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Comparing Your Solar Energy System with Another

When discussing solar energy systems, with family, friends, and neighbors, the cost of your solar energy will come up. This is when you’ll start comparing the cost of your solar energy system with theirs. Throughout this discussion, you will find out there are plenty of factors that differentiate the price of a solar energy system.

Location

The price of solar varies by state. There are factors within states that affect the price of solar. Different solar installers within a state will have their prices to match the quoting trends. The reality is that the price of solar between states doesn’t differ as much. The difference in energy needs and the solar energy systems on offer within those states will dictate the average cost of solar within a state.

For example, a state that has the ideal conditions for solar, both through climate and state government support, will have lower costs compared to states that are less solar-friendly and climates aren’t ideal for solar. Power usage within a state will also be an important factor when differentiating solar pricing. You’ll find states with higher electricity usage will lean to solar to reduce or even eliminate their electricity bills through net metering. This is especially helpful during seasons with peak demand such as summer.

Incentives are another factor, whether they are given as tax credits or rebates. Incentives will also help lighten the cost of solar and further incentivize people to purchase and install solar energy systems. The Federal Solar Tax Credit is available nationwide and offers a 26% tax credit for any person purchasing a solar energy system until 2023. State governments and even utility companies will provide their incentives for purchasing and installing your solar energy system. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency or DSIRE is a resource made available by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center to search for solar incentives and policies available within states.

The size of your solar energy system

When designing a solar energy system for a home, it will be made large enough to generate all of the electricity you need for your property. This will help you net the most savings as it will reduce the power you will draw from the grid and lower your electricity bill. Any excess energy will be fed back into the grid, and counted as credits to be used for later through net metering.

Everyone’s electricity usage varies depending on their household and the appliances they have. This is why your solar energy system can be large or smaller when compared to another one. A large system does cost more money, although this doesn’t necessarily mean they have more solar panels. What matters is the system size, which is the system’s capacity to produce electricity, which is determined by the number of kilowatts (kW) of electricity that the system can produce.

Yes, a larger capacity system does cost more to purchase and install, although this comes with the benefit of having a lower cost per watt ($/W). You can calculate the cost per watt by dividing the cost of the solar energy system before incentives, by the capacity of your solar energy system. This concept is similar to economies of scale in business, where the more you purchase, the lower the individual cost of the unit. This is because solar energy systems have fixed costs in the form of permitting, interconnection fees, and the like. The size of your system is the variable cost as the number of solar panels can vary and directly affects the capacity of your system. When more panels are added to the system, the fixed costs will decrease and lower the cost per watt of your system.

The components in your solar energy system

The individual components that make up your solar energy system can differ when compared to another. Like any other appliance, solar energy system components can vary in terms of quality. Quality will generally refer to their efficiency, wattage, and overall performance and features. Typically, the better-performing components will be much more expensive when compared to ones that just perform up to standards. Although this increase in cost can be worth it when considering your needs and any requirements for your solar energy system.

More expensive solar panels tend to come in smaller form factors and have higher efficiency and wattage ratings. This will help you make the most of the space available for your solar array by an increase in the amount of kW your system can produce. A higher-end inverter system may include power optimizers that help maintain your system’s efficiency rating. Micro-inverter system that avoids the need for a centralized inverter by implementing the inverter on or near each solar panel. A better battery will allow you to either use more appliances on battery power. Or further extend your home’s time with power should any power loss from the grid occur. These are just some of the benefits that higher-end solar components can give you.

The type of solar energy system install

The installation type of your solar energy system will also be another differing factor. Ground-mounted solar energy systems utilize ground-mounted racks and are wired via trenches to your home. Other alternatives can include solar carports and solar sheds. Each of these installation types has its use cases, advantages, and disadvantages. Although, these alternative installation methods can come with added costs compared to a traditional rooftop solar energy system. This is due to the need for additional components and construction. The extra wiring work and labor are needed to get the solar energy system up and running. Ground-mounted systems tend to cost more compared to their rooftop equivalents. It is also worth noting that additional solar installations such as carports and solar sheds tend to be additions to a solar energy system. Rather than a stand-alone unit capable of powering a home.

Alternative installation types–ground mounts, carports, etc–are becoming increasingly popular. While there are certain advantages to these types of installations, they often cost more than traditional rooftop solar due to additional components, complicated wiring, or added labor required to complete the installation. Don’t be too surprised if your ground mount system ends up costing more money than your neighbor’s rooftop installation.

The type of solar energy system install

Another factor that is common when discussing any kind of solar energy system. The difficulty is often a factor of the installation when it comes to solar, as some rooftop layouts can be more complicated to deal with compared to others. Generally, roofs with multiple levels, unusual angles, and other obstructions can make installations tricky. The material that your roof is made of can also determine the difficulty of installations. This extra cost is usually due to the added care and specialty mounting equipment needed to make these installations work.

Get a solar energy system that’s right for you

Whether you are on the fence about getting a solar energy system, asking around for opinions is always a good first start. Although, we would highly recommend asking a professional for their input when choosing to purchase a solar energy system. It can be daunting at first if you are looking to transition to solar, although we are ready to help you through the process. Our 4 step solar process will explain to you how we help our customers through the entire solar process. Which results in them having a sleek, modern, solar energy system that’s perfect for their needs.

Get started with solar energy today

If you are looking to start your transition to solar energy, we are here to help. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property. You can also contact us directly via phone at +1 (602) 363-8919 or via email at Scott@elitesolarenergy.org for more information regarding solar energy for your property.