How much does a 6kW solar power system cost and how much electricity does it produce?
As the cost of solar continues to decline, 6 kilowatt (kW) solar PV systems are becoming a more popular option for homeowners.
In many states, a 6kW PV system will be enough to power an entire house, but it depends on your location and energy needs. We will walk you through the cost, size, and practicality of a 6kW system before you decide to buy.
With the average cost of solar about $3.00 per watt as of August 2022, a 6kW solar system in the US will cost about $18,000. With the 30% federal tax credit, the solar system price drops down to about $12,000.
Depending on where you live, you can benefit from additional state or utility-based solar rebates and incentives, such as net metering, that may reduce the price even more.
The system design and parts can also change the price, like inverters and ground mount racking, among other things.
All of the above factors, in addition to how much sun an area gets and electricity rates, play into the different costs of installing solar. In the chart below, we break down what you can expect to pay around the country.
|Average cost of 6kW solar system before tax credit
|Average cost of 6kW solar system after tax credit
Just because 6kW systems are becoming cheaper, that doesn’t mean that everyone can pay cash upfront to own one. Luckily, there are many financing options available.
If you qualify, a zero-down solar loan is a great way to finance your solar system.
In some states, you can opt for solar leases or solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) from solar companies. Solar loans and solar leases allow you to pay the full cost over time while still benefiting from solar savings. PPAs are a bit different - the solar company owns the solar panels on your roof, and you pay them a monthly payment for the solar energy the system produces.
Solar leases and solar PPAs have lower long-term utility bill savings than purchasing a system outright. Though financing solar panels will still deliver long-term electric bill savings, paying in full upfront is the best choice.
A 6kW energy system has 19 solar panels.
Depending on the wattage of the solar panels you choose to go with, the actual number of solar panels for your 6kW system will vary. Typically, the wattage of solar panels ranges from a low of 350 watts to 400 watts.
For example, if you install 350-watt solar panels, you’ll need about 17 panels to make a 6kW system. But if you use more powerful 400-watt panels, you’ll only need 15 panels to reach a 6kW system size.
A 6kW solar panel system will require about 265 square feet of space on your rooftop.
It’s important to note that the actual square footage required will depend on the wattage and the dimensions of the panels you install.
High-efficiency solar panels will create more energy, increasing actual power output, in a smaller area. That means if you do not have 265 square feet, higher efficiency panels can help you reach a 6kW solar array.
A 6kW system will produce about 400 to 900 kWh of electricity a month, meaning the amount of energy produced ranges between 4,800 to 10,800 kWh per year.
Because the average U.S. home’s monthly electricity usage is 886 kWh, a 6kW system might be too small for the amount of power consumption for many homes.
The amount of sunlight your home state gets also determines the number of solar panels you will need. Say if you live in sunny Arizona, a 6kW system will get you much farther than if you lived in rainy Washington.
Because every state has different rates for electricity, your savings will vary. If you live in a state with high electricity costs, your solar system will save you more money. Your power bill savings will also be affected by the amount of energy your solar system produces.
For example, if a 6kW solar system generates 900 kWh a month in California, it will save you about $157 a month. A system installed in Texas (where electricity is very cheap) that produces 900 kWh would save a homeowner $99 a month. The bottom line is - no matter where you live, solar will save you money on electricity.
The following table shows estimates of how much a 6kW system can save in different states:
|Estimated yearly savings
from 6kW solar system
|$835 - $1,878
|$527 - $1,186
|$528 - $1,187
|$530 - $1,191
|$583 - $1,312
|$755 - $1,698
|$912 - $2,052
|$552 - $1,242
|$844 - $1,899
Another factor that varies by state and is based on electricity costs and cost to install is the payback period. The payback period for your solar panels is the time it takes to pay the system off and get completely free electricity.
The payback period could be even lower if you live in an area with additional solar rebates like solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). Find out what your estimated payback period is for a 6kW system in your state.
If you are interested in off-grid solar panel options or want to install solar panels yourself, it is possible to buy a DIY solar kit to install a 6kW system. A DIY kit costs about $10,000, making them slightly cheaper than the installed price you will get with a solar company.
Although it is technically cheaper to buy a DIY kit, many times you will need the help of a solar installer or a licensed electrician. After solar installation, electricians will ensure that the system will pass inspections.
All of that extra work can cost more than having a licensed solar installer install your panels. Also, when you work with licensed professionals, you can benefit from a 25-year warranty on your panels, a perk you do not get with DIY.
To really be sure if a 6kW system is right for you, it makes sense to work with trusted solar installers to determine the number of solar panels your home needs. Find out what local incentives you can qualify for and if a 6kW system is right for your home’s energy needs!