Calculating the True Cost of Solar - EmPower Solar

Calculating the True Cost of Solar

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Since the cost to generate kilowatt hours (kWh) varies from state to state, neighborhood to neighborhood, and even house to house, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

This guide will help you understand how to calculate the true cost of solar, beyond just the cost of panels, which actually start to pay for themselves as soon as they’re activated. The rate at which they do so, however, will vary according to your specific installation, utility rates, energy use, tax credits/incentives, and several other factors.

Cost of the Solar Panels

We consider your roof size, production needs, sun exposure time, and a few other factors to determine how many panels your home will need.

Before arriving at this cost, you’ll need to choose the best financing option for you. For example, if zero money down is appealing, then a lease may be your best best. The panel manufacturer, SunPower, will own the system, but you’ll reap all of the benefits of solar while just paying a monthly fee. You can also choose to finance or pay cash; both options allow you to own your system.

Eventually your electricity savings may amount to more than the cost of the system, which is when solar starts paying you back!

Cost of Installation

This cost depends on the number of panels you need, installation labor, and permitting involved with your installation, as well as current utility discounts, if any. We’ll assess your roof architecture, pitch, orientation, shading, and your current consumption to determine the best fit for you. Our goal is to achieve the optimal production needs to fit your lifestyle.

Electricity Savings

You’ll get an estimate of what you can save after your initial consultation. Your actual savings will depend on how much energy you produce each month, your utility’s net metering policy (whether and how they handle credits for you energy production), and future utility rate increases.


The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows qualified homeowners deduct 26% of their solar systems cost from their income taxes. If you lease a system, the value of the federal ITC is factored into your monthly payments.

You can check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to check for additional regional incentive programs, or drop us a line to discuss what incentives and tax credits are available to you.

Long Term Value

There are already market indicators that adding a solar photovoltaic system to a home increases its resale value. A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that purchasing solar may increase the resale value of your home. Download a PDF version of this information here. 

Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program?

Contact us to learn more about the programs available to you!

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