5 Factors that Affect Your Total Solar Panel Installation Cost

“How much does solar panel installation cost?” It’s a question we hear all the time. The short answer is that it varies. There is no one size fits all approach to solar installation. The cost of your solar project will vary based on factors like:

  • How many solar panels do you need to meet your energy/financial goals?
  • Would you like your panels on a roof or on the ground?
  • What type/brand of panels and inverters would you like?
  • Do you want any addon options such as energy storage batteries or an electric vehicle charging station?
  • What solar incentives (rebates, tax credits, renewable energy credits) are you eligible for?

If you aren’t sure about the answer to any or all of these questions, don’t worry. Installing a solar energy system seems complicated to many. It doesn’t have to be. When you have the expertise of a turnkey solar installer like MOXIE, the process becomes clear and simple. Whether it’s your first contact with a sales representative or a question you have three years after installation, our in-house team will be there to give the straightforward guidance and education you need.

Here’s more information on those 5 key factors to consider when estimating the cost of a solar energy system.

1. How many solar panels do you need?

commercial solar system on rooftop

People often think of this question in the wrong terms. It’s not about how many square feet your house is or the total acreage of your farm. Rather, it’s about what it will take to achieve your goals for installing solar. Are you trying to offset your total energy consumption? Standardize some or all of your energy costs? Whatever your goals are it’s important to clearly define them because they will determine your total system size, which in turn will determine exactly how many solar panels you need.

2. Do you want rooftop panels or ground mount panels?

Most in-town homes have rooftop solar due to a lack of available ground space or the desire to keep as much usable ground space as possible. Large farms and commercial businesses often have the space for ground mount arrays. However, we have done plenty of ground-mount installs for residential homes and rooftop installs for farms and businesses. It all comes down to the size/layout of your property and available space on all roofs. A MOXIE surveyor will help you determine the most optimal panel placement based on daily sunlight exposure, and work with you to choose a final placement and mounting style you’re comfortable with.

3. What kind of panels and inverters would you like?

There are many options when it comes to choosing solar equipment. Monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, black-framed panels, silver-framed panels, 335-watt panels, 350-watt panels, Q-Cell brand panels, Mission brand panels, string inverters, microinverters, HD wave inverters – the list goes on and on. Not to mention racking and mounting hardware. Different types of equipment offer different performance capabilities and different price points. Our experts can explain your options and give recommendations on the best choice of equipment for your property and your budget.

4. Any add-on options like storage batteries or EV charging stations?

tesla powerwall backup battery

Once you have a solar energy system, you own direct access to an endless supply of renewable energy. Because of this, it often makes sense to store and utilize this energy to its fullest potential. Battery storage systems allow you to store excess solar energy to be used during a power outage or extra cloudy day. Investing in an electric vehicle and dedicated charging station will add to your upfront cost but pay off in the long run. Not only will your electric bill plunge, but you can completely forget about paying for gas and oil changes – forever!

5. How many solar incentives are you eligible for?

Chicago Solar Rebates for calculating cost of installing solar

Often overlooked, local and federal solar incentives are an important part of calculating your final solar panel installation cost. Of course, there is a big 26% federal tax credit for solar (which drops to 22% in 2021). There are also many other solar incentives at the state and sometimes city level. These incentives could be immediate cash rebates, tax breaks, or even renewable energy programs that earn you money. For example, in Illinois, residents with solar panels can earn money for producing solar energy through the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program. The value of all these incentives should be deducted from the cost of your system to reach your final solar panel installation cost.

Learn Your Exact Solar Panel Installation Cost Today!

Installing solar energy is an investment that has proven to pay off time and time again. In most cases, the system will completely pay for itself over the course of its life. Don’t be intimated by all the factors that affect the cost of solar and don’t rely solely on generalized online cost calculators. Be aware of the questions you should ask and then get the guidance of a real solar expert.

MOXIE is here to provide you with a no-obligation solar panel installation cost quote today, so you can make the best decision for tomorrow.