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How Much Are Solar Panels for a House in 2024?

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Average Cost of House Solar Panels in 2024

The average cost of solar panels for homes has fallen substantially in recent years. In 2024, homeowners can expect to pay around $2.86 per watt for a residential solar panel system. This translates to an average total cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for a typical-sized system before any incentives or tax credits.

Average Cost of House Solar Panels in 2024

The cost per watt is a useful metric for comparing solar panel system prices. It allows you to calculate the system cost based on its size in watts. The national average cost per watt ranges from a low of around $2.36 in Arizona to a high of approximately $3.52 in Maine. However, the average homeowner in most states can expect to pay between $2.50 to $3.00 per watt in 2024.

At the national average of $2.86 per watt, a 5 kilowatt system would cost $14,300 while a 10 kilowatt system would cost $28,600 before incentives. Most homes require between 5 to 10 kilowatts to offset their electric needs. With the 30% federal tax credit, these system costs drop to around $10,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Average Cost of House Solar Panels by State

The cost of solar panels can vary widely across different states due to differences in solar incentives, permitting fees, labor costs, and other factors. Here is a breakdown of the average cost per watt and total system cost for typical 6kW and 10kW solar installations in each state:

Note: This data is for reference only and may vary over time.

State Cost per Watt 6kW System Cost 10kW System Cost
Alabama $2.64 $15,840 $26,400
Alaska $3.12 $18,720 $31,200
Arizona $2.36 $14,160 $23,600
Arkansas $2.67 $16,020 $26,700
California $3.10 $18,600 $31,000
Colorado $2.56 $15,360 $25,600
Connecticut $3.08 $18,480 $30,800
Delaware $2.79 $16,740 $27,900
Florida $2.63 $15,780 $26,300
Georgia $2.57 $15,420 $25,700
Hawaii $3.14 $18,840 $31,400
Idaho $2.81 $16,860 $28,100
Illinois $3.05 $18,300 $30,500
Indiana $2.87 $17,220 $28,700
Iowa $2.66 $15,960 $26,600
Kansas $2.71 $16,260 $27,100
Kentucky $2.61 $15,660 $26,100
Louisiana $2.59 $15,540 $25,900
Maine $3.52 $21,120 $35,200
Maryland $2.92 $17,520 $29,200
Massachusetts $3.20 $19,200 $32,000
Michigan $2.69 $16,140 $26,900
Minnesota $2.73 $16,380 $27,300
Mississippi $2.67 $16,020 $26,700
Missouri $2.81 $16,860 $28,100
Montana $2.88 $17,280 $28,800
Nebraska $2.68 $16,080 $26,800
Nevada $2.83 $16,980 $28,300
New Hampshire $3.03 $18,180 $30,300
New Jersey $2.90 $17,400 $29,000
New Mexico $2.82 $16,920 $28,200
New York $3.05 $18,300 $30,500
North Carolina $2.65 $15,900 $26,500
North Dakota $2.92 $17,520 $29,200
Ohio $2.83 $16,980 $28,300
Oklahoma $2.71 $16,260 $27,100
Oregon $2.88 $17,280 $28,800
Pennsylvania $2.77 $16,620 $27,700
Rhode Island $3.27 $19,620 $32,700
South Carolina $2.84 $17,040 $28,400
South Dakota $2.92 $17,520 $29,200
Tennessee $2.61 $15,660 $26,100
Texas $2.64 $15,840 $26,400
Utah $2.49 $14,940 $24,900
Vermont $3.07 $18,420 $30,700
Virginia $2.78 $16,680 $27,800
Washington $2.71 $16,260 $27,100
West Virginia $2.76 $16,560 $27,600
Wisconsin $2.87 $17,220 $28,700
Wyoming $2.94 $17,640 $29,400

This shows the wide variation in solar panel costs across the U.S. based on local factors. Arizona, Utah, and North Carolina currently have the lowest average costs, while Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maine have the highest costs.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Solar Panels for a House

The cost of solar panels for a home can vary significantly based on a number of important factors:


The cost of solar panels can vary significantly depending on location. This is primarily due to differences in solar laws, permitting requirements, and state/local incentives between states and cities.

For example, some states like California offer generous rebates and tax credits for installing solar panels that can reduce the overall cost by thousands of dollars. Other states have fewer incentives available. Getting permits approved also tends to be faster and easier in solar-friendly states versus areas with more red tape.

In terms of laws, a growing number of states have net metering, which allows solar customers to get credit on their utility bill for excess electricity sent back to the grid. This makes solar panels more cost-effective. States without net metering make it harder to recoup solar investments.

Some utilities also charge extra fees to solar customers that don't exist in other areas. All of these location-based factors impact the price and payback period for solar panels, so it's important to understand the policies where you live. Those in states with strong solar incentives will generally pay less overall for their systems.

Energy Needs

The amount of electricity that a house uses determines the size of the solar panel system needed. Household energy usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The average home in the U.S. uses about 10,500 kWh per year.

To determine the right solar panel system size, you'll need to calculate your annual energy consumption. Look at past electric bills to find your average monthly and yearly usage. Online solar calculators can also help estimate your needs based on location, household size, appliances, etc.

