Getting Started w/ Solar Panel Cost

What to know before you start:

The solar panel cost below is generalized for the Greater Austin Texas area. Use the table below get a quick grasp of what solar power systems cost. Please consult a CPA for Federal Tax Credit applicability. (NOTE: Austin Energy has an additional rebate. AE customers can visit our Austin Solar Panel Installation Page for more information.)

Average Solar Panel Cost & Incentives

Residential Roof Mounts in Central Texas

System Size Solar Panel Cost Tax Credit Amount Solar Panel Cost - After Tax Credit
5 kW $14,700 ($4,410) $10,290
8 kW $23,000 ($6,900) $16,100
10 kW $28,600 ($8,580) $20,020
15 kW $42,800 ($12,840) $29,960
20 kW $55,800 ($16,740) $39,060

What size system do you need?

Compare solar panelsproduction (kWh) below to your electric bill consumption (kWh)

System Size Annual Production Winter Month Production Summer Month Production
65 kW 7,169 kWh 470 kWh 690 kWh
8 kW 11,471 kWh 750 kWh 1,100 kWh
10 kW 14,339 kWh 940 kWh 1,380 kWh
15 kW 21,500 kWh 1,400 kWh 2,070 kWh
20 kW 28,700 kWh 1,880 kWh 2,760 kWh

Examples of Solar System Size

Solar Panel Cost displayed on a metal roof in Dripping Springs TX

System Size: 4.62 kW

14 x Panasonic HIT Panels
Avg. Cost: $13,600

solar panel cost displayed on a composition shingle roof 20 miles East of Austin TX

System Size: 6.6 kW

20 x Panasonic HIT Panels
Avg. Cost: $19,200

Solar Panels Cost more for ground mounted solar systems similar to the picture displayed

System Size: 11.88 kW

36 x Ground Mounted Panels
Avg. Cost: $39,000

cost of solar panels goes down for large scale residential and commercial solar systems

System Size: 29.7 kW

90 x Panasonic HIT Panels
Avg. Cost: $83,500

Solar Panel Cost Terminology

Watts, Kilowatts & Cost per Watt

Cost per Watt: You may have experience pricing homes by the squarefoot (Example: A home in Neighborhood X  is $130/sqft and a home in Neighborhood Y is $250/sqft). The Solar industry uses a similar practice and compares solar panel pricing using Cost per Watt.

For example: Let’s take an 8kW (8000 Watts) system that costs $23,000.  $23,000 / 8,000 = $2.88/watt

The $2.88 per Watt will make it easier to compare prices between various solar companies.

HESOLAR Pricing includes the following:

solar edge inverter and panasonic HIT solar panel included in pricing

Panasonic/LG & Solar Edge

Panasonic HIT or LG NeON Solar Panels with Solar Edge DC Optimizers.

Licensed Master Electrician Labor included in Solar Panel Cost

Hoffman Design & Installation

Our Cost includes a Master Electrician On-Site during Design and Installation.

solar array with hidden conduit is standard for HESOLAR solar panel cost in Austin

HE Aesthetic Upgrade

Black Racking, Level Solar Panels, Flush Cut Rails, & Hidden Conduit!

solar edge monitoring is included in the solar panel cost

Online Monitoring

Solar Edge Monitoring allows you to see the performance of EVERY Solar Panel!

Get a Free Estimate - Solar and/or Batteries

Use the form below or call 512-921-6763 to schedule a Free Consultation.

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Solar Panel Cost

Considerations for determining a Solar Panel's Value:

Solar modules can vary in color, material, size, and origin. Black-framed modules are slightly more expensive than silver-framed modules. Polycrystalline and monocrystalline technology are available and differ in looks, production, and cost. The main factor in solar module price is dependent on who makes the module. The following questions should be asked when comparing products:

  1. How long has the company been in business?
  2. How do the Solar Panels perform in the Austin Texas Heat?
  3. How efficient are the solar modules?
  4. What is the Product Warranty?
  5. What is the Performance Guarantee?

