Understanding Home Solar System Costs – Equipment vs. Labor
When determining home solar system costs, most customers usually focus exclusively on the price of the panels – not the installation labor.

In other words, you typically shop for installers based on the parts they used.

But over the last decade, something interesting has happened.  Solar panel prices have plummeted.  In the past 5 years alone, they’ve fallen 80%.  And these prices keep falling due to:

  • Economies of scale
  • Increased efficiency rates
  • Over-supply and production
  • Rising international competition

As a result of these factors, solar panel prices are no longer the primary drivers of installation costs.  In fact, according to a recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report, “soft costs” now account for 64% of residential solar installation expenses.

NREL defines “soft cost” as pretty much everything not directly connected to hardware (i.e. equipment and parts).  These include:

  • Installation labor
  • Financing
  • Marketing
  • Permitting
  • Inspections

What Home Solar System Costs Mean for You

So now that soft costs represent nearly 2/3 of the installation price – what does this mean for you and your solar aspirations?

Well, it means that you should invest a lot more time researching different solar installers in your community.  The parts used are still important.  Obviously, you want the highest quality components possible.

But the methods are arguably more important when determining price and payback periods.  Things like experience, quality, and speed are now the primary drivers of installation costs.

In other words – the biggest difference between solar installation A and solar installation B is the installer – not the panels.  The better the installer is, the lower the cost (or more accurately, the higher the ROI).

So how do you find a reputable solar installer for your home or business?

Well, if you’re serious about controlling costs and receiving the highest returns on your solar investment, we recommend reading the following 3 articles:

And as always, we hope that you consider Sunline Energy during your installer research.  With more 5-star Yelp reviews than any other San Diego installer, we’re confident that we can help you affordably meet your environmental and financial goals.

Ready to Get Started on Your Solar Project?

To get started, just schedule a free, no-obligation inspection today.  We’ll send out a team to evaluate your property and calculate your home or business’ solar potential.