​What is the average cost to install solar panels?

​What is the average cost to install solar panels for your home or business? Solar is an exciting new frontier and a way for home and business owners to take control of their energy generation, save thousands of dollars on utility costs and save the environment all at the same time.

That's all fine and good, but what does it cost?

​Solar is modular

​Solar is a scaled business, the more you need, the cheaper it gets. Unlike other types of energy generation, solar is entirely modular. As clients needs gets larger, additional panels, inverters and racking are purchased. There is technically no minimum or maximum size to a solar system, so for that reason coming up with an "average cost" is a bit of a misnomer.

Instead, we like to look at cost-per-watt and go from there. Of course, if you want a more specific look into your particular needs, you can always utilize our solar cost calculator, or call our team.

The cost per watt of a solar system is a great way to keep an eye a system's overall cost. Cost per watt is made of both soft and hard costs.


Hard costs with solar are things like the panels, inverters, meters, wiring, racking, and installation machinery. These components typically make up around half of the cost per watt of a system.

Soft costs are things like labor, development costs, and overall company overhead. These costs make up the other 40-50% of the system's costs.

The average cost per watt of solar varies state-to-state, country-to-country entirely due to differences in soft costs. Soft costs can increase drastically in communities where solar permitting is challenging, utility infrastructure is sub-par, or labor is expensive.

The average cost per watt of solar in New York State is around $3 a watt, whereas that same system cost in California is more than $3.50 a watt. It pays to speak with your local solar contractor to see where you fall on the spectrum. 


An additional factor to consider when determining the cost of a solar system is available incentives.

Currently, all United States residents can leverage the 26% (effective 1/1/20) Investment Tax Credit for solar. Individual states have different programs that can drastically decrease the post-incentive cost of a system. Some of these programs are delivered in the form of tax breaks, while others are provided through incentive programs and grants.

All in all, it pays to know your market. When asking yourself, what is the average cost to install solar panels, start with a local company willing to give quotes, and continue your research from there!

All in all, you're lucky you live in New York State as a solar customer. The incentives available to make going solar affordable here in NYS are unparalleled, and as a prospective customer, you have the opportunity to make the most of those incentives before they start to run out!

Are you interested in leveraging some of these awesome benefits to buy a solar system that can save you thousands? Reach out to our team and we'll happily draft you a no-nonsense quote that will help you understand all the options available to you!