Residential Solar Panel Cost Guide: All You Need to Know in 2022

Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular in US homes. In 2021, the US installed more than 500,000 home solar systems in the same year for the first time, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Electricity is also becoming more expensive each month: there was a 12% increase in average kilowatt-hour prices between May 2021 and May 2022, making solar power an even more attractive investment for homes and businesses.

A solar panel system can seem expensive when you only consider its upfront cost, but the savings achieved over time are much higher. Also, a home solar system has minimal maintenance requirements, and you can get excellent warranty coverage if you use high-quality brands.

In this guide, we will discuss the typical cost of installing solar panels in a US home, based on the data provided from three reliable sources:

The exact cost of going solar depends on several factors, including your location and the condition of your roof. However, US homeowners can normally expect to pay between $2.50 and $3.50 per watt of installed capacity. Your out-of-pocket cost can be much lower if your state government or utility company has an incentive program for solar panels.

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Are Solar Panels Worth the Cost? All You Need to Know

If you’re a homeowner who is considering a solar power system, you probably have a few questions to get out of the way before reaching a final decision. Getting familiarized with the technical features of solar panels is a good start, since you will know what they can do and what they cannot.

You should also consider the decision from a financial standpoint: having an idea of typical costs and savings is helpful.

There are many solar panel brands in the market, and their products look similar. High-quality solar brands are more expensive, but their benefits outweigh their higher price:

  • A typical service life of 25 years or more, covered by a warranty.
  • You get solar panels that meet international standards, which have been tested for electrical safety and fire safety.
  • There are many qualified vendors and installers, approved by the top solar brands.

Unlike many other home improvements, solar panels are characterized by their predictable costs. The exact price will depend on the brand and installer, but many home solar systems fall in the range of $2.5 to $3.5 per watt of installed capacity. This means that prices between $15,000 and $21,000 are typical for a 6-kilowatt installation.

In the US, you get a percentage of this investment back as a federal tax credit, depending on the installation date: 26% for 2022, and 22% for 2023.

The savings achieved by solar panels are much more variable since they depend on external factors. Solar savings are determined in great part by local sunshine and electricity prices. Each PV module generates more kilowatt-hours if the local weather is sunny, and each kWh is worth more when electricity is expensive.

Here we will discuss solar panels from an investment standpoint, comparing their typical costs and savings. We will also discuss their pros and cons, providing useful facts for homeowners who are considering solar energy.

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Most Efficient Rooftop Solar Panels for Homes in 2022

In simple terms, the efficiency of a solar panel can be described as the percentage of incoming sunlight that gets converted into electricity. High efficiency modules tend to be more expensive, but they also use space more efficiently, generating more watts per square foot covered. This is a major benefit when you have limited roof space for solar panels, or when you want an installation to be as compact as possible.

source: SunPower

When comparing solar panels, keep in mind that efficiency is not equivalent to product quality. You can also find lower efficiency solar panels of great quality, in case you have ample rooftop space and want to reduce your total project cost. Do keep in mind that you will get fewer kilowatt-hours per square foot with less-efficient modules.

Here we will review the top 5 most efficient solar panels available in 2022, and the typical costs you can expect when purchasing them. We will also highlight other strong points they offer, in addition to high efficiency. The most efficient solar panels that are commercially available range from 21% to 23%, with SunPower leading the way at 22.8% conversion efficiency.

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