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Solar Panel Cost Calculator

Thinking of upgrading your living situation with cost-saving and energy efficient solar panels? Our solar panel cost calculator uses your address to scan your roof, giving you a custom, accurate, and quick cost estimate for your future investment while also connecting you to local contractors near you! 

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Solar Panel Cost Calculator

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How Our Solar Panel Cost Calculator Works

Our solar panel cost calculator works seamlessly to give you the most accurate solar panel estimate on the market without taking you out of your home or having to make a million phone calls. All you do is input your address. Our patented technology scans and measures your home using satellite imagery, determines the amount of panels your roof could support based on its size, then calculates your cost range using cost prices and averages sourced from solar panel providers in your geographic area. This ensures your estimate is accurate to your specific location.

We also ask your average monthly electric bill so we can use the data to provide a comprehensive estimate of cost and saving for your solar panel investment.

What are solar panels?

The development of solar energy has been a journey that goes back more than 100 years. A solar panel, also called a PV panel, is a unit that converts photons from sunlight into usable electricity. They can be used for a variety of reasons and power pretty much anything that can be connected to the grid or plugged into the wall, but more importantly, solar panels have become more accessible to everyday residential and commercial properties. This accessibility means that the public can now harness the renewable, green energy from the sun! 

Advantages of Solar Panels

Having solar panels on your roof grants you many amazing advantages! Here are just a few! 

  1. A Renewable, Green Energy Source For Your Home
  2. Lower Your Energy Bills Year Round 
  3. Make Money Selling Surplus Energy
  4. Lower Your Carbon Footprint 
  5. Increase Environmental Friendliness
  6. Invest In Your Sustainable Future 
  7. Cost Savings Mean More Money Where Your Want It 
  8. Adding To Your Family’s Self-Sustainability For Generations
  9. Taking Advantage Of Solar Technological Advancements
Home with Solar.

While this is just a quick list of some of the amazing advantages of utilizing solar power for your home, know that solar panels can move with you, be passed down, and overall increase the amount of money in your pocket for decades. Talk with your local solar panel provider to understand more about the amazing benefits of buying solar panels. And enter your address in our solar panel cost calculator to get started today! 

Home Solar Panel Costs You Should Know

Solar panels can be an amazing addition to your home as both an investment and as cost savings. Solar panels can cost anywhere between $4,500 to $36,000 with the median average cost being $16,000. This all depends on the model chosen, type of system and any other equipment that is required to run the system itself. Solar panels mean that you are one step closer to being more environmentally friendly and self-sufficient, but it’s also important to consider the up front cost of this big investment.

1. Installation Expenses

Your installation expenses for your solar panels can vary based on the reason and needs of your unique situation. Our solar panel cost calculator calculates the size of the system that would fit best on your home as well as the installation and labor expenses so you can get a full picture of your expected roof replacement costs

2. ROI Of Your Panels

The return on investment of your solar panels is something you should keep in mind. How much money will you be saving on your electric bill? Can you sell surplus energy back to the grid to make money back? The life-time savings when using solar panels is nothing to overlook, and you can bring your solar panels with you every time you move to a new residence, so those savings can only grow!

3. Solar Panel Financing 

Solar panels can be a large investment up front. Loans, leases, and Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) can all give you the path to your solar panel ownership. Bounce over to our roof financing calculator to help you assess your current financial situation and how interest rates can affect your investment over time. 

4. Upkeep Costs

Upkeep on your solar panels is something you need to keep in mind. Dirty or poorly positioned panels won’t do much collecting of solar energy. Making sure they stay clean and in good condition is imperative to making sure you’re getting all you can out of your panels. How often you clean your panels can change based on your location, weather, and climate. Talk to your panel provider to see what the best upkeep plans are. 

5. Government Incentives

There are many government incentives that you can take advantage of on both a federal and state level. Research your state incentives to see what grants or special rates you can take advantage of so that you can ease the burden of cost on your new solar panels. 

6. Custom Cost Analysis

Just by entering your address into our solar panel cost calculator, you will receive insights on solar panel cost customized to your location, local regulations, and unique energy needs. Having a comprehensive understanding of your investment is our top priority. We make sure to connect you to peer-reviewed contractors in your area so you can find a roofer that’s perfect for your job. 

Make Educated Choices with Our Solar Panel Cost Calculator

Your dream of an energy efficient, cost saving solar panel system if only a few steps (and several weeks) away. Empower yourself with knowledge before speaking to your local roofing contractors so you know the range of cost before you even speak with them. Your path to a greener future starts right here with Instant Roofer! 

Can I Lease Solar Panels?

Yes, just like a car you can lease solar panels! 

Solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) provide a way to access solar energy with minimal or no initial investment. These options differ significantly from buying solar panels outright, both in terms of cost implications and system ownership.

