Solar Cost FAQ
- What will solar energy cost me:
if I want to use (a) solar panel(s) to help power my home?
Solar electricity costs about $10 to $12 a watt installed, though you may be eligible for state incentives. Check your utility bill to see your monthly usage. A robust solar electric system will cost about $20,000. You can spend as much money, to receive as much solar electricity, as you feel comfortable with.
if I want to use solar energy to supply all the power to my home or remote cabin?
As above, the cost is about $12 a watt and a total cost of about $20,000. For a remote cabin, the cost is generally much cheaper than hooking up to the grid.
Learn more about grid independent solar energy.
if I want to buy a portable solar panel?
A solar energy system big enough to power a computer and a few other small items might cost you about $700 to $1000. These are also well suited for RVs, boats and camping.
Learn more about portable solar energy units.
if I want to use solar energy to save (big money) on my water bill?
A solar thermal water heating system can pay for itself in three years or less. Typically, these cost under $5,000, and can reduce your monthly hot water heating bill between 50 - 100%.
Learn more about solar thermal energy systems.
if I want to use solar energy to heat my swimming pool or hot tub?
You can buy a pre-fab system for several hundred dollars. This will pay for itself quickly.
Learn more about solar water heaters
if I want to buy a wind energy system?
A system like this may cost several thousand dollars.
Learn more about wind energy systems.
if I have a stream running through my property?*
A micro-hydro system can provide unlimited energy for less than $2,000.
Learn more about micro hydro energysystems.
Can I add solar panels to my house?
You sure can. The most effective systems are on homes with a south facing roof and no shading from other buildings or trees.
As well, there are a number of state and federal financing incentives that encourage you to do so.
What about my shingles?
You would ideally replace your shingles before you put in solar panel mounts, although this is not absolutely necessary. If you are planning on replacing shingles in 10 years or so, then you will have to have a solar paneling installer remove the solar panel mounts before replacing the roofing.
What about roof damage?
Professional installers have been installing solar panels for 30 years now. They've learned a lot in that time. In some cases there have been mistakes made, and as with any industry you have to know what to look for in order to find a trustworthy solar provider. You can also mount your panels on the ground, to be absolutely safe.
What about insurance and storms?
If you buy solar panels and add them to your house, your insurance company will be obligated to insure them, just as they insure the rest of your household items.
You should take precautions against storm damage, of course, but your roof is always susceptible to this kind of damage.
What's the ideal situation for my solar panels?
A couple of situations are ideal:
- If you are building a new home, design it with passive solar design concepts and build it with a roof at the correct angle facing southward.
- A flat roof with tar and chip roofing makes for easy installation of solar panels.
Learn more about grid integrated solar.
The Solar Thermal and Solar Pool Heating Guide
Click on a description that best fits you or click on a link you want to learn about (note: some links are the same).
I am looking to just tinker without investing a lot of money.
Let us tell you about the simplest, most basic solar thermal energy systems.
I am willing to spend up to $5,000 to heat my household water OR I want to do my part to protect the environment and I'm willing to spend money.
This is a good investment, and we have advice on the best solar thermal energy systems.
I am willing to spend about $3,000 on a pool heater.
In many areas, the system pays for itself in a few years. Learn about solar pool heaters.
I am interested in becoming more energy independent OR I want to learn all my options and decide for myself.
Check out our solar thermal system overview.
How can I get started with Renewable Energy?
There are a number of ways to use solar energy to offset heating costs or supplement the power of your home.
How can I use solar at my own home?
Use a solar power system that is integrated with your regular grid source electricity.
Learn about the basics of solar photovoltaic.
Learn more about integration with the grid.
How can I use solar power to provide electricity at my remote cottage or cabin?
Learn more about independent solar energy.
How can I use solar energy to heat my water?
You can use a solar thermal glycol-based (anti-freeze) system to heat water for your home.
Learn more about solar thermal energy from glycol.
You can use solar energy to heat your pool water. Learn more about solar pool heating.
How can I get a solar system to fit in with my home's looks and style?
You can purchase building integrated solar, such as solar shingles.
Learn more about building-integrated solar energy.
How can I use wind power?
Those who own property that receives strong, steady wind might be able to use wind power to fully or partly power their home, business or cottage.
Learn more about wind power.
How can I integrate solar and wind power?
You create or buy a hybridized system. Learn more about hybrid systems.
How can I get my own hydroelectric power?
If you have running water on your property, you may be able to harness this with a small hydroelectric system. You might even be able to get all the energy you need from it.
Learn more about micro hydro
How can I get free heat energy from the earth?
Geothermal energy is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy. Heat energy is trapped inside the earth, and this heat can be circulated into your home by a heat pump.
Learn more about geothermal