Solar Panels Cost Guide and Comparison

solar panel cost

Solar panels are the energy solution of the future. Many homeowners are investing in a solar panel system so they can entirely move off the grid and have no need to pay for utilities. This allows them to use energy from the sun while saving excess energy for later use. 

But how much will this eco-friendly solution cost? While many homeowners are enthusiastic about making the shift toward green energy solutions, they aren’t sure as to how much it will cost. Regardless, it’s a major investment that will not only generate a return, but will increase your property value in the event that you decide to sell it.  

How Much Does Solar Panel Installation Cost 

To begin with, let’s establish the units used to calculate the cost of installing solar panels. The simplest method for calculating the average price of solar panels is the unit dollars per watt. This is fairly consistent throughout the country. 

In 2019, the average solar panel cost across the country was almost $3/watt ($2.99 to be specific). In the U.S., solar panels have a size of 6 kilowatts on average. This means a solar panel system will cost you $12,558 on average after tax credits. 

When it comes to range, the average price for solar panels, per watt, falls between $2.58 and $3.38. Hence, after solar tax credits, U.S. homeowners pay between $10,836 and $14,196 for average solar panel installation. 

Different Solar Panel Systems 

While the concept of a solar panel system seems simple enough, it isn’t. There’s no one-size-fits-all design for solar panel systems, and the sort of upgrade you get can significantly impact your final cost. Besides size configurations, there are three main types of systems. These systems determine if your property will be completely powered through solar power or will rely on the grid as well. 

Off-Grid Solar

For starters, there’s the stand-alone power system, also known as an off-grid solar panel system. It’s not connected to the power grid, so you’ll need battery storage facilities. Contractors install your off-grid system so it creates sufficient energy to power your property through the year while sustaining battery capacity to meet your requirements, even during times when sunlight is minimal. 

Think of it this way; you’ll need to run your home on solar energy entirely because in the chance that you run out, you can’t rely on the grid. Hence, you need robust inverters and batteries, which incur a higher cost. Sure, the investment seems worthwhile, but you should know that off-grid systems are significantly expensive as opposed to on-grid ones. But even so, not even the biggest solar power enthusiasts get an off-grid system unless they live in remote areas based far away from the grid. 

Nonetheless, the costs associated with batteries for solar panel systems are decreasing steadily, so customers nowadays can choose from a growing market of battery systems for off-grid systems. In fact, the concept of off-grid setups is spreading to towns and cities located in close proximity to the grid. 

But even when it comes to stand-alone power systems, there are different components.  

Off-Grid with Backup Generator 

It would be ridiculously optimistic to presume that you’ll never see anything but sunny skies after getting an off-grid power system. Realistically, you’ll need to connect with a backup power source like a generator. The generator needs to have enough capacity to adequately supply your home with power while charging batteries at the same time. This capacity is proportional to the size, which is measured in kVA.

Off-Grid with Battery Bank 

The battery bank is what keeps the power running during the night and cloudy days. It works this way: during the day, different electronic appliances in your home will use up solar power, and your battery bank will store up any excess. Once the battery bank is fully charged up, it stops receiving power. Then, it starts powering appliances in your home when the solar panel system stops working such as at night or on cloudy days. 

Grid-Tie Solar 

Also called the on-grid solar panel system, it’s more common among homeowners looking to install solar panel systems than any other configuration. Most businesses and homes that are looking to go the clean energy route opt for grid-tie solar panel systems. These configurations don’t rely on batteries. Instead, they use simple inverters that are linked to the public power grid. Whenever your system generates excess solar power, it travels to the grid. For exporting energy to the grid, you’re paid through credits or feed-in-tariffs. 

