Is a 10kW solar system right for your home?
Individual panel prices
Prices of DIY kits
Installed system prices
As the cost of solar continues to get cheaper, more people are choosing to install larger solar system sizes. This has led to 10 kilowatt (kW) solar systems becoming an increasingly popular solar solution for large homes and small offices.
A 10kW solar system is still a significant investment and you might not even need that much power! In this article, we take a closer look to see if a 10kW solar system is the right size for you.
As of January 2023, a 10kW solar energy system will cost about $30,000 before incentives, based on the average cost of solar in the U.S. When you take the federal tax credit into account, that price drops to about $21,000.
It’s important to keep in mind that solar system pricing varies from state to state. In some areas, additional state or utility-based solar rebates may reduce the installation cost even more.
The following table outlines the average cost of a 10kW solar system in different states, so you can get an idea of how much solar could cost in your area.
|State||Average 10kW solar system cost before tax credit||Average 10kW solar system cost after tax credit|
A 10kW solar system can produce between 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 15,000 kWh of electricity per year.
How much power a 10kW system will actually produce varies, depending on where you live. Solar panels in sunnier states, like New Mexico, will produce more electricity than solar panels in states with less sunlight, like Massachusetts.
Yes, a 10kW solar panel system will cover the average American household’s energy usage of about 10,715 kWh of electricity per year.
However, your home’s energy needs could be quite different than the average American household. In fact, energy consumption varies a lot between states. Homes in Wyoming and Louisiana, for instance, tend to use more electricity than homes in other states. So while a 10kW solar array might be perfect for a home in Louisiana, it might be too big for a home in a state like New York, which uses much less electricity on average.
10kW solar systems do produce enough electricity that you could go off-grid. The only thing is you would also have to install solar battery storage to store the excess electricity a 10kW off-grid solar system produces.
Based on the average electric rate and usage in the U.S., the average homeowner can save around $125 per month with a solar system that’s designed to cover all of their energy consumption. That’s about $1,500 per year in solar savings!
In almost all scenarios, a solar panel system will significantly lower your utility bill. How much a solar system will actually save you can vary widely from state to state. This is because your electric bill depends on:
For example, a 10kW solar system that generates 1,000 kWh in a month in Florida would save you about $110 on your monthly electric bill. If a system installed in Massachusetts produced the same amount of solar energy - 1,000- kWh - it would save you $190 a month on your power bill.
The difference in savings is due to the fact that electricity is substantially more expensive in Massachusetts than it is in Florida.
The average payback period for a 10kW system can be anywhere from 8 years to 20 years, depending on where you live.
Your location impacts how much your system costs, how much electricity the system produces, and how much the system will save you - all factors which influence the payback period.
Your return on investment could be even better if you live in an area with additional solar rebates like solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).
A 10kW rooftop solar system will need between 25 and 27 solar panels. The actual number of solar panels it takes to make a 10kW solar PV system depends on the wattage of the solar panels.
For example, if you install 300-watt solar panels, you’ll need 34 panels to make a 10kW system. If you use panels with a higher power rating, like 400-watt panels, you’ll only need 25 panels to reach 10kW in size.
This is a lot of solar panels, so you’re going to need a lot of roof space in order to install a 10kW system.
A 10kW solar installation will usually require between 440 and 475 square feet of roof space.
The actual square footage you need depends on the wattage of the panels you install. The lower the wattage, the more panels you need, which increases the amount of roof space you need.
Ideally, you would want at least 475 square feet of south-facing roof space to install your panels, as this maximizes the amount of energy the panels will produce.
Yes, you can buy DIY solar kits to install a 10kW solar panel array on your own.
10kW solar DIY kits often sell for between $14,000 and $24,000, which is slightly cheaper than the installed price you would get with a solar company. However, DIY solar can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Plus, creating the right system design, including the location of the panels and which solar inverter to choose can be quite challenging. Sometimes, installing panels yourself can even void the warranty on the panels.
You’ll oftentimes need the help of a solar industry professional or a licensed electrician in order to properly install a DIY system and pass inspections, which can actually cause you to spend more money than if you had just gone with an installer in the first place.
To find the best installer for your 10kW solar system, you should get multiple quotes from different solar companies. You can then do a solar quote comparison, which will help you get the best price for installing solar panels on your roof.
Start with local installers with licensed contractors in your area, as they can give you personalized service, and they typically have a good understanding of what incentives are available in your area.