  1. Low or No Upfront Cost: With a solar lease or PPA, the solar provider installs panels on your home, often with little to no upfront cost to you. This can make solar energy accessible even if you’re not ready for a large initial investment.
  2. Monthly Payments: Instead of paying to own the solar system, you pay a monthly fee. This fee is for “renting” the solar equipment (solar lease) or for the energy produced by the panels (PPA).
  3. Maintenance and Upkeep: Your solar provider is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the system throughout the term of the agreement. This can be a significant benefit, as it reduces the responsibility and potential additional costs on your part.
  4. Lack of Ownership: One of the main drawbacks of solar leases and PPAs is the lack of system ownership. Because you don’t own the solar panels, you are ineligible for solar incentives or rebates, such as the federal solar tax credit, which can significantly offset the cost of solar system installation.
  5. Long-Term Contracts: These agreements often involve long-term contracts, typically around 25 years. Breaking these contracts can be challenging and expensive, often requiring you to pay for the system in full.

Financial Considerations: While solar leases and PPAs can save on utility bills, the savings are generally less than if you owned the system. Over the lifespan of the panels, owning your system typically results in more significant savings.

While solar leases and PPAs offer an accessible path to solar energy without the high initial costs, they come with limitations, particularly regarding system ownership and long-term financial benefits. Carefully considering these factors is crucial when deciding how to finance your solar energy system. In most cases, purchasing the system outright or through a loan is recommended for maximum long-term savings. Our solar panel cost calculator can estimate that upfront cost and help guide you to the right financing option. 

Solar Panel Installation Costs

Solar panels are essentially a new type of roofing that requires specialization, expensive materials, and expertise to ensure that it not only is installed correctly but that they actually function and start generating money-saving energy for your home. Solar panel installation costs more than just the raw material and labor to install, it also encompasses ongoing maintenance, incentives, and financing options to make installation worth it in the long run. 

Solar panel installation (and ongoing) costs can include the following:

  • System Size and Capacity
  • Roof Complexity and Orientation
  • Quality of Components
  • Labor and Installation Fees
  • Permitting and Inspection Costs
  • Incentives and Rebates
  • Financing Options
  • Maintenance and Warranty
Instant Roofer Solar Panel Cost Calculator with roof replacement

Types of Solar Panels For Roofs

There are so many options for going green with solar. A local roofer will be able to give you specific recommendations for your location and roof, but knowing ahead of time by using our solar panel cost calculator what you may be dealing with can give you an edge when it comes to decision making down the line! 

1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Efficient and space-saving, monocrystalline panels boast high energy efficiency rates. Their sleek black appearance makes them a popular choice for those looking to seamlessly integrate solar into their existing roof design.

2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Cost-effective and reliable, polycrystalline panels are known for their affordability without compromising efficiency. Recognizable by their blue color, they offer a practical solution for homeowners seeking budget-friendly solar options.

3. Thin-Film Solar Panels

Flexible and lightweight, thin-film panels can be integrated into various roof types. While they may have a lower efficiency rate compared to crystalline panels, they excel in adaptability and are often used in unconventional roof designs.
Explore these diverse types of roof solar panels to find the perfect match for your energy goals and architectural preferences. Ready to take the next step? Use our solar panel cost calculator to discover which panel type suits your home and get connected with local roofers to bring your solar vision to life. If you’re looking for a more permanent and blended aesthetic, check out our solar roof calculator today to see how much investing in solar shingles would cost!

What is the best roof pitch for solar panels?

A pitch between 15 to 40 degrees optimizes energy production. However, our solar panel cost calculator accounts for your specific location to recommend an optimal pitch for efficiency. Remember that no matter your roof pitch (even flat roofs) you can have solar panels that collect green energy for you! If you are wondering about your roof pitch, our roof pitch calculator can help you figure it out.

Check out our other calculators if you’re thinking of replacing your roof alongside your solar panel investment! 

Solar Panel Maintenance

Proper maintenance of solar panels is essential to ensure their longevity and optimal performance. Solar panels that are dirty or being covered by shade aren’t doing you any good or generating any power. Having routine maintenance planned out in advance is a smart way to make sure that nothing slips the mind. There are tons of services and companies that can make your solar panel maintenance a breeze, but keep the following in mind if you’re inclined to do it yourself! 

  • Regular Cleaning:
    Regularly clean the solar panels to remove dirt, dust, bird droppings, and other debris that may accumulate on the surface. Clean with a soft brush, a mild detergent, and water. Cleaning should be done early in the day or late afternoon to avoid water spots and to not interrupt peak times of energy absorption. 
  • Inspect for Physical Damage:
    Periodically inspect the solar panels for any physical damage, such as cracks or scratches. Damaged panels may not function efficiently, so prompt repairs or replacements are necessary. Take special care if you’re in an especially windy area or one prone to hail. 
  • Check for Shading:
    Ensure that there is no shading on the solar panels, as shadows from nearby objects or vegetation can significantly reduce energy production. Trim overhanging branches or address any new obstructions as soon as they are noticed. 
  • Monitor System Performance:
    Use monitoring tools provided by the solar panel system or the inverter to track energy production. Unusual drops in performance may indicate a malfunction that requires attention. And don’t assume this is something you can handle on your own. Calling a specialist can save you time and money in the long run in most cases. 
  • Examine Wiring and Connections:
    Inspect the wiring and connections of the solar panel system. Ensure that all cables are secure and undamaged. Faulty wiring can lead to electrical issues and decreased efficiency.
  • Check for Pests:
    Occasionally inspect the solar panel system for signs of pests, such as birds or rodents. Nests or droppings can affect both the efficiency and aesthetics of the system. And make sure to check under lifted solar panels to make sure no pests are living or nesting under them that may cause damage unseen. 
  • Snow Removal (if applicable):
    In snowy climates, remove accumulated snow from the solar panels using a soft brush or a gentle snow rake. This helps restore sunlight exposure and ensures continued energy production.
  • Professional Inspections:
    Schedule professional inspections at regular intervals, especially if you notice a significant drop in energy production or suspect issues. Professional technicians can identify and address potential problems.
  • Keep Surrounding Areas Clean:
    Ensure that the area around the solar panels is kept clean and well-maintained. Trim vegetation, remove debris, and maintain a clear space to prevent shading and obstruction.
  • Software Updates (for Smart Panels):
    If your solar panels include smart technology or monitoring systems, ensure that you regularly update the software to access the latest features and optimizations.

