How much do solar panels cost in 2020?

National average:

$10,550 - $12,894*

Average cost per watt:

$2.38 - $2.90*

Estimate cost based on your location, roof, power usage and local pricing

*Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

Solar panel cost data 2020

Updated: October 20, 2020

The average cost of installed residential solar power systems is currently $2.64 per watt. A typical 6kW system costs $11,722 after claiming the 26% solar tax credit.

Solar panel cost is affected by many factors, such as the state you live in, solar panel brand, and total system size. This page presents data showing the impact of each of these variables on the cost of residential solar power systems.

However, if you want an exact estimate for how much a solar panel system will cost for your specific home — taking into account all factors, including your electricity usage and roof direction — then use the solar calculator at the top of this page.

Average solar panel cost in each state in 2020

Table 1: Average cost solar by state
State Avg cost
per watt
Cost 6kW
(After tax credit)
show before tax
Arizona $2.67 $11,837
California $2.68 $11,877
Colorado $2.44 $10,834
Connecticut $2.86 $12,676
Florida $2.41 $10,718
Massachusetts $2.87 $12,756
Nevada $2.61 $11,597
New Jersey $2.77 $12,277
New Mexico $2.44 $10,838
New York $2.86 $12,716
Oregon $2.50 $11,118
South Carolina $2.62 $11,637
Texas $2.60 $11,557
Utah $2.66 $11,797
Washington $2.73 $12,117
Show all states

If you prefer to view solar power system prices specific to your city or region, you can select your city below.

 
 
See local prices

(If your city is not listed, try a nearby city or view information for your state)

Current solar panel cost near you

Cost range of local prices

$12,066-$14,748

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$64,934-$79,364

Payback period

5-6.1 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

5.7kW

Chart 1: What is a good price for a 6.00kW solar system after tax credits.
$12K
SolarReviews average

Solar panel cost calculator

Solar panel installation cost by system size in 2020

Table 2: Average cost of residential solar systems by system size
System size* Avg cost
per watt
Avg Cost
(After tax credit)
show before tax
4kW $2.81 $8,331
5kW $2.74 $10,125
6kW $2.64 $11,722
7kW $2.62 $13,583
8kW $2.66 $15,721
9kW $2.58 $17,166
10kW $2.56 $18,941

Average solar panel cost: national data October 2020

The most recent official data from the DOE-funded Lawrence Berkeley Labs, published in September 2019, found that the median cost of residential solar panels is $3.70/watt.

However SolarReviews handles more than 1,000 quote requests per day and the current average price we see on our marketplace is 2.64 per watt.

The difference is consistent with a DOE funded NREL report that showed that customers who get competing solar bids online get slightly better value than those who do not when buying a solar panel system for their home.

What does solar panel cost mean?

We compile solar power cost data for complete solar power systems that are professionally installed by licensed solar companies. The equipment and installation, in addition to the permitting and inspections by the city and your utility, are all handled by the solar company and are thereby included in the price.

Chart 2: What is the breakdown of cost in an installed residential solar system? (cents per watt)

Installed solar system cost for the best brands of solar panels in 2020

Below are the solar panel costs for systems using the 20 most frequently-installed residential solar panels. This list also includes the most efficient solar panels on the market, which is likely the reason they are the most commonly-installed.

Table 3: Installed system cost before tax
Panel model Lowest cost
p/w
Avg cost
p/w
LG Solar
LG375A1C-V5
$2.42 $2.85
LG Solar
LG335N1K-V5
$2.46 $2.77
LG Solar
LG375Q1C-V5
$2.58 $2.87
LG Solar
LG365Q1K-V5
$2.52 $2.80
Panasonic
VBH330RA03K
$2.42 $2.92
Panasonic
VBHN340SA17 HIT+
$3.00 $0.00
Panasonic
VBHN330SA17E
$2.46 $2.83
Panasonic
VBHN335SA17
$2.60 $2.89
SunPower
SPR-X22-360
$2.52 $2.98
SunPower
SPR-E20-327-COM
$2.52 $2.90

Showing 1 - 10 of 20

Why do we use 'cost per watt' as a way of measuring solar power system costs?

Solar panels are priced by the watt. 'Cost per watt' is used when talking about the relative value of residential solar systems, rather than ‘total cost’ because it allows us to compare systems of different sizes.

Here at SolarReviews, we are seeing homeowners who search for competitive quotes finding solar panel costs per watt as low as $2.00 in some states although the average remains at $2.64 per watt. While cost is not the only factor to consider when buying solar panels for your house, the decision to install them is primarily a financial one. Therefore, obtaining the best-possible system cost is important in order to minimize your solar payback period and maximize your solar savings.

Tesla solar panel prices

Tesla is one of the only companies that displays their installed system pricing online. We are encouraging more solar companies to do the same. They have a very poor reputation for customer service on reviews websites like ours however we applaud their move to bring pricing transparency to the residential solar industry.

Table 4: Tesla system prices
Type Size Cost
Grid Tied 4.08 kW $8,160
Grid Tied 8.16 kW $16,320
Grid Tied 12.24 kW $24,480
Grid Tied 16.32 kW $32,640

Note: Prices for installed Tesla systems are shown before the 26% federal solar tax credit.

