How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels?

We are not surprised that solar panels are popular in limitless applications and residential items. Cases in point include air conditioning, telecommunication equipment, cabin remote power programs, remote sensing, and commercial/residential electricity production.

Still, it’s not hard to find a newcomer who’s confused about the notion of the entire concept. How much are solar panels? What are the proper installation techniques to avoid accidents and further issues? 

Our insightful article will gladly help you tackle the question. Scroll for our analysis. 

A. How Expensive Are Solar Panels?

The average cost of solar panels (both the package and the setup) will cost you about $16,000. Still, depending on numerous primary factors (which we will discuss below), the number might stoop down to a mere $3,500 or rise to $35,000.

While these panels undoubtedly save you an insane amount of money, it’s important to do proper research and consult with the manufacturers about the prices, which helps you plan your budget better. 

Also, remember that the pricing estimates also vary across regions and states. For instance, areas with sunnier days and higher usage will already have built-in incentive programs, which can greatly cut off the cost. Other more financially-limited sites, meanwhile, cannot enjoy such a development level. 

1. Product Costs – Based on The Type of Panels

Monocrystalline Panel

In general, monocrystalline panels (which is the best energy-efficient option out of the bunch) demand $1 to $1.5 of cost per watt. What does that mean? It implies an outfitted 6kW system will fluctuate from $6000 to $9000.

Polycrystalline Panel

Less efficient than their monocrystalline counterparts – but still a great choice – polycrystalline alternatives often cost $0.9 to $1 per watt. Outfitting 6kW systems will charge you $5400 to $6000 in total. Compared to monocrystalline, it’s clearly among the better financing options!

Thin-Film Panel

Under most circumstances, thin-film panels run around $1 to $1.5 per watt, pricing an outfitted 6kW system $6000 to $9000. 

This number is affordable compared to many rivals on the market, but note that these panels often demand a huge amount of room. Due to that reason, they are mainly utilized within industrial settings. 

2. Installation Costs

Solar Installation Costs

Buying the panel is not the only step you should take; there is some money involved with the installation procedure, too, which can average between $15,000 to $25,000. 

Again, we must stress that the estimation can change depending on your location – since solar power in regions far from the equators will be much more expensive (ex: Alaska). Meanwhile, sun-drenched areas clearly do not need too many panels, saving quite a huge sum of money.

3. Other Additional Factors That Might Impact How Much You Pay

Aside from panel type and your location, numerous extra factors also play a role in how much the panels cost – and some of them have direct relations with your home’s electricity use. Check out this list of criteria to bear in mind when assessing the costs: 

The Solar Companies

How much the panels are priced depends on the utility company you pick. No two companies are the same, which is why they might issue widely different policies regarding installation prices, utility bills, and average payback periods. Research their services and profiles properly to choose a company best suited to your budget limits. 

Numbers, Weights, and Sizes of The Panels

While calculating your panel cost, it would be a deadly mistake to skip the panels’ number, weight, and size. To reach the most accurate estimation, ask yourself these critical questions: 

  • What is the amount of current energy usage in my household?
  • What is the amount of roof space I currently have?
  • How many sun hours can my home get?
  • What is the relative efficiency and wattage of the PV (photovoltaic) panels I am installing? 

Once satisfactory conclusions are reached, the rest of the process is a breeze. 

Tax Credit for Federal Solar

After installing the panel, you will earn a tax credit for federal solar energy. More specifically, you can get income tax credits, significantly reducing the tax bill! That’s another critical variable to help you calculate how deep the panels will dig into your pocket. 

Given that the solar system is brand new and has never been used before, you can apply for the ITC (Investment Tax Credits). The period runs from 1/1/2006 to 12/31/2003. Unless Congress decides to renew ITCs, they will expire around 2024.

Roof Pitches

Lastly, the roof’s features and characteristics also determine the overall price. Most solar companies will charge higher for complex roofs and difficult installations. So when buying a new house or moving into a new apartment, consider their roofs to cut off the energy cost if possible.

B. When Should You Install Them?

There is a common misconception that summer is the best season to install these devices. But to our surprise, experts have discovered that winter will be much more ideal, especially from a financial perspective. 

Why is that? There are much fewer demands for them during cold seasons, meaning the installation will cost much less in total. Even for those living in chilly/cloudy regions, the panels will still generate energy with ease – sometimes even more than in warmer months.

Aside from their cost-saving natures, winter installation is also more high-performing. Since most installation companies do not have many jobs off-season, they will likely set up your solar system faster, having it ready in a blink.

C. How to Install The Solar Panels By Yourself

Do you not want to count on installation companies? Follow this 14-step guide to have everything done yourself. 


  • Electric wiring tools
  • Metal saw (for cutting)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrench set
  • Chalk line
  • Drill (that has bits)
  • Marker or pencil
  • Tape measure


  • Electric wiring components
  • Heat sinks (optional)
  • Energy meter (optional)
  • Charge controller
  • Batteries
  • Power inverter
  • Roof sealant (silicone or roofing tar)
  • Racking system
  • Photovoltaic panels

Before You Start

Step 1. Double Check The Compatibility

Before you start, ensure your house is compatible with the new solar system. 