In 2018 a 30% tariff was placed on imported solar panels. HESOLAR uses Premium Solar Panels and will not be increasing prices. Special attention should be paid to the brand of the module and who will be supplying the warranty. Solar companies have gone out of business in the USA and overseas, so choosing a well-known brand is a safe bet when relying on the 25 year production warranty. We created the HESOLAR Test Array in 2017 to create a Local Austin Solar Panels Comparison. Here you can see the differences between 2018’s top solar panels. Solar modules should be listed as UL1703 and solar inverters should be listed as UL1741.

Solar Inverters

String Inverters , Micro Inverters, & DC Optimizers

sma solar inverters displaying a portion of the solar panel cost in Austin TXDifferent types of inverters are available and the individual inverters can vary in price. Like solar modules, special attention should be paid to the manufacturer’s reputation and point of origin.

String Inverters: $$

String inverters are the economical option for non-shaded solar arrays. String inverters usually have a 10 year warranty that is extendable to 25 years. The cost to replace the inverter should be considered when calculating the return-on-investment of the solar photovoltaic system. String Inverters will be required to be paired with electronics on the roof in 2019. This is a National Electrical Code requirement that requires Voltage be limited under the solar array.

Micro Inverters: $$$

Micro inverters are utilized for shade prone areas and roofs with multiple orientations. Micro inverters are more expensive than string inverters and the cost difference varies on the size of the solar photovoltaic system. Most micro inverters carry a 25 year limited warranty. The warranty should be considered when comparing the cost to a string inverter system. It should also be noted that micro inverter replacement is much more labor intensive when compared to string inverter replacement.

DC Optimizers: $$$

DC Optimizers are coupled with string inverters to maximize production and eliminate shade issues. DC Optimizers coupled with string inverters usually cost as much as micro inverters or slightly less. DC Optimizers meet the new National Electric Code requirements, offer module level monitoring. DC Optimizers have fewer critical electronics in high heat areas (on the roof) when compared to micro inverters. Learn more about Solar Inverters.

Installation Cost

The placement of the solar array can be the leading difference in how much the solar installation costs.

Roof Mount Cost

Solar Roof Mount is the most common application in the USA and usually the lowest prices are achieved by placing solar on the roof of a building. However, the cost is dependent on roof conditions:

  1. Slope – Low slopes are easy to work on and reduce the cost in labor. Slopes more than 35 degrees typically cost more as the increase in steepness.
  2. Material – Asphalt shingles and standing seam metal roofs are easiest to work on usually represent the generic price when looking at average solar rates. Tile, wood shake, and other materials increase the price of installation because extra considerations must be taken and less common material may be requested.

Ground Mount Cost

Ground mount solar is a great method of attachment when roof attachment isn’t an option. There are many options for ground mount framing systems and the price can vary depending on a few factors:

  1. Soil-conditions – The price can vary depending on the work-ability of the soil in your location. Concrete foundations are used in most cases.
  2. Distance from interconnection point – Trenching and increased price of wire can increase the price of the solar installation.

Solar Structure Cost

Solar Carport and custom designed solar structures usually cost more than the average cost of installation. The additional cost can sometimes be factored into the savings from using solar as a building function (ex. carport, pergola, canopy). Visit our Austin Solar Panel Installation page for additional information.

Additional Solar Panel Cost Factors

Electrical Integration & Incentives

The solar install can sometimes be as simple as connecting the inverter to your electric panel. It should be assumed that long conduit paths, transformers, additional disconnects, batteries, and other equipment will increase the price of solar installation. Solar incentives have helped drive the industry and continue to make solar more affordable for consumers. Incentives vary depending on the structure classification for tax credits and local incentives. For example, a residential property in Austin, Texas is eligible for an Austin Energy Rebate as well as a Federal Tax Credit.