Coming up with a solar panel cost per square foot for estimating purposes can help with choosing renewable power early in the process. Here are some rules of thumb for estimating copied from this website: https://homeguide.com/costs/solar-panel-cost#square. Check with your utility or regional databases and definitely talk with a qualified solar provider to get an accurate number for your final design.

Solar Panel Cost - Commercial

A 10 kW to 2 MW commercial solar panel system costs $1.83 per watt before any tax rebates or incentives. Larger fixed-tilt or one-axis tracking utility-scale systems greater than 2 MW cost $1.06 per watt on average.

Commercial solar installation costs for small and mid-sized businesses range from $43,000 for a 25 kW system up to $175,000 for a 100 kW system. Businesses recover about 45 percent of solar panels costs within the first year through tax credits and rebate programs.

COMMERCIAL SOLAR PANEL COST

System Size

Average Cost Before Tax Credits

25 kW

$43,500 to $56,000

50 kW

$87,500 to $113,000

100 kW

$175,000 to $225,500

250 kW

$437,000 to $563,500

Solar Panel Cost - Residential

The first step to calculating your solar panel costs is to estimate the system size you need. The average residential installation is 3 kW to 10 kW depending size, location, and energy needs.

Prices below include the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which reduces your overall costs by 30%. Additional solar incentives and rebates are available from individual states, utilities, and local governments, which further reduce your total costs.

SOLAR PANEL COST CALCULATOR

System Size

Before Tax Credit

After 30% Tax Credit

2 kW

$5,060 – $6,300

$3,542 – $4,410

3 kW

$7,590 – $9,540

$5,313 – $6,615

4 kW

$10,120 – $12,600

$7,084 – $8,820

5 kW

$12,650 – $15,750

$8,855 – $11,025

6 kW

$15,180 – $18,900

$10,626 – $13,230

7 kW

$17,710 – $22,050

$12,397 – $15,435

8 kW

$20,240 – $25,200

$14,168 – $17,640

10 kW

$25,300 – $31,500

$17,710 – $22,050

12 kW

$30,360 – $37,800

$21,252 – $26,460

15 kW

$37,950 – $47,250

$26,565 – $33,075

20 kW

$50,600 – $63,000

$35,420 – $44,100

25 kW

$63,250 – $78,750

$44,275 – $55,125

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

The average family uses 11,000 kWh per year and needs 26 to 33 solar panels to power the whole house. One solar thermal panel generates enough energy to power a hot water heater for a family of four. The number of panels needed depends on your location and roof size.

Most states have a solar production ratio of 1.3 to 1.6, which means an 8kW system produces 30% more energy, or 10,600 kWh annually on average. To calculate how many solar panels you need, look at your annual kWh (kilowatt-hours) usage on your utility bills and referenced the table and map below.

SOLAR PANELS NEEDED TO POWER A HOUSE

System Size

Panels Needed

Average kWh Produced Annually

2 kW

6 – 8

2,652

3 kW

10 – 12

3,978

5 kW

16 – 21

6,630

6 kW

20 – 25

7,956

8 kW

26 – 33

10,608

10 kW

33 – 41

13,260

12 kW

40 – 49

15,912

15 kW

50 – 61

19,890

18 kW

59 – 73

23,868

Table based on 250 watt panels at average solar production ratios of 1.3 to 1.6.

Where you live is a significant factor when estimating how many solar panels you need to power your house. Regions with less sunlight require larger systems to produce 100% of their energy needs.

Using the map below, take the number written in your shaded region and multiply by the estimated size of your system in kW. Then, multiply this number by 0.78 to account for inefficiencies and energy conversion losses.

For example, let's say you live in Texas with a score of 1700, and you believe you'll need an 8 kW system. This formula calculates a good estimate on how much electricity (kWh) your 8 kW system will produce annually.

1700 × 8 kW × 0.78 = 10,608 kWh

Below are the rough calculations which estimate the system size needed in each region to produce 11,000 kWh for the average home.