In general, most homes need between a 5-8 kilowatt system to offset their usage, which would require about 15-25 panels. Smaller homes may only need 3-5 kW. Larger luxury homes might need 10 kW or more. Installing a system that covers 100% of your needs depends on having enough roof space and budget. Otherwise most systems are designed to cover 50-80% of usage.

Understanding your household's energy requirements will help you choose the properly sized solar array and avoid overpaying for a system that produces more power than you actually use. Proper sizing is key to maximizing return on investment.

System Size, Weight and Number of Panels

The size of the solar panel system, including the number and physical size of the panels, is a major factor affecting the total cost. Larger solar panel systems that can generate more electricity will naturally cost more than smaller systems.

The size of the system is determined by how much electricity the home uses and the number of sunlight hours available. Areas with more sunlight can use fewer panels to generate the same amount of electricity.

More solar panels or larger solar panels will increase costs in a few ways:

  • More panels means more equipment to purchase and install. The cost of solar panels themselves account for around 40-50% of the total installation cost on average.

  • Larger and heavier panels are more difficult to transport and install, which can increase labor costs.

  • More panels take up more physical roof space, which could require adjustments to the roof structure or layout.

  • Larger systems require heavier duty racking, wiring, and inverters to handle the increased capacity.

In general, a system size of 6-8 kW is sufficient for most homes. Going with a smaller system size than your maximum energy needs can help reduce the solar panel cost. EcoFlow rigid solar panels are lightweight yet durable, making them a great roof option without requiring roof adjustments.

solar panels

Solar Panel Types

There are three main types of solar panels to choose from:

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are made from silicon ingots, which gives them a distinct look with uniform black color. This type of solar panel has the highest efficiency rates, typically around 15-20%. However, monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive than other types.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are made from fragments of silicon ingots melted together. They have a speckled blue color and lower efficiency rates of around 13-16%. But polycrystalline solar panels cost less than monocrystalline.

Thin Film Solar Panels

These are made from depositing one or more thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate like glass or plastic. They are the least efficient type of solar panel at around 7-13%, but their flexible nature makes them good for irregularly shaped roofs or building facades. Thin film solar panels are also lightweight and can be transportable.

Roof Characteristics

The shape, slope, and shading of your roof can significantly impact the effectiveness and overall cost of a solar panel system.

Roof Shape

The optimal roof shape for solar panels is a simple gable or hip roof that faces south (or west/east if south is not possible). Complex rooflines with lots of peaks, valleys, dormers, etc. make installation more difficult and costly.

Roof Slope

The ideal roof slope for maximum solar production is between 20-40 degrees. Very flat or steeply-pitched roofs will require additional mounting equipment and labor costs. Most roofing materials work well within a 25-45 degree slope.

Roof Shading

Shading is one of the biggest factors impacting solar panel productivity. Even small amounts of shading from nearby trees, chimneys, roof vents, etc. can significantly reduce energy output. A proper solar site analysis will identify shading issues and optimize panel placement. Removing problem shading sources can improve production at a lower cost than adding more panels.

Labor Costs

The cost of labor for installing solar panels can vary significantly by state and region. When getting quotes for a solar panel system, it's important to consider labor rates in your area.

Some key factors that affect labor costs for solar panel installation include:

  • Electrician and installer hourly wages: In areas with higher wages and cost of living, labor rates tend to be higher. For example, installers in San Francisco may charge $150 per hour while installers in Phoenix may charge $75 per hour.

  • Roof complexity: Simple roofs with easy access can be faster to install than roofs with a steep pitch or limited access. More complex roofs require more time and effort from installers.

  • Permitting and inspection costs: Some cities and states charge more for permits and inspections related to solar installations. These costs may get passed on to homeowners through higher labor rates.

  • Travel distance: Installers may charge higher rates if they have to drive a long distance to your home. Those based locally can offer lower rates.

When getting quotes, ask installers about their specific labor rates and what's included. Some companies charge a separate fee for system design, permitting, travel, etc. Understanding the full labor costs in your quotes allows you to accurately compare overall pricing.

Financing Options for Solar Panels

When it comes to financing solar panels, homeowners have several options:

  • Cash Purchase - Paying cash upfront is the most cost-effective option if you have the funds available. You'll avoid finance charges and fully own the system.

  • Loans - Home equity loans or solar-specific loans allow you to finance panels over time. You'll pay interest but own the system. Federal solar loans are low-interest.

  • Solar Leases - Leasing from a solar company means low upfront costs but monthly payments. You won't own the system at the end.

  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) - A PPA is like a lease but you pay only for the power produced each month, not the panels. The solar company owns the system.

  • Tax Credits - The federal solar tax credit returns 30% of costs through 2032. Some states also offer credits. Tax credits directly reduce how much you pay.

  • Manufacturer Financing - Some panel manufacturers offer low-interest financing on their products. This makes their systems more affordable.

Each option has pros and cons to weigh based on your financial situation. Loans allow ownership while leases/PPAs have lower upfront costs. The federal tax credit can significantly reduce overall costs when purchasing.

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