10kW solar systems are becoming more popular - here's why
As the cost of solar continues to get cheaper, more and more people are choosing to install larger solar system sizes. 10 kilowatt (kW) solar systems are becoming an increasingly popular alternative energy solution for large homes and small offices.
However, a 10kW solar system is still a significant investment, so let’s take a look and see if a solar system of this size is right for you.
On this page:
- 10kW solar system cost
- Financing options
- How many solar panels are needed?
- How much roof space is needed?
- Can 10kW power a home?
- How much can you save?
- Finding the right installer
How much does an average 10kW solar system cost?
With the average cost of solar at $3.18 per watt of installed solar, a 10kW solar energy system in the US will cost about $31,800. When you take the federal solar tax credit into account, that price drops down to about $23,500.
Solar system prices will vary from state to state. In some areas, additional state or utility-based solar rebates and incentives may reduce the installation cost even more.
|State||Average cost of 10kW solar system before tax credit||Average cost of 10kW solar system after tax credit|
Can you finance a 10kW solar system?
The high price tag that comes with a solar panel system can be intimidating. If you don’t have the upfront cash to install a 10kW solar system, there are many financing options available.
If you qualify, a zero-down solar loan is a great way to finance your solar system. Solar loans allow you to own your system and still get significant long-term electric bill savings.
In some states, solar companies may offer solar leases or solar power purchase agreements (PPAs). With solar loans and solar leases, you don’t pay the upfront costs of solar. Instead, the solar company owns the solar panels on your roof, and you pay them a monthly payment for the solar energy the system produces.
Although they do reduce the amount you’ll have to pay upfront, both solar leases and solar PPAs have lower long-term electric bill savings than if you had purchased the system outright.
Read more about solar financing options here.
How many solar panels are in a 10kW solar system?
A 10kW rooftop solar system has between 31 and 40 solar panels. The actual number of solar panels it takes to power the system depends on the wattage of the solar panels.
For example, if you are installing 300-watt solar panels, you’ll need 34 panels to make a 10kW system. Whereas if you install 350-watt panels, you’ll only need 28 panels to reach 10kW in size.
30 to 40 solar panels is a lot, so you need a lot of roof space in order to install a 10kW solar power system.
How much roof space do you need for a 10kW solar system?
A 10kW solar installation will usually require between 600 and 700 square feet of roof space.
Ideally, you would want at least 600 square feet of south-facing roof space to install your solar panels on. But keep in mind that the actual square footage required will depend on the wattage and the dimensions of the panels you install.
If you need a 10 kW system, but don’t have the space, you might need to get high efficiency solar panels, which can create more energy in a smaller area. You may also consider installing a solar carport, which will protect your car - plus provide you with more space for solar panels.
Can a 10kW solar system power a home?
A 10 kW solar system can produce between 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) to 15,000 kWh of electricity per year, which is enough to cover the average U.S home’s electricity usage of 10,972 kWh per year.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that energy usage and solar production can vary greatly between states. Homes in Wyoming and Louisiana, for instance, tend to use more electricity than homes in other states. So, while a 10 kW system might be perfect for a house in Louisiana, it might be too big for a home in a state like New York, which uses much less electricity on average.
If you’re looking for an off-grid solar system, a 10 kW system could power your home - however, it might exceed your energy needs. In this case, you might want to pair the system with solar battery storage.
So, if your yearly energy usage is much lower than 11,000 kWh, you should consider installing fewer solar panels. Check out our solar panel calculator to see what size solar panel system is right for your energy usage in your specific home.
How much can you save with a 10kW solar panel system?
Although the electric bill savings from a 10 kW solar system varies widely from state to state, you will almost always have a significantly lower utility bill.
This is because your electric bill savings depend on:
- How much energy is produced
- How much electricity costs
- The net metering policy in your state
For example, a 10 kW solar system that generates 1,000 kWh a month in Florida would save you about $110 on your monthly utility bill. If a system installed in Massachusetts produced the same amount - 1,000 kWh - it would save you $190 a month.
This difference in savings is due to the fact that electricity is much more expensive in Massachusetts than it is in Florida.
The following table shows estimates of how much a 10kW system can save in different states:
|State||Estimated yearly savings
from 10kW solar system
|California||$1,900 - $2,600|
|Florida||$1,200 - $1,647|
|Texas||$1,200 - $1,600|
|North Carolina||$1,200 - $1,600|
|Arizona||$1,300 - $1,800|
|New Jersey||$1,700 - $2,400|
|Massachusetts||$2,000 - $2,900|
|Georgia||$1,200 - $1,800|
|New York||$1,900 - $2,700|
The average payback period for a 10kW solar system can be anywhere from 8 years to 20 years, depending on the location in which it’s installed - be it your house, state, city - even the country you live in.
Your return on investment could be even better if you live in an area with additional solar rebates like Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Use our solar calculator to find out the payback period for a 10kW solar system on your home.
Finding the right installer for a 10kW solar system
It is possible to buy a DIY solar kit to install a 10kW solar panel array. 10kW solar DIY kits often sell for between $12,000 and $23,000, which is slightly cheaper than the installed price you will get with a solar company. However, DIY solar can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
You’ll oftentimes need the help of a solar industry professional or a licensed electrician in order to properly install the system and pass inspections. This could actually cause you to spend more than if you had just gone with an installer in the first place.
Whether you’re looking to install a DIY solar kit or get a professional installation, or you’re looking to stay on-grid or go off-grid, you should always get multiple solar quotes from different solar companies so you can do a quote comparison. This will help you get the best price you can for installing solar panels on your roof.
Start with local installers with licensed contractors in your area, as they can give you more personalized service and they have a better understanding of what incentives are available in your area. We make it easy to find the best local solar companies and certified contractors in your area, thanks to hundreds of customer reviews.
Author: Andrew Sendy | Home Solar Journalist
Andy is deeply concerned about climate change but is also concerned about cost of living pressures on American families. He advocates for solar energy and solar battery storage only to the extent that they make financial sense for homeowners. He is not affiliated with any particular solar company in the United States.