Installing a solar energy system is becoming increasingly attainable for homeowners across the country as prices continue to drop. Being savvy about where to find the best deals on solar can make your solar installation process pain-free, and lead to maximum savings.
This is an unbiased review: EnergySage is not paid to review brands or products, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising in this article. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing. Learn more about our mission and how we make money as a company.
- Cheap solar panels vary in quality: usually, a higher price reflects a higher efficiency rating and therefore higher quality.
- Polycrystalline solar panels are typically cheaper than monocrystalline panels.
- Your payback period may be longer if you shop for solar panels with the lowest price tag.
- Solar shoppers should use the EnergySage Marketplace to browse for solar panels based on price, efficiency, brand, quality, and more.
How affordable is solar energy?
The price of a solar installation has fallen dramatically in recent years, making solar more affordable than ever. Based on EnergySage data from solar installers nationwide, the average customer pays $2.76 per watt for solar on the EnergySage Marketplace.
The falling cost of solar
What does this price drop mean for you? For the average U.S. homeowner, the cost of installation for solar panel system has fallen by several thousand dollars over the past half-decade or so. Depending on where you live, this number could be even higher.
Quick payback periods make solar even more affordable
As soon as your new solar panel system is live and producing energy, you will begin reducing or eliminating your electric bills. After a certain number of years, you will break even on your solar investment and will have saved the amount of money you spent upfront on solar by lowering your electric bills. This is known as your payback period, and it is a powerful indicator of the financial benefit of installing solar.
The average payback period for solar in the U.S. is about 8 years. The length of your payback period is dependent on factors like upfront price and local electricity rates. How does this translate to making solar more affordable? As a general rule, solar energy systems last 25 to 30 years. This means that after the payback period has been reached, an average solar installation will earn you money for about 20 years. This is important – installing solar will end up being significantly net positive when it comes to money in your pocket. Instead of paying your utility for electricity, you will generate most or all of your home energy for free. Once the payback period is reached, solar is no longer just affordable – it is profitable.
To get a feel for what your payback period and savings could be with solar, check out our Solar Calculator for a free analysis of a potential solar project on your property.
Top 5 affordable solar panels
See our list below of some of the best affordable solar panels available on the market today. These panels are chosen according to their price, quality, and the reputation of their manufacturer. It is important to note that some of these panels are rated for less than 300W, which is the minimum wattage recommended for charging a home. Lower-watt panels can be used for smaller applications like charging devices.
This monocrystalline panel is the most popular offering from LONGi on the EnergySage marketplace. They have a rated output of 355W, an output warranty term of 25 years, and a 4.9W/cell output. They can be found at a price of between $180-$280 per panel.
The most popular panel from Renogy on the EnergySage marketplace, this panel has a rated output of 270W, a 4.5W/cell output, and an output warranty term of 25 years. They can be found at a price of $260-$300 per panel.
This offering is from Canadian Solar, one of the largest manufacturers of panels and highest rated on the EnergySage marketplace. This panel has a rated output of 405W, 2.81W/cell and a warranty of 30 years. You can find these panels between $260-$300 each.
ReneSola has some of the most affordable panels on the market. This polycrystalline panel has a rating of 310W and 4.31W/cell. The output warranty is 25 years. This panel is available between $240-$300 per panel.
Silfab has a ranking of “excellent” on the EnergySage marketplace and carries some of the most popular panels available. These panels have a rated power of 380W and 5.76 W/cell. These panels are available from around $280 per panel.
Best rated affordable solar panels
|Panel name||Price||Rated power||Power/cell|
|LONGi LR6-72PH LR6-72PH-355M||$180-$280||355W||4.9W
|Renogy 270P RNG-270P||$260-$300||270W||4.5W
|Canadian Solar Inc. BiHiKu CS3W-405PB-AG||$260-$300||405W||2.81W
|ReneSola Ltd. Virtus II JC310M-24/Ab||$240-$300||310W||4.31W
|Silfab Elite SIL-380||$280||380W||5.76W
The best way to find affordable solar installations is with EnergySage
Going solar can be complicated, and the most effective way to make sure you get an affordable, high-quality installation is by using a competitive marketplace like EnergySage. On our platform, solar shoppers can save 20% when compared to market prices due to the competitive and transparent nature of a marketplace approach. These extra savings mean you will have a shorter payback period, so you can start making money from your solar installation sooner.
Compare solar quotes on a level playing field
When you use EnergySage to solicit quotes, you can protect yourself from paying artificially high prices from large solar installers. According to a 2017 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), large solar installers (such as Sunrun) quote about $0.33 per watt more than small, local installers, which results in customers paying almost $2,000 more for a similar solar energy system. By using EnergySage, you can compare these quotes apples to apples and find the most affordable deal. We pre-vet and approve all installers before they can quote on our platform – you can have peace of mind that the company you end up working with will provide equal or better service when compared to a large, recognizable solar installer brand.
Compare affordable solar quotes the smart way
EnergySage’s marketplace approach also allows you to compare a number of factors in your solar quotes besides just the sticker price. Equipment, warranties, and installer quality are some of the metrics that you can compare in order to find the perfect solar solution for your home or property. For example, you may opt for a slightly higher upfront price for high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more energy with less roof space. Or, you may want to compare ground-mounted solar options with a rooftop system. The best and easiest way to weigh all your options like these while getting a good deal is through the EnergySage Marketplace.
The cheapest way to get solar panels is to use the EnergySage Marketplace. Once you are there, you can compare products and installers to get the best deal for yourself. Once you have found the right solar panels, you can pay with cash, take out a loan or use a PPA.
While you may be saving some money upfront by buying cheap panels, you may find that in the long run, you would have saved more money by buying panels that will not need to be replaced and have a good warranty.
Prices for each solar panel company vary across regions and areas. To inquire about prices near you, simply register with the EnergySage Marketplace to find installers and equipment.
Some of the cheapest solar panels per watt in 20221 are Astronergy’s $250 panel, which works out to about $0.70 per watt.