cells, which as of writing are the most efficient solar cells available. The panels are built with back-contact conductivity, which not only helps with solar absorption, but it hides the metal gridlines. While the panels are some of the most powerful on the market, they are also the priciest. Fortunately, the panels are designed to last for 25 years, making them a sound investment. Maxeon costs between $3 to $5.5 per watt.
In addition to producing solar panels, Maxeon also installs solar panels. The company provides customers with a free power calculator, allowing them to estimate how much electricity they need. This gives them an idea of how much installation will cost, as well as how much they will save each month. Before agreeing to installation, you can meet with a solar consultant. During this process, the consultant will quote you an installation fee, which typically ranges between $15,000 and $20,000, including the cost of the panels.
Tesla is most associated with electric vehicles, but the company also produces and installs solar panels. Tesla is popular among customers because they offer a price match guarantee as well as generous financing options. The company prides itself not only on efficiency, but style, producing slim, low-profile panels. Tesla sells some of the most affordable panels, costing between $1.5 and $3 per watt. For residential units, installation fees average between $8,000 and $15,000. For businesses or larger buildings, the costs increase to $25,000 to $33,000. Tesla frequently offers installation or referral discounts, which can further decrease costs.
REC is one of the larger manufacturers of solar panels. The company prides itself on affordability, offering quality panels at reasonable rates. Both their TwinPeak and N-peak line of panels come with a 20-year product warranty, as well as an improved performance warranty. REC was the first company to use half-cut cells. This split module format increases shade tolerance and greatly improves solar efficiency. REC panels do not generate as much power as other solar providers, so it is best for smaller, residential buildings. The average cost for REC panels is between $2 to $3.5. Because of their strong reputation, many professional installation companies use REC panels.
LG is an industry leader in solar panels. LG uses high quality materials, which increases the cost of their panels, but also ensures they are powerful enough for larger homes and businesses. The higher quality N-cells are also designed to reduce light induced degradation, which increases efficiency and gives the panels a much longer life. At a minimum, you can expect 25 years of service from LG panels. Their most popular line is Neon H, which uses half-size cells, giving the panels a much sleeker appearance, as well as making installation easier. LG panels cost on average between $2.5 and $4 per watt.
Sunrun is one of the top solar installation companies in the United States. Sunrun specializes in customization. Every customer meets with a Sunrun consultant, who creates a custom installation plan. Consultants help you identify how much electricity you use each month, and pick out the panels best suited for your needs. Because each plan is customized, Sunrun does not have set installation rates, but on average, most customers pay between $12,000 and $15,000 for installation.
Federal Solar Tax Credit:
Currently the Federal government is offering a solar energy credit to qualifying residential solar users. This tax credit can be claimed on Federal Income tax returns, and helps cover part of the cost of solar panels. A solar panel system installed in a home (located in the United States) and generating electricity for the year qualifies for the tax credit. Systems installed in the years 2020 to 2022 qualify for a 26% tax credit. A system installed in 2023 will only qualify for a 22% tax credit. 2024 is the year this tax credit is set to expire, so 2023 is the last year to guarantee that a new solar system qualifies for this credit. You can learn more about the Federal Solar Tax Credit here.