Home solar energy systems have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, primarily due to plummeting costs. In fact, the total cost of installing a solar system in the United States has decreased by a staggering 40% in the last decades. As a result, many more households in Oregon and Washington are taking advantage of affordable solar energy to virtually eliminate their electricity bills.
One of the top questions among solar shoppers is about the cost of installing a rooftop solar system. Let’s explore this topic to help you decide if going solar is right for you.
How much does a solar system cost for a 2,000-square-foot home in Oregon?
The price of a solar system varies depending on numerous factors, such as the quality of the solar panels, the size of the solar energy system, and the labor rate. Our 6-kilowatt rooftop solar systems in Oregon cost about $18,000 before incentives. However, the net cost of a solar energy system is significantly lower for customers who qualify for the solar tax credit and Oregon solar system rebate.
Applying the solar tax credit
$18,000 x 30% = $5,400 tax credit
Using the Oregon solar rebate
Oregon homeowners can qualify for up to $5,000 in rebates through the Oregon Department of Energy. How the solar energy rebates are applied depends on income and the solar system capacity.
Net solar power system cost:
$18,000 – $5,400 – $5,000 = $9,600 for a solar system in Oregon after solar incentives
However, the cost of a solar system can vary depending on your energy needs and property. The Smart Solar Energy team is happy to conduct a free solar audit and provide a customized plan for going solar.
How much is a solar system for a 1,500-square-foot home in Washington?
The cost of a rooftop solar system varies depending on your energy needs and property. Although smaller homes tend to use less electricity than larger ones, your electricity use depends on numerous factors. If you install a 5 kW solar panel system in Washington, the total cost is around $15,000 before applying the federal solar tax credit.
Applying the solar tax credit
The solar tax credit can reduce your net solar system cost by 30%. Speak with a tax expert to ensure you qualify.
$15,000 x 30% = $4,500
Net solar power system cost
After applying the federal solar tax credit, your cost is:
$15,000 – $4,500 = $10,500
What factors impact the cost of a solar panel system?
The total price of a home solar energy system varies significantly by the project.
Solar system size
If your home doesn’t consume much electricity or you have limited roof space, you will have a smaller solar system. Before going solar is an excellent time to look for ways to reduce your home energy use, so you can install fewer solar panels.
For example, if you have an older refrigerator that runs and runs, it might be driving up your electricity bills. Likewise, if you have an electric water heater, installing a water-saving shower head or using a front-loading washing machine can lower your electricity use.
Solar panels, inverter & equipment
Solar equipment costs vary significantly depending on the manufacturer and product line. For example, monocrystalline solar panels usually cost more than polycrystalline modules, but they are usually more efficient and last longer.
At Smart Solar Energy, we don’t cut costs by installing lower-quality solar equipment because we want your solar system to produce lots of renewable energy for decades to come. Therefore, we install some of the most reliable solar panels and inverters available.
Solar system batteries
Adding a battery bank to your solar array will significantly increase the total system cost, but allows your home to have electricity during power outages. Solar systems with batteries can save more on your electricity bills if your utility company offers time-of-use rates.
For example, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, and Pacific Power customers in Oregon and Washington can have higher electricity rates during times of peak energy demand. If you have solar batteries, you can use power from your batteries when rates are higher for greater energy bill savings.
Request a free solar audit with a battery for exact pricing information.
Rooftop solar vs. a ground mount
When possible, the best place for your solar panels is on the roof of your house. The ideal roof for solar power generation faces south, is in full sun, and in good condition. Another possible location is a garage roof or even a shed.
However, if none of these options are viable, a ground-mount solar system is an option. However, this can significantly increase the cost of the photovoltaic system because of the additional material, permitting, and labor costs.
Oregon solar rebates
The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) provides rebates for home solar systems. Currently, Oregon homeowners can receive a solar rebate of up to $5,000 for a solar system and $2,500 for solar batteries. These excellent incentives can significantly reduce the total cost of your solar system and the solar payback period.
Federal solar tax credits
The federal government offers a 30% solar tax credit for installing a solar panel system. The tax credit applies to the total system cost, including solar panels, inverters, equipment, permitting costs, and labor. However, the solar system must be installed on a primary or secondary residence, and you must own the solar system and not lease it.
You must also have a sufficient tax liability to be able to take advantage of the credit. Therefore, we recommend speaking to a tax expert to ensure the tax credit will save you money.