During a blackout, grid-tie solar panel systems can’t generate electricity because of safety issues, unlike in hybrid systems. This is mainly due to the fact that blackouts happen when the electricity grid takes up damage; if you inverter would still supply electricity to a compromised grid, it could be potentially dangerous for the people fixing any issues in the network. The reason why we dais ‘unlike a hybrid’ is that hybrid solar systems connected to battery storage abilities can automatically isolate themselves from the grid. This is islanding, and during a blackout, they can continue feeding certain amounts of power as well. 

Grid-Tie Solar with Energy Storage 

These hybrid systems are a combination of grid-tie systems and battery storage, and they come in numerous different configurations. Since the cost of battery storage is reducing as more homeowners opt for it, grid-tie systems can start leveraging the battery storage function of off-grid systems as well. 

This allows them to save up solar energy that was produced during the day when the sun was up, for powering appliances at night. When this energy is all used up, grid-tie system users can rely on the grid as a back up support, so you have the best features of both systems. Not to mention, such hybrid systems can charge battery storage with off-peak electricity from the grid. 

Even hybrid systems have varying configurations but there are two main elements: the electricity grid with meter, and the battery bank. 

Electricity Grid with Meter 

Based on how your hybrid system is established and if your city’s utilities allow it, any extra power your solar system produces travels to the grid, after your batteries are completely charged, through the meter. When your solar panel system can’t produce energy and you’ve used up all the power in your batteries, you can start taking power from the grid to operate appliances. 

Top Brands to Buy Solar Panels

how much to install solar panels

If you have already estimated the costs and savings of solar panels for your house, it is the right time to move to the next step. You need to figure out which brand or company’s solar panels make the best choice to buy. 

Researching is essential to find out the solar panels that suit your needs the best. There is no denying that purchasing solar panels is a big investment as it produces energy for at least 25 years or maybe more.  And when you choose the best solar panel brand and install it properly, it can perform for years without any maintenance issues.   

The good news is that there are plenty of brands of solar panels that are reliable and trustworthy. However, when it comes to choosing the right brand of solar panels, it depends on what is important for you as a dweller. In general, you can consider the factors such as money value, popularity, expert assessment, and efficiency. 

Here we have rounded up some of the top-ranked choices of solar panels to help you make an informed decision before investing in the energy producers.

Sun Power

 Sun Power is one of the leading brands and has a large customer-buying for its excellent energy efficiency. It is the popular solar panel for residential properties with a record-breaking energy –efficiency that goes up to 28.3%. 

That means by buying Sun Power solar panel you not only get more energy for your home but also more flexibility and reduced electricity bills. An American energy corporation “SunPower” manufactures these solar panels. If you are looking for a solar panel that comes with lower degradation and a long-term performance warranty, SunPower makes the best choice.  The common feature of SunPower solar panel includes;

  • 400 V solar panels to give record-breaking power
  • next-generation solar cells with 65% bigger than traditional cells
  • Factory-integrated inverters for high efficiency  and  energy
  • Can blend symmetrically with all roof types

Pros

  • Delivers high-efficiency performance 
  • Can handle various temperature conditions
  • Reduces electricity bills
  • Low maintenance

Cons

  • High buying cost 

LG Solar

LG solar panel includes in one of those brands that have a sound corporate reputation because of their high-quality panels.  In experts’ opinion, LG solar panel is the best choice in terms of energy efficiency, and all-around performance.  

Providing 20.8% of panel efficiency, it can offer you a high-quality performance.  It is comparable to SunPower in many ways such as warranties and power-generating capacity. The common features include;

  • 375 W energy efficiency  
  • 6% more energy output and 86% standard panel guarantee
  • High Wind load capacity performance
  • High and improved temperature 

Pros

  • Expert’s choice for quality panels
  • Comes with corrosion resistance
  • Comes with various technical advantages for better performance
  • Warranty support

 Cons 

  • Like SunPower, this solar panel is costly as compared to other brands; especially if you are the first-time buyer.  

Panasonic

As the largest manufacturer, Panasonic is one of the popular choices when it comes to installing solar panels. Like LG solar panels, Panasonic solar panels are also veteran’s top choice for their high panel efficiency. 