SOLAR SYSTEM SIZE NEEDED TO PRODUCE 11,000 KWH ANNUALLY

Region

System Size (kW)

1200

11.75 kW

1300

10.85 kW

1400

10.07 kW

1500

9.40 kW

1600

8.81 kW

1700

8.30 kW

1800

7.84 kW

1900

7.42 kW

2000

7.05 kW

2100

6.71 kW

Solar Panel Cost Per Watt

Residential solar panels cost $2.53 to $3.15 per watt, with most homeowners spending $2.70 per watt on average before any tax credits or incentives. Commercial solar costs $1.83 per watt on average. Solar systems have ratings based on the electricity produced annually in average conditions.

Solar Energy Cost Per kWh

Residential solar energy costs $0.08 to $0.10 per kWh on average, and commercial or utility-scale solar power costs $0.06 to $0.08 per kilowatt-hour. Prices include the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) and vary drastically based on the amount of sunlight and type of solar panels installed.

SOLAR PANEL COST PER WATT & KWH

Unit

Residential

Commercial

Per kWh

$0.08 – $0.10

$0.06 – $0.08

Per Watt

$2.53 – $3.15

$1.06 – $1.83

These figures represent the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), which is the average revenue per unit of electricity generated that would be required to recover the costs of the solar panels over their life expectancy. Consult with solar installers to calculate savings.

Cost of Solar Panels Per Square Foot

The cost of solar panels to power your house are $4 to $10 per square foot. However, most installers estimate solar costs by the amount of energy needed, at $2.53 to $3.15 per watt before any tax credits or incentives.

Below are cost estimates based on home size. Overall costs depend on the type of solar panels, the size and design of your roof, and your energy needs.

COST TO INSTALL SOLAR PANELS ON HOUSE

Home Size (SF)

Average Cost

1,000

$4,760 – $5,950

1,500

$7,140 – $8,925

2,000

$9,520 – $11,900

2,500

$11,900 – $14,875

3,000

$14,280 – $17,850

Residential Cost of Solar Panels By State

The average cost of solar varies significantly per state but overall is affordable. The local cost of electricity influences the cost of solar per watt in your area. Below are the average prices per watt and by system size across the United States, including the 30% federal solar rebate.

COST OF SOLAR PANELS BY STATE

State

Per Watt

6 kW System

10 kW System

Alabama

$2.02 – $2.85

$12,120 – $17,100

$20,200 – $28,500

Alaska

$2.23 – $3.13

$13,380 – $18,780

$22,300 – $31,300

Arizona

$1.88 – $2.35

$11,286 – $14,118

$18,810 – $23,530

Arkansas

$2.42 – $2.74

$14,520 – $16,440

$24,200 – $27,400

California

$1.82 – $2.29

$10,926 – $13,758

$18,210 – $22,930

Colorado

$1.96 – $2.39

$11,730 – $14,310

$19,550 – $23,850

Connecticut

$1.99 – $2.49

$11,994 – $14,994

$19,990 – $24,990

Washington D.C.