Assess if the roof is big enough or whether there is sufficient room for ground-level panels. In certain cases, you might have to trim branches, remove trees, or upgrade the electrical panel. On top of that, guarantee the roof is in great shape, without the need for replacement in the near future. 

Step 2. Choose The Sizes

Once certain about the house’s compatibility, it’s time to ask yourself which items or objects the system will provide energy for. Whether it’s some simple electric appliances or a power source big enough to support an entire company, it’s all your choice.

Step 3. Ask for Permits

Now apply for panel-building permits in your locality. Certain regions might also demand separate permissions for electrical setups. 

Usually, waiting for approvals and scheduling follow-up inspections are among the worst time-consuming periods of this project. Be patient!

Step 4. Enroll for Solar Incentives

Why don’t you try your best to utilize these solar investments? Incentive programs are the way to go.

These programs differ across local and state levels. Sometimes, even federal government incentives fluctuate. But all in all, their general aim is to gain your grants, rebates, or multiple-source tax credits to cut off upfront costs. 

That’s why we strongly suggest applying for them before the panel installation. Consider signing up for special solar loans to have enough financial support if needed. 

The Main Process

Step 5. Bring Out The Tools

Prepare all the tools and materials we already listed at the very beginning of this section.

Since panel requirements are not the same due to different locations and customer needs, you may have to order certain unique components for the project from retailers. If possible, order everything in one go to ensure your materials match each other well. 

Step 6. Set Up The Racking System

Calculate and outline these systems on your house’s roof (or the ground). Next, set up the racking metal system and follow the manufacturer’s manuals closely. Suppose there’s any hole visible through the roof shingles; seal it with silicone caulk or roofing tar.

Step 7. Set Up The Panels

Link the racking with your PV panels via the provided clamps, which help hold them firmly in place. After that, wire every panel to its adjacent counterpart. 

Step 8. Set Up The Heat Sink

Heat sinks are devices designed to reduce the generated heat from your panels. Even better, they boost the array efficiency as well. 

In a typical solar system, people often integrate heat sinks into the PV panels. Is that not what you want? Then adding external heat sinks is a must.

Step 9. Set Up The Battery Storage Bank

Produced energy that your house does not use immediately will be kept in battery banks – so that you can turn to them later when no sun is shining. Your job is to wire all batteries in a string, creating one huge battery in the process. 

Step 10. Set Up The Charge Controller

Charge controllers send electricity/power to the right place, allowing currents to enter the system into storage batteries. Place it between the battery bank and the panels, and you are all set. 

Step 11. Set Up The Power Inverter

All the energy that comes straight from the batteries and solar panel is DC (direct current) electricity, which must convert into AC (alternating current) for household wiring usage.

To achieve that feat, set up the power inverter right after the power controller and batteries. Set it in front of the house’s connection.

Step 12. Set Up The Energy Meter

Many standard solar systems involve energy meter usage, which enables average homeowners to see how much energy/electricity they are using and generating. It also tracks the energy sent to or needed from your power grid. 

Simply slide the meter into its blank slot to seal the deal.

Step 13. Inspect The Electrical Wiring

Before you start wiring the panel system around your house, check all the wiring again and confirm the system is grounded at the solar panel. Now, further inspection by professional municipal inspectors will be needed. 

Step 14. Link to The Electrical Panel

Lastly, wire your inverter to its electrical panel. There’s a detailed instruction manual for that task – which is not the same for every system type – so trace each step carefully.


1. Does Solar Energy Have Any Disadvantages?

There are two main drawbacks at play: Long ROI and high cost ranges for installation/materials. Nevertheless, thanks to the international and national average price reduction of solar throughout this last decade, it’s safe to say solar energy is growing more affordable compared to the past. 

Another minor downside is that since this energy is not yet 100% efficient, you will need a lot of space in the house.

2. What Is The Cost of One Singular Panel?

It weighs approximately 45 pounds, rates 200-350 watts, and demands $200 to $550 depending on efficiency and quality. Those numbers can roughly translate to $3 /watt for residential systems. Smaller systems may rise higher, and larger ones can lower. 

3. What Is The Cost of Going Solar in Tennessee?

By now, average costs for Tennessee regions are $3/ watt. Given a system of 5 kW, we can say solar installation here ranges from $12,000 to $17,000.

4. Are There Solar Tax Credits in Tennessee?

Yes. The region offers property tax assessments for certified energy efficiency proportionate to facilities’ values. Regarding solar panel systems, they have a maximum incentive return of 12.5% (compared to the original installed cost). 

5. Is Tennessee Solar Worth It?

Yes. The panel prices here have decreased by 80%, easing the financial burden on your shoulders. 


How much does it cost to install solar panels? Now you know it. Hopefully, our inclusive and well-researched guidelines have helped you clear your confusion. 

There are numerous key factors and criteria to consider when it comes to price deduction, which you should keep in mind during your shopping spree! Certain variables might seem irrelevant at first glance – like the roof pitch – can help you save quite a lot of money.

See more:

How to get free solar panels from the government?

Share on:

Alex Lewis

Alex Lewis

Petroleum Engineer At Rex Energy

I have worked in a variety of roles and professions, from quality engineering in the automotive industry to production engineer in the oil and gas sector. From a technical point of view, these roles have shown me how to design a process, ensure it is efficient and up to standard, and manage the execution of the said process from start to finish.

Leave a Comment

Related Articles