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How To Find The Lowest Cost Solar Installation

How much does it really cost to install solar panels? You don't have to be an expert. There are three ways to install solar panels for most residential or small commercial projects. The methods vary in complexity and range from the cheapest to the most expensive. You can Do-It-Yourself (DIY), hire a local electrician or shop around for full service solar company.

Do It Yourself

D-I-Y is the cheapest way to go because you will have no installation cost. Other than your time and effort, the installation is FREE! In terms of your overall solar project, this will save the most money, likely 50% or more compared to full-service. Ask family or friends to help. Maybe even a local handyman. FreeCleanSolar can help you with the PV system design, layout options and even electrical drawings for permits.

To build your own solar panel array, just read and follow the step-by-step installation instructions included with the solar panels, inverters and mounting system. In practice, you should be considered "handy" and maybe have tackled some home improvement projects on your own. You will have to lift heavy solar panels (40 lbs to 50 lbs each) You will need to be comfortable with the paperwork for the local building permit, the utility connection and rebates.

Hire A Local Electrician or Roofing Contractor

Maybe you already know a good electrician or contractor. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors. Call the local electricians union like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to hire an off-duty, licensed electrician or journeyman apprentice for a weekend project. FreeCleanSolar can help you find an electrician in some locations. Maybe even try Craigslist or Angie's list to find an electrician in your town. Our customers have been able to install a 20 solar panel system (about 5,000 watts) for as little as $1,500 using this approach.

Full Service Solar Company

Full service solar installation can cost as much as the solar panels and all the equipment. So it is important to shop around to make sure you are not paying more than you have to. Full service installation can include system design, plans, permits, parts, labor, utility paperwork, state rebate paperwork, monitoring, maintenance and sometimes a limited term warranty.

Some solar companies may NOT even consider smaller projects of 1 kW, 2kW or 3kW. They tend to focus on larger projects with bigger price tags. Full service prices range from $1.00 to $1.50 per watt, depending on the location, complexity and the size of the project. For the typical home with 20 solar panels, or 5,000 watts, that could mean installation costs could range from $5,000 to $7,500. That seems like a lot of money for 1 or 2 days of labor on the roof to get the job done.

For more information, review real-world prices of top solar companies


EXAMPLE
Cost Comparison for Solar Installation

5,000 Watt Residential PV System
20 Panels - 1 day to complete

INSTALLATION METHOD PRICE
Do-It-Yourself DIY $0
Local Electrician $1,500 to $3,000
Full Service $5,000 to $7,500



Qualifying for Financial Incentives

No matter how you choose to install your solar panels, the project still qualifies for the various tax credits, rebates and other financial incentives like net metering. In the case of the 30% Federal Income Tax Credit or State Tax Credits, the total amount you spend is used to determine the tax credit. This includes all the equipment and installation costs.

In the case of utility rebates and credits, these are usually based on the size of the system in Watts. Typically these solar rebates are expressed in terms of dollars per watt. Some rebates are as low as $0.20 per watt while others are as high as $2.00 per watt installed. Therefore it doesn't matter how you do the solar installation, the rebate would still be the same. See our online guide to find solar rebates for your state or city

If you want help finding a local electrician or full service solar company, please call us at 888-498-3331 or
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Receive a custom permit design for a solar panel system prepared by an experienced technician. This personalized solar design helps you to make an informed, unbiased decision to find the best system at the lowest cost. Understand your options for residential or commercial modules, on-grid or off-grid, backup systems, rooftop or ground mounting. Once complete with a qualifying system order, the solar design can be converted into a large format plan blueprint to use when applying for building permits, utility or HOA approval. See specifications for what's included. TERMS & CONDITIONS. Final plans provided upon valid system order; plans are not sold without a system order. Design fee may be forfeited without system order. Applies to existing, single-family residence up to 30kW. For larger sizes up to 100kW, commercial buildings, or new construction, please order two designs and specify in order comments upon checkout. Order online or PHONE 888-498-3331.
   
 

Compare Prices Of Top Solar Companies

There were 33,564 solar energy systems installed in California in 2013. The average PV system installed is 6,600 watts (6.6 kW) and costs $31,700 for a cost per watt of $4.80. The expected lifetime cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) is $0.17.

In comparison, the average 6,600 watt PV system from FreeCleanSolar costs $19,800 for a cost per watt of $3. The expected lifetime cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) is $0.11. Our solar systems qualify for renewable energy tax credits and rebates. So you can reduce the sticker price by 30% or more for an even lower net cost after government incentives.

Want to know how much do installers charge for their solar panel systems? Follow these links to review the pricing details about top solar companies based on their actual real-world projects.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

What is the price cost for Do-It-Yourself DIY Solar Installation

What is the price cost for a SolarCity PV system?

What is the price cost for a Sunpower solar PV system?

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What is the price cost for a Vivint solar PV system?

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What is the price cost for a Solar Universe PV system?

What is the price cost for a Solar Service Center PV system?

What is the price cost for a Solarmax PV system?


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