How to find affordable solar panels

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Installing a solar energy system is becoming increasingly attainable for homeowners across the country as prices continue to drop. Being savvy about where to find the best deals on solar can make your solar installation process pain-free, and lead to maximum savings.

How affordable is solar energy?

The price of a solar installation has fallen dramatically in recent years, making solar more affordable than ever. Based on EnergySage data from solar installers nationwide, the average customer pays $2.76 per watt for solar on the EnergySage Marketplace.

The falling cost of solar

Cost of Solar 2021

What does this price drop mean for you? For the average U.S. homeowner, the cost of installation for solar panel system has fallen by several thousand dollars over the past half-decade or so. Depending on where you live, this number could be even higher.

Quick payback periods make solar even more affordable

As soon as your new solar panel system is live and producing energy, you will begin reducing or eliminating your electric bills. After a certain number of years, you will break even on your solar investment and will have saved the amount of money you spent upfront on solar by lowering your electric bills. This is known as your payback period, and it is a powerful indicator of the financial benefit of installing solar.

The average payback period for solar in the U.S. is about 8 years. The length of your payback period is dependent on factors like upfront price and local electricity rates. How does this translate to making solar more affordable? As a general rule, solar energy systems last 25 to 30 years. This means that after the payback period has been reached, an average solar installation will earn you money for about 20 years. This is important – installing solar will end up being significantly net positive when it comes to money in your pocket. Instead of paying your utility for electricity, you will generate most or all of your home energy for free. Once the payback period is reached, solar is no longer just affordable – it is profitable.

To get a feel for what your payback period and savings could be with solar, check out our Solar Calculator for a free analysis of a potential solar project on your property.

The best way to find affordable solar installations is with EnergySage

Going solar can be complicated, and the most effective way to make sure you get an affordable, high-quality installation is by using a competitive marketplace like EnergySage. On our platform, solar shoppers can save 20% when compared to market prices due to the competitive and transparent nature of a marketplace approach. These extra savings mean you will have a shorter payback period, so you can start making money from your solar installation sooner.

Compare solar quotes on a level playing field

When you use EnergySage to solicit quotes, you can protect yourself from paying artificially high prices from large solar installers. According to a 2017 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), large solar installers (such as Sunrun) quote about $0.33 per watt more than small, local installers, which results in customers paying almost $2,000 more for a similar solar energy system. By using EnergySage, you can compare these quotes apples to apples and find the most affordable deal. We pre-vet and approve all installers before they can quote on our platform – you can have peace of mind that the company you end up working with will provide equal or better service when compared to a large, recognizable solar installer brand.

Compare affordable solar quotes the smart way

EnergySage’s marketplace approach also allows you to compare a number of factors in your solar quotes besides just the sticker price. Equipment, warranties, and installer quality are some of the metrics that you can compare in order to find the perfect solar solution for your home or property. For example, you may opt for a slightly higher upfront price for high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more energy with less roof space. Or, you may want to compare ground-mounted solar options with a rooftop system. The best and easiest way to weigh all your options like these while getting a good deal is through the EnergySage Marketplace.

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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he focuses primarily on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

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