However, the energy efficiency of Panasonic Solar panels depends on the model you choose. The average range of efficiency is 19.1% to 20%. Plus, low coefficient for temperature is another defining feature of the Panasonic solar panels. HIT technology and high electricity production are what make these solar panels a good choice for the homeowners. The pyramid structure of Panasonic solar panels  reduces reflection and allows more sunlight to go into solar cells to maximize the output.

  • HIT Solar Panel efficiency
  • 300W solar panels
  • Power tolerance up to 10%

Pros

  • High electricity output
  • Temperature coefficient for high performance
  • High-quality panels
  • comes with manufacturing excellence

Cons

  • some models are expensive as their price increases per watt

Canadian Solar

Offering a series of smart solar panels for commercial and residential properties, Canadian solar panels can be a suitable brand due to its high-efficiency rating. Although energy efficiency may vary and depends on different models, it generally falls within 15.8 %to 19%. Moreover,-0.37 the temperature coefficient and is ideal for you if you live in a hot area.   Some key features are

  • Low maintenance
  • 15.9 %  solar efficiency
  • Solar panel size CS6X-305M 

Pros

  • High-quality solar panels
  • Low temperature efficiency
  • Long-term warranty
  • Self-cleaning panels

Cons

  • Few options are available when it comes to contacting the solar panel company

Hanwha Q Cells

Hanwha Q Cells is an Australian solar panel company known for its highest production of gigawatts. The efficiency range of this solar panel is from 15.1% to 17.2% .Plus, with 270 to 280 W capacities, the energy panels give you a high performance and promises 83% of 25 years of warranty. These are photovoltaic solar panels and use advanced materials for solar cells to deliver a robust electricity output.

  • High energy efficiency 
  • 15.1% to 17.2% efficiency range
  • Made of photovoltaic products

Pros

  • High efficiency rating
  • Long-term warranty

Cons

  • Higher price as compared to other brands

Jinko Solar

If you want high-quality solar panels with PV modules, Jinko is an ideal choice. The solar panel comes with 18.33% of energy efficiency if you buy the premium module. The JKM315 model is the top range choice of Jinko solar series that comes with 318W energy capacity. The best part of buying Jinko solar panels is that they offer the lowest cost and can improve the financial performance of PV projects by enhancing the density of the system. 

The key features are; 

  • 16.5% energy efficiency 
  • 270W electricity output 
  • Low temperature efficiency

Pros 

  • Best for high volume residential properties
  • low maintenance 
  • Long-term 10 year warranty

Cons

  • Comes in a wide variety of modules that only company service system can fix for improved optimization
  • Some modules are expensive

SolarWorld

The SolarWorld group makes another environmentally friendly and reliable energy supply option worldwide. The German company has led the solar panels manufacturing presence in the USA.  

Although these panels have relatively less energy efficiency than the above-mentioned brands, it still includes some stellar properties that make it an expert’s choice. Its 300W monocrystalline panels offer 17.80% of energy efficiency. Plus, the company also provides a 25-year warranty of power output, which is one of the best output guarantees among other brands. Some common features include:

  • Best power tolerance
  • 18.335 panel efficiency from 300MS 

Pros

  • Have a reliable network of local installers
  • American-made 
  • Long-term warranty 

Cons

  • The initial purchasing cost is high 
  • Uses extra space 

 LONGi Solar 

The Chinese manufacturers design a technologically advanced monocrystalline, and reliable solar panels setup. These solar panels are the first developed M1, M2 mono wafers. Not only this, the P-Type PERC cell module of Longi solar panels have made the world record of the highest panel efficiency at 24.6 %. The laser grooving and passivated rear sides significantly improve the cells efficiency of these solar panels.

