cheap solar panels

Cheap solar panels: how to get the lowest price per watt on the market

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You may be looking for cheap solar panels available in order to really cash in on solar power. And sure, when you install solar on your home or business, you can save thousands on your electricity bills. But going solar isn’t automatically cheap: buying solar panels to install on your roof typically costs thousands of dollars. It’s no wonder that the cost of solar is among the most important considerations for today’s homeowners. If you’re thinking about going solar and worried about prices, you’re probably wondering: what are the best value solar panels and will solar get even cheaper?


Key takeaways


  • Cheap solar panels vary in quality: usually, a higher price reflects a higher efficiency rating and therefore higher quality. 
  • Polycrystalline solar panels are typically cheaper than monocrystalline panels. 
  • Your payback period may be longer if you shop for solar panels with the lowest price tag. 
  • Solar shoppers should use the EnergySage Marketplace to browse for solar panels based on price, efficiency, brand, quality, and more. 

Cheap solar panels for sale: where can you find them and are they any good?

If you’re wondering where to get cheap solar panels, there are a number of ways to evaluate the expense of solar based on location. Chinese solar panels are known for being some of the least expensive in the world, but nations like Germany and the U.S. aren’t far behind. Each offers their own benefit for having solar brands that offer world record performance.

In the United States, some of the cheapest solar panels per watt in 2021 are Astronergy’s $250 panel, which works out to about $0.70 per watt. American-owned Heliene, which also has a $250 panel with one of the cheapest prices per watt at $0.80.. Price per watt can vary by location as well: certain markets like California and Texas tend to have more efficient, or the cheapest, solar panels compared to many other areas. Regardless of your zip code, if you do the research and spend some time working with your installer it’s possible to find a cheap solar offer anywhere in the United States.

It is worth noting that cheaper solar panels may vary in quality when comparing more expensive options. This is especially true when considering long term costs vs. upfront costs. Buyers can often save money by opting to spend more money at first for a product that will last longer instead of a less expensive product that may need repairs or replacing. However, there are many products that are affordable and still provide good value for customers who value economy over other selling points. 

In 2021, the average price for a solar power system is around $2.81 per watt. There’s no doubt that, regardless of how you finance your solar panel system, going solar will be an economical process with strong returns. However, if you know where to look and compare all of your options ahead of time, you can bring the costs of your solar power installation down even lower.

With these solar energy prices in mind, here are the key takeaways from our pricing data:

  • You can find inexpensive solar power no matter where you live. Solar shoppers in California, Massachusetts, and everywhere in between saw low cost solar options for their homes.
  • There are many affordable solar panel and inverter types.  You don’t have to choose between only two brands to get the best value solar cell or price per watt, which is great news.
  • A bigger solar panel system means a better solar bargain. While many solar panel systems are around 6 kilowatts (kW) in size, many solar panel deals have 10kW systems or larger – that’s pretty big!

For more information about the average cost to go solar in different states across the U.S., compare prices and installers across the country for 3 kW3.5 kW, 4 kW4.5 kW5 kW6kW, 7 kW8 kW and 10kW solar systems.

If you want to find cheap solar panels on the market in your state, get started by joining the EnergySage Solar Marketplace today. With EnergySage, you can compare multiple offers from qualified solar companies to find the best solar panel deals for your home. 

Will solar panels get cheaper? What to expect for solar energy prices

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2020 solar was the cheapest electricity source in history. Solar energy prices have followed a downward slope similar to those of most other renewable energy sources, and as technology improves and solar energy becomes more accessible, the prices will drop further. The Department of Energy is aiming to cut solar energy costs by 60 percent in the next ten years by providing $128 million in funding to research and development efforts aimed at making solar more efficient, deployable, and affordable for a wider spread of communities. 

With all of this in mind, finding the lowest possible price tag for your solar panel installation might sound like the best way to save money when you go solar. However, cutting your purchase price is only one way to maximize the cash back in your pocket. You could make your purchase entirely focused on cutting costs in the short term but the payback period of your solar panel system might take twice as long and your panels may never earn the return you expected.