$1.75 – $2.57

$10,518 – $15,450

$17,530 – $25,750

Delaware

$1.95 – $2.13

$11,742 – $12,810

$19,570 – $21,350

Florida

$1.48 – $2.09

$8,880 – $12,552

$14,800 – $20,920

Georgia

$1.91 – $2.14

$11,448 – $12,852

$19,080 – $21,420

Idaho

$2.03 – $2.22

$12,162 – $13,314

$20,270 – $22,190

Illinois

$2.01 – $2.52

$12,078 – $15,162

$20,130 – $25,270

Indiana

$2.07 – $2.49

$12,444 – $14,940

$20,740 – $24,900

Iowa

$2.20 – $2.38

$13,200 – $14,268

$22,000 – $23,780

Kansas

$1.49 – $2.06

$8,940 – $12,360

$14,900 – $20,600

Kentucky

$2.35 – $3.04

$14,100 – $18,240

$23,500 – $30,400

Louisiana

$1.77 – $2.33

$10,644 – $13,980

$17,740 – $23,300

Maine

$1.85 – $2.35

$11,100 – $14,100

$18,500 – $23,500

Maryland

$1.67 – $2.16

$10,026 – $12,942

$16,710 – $21,570

Massachusetts

$1.94 – $2.37

$11,628 – $14,376

$19,380 – $23,960

Michigan

$1.99 – $2.50

$11,976 – $14,976

$19,960 – $24,960

Minnesota

$2.01 – $2.37

$12,000 – $14,244

$20,000 – $23,740

Mississippi

$1.98 – $2.75

$11,880 – $16,500

$19,800 – $27,500

Missouri

$1.71 – $2.42

$10,260 – $14,520

$17,100 – $24,200

Montana

$1.86 – $2.34

$11,148 – $14,064

$18,580 – $23,440

Nebraska

$1.74 – $2.88

$10,440 – $17,280

$17,400 – $28,800

Nevada

$1.92 – $2.13

$11,526 – $12,762

$19,210 – $21,270

New Hampshire

$1.97 – $2.55

$11,796 – $15,300

$19,660 – $25,500

New Jersey

$1.76 – $2.35

$10,530 – $14,118

$17,550 – $23,530

New Mexico

$2.02 – $2.73

$12,102 – $16,362

$20,170 – $27,270

New York

$1.80 – $2.64

$10,824 – $15,840

$18,040 – $26,400

North Carolina

$1.73 – $2.27

$10,380 – $13,632

$17,300 – $22,720

North Dakota

$1.39 – $1.97

$8,340 – $11,820

$13,900 – $19,700

Ohio

$1.79 – $2.29

$10,740 – $13,740

$17,900 – $22,900

Oklahoma

$1.88 – $3.34

$11,280 – $20,040

$18,800 – $33,400

Oregon

$1.63 – $2.20

$9,804 – $13,224

$16,340 – $22,040

Pennsylvania

$1.80 – $2.60

$10,782 – $15,630

$17,970 – $26,050

Rhode Island

$2.08 – $2.44

$12,492 – $14,652

$20,820 – $24,420

South Carolina

$1.92 – $2.38

$11,544 – $14,292

$19,240 – $23,820

South Dakota

$1.88 – $2.93

$11,280 – $17,580

$18,800 – $29,300

Tennessee

$1.30 – $1.97

$7,800 – $11,820

$13,000 – $19,700

Texas

$1.75 – $2.15

$10,494 – $12,906

$17,490 – $21,510

Utah

$1.83 – $2.41

$10,950 – $14,454

$18,250 – $24,090

Vermont

$1.79 – $2.58

$10,716 – $15,480

$17,860 – $25,800

Virginia

$1.69 – $2.11

$10,134 – $12,630

$16,890 – $21,050

Washington

$1.71 – $2.19

$10,278 – $13,110

$17,130 – $21,850

West Virginia

$2.17 – $3.38

$13,020 – $20,280

$21,700 – $33,800

Wisconson

$2.11 – $2.42

$12,666 – $14,490

$21,110 – $24,150

Wyoming

$2.39 – $2.78

$14,340 – $16,680

$23,900 – $27,800

Average Solar Panel Installation Costs By Brand

Below are total installation costs for 6kW and 10kW residential solar systems by brand which includes the 30% tax credit. Most solar manufacturers offer similar pricing, however, the price you pay is typically reflective of panel quality.

SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION COST BY BRAND

Manufacturer

Per Watt

6 kW System

10 kW System

Axitec

$1.57 – $2.10

$9,450 – $12,642

$15,750 – $21,070

Astronergy

$1.85 – $2.35

$11,130 – $14,154

$18,550 – $23,590

Canadian Solar Inc.