By incorporating these maintenance practices, you can maximize the efficiency and lifespan of your solar panel system, ultimately ensuring a reliable and sustainable source of energy for years to come.

Solar Panel FAQ

How to install solar panels on a roof?

To install solar panels on a roof, begin with a site assessment to ensure the roof’s structural integrity. Conduct an energy audit to determine the system size needed. A roofing contractor can collaborate with you for roof design, secure necessary permits, and choose quality solar panels. On installation day, clean and prepare the roof, install the mounting system, secure solar panels, and connect the electrical components. Pass local inspections and obtain utility approval for grid connection. Monitor and maintain the system for optimal performance.

What are solar batteries? Should I buy them?

Solar batteries are batteries that will attach to your home and store your excess energy so it isn’t just lost when the sun goes down. Most of our contractors typically install Tesla Powerwalls. On average we see a cost of $16,500-17,500 per battery across the United States with customers typically installing 2-3 batteries on their home. These batteries can also be used to sell energy back to the grid as well! While they are an investment, they offer flexibility and safety in cases of power outages and the ability to sell collected solar energy. 

How to clean solar panels on a roof?

Any work on your roof can be dangerous, and when there are electrical components involved, caution is paramount. Don’t skip thinking of hiring professionals for this type of routine maintenance. If you want to give it a try yourself, the following is a quick summary. 

Cleaning solar panels on a roof is essential for maintaining efficiency. Your solar panels don’t need to be cleaned unless there’s visible grime on them. But if they seem dirty, use a soft brush or sponge with a mild detergent and water to gently clean the panels. Avoid abrasive materials that could scratch the surface. Cleaning early in the day or late in the afternoon can prevent water spots from happening as well.

How many solar panels can I fit on my roof?

The number of solar panels your roof can accommodate depends on factors like roof size, orientation, and shading. Our solar panel cost calculator considers these variables to provide personalized recommendations, maximizing energy production within the available space. Nothing beats our a visible inspection though, and the roofing contractor you select will be able to give you the best advice once they’ve seen your roof! 

Who can remove solar panels from the roof?

Qualified professionals, typically solar panel installers or technicians, are best suited to remove solar panels from the roof. They have the expertise to ensure a safe and efficient removal process, minimizing the risk of damage. Because you can likely take your solar panels with you when you move, make sure you keep this in mind when moving! If you don’t want to take the panels with you, you can include the price of the panels in the home cost so you can pay off your solar panels when you move on! 

How to replace a roof with solar panels?

When replacing a roof with solar panels, coordinate with solar panel professionals. You can plan the timing to align with the actual roof replacement, allowing for a seamless process and a similar lifespan for your panels and roof. All of your costs should be included when you’re trying to understand the full investment! Your solar panel contractor can let you know if your current roof can support a solar panel configuration or let you know adjustments needed in case something doesn’t line up. 

How long do solar panels last on a roof?

Solar panels can last up to 30 years( or more)! Their longevity is influenced by factors like quality, maintenance, and environmental conditions. Regular checks and adherence to manufacturer recommendations can maximize their lifespan. Check with your solar panel professional to understand the warranties and maintenance for your specific type of roof! Many solar panel providers offer warranties for up to 25 years, which can definitely give you peace of mind on your full investment. 

What type of roof is best for solar panels?

Solar panels can be installed on various roof types, including asphalt shingles, metal, tile, tar, gravel and even flat roofs! Unlike solar tiles, solar panels can be installed on flat roofs due to the ability to adjust the panel angle independent of roof pitch. The ideal roof type has plenty of direct sunlight, little shade, and located in an area with lots of clear skies. It’s no mystery that solar panels thrive in desert locations, but solar panels can be efficient no matter your location! Our solar panel cost calculator considers these factors for tailored recommendations.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels, equipped with photovoltaic cells, convert sunlight into electricity. When sunlight hits the cells, electrons are released, generating a flow of electricity. Inverters convert this direct current (DC) electricity into usable alternating current (AC) for your home. The energy produced can power your electrical appliances or be fed back into the grid, reducing your reliance on traditional energy sources.