  • 18% energy efficiency
  • Designed a with PERC monocrystalline technology

Pros

  • Offers high-efficiency performance 
  • Value-based pricing 
  • Modules are high-watt to reduce energy bills

Cons

  • High installation cost

 REC Group 

One of the largest European solar panels, REC group is a good choice when it comes to buying high-efficiency solar panels. The manufacturer makes six modules of solar panels and energy efficiency depends on the module you purchase.

However, the average efficiency of the REC group is 15.2% to 20.7%.  The temperature coefficient of REC group solar panels ranges from-0.26 to 0.40. 

  • Innovative half-cut cell module comes with high energy efficiency
  • High-efficiency PERC cell structure 
  • Alpha series have a standard frame design with 7000P front load 

Pros

  • High-performance 275W power output 
  • Long-term warranty 
  • Recognized DNV-GL solar panels
  • Low-failure rates

Cons

  • Expensive maintenance

Tesla Solar 

The impressive and unique design is the feature that sets Tesla Solar panels apart from other panels. The sleek, black finishing makes a classic design that adds to the overall curb appeal of your house.  It is worth noticing that 

Tesla is in a partnership contract with Panasonic- an electronic giant.  It helps Tesla solar Company install high-grade HIT cells in the panels. The amorphous and crystalline technology of HIT cells helps panels convert more of sunlight into electricity.  The key features include 

  • 19.4 % energy efficiency
  • HIT technology in solar cells 
  • 258% temperature coefficient 

Pros

  • Impressive sleek black design
  • Better performance than traditional crystalline cells
  • High-performance energy 

Cons

  • Not ideal for all types of roof 

Trina Solar

 A value-based, quality solar panel solution, Trina Solar is popular to provide more than 45GW of solar panels across the world.  Trina solar has set some high benchmarks that ensure everything from efficiency, and high quality, to efficiency when it comes to meeting standards of industry.  

  • 18.83% of energy efficiency rates 
  • 25 years of performance value 

Pros

  • Strict quality control
  • Reliable and competent operation teams to handle PV projects

Cons

  • Slightly below energy efficiency level as compared to other solar panels 

Comparing Different Manufacturers

Since you know some of the top manufacturers making solar panels around the world, you might find choosing the best one overwhelming. Read the comparison on different manufacturers below to buy the solar panel that makes a reliable long-term investment.

Full-Sized Panels 

price of solar panels

The Solar panels of Panasonic N series can be a good choice in terms of efficiency. With its 330watts monocrystalline full-sized solar panel system, Panasonic has become a number one choice. -0.29% temperature coefficient makes Panasonic equally comparable with the top brand SunPower. Panasonic also scores well when you make the price comparison. The company makes solar panels slightly cheaper than SunPower, making it the second-best electronic brand. 

LG solar panels (Neon series) also offer high-quality performance with 19.5% conversion and 18.6% efficiency of irradiation. The company is included in the top 5 percent of module-level manufacturers.

 Like Panasonic, LG’s conglomerate power and robust performance are the reasons why it is the second-best manufacturer of full-sized solar panels. The Neon 2 series of LG comes with an integrated technology “Cello” that reduces internal resistance and allows them to improve efficiency.

System Costs 

How much does a solar panel cost?

It is, without a doubt, one of the common questions that comes to mind when you decide to purchase a solar panel.

The given details on panel pricing will give you a brief overview of the cost of solar panels. 

Grid-Tied 

Many people do not know that solar panels represent only the half cost of the total price of the entire system.  Racking and inverters are the other parts that contribute to the total price panel.

Let’s look at the given price of grid-tie systems. We have included the prices of buying system equipment in this chat, but it does not include installation and shipping costs. If you do not know the size of panel system your home needs, check your electric bill for kilowatt hour usage. Put that information into a solar panel cost calculator to find out the right size system for your monthly usage. 


