Ashburn, VA 20149
Solar Panel Installers on Thumbtack cost
$840 - $16800
Price based on average
13 Solar Panel Installers found near you!
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$90
$840
$16800
$23000
Price curve graph
$90
$840
$16800
$23000
Sample projects:

Install new solar panels or just consult about your options with an alternative energy professional. Solar panels draw energy from the sun to power your home’s air conditioner, appliances, heater, and other electrical needs. Typically these flat, electrically wired, reflective panels are mounted on your roof to provide the best access to sunlight, but they can also be ground mounted depending on your location and needs.

You can benefit from solar panels whether you are connected to an existing electrical grid (such as PG&E) or are off the grid, meaning you don’t draw any energy from outside utility companies or sources. If you live in a climate with adequate sun year-round, solar panels can provide all your energy needs, eliminating your utility bills entirely. Solar energy is sustainable — use of the sun’s rays to power homes doesn’t deplete the sun or cause environmental damage — so it can help save the environment while saving you money. Pros can also install battery backups or generator backups, which ensure you’re never without electricity in case of power failure. Here are the cost factors to consider when installing solar panels on your home or business.

Cost of solar panels

Solar panels are priced not only by brand but also per watt, the units of energy the panel will produce. Watts are generated by the cells that make up a solar panel, which take in the sun’s rays and convert them into useable energy. Solar panels typically come in 60-cell or 72-cell panels, explains Clay Mauldin of Clayco Electric and Solar. The more cells you have, the greater the amount of energy you can produce.

  • Solar panels can range in price from 30 cents a watt to $1.30 per watt, per Clayco Electric and Solar. This does not include installation costs.

  • The standard residential size is a 60-cell solar panel, roughly 3.5 feet by by 5.5 feet in size. They produce 250-330 watts per panel.

  • 72-cell panels are used for large residential and commercial systems and produce approximately 320-375 watts per panel.

    • Throughout the day, this production amounts to thousands of useable watt hours — kilowatt hours. The actual number of watts produced varies during the day due to the angle of the sun. If the sun is shining directly on the panel, it will produce full power. If the sun is low in the sky, less power will be produced.
  • A typical home with two adults might consume 10,000 kWh in a year, says Mauldin at Clayco Electric and Solar. The consumption will vary based on the year the home was built, the energy use habits of the adults, and the home’s location. Hot locations will use more air conditioning, so their usage may be greater.

  • In a recent job, Clayco Electric and Solar installed a 8.2 kW solar power system on the roof of a 3,000-square-foot house. The system was made up of 28 panels rated at 295 watts. The system was estimated to produce 8,200 kWh over 1 year, and was able to provide most of the electricity used by the homeowners, which reduced their utility bill enormously.

Cost of installation

Solar panel pros calculate your projected energy needs, and how many panels your home will require, based on your energy consumption for the previous year. The number of panels you need will directly impact your project cost. Typically the panels are installed on your roof, but if roof slope or other factors prevent roof mounting, ground mounting is available at a higher rate per panel to account for the trench work required. Here are some examples of cost:

  • Price range for residential solar panels with roof installation: $2.50-$2.75 per watt from Clayco Electric and Solar.

  • Price range for residential solar panels with ground mount installation: $2.75-$3 per panel from Clayco Electric and Solar.

  • Total project cost for average residential home with solar panel roof installation: $15,000-$25,000 (before rebate) from Clayco Electric and Solar.

  • Price range for commercial solar panels with roof installation: $2.25-$2.50 per watt from Clayco Electric and Solar.

    • Most commercial panels are 350 watts.

    • Larger jobs are priced less per panel due to the higher overall volume.

      • Commercial spaces get extra benefits from installing solar panels, depending on the state. Clayco Electric and Solar reports that their commercial clients receive a 30 percent rebate and get a 5-year depreciation for tax purposes.

Leases and financing

Many companies enable you to lease solar panels instead of purchasing them, but some pros advise against it, explaining you will pay much more over time with no ownership rights. "Avoid doing a lease," warns Mauldin of Clayco Electric and Solar. “A $15,000 solar panel system could end up costing you $30,000 and you still won’t own the panels. Even more, if you ever sell the house, you need the homeowners to take over the lease or else you’re still stuck with it.” Do your research before deciding whether a lease or purchase is the right choice for you.

Financing is also an option, but research the contracts carefully and decide which financing plan and lending source are best for you. "Some loans put a tax lien on your house," explains Mauldin of Clayco Electric and Solar, “which can make it hard to refinance. If you have good credit, go through a credit union.”

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Millions of people ask Thumbtack for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.