$1.65 – $2.26

$9,954 – $13,566

$16,590 – $22,610

CertainTeed Solar

$2.06 – $2.48

$12,390 – $14,910

$20,650 – $24,850

Hanwha Q CELLS

$1.73 – $2.31

$10,416 – $13,860

$17,360 – $23,100

Heliene

$1.71 – $2.28

$10,290 – $13,692

$17,150 – $22,820

Hyundai

$1.87 – $2.14

$11,256 – $12,894

$18,760 – $21,490

JA Solar

$1.72 – $2.29

$10,374 – $13,776

$17,290 – $22,960

JinkoSolar

$1.98 – $2.58

$11,928 – $15,498

$19,880 – $25,830

LG Solar

$1.89 – $2.47

$11,340 – $14,868

$18,900 – $24,780

LONGi Solar

$1.69 – $2.07

$10,164 – $12,474

$16,940 – $20,790

Mission Solar Energy

$1.52 – $2.06

$9,156 – $12,390

$15,260 – $20,650

Panasonic

$1.89 – $2.45

$11,340 – $14,700

$18,900 – $24,500

Peimar Group

$1.86 – $2.24

$11,172 – $13,440

$18,620 – $22,400

Phono Solar

$2.10 – $2.49

$12,642 – $14,952

$21,070 – $24,920

REC Group

$1.92 – $2.32

$11,550 – $13,944

$19,250 – $23,240

RGS Energy

$2.31 – $3.47

$13,860 – $20,874

$23,100 – $34,790

Renogy Solar

$2.10 – $2.39

$12,642 – $14,364

$21,070 – $23,940

S-Energy

$1.77 – $2.35

$10,668 – $14,112

$17,780 – $23,520

Seraphim Solar

$1.85 – $2.24

$11,130 – $13,482

$18,550 – $22,470

Silfab Solar

$1.70 – $2.45

$10,206 – $14,700

$17,010 – $24,500

SolarTech Universal

$1.72 – $2.21

$10,374 – $13,272

$17,290 – $22,120

SolarWorld

$1.73 – $2.15

$10,416 – $12,936

$17,360 – $21,560

Solaria

$2.06 – $2.35

$12,390 – $14,154

$20,650 – $23,590

SunPower Corporation

$2.01 – $2.77

$12,096 – $16,674

$20,160 – $27,790

Trina Solar

$1.72 – $2.22

$10,374 – $13,356

$17,290 – $22,260

Tesla

$2.33 – $3.10

$13,986 – $18,606

$23,310 – $31,010

Winaico

$1.92 – $2.21

$11,550 – $13,314

$19,250 – $22,190

Yingli Solar

$1.70 – $2.21

$10,206 – $13,272

$17,010 – $22,120

Prices include 30% tax credit and reflect installation costs from solar contractors. Total costs depend on the location, installers experience, inverter, and other equipment.

How Much Does One Solar Panel Cost?

One 150 to 300-watt solar panel costs $112 to $450 on average, or between $0.75 to $1.50 per watt depending on the type of panel, energy-efficiency rating, and size. Solar companies that purchase in bulk typically spend $0.75 per watt, whereas homeowners spend $1 per watt.

Most distributors only sell solar panels to local contractors at bulk wholesale prices. Hiring a solar installer will drastically reduce your overall equipment costs. These prices are for the panels only, additional fees for installation includes inverters, batteries, mounting hardware, wiring, and more.

SOLAR PANELS FOR HOME COST PER PANEL

System Size

Average Cost

14 Panel System (4.2 kW)

$2,600 – $4,200

16 Panel System (4.8 kW)

$3,000 – $4,800

18 Panel System (5.4 kW)

$3,350 – $5,400

20 Panel System (6.0 kW)

$3,750 – $6,000

24 Panel System (7.2 kW)

$4,450 – $7,200

28 Panel System (8.4 kW)

$5,236 – $8,400

32 Panel System (9.6 kW)

$5,984 – $9,600

36 Panel System (10.8 kW)

$6,732 – $10,800

Solar Panel Lease Cost

A solar panel lease costs $100 per month on average, with most spending between $50 and $250 per month depending on their location and energy needs. Leasing solar panels is cost-effective and typically saves $50 to $100 per month on your electricity bills with little to no down payment.

Solar leasing companies are responsible for the installation and maintenance fees for the duration of your contract. If you decide to move, expect to pay additional charges to end your leasing agreement because transferring the lease to another buyer can be difficult.

If you own your solar system outright that generates 100% of your power, the monthly cost is less than $10 per month for minor grid-tied connection fees. An off-grid system has no monthly costs other than general maintenance.

Tesla Solar Roof Cost

A Tesla solar roof costs $22 to $45 per square foot, which includes the solar roof tiles, a Powerwall, roof and site repairs, and complete system installation. A 9.45 kW solar system installed on a 1,800 square foot roof costs between $39,600 and $81,000.

On average, solar shingles cost up to $8,000 more than installing a new roof with traditional PV solar panels. Glass-faced solar shingles mimic the appearance of a tiled roof and cover more surface area than mounted PV panels to catch more sunlight.

Solar tiles have a lower efficiency rating in producing electricity. They may not last as long as PV panels because their design doesn’t allow much room for ventilation, which can lead to overheating.

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