System Size

Cost-per-Wat

Cost (with tax credit)

Monthly Output
2.76 KW$1.81$3,691374KWh
3.45 kW$1.67$4,268468kWh
4.14kW$1.58$4,846562 kWh
5.18kW$1.55$5,947702 kWh
6.9 kW$1.48$7,567936 kWh
8.2kW$1.46$8,9421,123 kWh

Off-Grid

Off-grid panel systems are pricier than installing grid-tied as you need to buy batteries for storing generated energy. And batteries can be a significant expense. According to our estimation, an average user might have to spend at least $80,000 to $14,000 to power a 6 kW system during the first few years of ownership. 

The given chart shows the purchase cost of an off-grid solar panel system with an average-sized battery. Although lithium batteries are more costly as compared to lead-acid batteries, they level out the price in the long run as they last 3 to 4 times longer than acid batteries.

Take a look at the solar panel options paired with the cheapest battery bank. The chart shows a comparison of lithium batteries Vs. lead-acid batteries to calculate battery cost for your off-grid system.


System Size

Cost-per-Wat

Cost (with tax credit)

Daily Output in Winter

Daily Output in Summer
1.2kW $6.60$5,0582.7 kWh5.4 kWh
1.8 kW$4.95$5,5034.05 kWh8.1 kWh
2.7 kW$3.63$6,1636.07 kWh12.15 kWh
3.6 kW$3.37$6,8578.1 kWh16.2 kWh
4.5kW$2.97$7,78310.12 kWh20.25 kWh
5.4 kW$3.11$10,29412.15 kWh24.3 kWh

Installation Costs 

The installation cost of solar panels via national solar installer is often high:  they charge an installation fee 100 to 200 percent of the total equipment cost. 

Simply put, a big solar installer can charge up to $20,000 to $30,000 to install your panel system that you can easily get for $10,000 to $12,000 from the distributor.

Know that the cost of solar panels installation depends on the work you want to take up on yourself. The   best way to keep the cost low is to buy your panel system from the distributor directly and perform all the DIY installation yourself. You can also take the services of a local panel contractor to get some help.

Moreover, you can take help from tech support team or watch instructional videos on YouTube. There are tons of examples of people who spent less than $8,000 on installing solar panels.  And that also includes labor costs. 

Even a local contractor can charge you an amount between 70 cents or a dollar per watt. They will install the solar system for around $5,000 to $6,000 which makes the half of the amount you pay to a high-grade installer. 

How to Choose a Contractor for Solar Panel Installation 

  • What locations do they serve?

This is undeniably one of the important points when you start looking for the best solar panel installers. 

Typically, the closer the location is, the better it will be for you.  Once you have bought the solar panels, the installer’s location plays a vital role in making the whole installation a success.  

When you choose a solar panel installer who is close to your location, he is well aware of building codes and local rebates of your area. That will help you save a lot of dollars in future. Plus, a local solar panel installer knows which building permits are right to apply and what paperwork you need to do.

Additionally, there are electrical codes in every location that solar panels require to meet to function properly. And only a local solar panel installer has adequate experience to guide you on that. He is able to resolve local trade matters related to your installation.

  • Do they have insurance? 

Know that good solar installers always include all essential insurance policies. These policies may vary by local jurisdiction and state.  At a minimum, your solar panel installer must have liability insurance. 

  • Do they offer a warranty?

Remember that performance warranty and power output on solar panels are also important components to consider when choosing a contractor for installation. The average performance warranty lasts 35 years and this warranty covers maintenance and repairs of silicon cells. 

Plus, the workmanship may also cover other solar panel components such as laminate, backing, and glass. Although these components of solar panels rarely get damaged, they can cause significant loss in electric generation.

  • Look through inverter options

Linked to the last point, inverter is one of the most important parts of a solar pane as it continually works to convert the DC power into utility frequency AC power. It wouldn’t be wrong if we say inverter is the brain of your solar system. It also enables monitoring so owners and installers can check the system’s performance. However, inverter is more susceptible to damage and that is what makes looking through the quality and warranties of an inverter of your solar panel extremely important.

