But how much are residential solar panels these days?
A lot cheaper than you think. In fact, they’re much cheaper than most people think.
Not only are solar photovoltaic (PV) panel prices constantly on the decline, but there also exist tons of great incentives designed to bring the cost of your installation down even more.
But these solar incentives won’t be around forever. There’s only so much free money to go around.
- Tax credits come and go.
- Net metering has a fairly uncertain future. In fact, it almost didn’t survive 2013.
So how much are solar panels for a standard home in the absence of these incentives?
Exact figures vary, but many systems approach $20K, $30K, or more.
With these incentives, however, average residential installation costs in San Diego are around $10K. That’s pretty fantastic. For less than the price of a car, you can enjoy decades of clean and free electricity – even as SDG&E and other utilities continue raising their rates.
So How Long Will These Solar Incentives Last?
There really aren’t firm deadlines on these incentives. Net metering will likely survive through 2016. Tax credits could last much longer.
Solar rebates, unfortunately, are not as certain. There’s no official expiration date, but the program is running out of money.
- Early birds receive up to $0.20 per watt installed.
- Late arrivals get nothing.
For a standard, 5kW solar installation, we’re talking about a difference of $1000. That might not sound like a lot, but free money is free money. Why pay $11K for a new installation when you could get high quality solar panels for only $10K (and still enjoy decades of free electricity)?
But If Solar Panel Prices Keep Falling, Isn’t It Better to Wait?
This is a great question. We receive it all the time in fact.
It’s true that by waiting to install your system, you’ll likely receive a slightly larger discount.
But there are 2 important things to keep in mind:
1. Solar incentives could expire at any time (as already mentioned).
2. Utility prices are constantly on the rise. The money you save by waiting to install your system will almost certainly be less than the money you pay to the utility companies during that wait. Keep in mind that in 2013 alone, many SDG&E customers got hit with 40% price hikes. It’s unlikely that solar panel prices will ever fall by 40% in any single year.
In other words, don’t delay. If your goal is to save money (or protect the environment), it doesn’t make sense to wait. By going solar today, you’ll not only pay less (overall), but you’ll also enjoy a much higher return on your investment (overall).