Why solar panel cost should not be your only consideration when buying solar panels for your home

The most important difference between buying solar panels and any other purchase is that solar panels last 25-30 years. This is a long, long time and you will need customer service over all that time. The reviews below of the two largest corporate solar installation companies indicate larger corporate solar companies are not delivering this support to their customers.

We recommend you find a small or mid-size, local, family-owned solar company. These companies tend to care more about you and your specific job. You don't want to be on hold to a corporation's call center for the next 25 years!

Tesla Energy solar company reviews

1.97 505 Reviews

Industry average score: 4.62

Sunrun Inc. solar company reviews

1.78 225 Reviews

Industry average score: 4.62

What factors affect the cost of solar panels for your home?

There are many factors that affect solar panel installation costs with regard to specific homes, including:

The location of your home

The location of a home affects the cost of installing solar in a few ways. The amount of sunlight available affects system output and so dictates how many solar modules you will need. Obviously the more solar panels you need the higher the cost. Market prices are also different in different locations because of factors including average system sizes in that location, competition between installers, local job volumes, and the cost of business overheads.

The amount of electricity your home uses

A house that uses more electricity will need more solar panels. Although solar panels do get cheaper on a per-watt basis, as the system size gets bigger, the overall cost of the system increases, as well.

The type of solar panels and inverter you buy

There is a significant difference in cost between the top-rated solar panels and brands that are perceived to be of lesser quality. The same is also true for inverters. For example, a 6kW solar system using Sunpower or Panasonic solar panels can be as much as $5,000 more expensive than a solar system using Canadian Solar Modules.

The relative ease or difficulty of installing solar panels on your home

If your roof is particularly difficult to install solar panels on, say, if your home is three stories high or has a roof with a 45° pitch, it will take longer to install the panels and do the wiring.

Learn more about how much solar panels will cost for your house with our solar panel cost calculator

Our solar power calculator, originally developed with funding from the Department of Energy, is the easiest way to determine the solar panel installation cost for your home because it only requires the input of your address and monthly power spend. From this information, the solar calculator knows your utility company, your electric rates, and how much power you use. It will tell you:

  • Step 1: How many solar panels you need to power your house?
  • Step 2: Roof space: How many solar panels will fit on your roof and where will they go?
  • Step 3: How much your solar panels will cost, and how much they will save you?

The solar panel calculator will assume you want to install a solar power system to offset 100% of your energy use. This is because net metering laws limit the size of eligible solar systems to a system producing a similar amount of energy as your house uses.

Why should I be concerned about very cheap solar panels?

The 'Low Quality Warning' in the figure above indicates a heightened risk that either the solar company is using low quality equipment or has an unsustainable pricing model. You need support from your solar provider for 25 years and so you need a solar company that prices their systems at a high enough level to stay in business.

Where do we get industry average solar panel cost data from

Industry average solar panel cost data is published by DOE funded Lawrence Berkeley labs. However, this data is almost a year old when published. The SolarReviews solar panel cost average represents a better snap shot of current prices.

We see more than 1,000 quotes per day issued by solar companies to homeowners through our site. Many homeowners share these quotes with us to get independent advice and this gives us very accurate and current pricing data.

Are individual solar panel prices still falling?

The median cost per watt for residential solar energy systems has dropped about 70% since 2000. However, in the last few years price decreases have slowed and are decreasing at a rate of about 5% per year.

It is unlikely that we will see steep or sudden falls in pricing again because at the wholesale level, individual solar panels are now only in the range of $0.40 per watt to $1.10 per watt (depending on the quality of the brand of solar panel). As of 2020, the federal solar tax credit has reduced to 26% and will go away completely in 2022. It is unlikely we will see any cost reductions that would be large enough to offset the loss of the tax credit. This means that waiting to install solar panels for your home seems unwise.

How to calculate solar panel cost for your home without collecting power bills?

While there is data on average electricity use of homes in each state and how many solar panels are needed to power an average house in each state these averages are of little use, as most people considering solar tend to have electricity usage that is almost double their state average.

Our solar panel calculator provides an easy estimate of the number of solar panels needed to power your home. All you need to know is the amount of your energy bill for the last month and your utility company.

The solar power calculator produces a ballpark estimate just from an average monthly power spend.

Does how much power solar panels produce in your city affect the cost of solar for your home?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratories (or NREL) have produced sophisticated and accurate data that shows how much electricity solar panels produce (in kWh) for over 1,000 weather locations throughout America. This is why almost every solar energy calculator uses the NREL PVWatts data for their solar panel kWh production calculations.

Calculating solar for your home

Will solar save you enough to get a short payback period on the upfront cost of a solar panel system for your home?

The solar savings estimator will also calculate how much solar will save you. The size of your solar savings depends largely on how expensive utility electricity is in your region, what the future rate of utility price inflation proves to be, and of course - how much power you use.

Solar payback periods can now be as little as 5-6 years, leaving homeowners installing solar to enjoy 20 years or more of free electricity once the panels are paid off. The solar calculator will work to determine your solar payback period.

Related solar news

Have your say!