  • Check their credibility and experience 

The growing industry of solar panels is attracting professionals and installers from a wide variety of backgrounds. That means you may find many contractors in the industry who have been doing other types of roofing projects. 

Checking the track record, experience, and expertise of the solar panels installer is imperative before hiring them. Make sure you go through the reviews and feedback from the previous clients. It will help you evaluate installers’ credibility.  

Look for the gold standard such as certification from NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioner) or Solar PV to assess the expertise of your chosen solar installers. These certifications provide homeowners a quality assurance for every part and system that the contractor installs.

  • Be wary of salesmen offering ‘a single solution

Is your prospective installer promoting high-quality products, along with a range of offering to cater for the specific requirements? 

If yes, then be wary of a salesman offering “a single solution”.  There often multiple options for your property and you should have the opportunity to choose the best option for your home.

It is worth noticing that every solar panel setup varies drastically. It is based on the specific selection of product and discussing the specific options of solar panel set up with your installer clearly is of paramount importance before signing on the dotted lines.

Financing Options for Solar Panel Installation 

The community and financial advantages of the solar energy system have made an attractive option. If you do not want to purchase a solar energy system on cash, there are two solar financing options you can use to make this upfront investment.

Solar Loans

Solar loans are a great panel financing option to buy your solar energy system. It can help you finance the cost of the entire solar system. You can secure and unsecure these loans by using any property you have. Solar loan process has the same structure, conditions, and terms as other property improvement loans. In some states, you can get a subsidized solar energy loan that has less market interest rates.  

Solar PPAs and Leases

PPAs (Power Purchase Agreement) and leases are like renting a solar PV system. You receive plenty of financial benefits from the solar energy system through solar leases without paying installation charges.   

However, to avail this financing option, homeowners need a third party to install a solar energy system at their house. In exchange, homeowners agree to make a payment that is below the market rate to be able to use the electricity. This option can help homeowners save 10 to 30% on their electricity bills without making any upfront investments.

The third-party owner, in this case, is responsible for repairing and maintaining the panels. When the lease ends, TPO will sell the solar energy system to the homeowner at the market value rate. 

Factors That Impact Cost of Solar Panels 

Supply Vs. Demand 

Supply Vs. Demand is the big factor to consider when it is about evaluating the impact on the solar panel cost. Because panel manufacturers can trade them by the containers, the cost of 60 to 72 cell panels is less. 

This is one of the reasons these panels are common, and people use them widely.  It is important to know that the scale economies can drive solar panels manufacturing costs down. This makes the cost-per-watt on these panels comparatively much lower.

Advancements in Technology 

Know that solar panels have their own growth trajectory. But technological advancements always have an impact on panel prices. Thank advanced technology that has caused drops of 6 to 8 percent per year.

For instance, Astronergy solar panels were $275 in 2012. Today, the buyer can purchase a 345W solar panel of Astronergy for just $242.  

In short, technological advancement has made solar panels way more affordable.

Panel Material

The panel material is another significant factor impacting the price of solar panels. The newer variations in panel technology, such as half-cut cells and PERC, have made solar panels more efficient. You can check the price specification based on mono or poly panels.

Subsidies, Tariffs, and other Market Forces 

Political influence, tariffs, regulations, and subsidies on the solar industry have caused an uptick in prices. However, long-term trends demonstrate that the prices of solar panels are consistently dropping.

Wattage

When you compare solar panel prices, cost-per-watt is the metric to go by. Focus on per watt output of your solar panel system when building it on your property. The physical size of a solar panel does not change, but their efficiency is dynamic. That means squeezing more efficiency from each cell is possible for more production.

Where Panels Are Manufactured 

This is another significant factor that affects the cost of solar panels. For example, American panels are costlier than the ones imported from countries like Germany and China. It is because American-made goods have a high manufacturing cost, and that is due to high labor charges.