Has the cost of solar panels decreased?
The cost of a home solar system dropped dramatically and then leveled off in 2017. Although the installed price has decreased by 40% in the last decade, the significant declines were earlier in that period. This trend was primarily due to technology advancements, increased competition in the solar energy industry, and economies of scale in manufacturing.
Should I wait to install solar panels in Oregon or Washington?
The cost of installing a rooftop solar system in Oregon and Washington has leveled off in recent years, so there is no advantage to waiting. If you live in Oregon, you can take advantage of the Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate program. However, this program will eventually change or expire, so you might miss out if you wait. Also, delaying your installation means losing out on the home energy savings and the opportunity to generate your own clean energy.
How much do solar batteries cost?
Installing a battery with your solar system allows you to have electricity during power outages, but does significantly increase the total cost of going solar. Adding a solar battery, such as the Enphase Encharge 10, Tesla Powerwall 2, and Generac Battery, can easily add $16,000 to the total cost of your solar panel system. However, the cost of the solar battery is often eligible for the 30% federal solar tax credit, and Oregon homeowners can take advantage of ODOE solar battery rebates of up to $2,500.
How much do solar panels cost?
The price of solar energy panels varies by numerous factors, including durability, efficiency, solar power output, and warranties. For example, you can purchase a 100-watt solar panel online for less than $100, but a 400-watt solar panel could easily cost double or triple.
Typically, less expensive solar modules have lower efficiency and shorter product warranties, so they aren’t necessarily cost-effective over time. At Smart Solar Energy, we use premium solar panels with excellent durability and long warranties.
The cost of solar panels is just one part of the total solar system cost, which includes labor, a solar inverter, mounting equipment, and other components.
Cost of solar panels by type
Three types of solar panels are commonly used in residential solar installations in Oregon and Washington state. Each one has some advantages and disadvantages.
Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels offer several advantages, including high-efficiency solar cells, which allow them to convert more sunlight into electricity. Therefore, they are also space-efficient, making them suitable for installations with limited roof space.
In addition, monocrystalline panels tend to have a longer lifespan and come with extended warranties, ensuring reliable energy production for decades. For example, most of these solar panels will operate at 90% efficiency after 20 years. Also, these PV panels often have a sleek all-black appearance, making them more aesthetically appealing because they blend well with the roof.
However, the production process of monocrystalline solar modules is costlier and more energy-intensive, making them more expensive. Therefore, most premium solar panels typically have a higher upfront cost, but produce more solar power per square foot of roof space.
Polycrystalline solar panels
On average, polycrystalline solar cells are usually more cost-effective to produce, making them a more budget-friendly option for solar energy. However, they are generally less efficient than monocrystalline panels, requiring more space for the same power output.
Unfortunately, polycrystalline panels usually have a shorter lifespan and may degrade faster over time compared to monocrystalline panels. This means your solar panel system wouldn’t likely produce as much solar power after a decade or two compared to a PV system with monocrystalline solar panels.
Thin-film solar panels
Like polycrystalline solar panels, thin-film solar usually has a lower cost than monocrystalline solar panels. These solar panels are also lightweight and flexible, so they can be used in a wider variety of applications. Although it is more effective in low-light conditions, thin-film solar is usually less efficient overall. Unfortunately, you’ll likely need more available roof space for your solar panels. Thin-film solar also has a shorter lifespan of just ten to twenty years.
Can I finance a solar power system?
Yes, many homeowners finance their solar panels, and numerous options exist. If you get a solar loan, you will still own your solar panels, unlike a solar lease. That means you can still qualify for the solar tax credit, which is not true for solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs).
At Smart Solar Energy, we partner with numerous local credit unions to help our customers get solar loans. These loans have a fixed interest rate and often have a 15 year term. Often loan payments are around the same amount as your energy-bill savings, but our solar panel systems last twenty to thirty or more years. Therefore, you can enjoy many years of free energy after paying back a solar loan.
Now is an excellent time to go solar
The price of installing a solar panel system has dropped significantly in the last decade and is now affordable to many homeowners. The exact cost of your solar energy system depends on your property and home energy use.
The best way to know exactly how much your solar array will cost is by contacting Smart Solar Energy for a free solar audit. We will analyze the solar potential of your property and give you a customized solar system proposal. Our team is dedicated to using some of the best solar panels on the market, and we provide a 25-year warranty.