How Much Does Solar Cost in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

July 29, 2023

Chances are that you’ve gotten a knock on your door from a solar sales bro once or twice in your life. They gave you their pitch and you thought the idea of significantly reducing your electricity bill sounded enticing.

Fair enough.

But then they showed you the price, and that’s when your eyes popped out of your head!

It’s clearly a big investment and you’re likely wondering if you’re getting a good price.

So how much does solar cost on average?

What is Price per Watt?

Before we delve into the costs, it's crucial to understand the primary metric used when discussing the price of solar - the 'price per watt'. This measure helps compare the costs of different solar systems irrespective of their size.

Simply put, the price per watt is the cost of the solar system's total price divided by its capacity in watts. For example, if you buy a 6,000-watt (or 6 kilowatt) solar system for $18,000, the price per watt is $3. The lower the price per watt, the cheaper the solar system is.

For example, one company might quote you recommend a 6 kilowatt system and quote you $18,000; another company, however, might recommend a 7 kilowatt system and quote you $19,500. At first glance, you might think you’re getting a better deal with the first quote, but once you look at the price per watt ($3.00 for the first and $2.79 for the second), you realize the second is the better deal.

Price per watt is vital because it's the most effective way to compare the costs of solar quotes. It's similar to comparing the price per ounce when buying food or other commodities. It ensures an apples-to-apples comparison, making it easier for you to find the best deal.

Average Price Per Watt in the United States

As of 2023, the national average cost of solar panel installation in the United States ranges from $2.75 to $3.50 per watt before federal or state incentives (we cost much less, just FYI).

That would mean that an 8kW system (typical for homes in the United States) would cost anywhere from $22,000 to $28,000 before federal or state incentives.

Pro tip: Make sure you know whether or not your quote includes government incentives! Solar companies can make their prices appear much lower by baking in federal incentives which you may or may not be able to benefit from.

Of course, these prices can vary depending on several factors...

Factors Determining the Price of Solar

Several key factors contribute to the total cost of a solar power system:

  1. Equipment: The cost of the solar panels themselves makes up a significant portion of the total cost. This includes the solar panels, inverter(s) (which converts DC power produced by the panels into AC power your home can use), and racking.
  2. Engineering and Design: The design and engineering of your solar system also contribute to the overall cost. This involves site surveys, system design, and other paperwork like obtaining the necessary permits. The complexity of your system can affect these costs – a more complex design will require more time and resources.
  3. Sales Commission: Many solar companies have sales teams that earn commissions on the solar systems they sell. Sales reps are often allowed to quote whatever price they think you’re willing to pay and then they get to keep the extra. Your neighbor down the street could have been quoted less for the exact same system by the exact same sales rep because the rep thought they weren’t willing to pay as much as you. Doesn’t that make your blood boil?!
  4. Middlemen: Depending on the purchasing arrangement, there might be additional costs associated with 'middlemen', such as solar lead generators, brokers, and/or equipment suppliers.
  5. Installation Crews: Finally, the labor cost for the physical installation of the system is also a key contributor to the total cost. This can vary greatly depending on your location, the size and complexity of the system, and the company doing the installation.

How much SHOULD solar cost?

This is the question you should really be asking!

Many of the factors that make your solar quote so pricy are really unnecessary.

First, in the modern age of the internet, you shouldn’t have to pay outrageous commissions to the solar sales bro who came knocking on your door. You should be able to find the solar you want to buy online and purchase it like anything else on Amazon.

Second, you shouldn’t have to deal with so many middlemen who jack up the price! You should be able to go as close to the source as possible and get solar on your own terms.

Third, solar installation costs are pretty crazy! If you know how to operate a drill and can get onto your roof safely, you should be able to install solar yourself and save the cost.

So how do you get rid of all these unnecessary costs?

DIY Solar

DIY Solar was made to get rid of all the unnecessary costs which make solar unaffordable to most Americans.

We did this by getting rid of door-to-door sales crews, middlemen, and install crews.

We start by getting you a quote you can actually afford (about $1.85/watt on average), designing a custom solar kit that fits your roof and electricity needs, and shipping you the kit for you to install yourself.

That way, you can save about 40% over traditional solar companies! Same equipment, just none of the crap.

If you’re hesitant about installing yourself, don’t worry! We have the option to upgrade to full-install and we will still be about 25% less than the national average.

So start by getting a custom quote today.

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