Astronergy panels, for example, are cheaper than manufacturers like SolarWorld. Astronergy imports its manufacturing plants from overseas, whereas SolarWorld makes its panels in the USA.   

Solar Shingles 

solar panel install cost

 Since you have developed a good understanding of Solar panels, it is time to talk about some variations of this sun-powered electrical solution.  

Solar shingles are integrated photovoltaic (PV) products. That means shingles can generate electricity directly from sunlight. They are manufactured with special materials that have a natural electronic process in the sunlight.

The best of choosing solar shingles is that they have the same appearance as roof shingles. Only a close up look could tell they are more than the shingles. You can use solar shingles for both residential and commercial properties to generate more electricity.

Both solar shingles and Solar panels use the same material, including photosensitive waterproof products, and wires that generate current in the presence of sunlight. The same materials protect your roof from harmful outdoor elements. Solar panels and solar shingles have quite a similar operating system.

The only difference they have is COST.  Solar shingles have a dual purpose. They not only generate electricity but also serve as shingles, and that is what reduces their price.  However, solar panels are for only generating electricity.

You can consider the following solar shingle manufacturers to buy high-quality solar shingles. 

Tesla Solar Shingles/ Roofing

Tesla solar shingles are some of the most elite solar roofs in the market.  It is the giant manufacturer with some shiniest extras such as Tesla Powerwall battery and high-tech monitoring app for android and iPhone.

Tesla manages everything from designing projects to roof installation to the removal of the old roof. Its 30 years warranty and resilient roofing materials are the defining features. 

CertainTeed Solar Shingles

If you are looking for a solar shingle with sustainable structures, CertainTeed makes the right choice. The company not only specializes in making conventional roofing but also manufacturing Apollo II solar tiles. These shingles are worth the money because they can withstand 250 pounds per sq.ft and winds up to 160 mph.

RGS Energy

The Powerhouse is the official solar shingle that RGS Energy has recently taken over. The solar shingles come with a monitoring system that displays the energy production of your solar system.

GAF Roofing System

GAF is another leading choice when it comes to picking reliable roofing manufacturers in North America. It is the standard industry family and the part of the biggest roofing business. GAF specializes in making high-performing commercial and residential roofing products.  They are experts in solar shingle installation and saving on electricity.  

Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels

As mentioned above, solar shingles and solar panels have almost the same function, but there are some key differences you must know before making the final decision.

  • Aesthetics

One of the prominent differences between solar panels and solar shingles is aesthetics.  Solar panels make an unseemly addition to the roof because they are bulky. Solar shingles, on the other hand, blend perfectly into all types of roof design.

  • Installation

The installation process of both is also different.  Solar panels are easy-to-install on any roof as long as it is in good condition and receives adequate sunlight. Solar shingles, however, require homeowners to construct a new roof.

  • Longevity

Although comparing the longevity of solar panels and solar shingles is complicated, solar panels are very well proven to maintain energy efficiency for at least 25-years.  But solar shingles’ longevity depends on its installer and manufacturer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Solar Panels have a specific life span?

This is one of the common questions that come to mind when you think about installing a solar panel system. As a homeowner, it’s likely that you’ll be concerned about the longevity of your solar panel system. To answer the question precisely, yes, solar panels do have a lifespan.

However, what is worth noticing here is that this low-maintenance and environmentally friendly smart renewable source’s average life span depends on o multiple factors.

For example, warranty, basic material maintenance, and the manufacturer you have chosen are some of the important things you need to consider when estimating the life span of your solar panel.
Know that an average manufacturer generally offers a minimum of 25- years’ warranty.

But that does not mean that your solar panel will not work after 25 years. And luckily, you can do several things to preserve the solar paneling. Some easy options include avoiding physical damages o and keeping up with maintenance.

How are solar panels rated?

