Cheap Solar Panels: How to Get the Lowest Price Per Watt on the Market

cheapest solar panels per watt EnergySage

You may be looking for the cheapest solar panels available in 2016 in order to really cash in on solar power. And sure, when you install solar on your home or business, you can save thousands on your electricity bills. But going solar isn’t automatically cheap: buying solar panels to install on your roof typically costs thousands of dollars. It’s no wonder that the cost of solar is among the most important considerations for today’s homeowners. If you’re thinking about going solar and worried about prices, you’re probably wondering: what are the best value solar panels and will solar get even cheaper?


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The cheapest places to buy solar panels : price in dollars per watt  

For anyone wondering where they’ll be able to get solar energy cheap, there are a number of ways to evaluate the expense of solar based on location. Chinese solar panels are known for being one  of the most inexpensive markets in the world but nations like Germany and the U.S. aren’t far behind and each hold their own benefit for having solar brands that offer world record performance. Certain markets may be more favorable than others in the U.S. (such as California and Texas) and certain solar panel brands are known for being the most efficient and the cheapest dollars per watt (SunPower is very efficient while Canadian Solar tends to be very cheap). But regardless, many solar installers are willing to work with your solar preferences and thus if you request a certain brand of panels, you should be able to get the best solar module prices available in the U.S. Regardless of your zip code, if you do the research and look at the data it’s possible to find a cheap solar offer anywhere in the United States.

In 2016, the average solar energy price is around $3.70 per watt. That’s 12 percent lower than it was a year ago, and prices continue to fall. So there’s no doubt that, regardless of how you finance your solar panel system, going solar will be an economical process with strong returns. However, if you know where to look and compare all of your options ahead of time, you can bring the costs of your solar power installation down even lower.

EnergySage compiled a list of the cheapest solar power systems offered to shoppers who compared solar quotes in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. We’ve included information on solar module prices, location, system size (in kilowatts), and the solar panel and inverter brands included in the quote. (Note: because solar panel systems are different sizes, the best way to compare solar prices across different states is to look at the dollars per watt, or $/W.)





Don



Cheapest solar panels: lowest price per watt by state

State Price ($/W) System Size (kW) Brand (Panel) Brand (Inverter)
California $1.82 5.7 SolarWorld Fronius USA, LLC.
Massachusetts $2.01 12.3 LG Solar Bridge
Arizona $2.16 6.6 Centrosolar America Inc. Enphase Energy
Wisconsin $2.21 19.2 Peimar Group Fronius USA, LLC.
Arizona $2.27 12.0 Hanwha SMA America
Florida $2.30 10.0 Axitec Fronius USA, LLC.
Texas $2.37 10.1 REC Solar ASA Fronius USA, LLC.
North Carolina $2.42 11.8 Trina Solar Energy co Ltd SMA America
Ohio $2.42 19.9 Kyocera Solar, Inc. Fronius USA, LLC.
Florida $2.44 15.9 Canadian Solar Inc. Fronius USA, LLC.

 

With these solar energy prices in mind, here are the key takeaways from our pricing data:

  • You can find inexpensive solar power no matter where you live. Solar shoppers in California, Massachusetts, and everywhere in between saw low cost solar options for their homes.
  • There are many affordable solar panel and inverter types.  You don’t have to choose between only 2 brands to get the best value solar cell or price per watt, which is great news.
  • A bigger solar panel system means a better solar bargain. While the average system size in the U.S. is around 5 kilowatts (kW), all but two of these solar panel deals have 10kW systems or larger – that’s pretty big!

For more information about the average cost to go solar in different states across the U.S., compare prices and installers across the country for 3.5kW, 4.5kW5kW6kW, 7 kW8 kW and 10kW solar systems.

If you want to find the cheapest solar panels on the market in your state, get started by joining the EnergySage Solar Marketplace today. With EnergySage, you can compare multiple offers from qualified solar companies to find the best solar panel deals for your home. 

Will solar panels get cheaper? What to expect for solar energy prices

Finding the lowest possible price tag for your solar panel installation might sound like the best way to save money when you go solar. However, cutting your purchase price is only one way to maximize the cash back in your pocket.Solar is a big investment. If you want to maximize your long-term solar savings, it’s important to take the quality of your equipment into consideration. Not all solar panels are created equal – a more expensive panel might have a better warranty, or might be able to generate more electricity than a low cost option. You may hear suggestions to order the cheapest solar cells available on sites like Ebay but in taking that approach, you will lose quality and the real benefit of solar energy lies in it’s ability to convert sunlight into available power effectively. In short, perhaps you could make your  purchase entirely focused around cutting costs in the short term but the pay back period of your solar panel system will take twice as long and your panels may never earn the return you expected.

Furthermore, many homeowners have noticed the plummeting cost of solar and are thus wondering if solar panels will get cheaper after they install a solar power system. For those wondering if they should go solar now or wait for a lower price, the simple frame of thinking is that solar is quickly entering mainstream adoption as an ecofriendly way to save money, improve home value and lower carbon footprint. Therefore, as adoption of solar grows, cost will stabilize and data is already supporting this trend so it’s important that people take advantage of awesome solar incentives like the solar tax credit before they expire.

Long term benefits trump the thrift shop solar mentality

While cheap solar panels can be a good value, they don’t always save you the most money over the long term. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think about panel performance and efficiency rather than just searching for the most discounted solar price – solar is certainly about long term sustainable savings and not about finding a steal as a primary priority. Luckily, you don’t need to pay serious cash out of pocket to get the best solar panel deal. With most solar loans today, you don’t have to pay any money down. In many cases, your new monthly solar loan payments will be lower than your old electricity bill costs, so you’ll start seeing the financial benefits of solar as soon as you install. Here’s some advice for the modern day solar shopper:

Three Tips for Solar Shoppers

  1. Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more

    As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.

    To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $5,000 to $10,000 on their solar panel installation.

  2. The biggest installers typically don’t offer the best price

    The bigger isn’t always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.

  3. Comparing all your equipment options is just as important

    National-scale installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.

    There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.

For any homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.





Don



8 thoughts on “Cheap Solar Panels: How to Get the Lowest Price Per Watt on the Market

  1. Phillip Geil

    I just self-installed an additional 5.7 kW Suniva 285W panels, tiltable, on the ground, Enphase microinverter, Unirac rails (20 panels) for $9600 total before Federal or state rebate. That equals @1.68/watt, $1.17/w after federal tax rebate, in Illinois; far less than the prices you list

    Reply
    1. Mel leveque

      Did you go off grid.?
      If not, how did you connect to the grid?
      Does your state offer net metering?
      What is the process, and how much red tape to get a new meter @r your house?

      Reply
    2. Cowboy

      I am off the grid for 7 years and running on a 100 watt system. I would like to move up to 500 watt panels, what panels should I buy, total watt would be 500 watt

      Reply
  2. shiban

    As an uneducated customer in solar energy program . I do not understand the quotes from different vendors offering almost similar products at quite different prices.

    Reply
  3. Tobias Armstrong

    I really like the way you summed it up by saying that long term benefits of good solar panels trump the idea that cheaper is better. If it were me buying solar panels (and in a couple of years it will be), I’d want to make sure I was buying something that was going to give me the best value possible. Saving money in the short run doesn’t always save money in the long run, and that’s hard to remember sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. lusekelo

    This is a great summary and it shows that the dollar/kw keeps going down and this is a good news for all solar enrgy lovers

    Reply

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