Solar panels themselves are now a global product. There’s tremendous variation in the cost of solar panels based on the type and efficiency of the solar panels. However, the type of panels used for residential solar installations is quite standard and the costs are basically set globally. That cost has fallen tremendously within the past few years — they’re now about half the price they were in 2008, and more than 100 times lower than they were back in 1977.
The average weekly spot price for polysilicon solar modules this week is $0.55/watt. For a thin-film solar modules, it’s $0.55/watt. For residential solar modules, which are typically of a higher efficiency than solar modules used in utility-scale solar farms, the figure would be a bit higher. But how much does this solar cost info really help you?
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost… On My Roof?
When you ask, “How much do solar panels cost?,” what I think you really want to know is how much it costs to put solar panels on your roof, right?
The bulk of the price of going solar is now the “soft costs” (installation, permitting, etc.) rather than the solar panel cost. Referencing the latest US Solar Market Insight report, the average installed cost of a residential solar panel system is approximately $3.50/watt. (For commercial rooftops, it’s approximately $2.00/watt.)
However, prices vary tremendously by region. “Common residential system prices ranged from less than $3.00/W to just above $7.00/W,” the Solar Energy Industries Association wrote in 2014 regarding 2013 figures. The story hasn’t changed much since then, even though prices on both ends have come down.
The total price of a system, of course, varies tremendously based on the size of your roof and your electricity needs as well.
So, the key is really just to get an initial quote and then get a closer look at your situation from a local installer, who can give you a more specific quote.