Manufacturers test different conditions of solar panels to rate them. But the question is which rating is important to consider. Some of these ratings include

STC – Standard Test Conditions refers to measuring in lab conditions.
The PTC-Photovoltaic USA refers to energy ratings

The rating basically works through several variables to evaluate the functions of solar panels in real-world conditions. For example, STC evaluates solar panels in the solar simulator which is commonly called flash tester. During this testing, testers evaluate panels in the presence of artificial sunlight that simulates specific conditions in which panel squarely faces the sun.

Some of the standard testing conditions are;

Temperature = 25°C / 77 degrees F
Air Mass = 1, 5 AM (Air Mass, it measures air thickness in the atmosphere. (Equator=1 AM
Solar Irradiance =1000 W/m²

The PTC includes a few extra variables when the tester measures the solar panel level.

It still uses 1,000 W/PM variables and 1.5 air mass. Besides this, it also sets temperature that goes up to 20°C, when positioned at 33 ft above the ground level, with a wind speed of 1.5 meters.

Remember that solar panel rating is quite helpful when it comes to evaluating the panel options. It can help you decide which solar panel will perform better and generate energy.

What components make solar cells work?

Solar cells are the basic component that converts the sun’s energy into electricity. Whether you embed them in the calculator, lay them on the roof, or let them orbit the earth, they follow the same principle.

Precisely, the sun emits the photons and provides the power that is required to use on Earth. When sun-emitted photons strike silicon atoms, they release electrons. And these electrons provide energy.

How can I differentiate between regular solar panels and high-efficiency solar panels?

One key component that differentiates high-efficiency solar panels from regular solar panels is their production of watts per sq.ft. High-efficiency solar panels are mono-crystalline and can generate more watts as compared to the regular ones, which are poly-crystalline. High-efficiency solar panels make a good choice for your roof is small but energy bills are high.

What competitive cost do I have to pay per watt?

The competitive cost depends on equipment type, upgraded electrical service requirements, roof mount, and market.

What size of solar system is right for me?

If you use 1000 kHz electricity every month, it makes 12,000 kHz per year. 1kw of energy (considering panel wattage and number of panels) produces 1500 kWhs per year. Let’s estimate it like a math problem: 12000 kwhs produces 1500 kWhs per year. It is equal to an 8 or 8kw system. It generally offsets 100% of usage. That means to get 80% of energy, take a solar panel of 8x .8 equals to 6.4kw energy system to make 80% of usage.

How can I produce more solar energy to earn from the utility company?

It is worth mentioning that the utility company buys back energy at the same power cost you have bought it under Net Metering. That means when a homeowner produces 1 more Kwh than he/she consumes, it may plummet the ROI with the buyback rate of %0.5.

Is it possible to get relaxation in lease payment throughout the year?

Yes, homeowners can pay a monthly amount when their billing cycle ends or they can pay directly at the year-end. There can manage paying through different variations in the month.

If I live in a rented property, can I install solar panels?

No, it is not possible. However, installing solar-powered lighting on the walkway can be one of the options. A landlord can install solar if he/she needs tax credits but signing a solar contract is a must.

If trees surround my house, will it cause problems in solar energy generation?

They make a problem. If your house is shady because of grove or palms s in the front yard, it may affect the production of electricity. Solar panel generates most of the power between 8am and 4pm (the peak hours). It starts to drop off when sun sets. So if you have trees, they may obstruct the sunlight path to the solar panels.

What is the best way to finance solar panel?

If you have cash, it is without a doubt a great resource. But if it is scarce, you can use H.E.R.O or discuss with your credit union (solar loans). You can also opt for a leases product.

What will be my lease structure?

With a 2.9% of escalator rate, your lease payment can start from $6 per month for each panel. That means if you have 20 panels, you will pay $120 monthly. For $3k down lease structure in 0% escalator rate, you will have to pay $5 per solar panel monthly. Know that there are plenty of variables for payment amount and rate escalator you can choose.

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