Long-term benefits outweigh the thrift shop solar mentality

While cheap solar panels and DIY solar panel kits can be a good value, they don’t always save you the most money over the long term. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think about long-term value rather than just searching for the most discounted solar price and installation. At the end of the day, solar is about long-term sustainable savings and not about finding a “steal.”

Solar is a big investment: if you want to maximize your long-term solar savings, it’s important to take this into consideration. Not all solar panels are created equal – a more expensive panel might have a better warranty or be able to generate more electricity than a low-cost option. You may hear suggestions to order the cheapest solar cells available on sites like eBay but in taking that approach, you will lose out on quality. The real benefit of solar energy lies in its ability to convert sunlight into available power effectively. 

Luckily, you don’t need to pay serious cash out of pocket to get the best solar panel deal. With most solar loans today, you don’t have to pay any money down. In many cases, your new monthly solar loan payments will be lower than your old electricity bill costs, so you’ll start seeing the financial benefits of solar as soon as you install. Here’s some advice for the modern day solar shopper:

Top cheap solar panel manufacturers

These five solar manufacturers are widely considered to be the best in the market because they make solar panels with top efficiency ratings without sacrificing affordability. Here’s a breakdown of each company’s price-per watt. Use the EnergySage Marketplace to learn more about cheap solar panel pricing. 

 SunPowerLG SolarPanasonicRECTesla
Price per watt$3.14 to $3.56$2.37 to $3.13$2.40 to $3.02$2.50 to $3.42$1.84 to $2.44

Find your perfect solar panel system on EnergySage

As with any big purchase, homeowners should always take price into consideration when they’re deciding which solar system they should install. With the price of solar continuing to decline, cheap solar panels are becoming more and more available. But along with price, solar shoppers should compare all of their options in terms of quality, power output, warranty, and brand to decide if cheap solar panels are right for them. The best place to get started? Register for free on the EnergySage Marketplace today to start comparing your solar options.

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17 thoughts on “Cheap solar panels: how to get the lowest price per watt on the market

  1. DATSOLAR

    Zega knows what’s up! I went with 305W Canadian Solar Panels with an avg efficiency rating of 18.6%. The cost per watt is way less than people realize when buying panels and mounting hardware yourself. Being a little handy is enough to at least mount the panels. If the wiring scares you, paying an electrician to come out and do the wire from the system to the inverter to the meter etc…. is not a major cost when you consider how much you save on the rest of the rig. I’m skating away with a 22kW system for under $15K out the door, nicely rack mounted on the ground. Anyone who wants to get panels from about 50 to 60 cents per watt could easily find them if they know where to look. And they are authorized distributors selling well known brands with warranty too.

    Reply
  2. lusekelo

    This is a great summary and it shows that the dollar/kw keeps going down and this is a good news for all solar enrgy lovers

    Reply
  3. Tobias Armstrong

    I really like the way you summed it up by saying that long term benefits of good solar panels trump the idea that cheaper is better. If it were me buying solar panels (and in a couple of years it will be), I’d want to make sure I was buying something that was going to give me the best value possible. Saving money in the short run doesn’t always save money in the long run, and that’s hard to remember sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. shiban

    As an uneducated customer in solar energy program . I do not understand the quotes from different vendors offering almost similar products at quite different prices.

    Reply
  5. Phillip Geil

    I just self-installed an additional 5.7 kW Suniva 285W panels, tiltable, on the ground, Enphase microinverter, Unirac rails (20 panels) for $9600 total before Federal or state rebate. That equals @1.68/watt, $1.17/w after federal tax rebate, in Illinois; far less than the prices you list

    Reply
    1. Mel leveque

      Did you go off grid.?
      If not, how did you connect to the grid?
      Does your state offer net metering?
      What is the process, and how much red tape to get a new meter @r your house?

      Reply
    2. Cowboy

      I am off the grid for 7 years and running on a 100 watt system. I would like to move up to 500 watt panels, what panels should I buy, total watt would be 500 watt

      Reply
    3. zega

      14KW of SMA (2x7KW) Grid tie, 12KW Array of 320W poly panels all the mounting hardware and wiring for 12.5K$ last week (includes freight)…now money left the acc in 2017 so rebates will reduce that to 8765 $ish…

      Reply

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