With the cost of solar panels at an all-time low, there has never been a better time to go solar. A solar electric system can eliminate your electric bill, and you will also enjoy the benefits of powering your home with clean, renewable energy. Saving money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, benefiting the environment; Investing in a solar electric system is a smart investment that saves you money and simply feels good!
One of the most common first questions our solar customers ask is, “How much will a solar electric system cost?”
First, it’s important to know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Just as each home’s electric bill varies, so does the cost of a solar electric system designed to eliminate that home’s electric bill. Our goal is to provide you with a fixed-cost system designed to eliminate your annual electricity bill. We calculate your annual electricity usage, perform a thorough site evaluation of your home and design a customized solar proposal specifically for your home.
Your customized, all-inclusive solar quote will present a few system options and a range of pricing. In addition, our solar consultants take the time to explain how solar works, educate you about your options and answer your questions so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision.
Factors that affect the cost of solar panel systems
The size of your solar array
The size of a solar panel system plays a significant role in how much your solar installation will cost. Solar systems are commonly measured by the number of watts in the solar array. Multiplying the number of solar panels times the wattage of the panels yields a system size measured in kilowatts (KW). (One thousand watts equals 1 KW). So a 10-panel system consisting of 400-watt panels would be a 4 KW system size.
The bigger your electric bill, the bigger the system you will need to cover your annual electrical usage. So although larger solar electric systems cost more, they are eliminating a larger annual electric bill! It is helpful to know that solar installations benefit from economies of scale; there is a fixed cost to any size system installation, so the more significant the total system size, the lower the cost per watt.
The cost of solar panels
The cost of solar panels is the largest equipment cost for solar electric systems. Not all solar panels are created equal. There are many solar panel manufacturers, and each manufacturer offers multiple solar panel models. Each solar panel model has specifications related to its size, wattage, efficiency, appearance, and warranty. Each of these specifications impacts the solar panel cost and factors into their relative value. A higher efficiency solar panel may come with a higher price tag, but more efficient, higher-quality equipment comes with benefits worth the added cost.
Be wary of solar companies that tell you that solar panels are all the same or seem to be pushing only one solar panel model or manufacturer. Our customers find value when we present a range of solar panel options and take the time to educate them about the differences in panel features, performance, and value.
The specifics of your home
The specifics of your home roof and orientation to the south can also play a part in your total costs. People often ask, “Is my roof good for solar? Does my house face the right way for solar panels? What’s the ideal roof angle for solar?” Roof angle (also known as roof pitch) and the orientation of your home towards the south will impact the system size and thus the system cost. Roofs facing more to the east or west or roofs with more shade may require a few more panels than ideal roofs facing south. However, many people are surprised to learn that even if their home faces to the east or west, solar can still be an affordable investment.
Ground mounts vs. Rooftop
The choice between a rooftop versus a ground-mounted array also affects the cost of a solar electric system. The majority of solar electric systems installed in Maine are rooftop solar arrays. But sometimes aesthetic concerns or heavily shaded roofs make consideration of a ground mounted solar array advisable. Although a ground mounted solar array costs more than an equal-sized rooftop array, many of our customers have found that a ground mounted array provides the best balance of cost, aesthetics, and value. Ground mounted solar arrays typically cost between 15-25% more than rooftop solar arrays. Our experienced solar consultants can show you the relative costs of both options and help you determine what makes the most sense.
What does solar cost in Maine?
Now that you know what influences the cost of a solar electric system, here is a range of prices you can expect to see in quotes for a solar panel system in Maine. Solar panel costs for a 10 kilowatt (kW) installation in Maine range from $20,000 to $32,000 after factoring in the 26% federal solar tax credit. It is common to see solar pricing presented as “cost per watt.” Simply divide the cost of a solar electric system by the number of watts in the solar array. The average cost of a solar electric system in Maine ranges from $2.60 to $3.15.
|Electric bill is:||Average System Size||Estimated Cost||Net Cost (after 26% Tax Credit)|
|$75 per month||6 kW||$14,716||$10,889|
|$100 per month||8 kW||$17,401||$12,877|
|$150 per month||9 kW||$23,836||$17,639|
|$250 per month||15 kW||$37, 285||$27,591|
Financial incentives for solar customers in Maine.
Solar electric systems in Maine benefit from a 26% federal tax credit. Solar customers can take 26% of the total cost for their solar electric system and use it as a credit to pay down their federal tax bill. The 26% federal tax credit is available for systems installed through the end of 2022. In 2023 the tax credit is scheduled to be reduced to 22% and the tax credit is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2024. The good news is that the tax credit has been extended in the past and there is strong support to extend it in the future.
Are solar panels a good investment?
A solar electric system can be a significant investment. But a solar panel system is one of the few investments that truly pay for themselves in savings over time. Buying a solar electric system is the equivalent of buying 30 or more years of electricity supply at one fixed cost. Over time the money you save in reducing or eliminating your electric bill will pay back that initial investment. For most homeowners, you can see a payback or return on investment (ROI) in as few as 7 to 12 years.
Once the system pays for itself, your cost of electricity is essentially free. And from day one, your solar electric system saves you money in avoided electrical costs and protects you from ever-increasing Central Maine Power (CMP) rates!
There are also various ways to finance a solar system – such as no money down solar loans – so your solar consultant can help you pick which option works best for you and your situation.
What to look for in a solar installer
It’s important to note that cost should not be the only factor for settling on a particular company. Solar is a 25-year commitment, and part of what you’re paying for is which company will support you best before, during, and after the installation. A “cheap” installation could end up costing you more money in the long term from low-quality products and installation. Every customer wants a company with caring and skilled staff who are quick to respond. The best solar installers have a collaborative team of caring and qualified staff who work together with customers during each step of the project.
The best way to see what a solar electric system will cost for your home is to schedule a Free Solar Assessment.
At Maine Solar Solutions, our goal is to empower you to make an informed decision. Knowledge is power. The easiest thing to do to get customized pricing for a solar installation at your home is to sign up for one of our informative, free, no-obligation solar consultations today.