Solar Estimate Calculator: How We Calculate Estimates

Homeowners contemplating solar panels might hesitate due to cost concerns. Roughly, average system prices range from $14,000 – $30,000+ before any incentives are taken into account. Although solar panels can be a worthwhile investment, it’s crucial to assess your home’s suitability for solar energy before committing to such a significant expense.

8MSolar has provided a calculator specifically for solar panel costs. This tool assists in estimating the potential expense and energy savings of your system. By simply inputting your address and average electric bill payment, you can receive a tailored estimate. This article provides the solar estimate calculator (shown above), a list of what is taken into account when estimating a price, how to fund a solar purchase, and a glimpse into the long-term financial benefits of solar energy.

Determine Your Solar Panel Installation Cost and Savings

Utilize our calculator to gain insights and decide whether transitioning to solar energy aligns with your home’s financial and energy goals.

Use the 8MSolar Solar Estimate Calculator by clicking here.

Understanding Our Solar Cost Estimator

Our solar calculator for solar savings and estimates takes into account factors like the size and shape of your roof, shaded areas on the roof, local weather patterns, regional electricity rates, the cost of solar installations, and anticipated incentives over time. We employ Google Earth images to examine the configuration of your roof and the local climate conditions, tailoring a solar solution specifically for your needs.

Modify your electric bill details to refine the estimate of your potential savings and to determine the ideal number of solar panels for your residence. Evaluate various financing methods for your solar panels, including loans, leases, and outright purchases, tailored to your specific results.

Use the 8MSolar Solar Estimate Calculator by clicking here.

Cost of Solar Panels

The overall price of your solar panel system can fluctuate based on factors such as the installer you choose, the system’s capacity, and your location.

Typically, the hardware components like panels, inverters, racking, and mounting equipment account for roughly half of the total installation cost. The other half includes labor costs, administrative fees, taxes, and permit expenses.

Roughly, average system prices range from $14,000 – $30,000+ before any incentives are taken into account. The Federal Tax Credit for solar is currently set at 30%. This credit is available to anyone who pays Federal taxes and can be stretched out up to five years if necessary.

If your entire solar project costs $18,000; you would receive $5,400 back via this tax credit when you file your taxes for the year in which the system was installed. You do not have to owe taxes in order to claim this credit – your consultant can review this with you in greater detail and go over any specific questions!

Here is a table of average solar installation cost by system size in kW:

System Size in kWEst. Price Before 30% Federal Tax CreditEst. Price After 30% Federal Tax Credit
4 kW$12,432.00$8,702.40
5 kW$14,280.00$9,996.00
6 kW$16,380.00$11,466.00
7 kW$17,836.00$12,485.20
8 kW$19,936.00$13,955.20
9 kW$22,302.00$15,611.40
10 kW$24,500.00$17,150.00
11 kW$26,180.00$18,326.00
12 kW$27,720.00$19,404.00
13 kW$29,484.00$20,638.80
14 kW$31,55.00$22,089.20

How Solar Panel Costs Are Calculated

Various elements can affect the cost of transitioning to solar energy. Here’s an overview of some factors:

Average Monthly Electric Bill: For those with low energy usage or in areas with low energy rates, solar energy might not offer significant savings. Inputting a yearly average of your energy usage into our solar calculator yields the most accurate results to help you assess the feasibility of solar energy for you.

Use the 8MSolar Solar Estimate Calculator by clicking here.

House Size: The size of your home is crucial in determining the number of solar panels required. Bigger homes naturally need more panels to generate sufficient power.

Location: Your location influences the selection of nearby solar companies and estimated energy rates. We calculate installation costs based on the average solar panel cost per watt in your area, fluctuating with your energy usage, and available solar incentives.

Number of Floors: Installation complexity varies with the number of floors. Single-story homes are simpler and usually require fewer panels, while multi-story homes might need more panels due to higher energy needs and potentially complex roof layouts.

Roof Pitch: The efficiency of solar panels is partly dependent on the pitch or angle of your roof. Ideally, panels should be south-facing with a 30- to 45-degree tilt, though this can vary based on location and weather conditions. Additional mounting equipment might be needed for optimal positioning, which your solar installer will consider during system design.

Roof Type: Certain roof types are more conducive to solar panel installation. For instance, asphalt shingle roofs are typically the easiest and least expensive to modify, while metal roofs with standing seams can reduce labor costs as they don’t require drilling. Conversely, tiled or EPDM roofs might need more modifications for solar installation.

Solar Battery: Adding a solar battery to your system allows for the storage of excess energy generated for later use. They are useful for power outages or to offset high energy rates during peak times and can be utilized at night or during low sunlight periods.

Surrounding Shade: Shade can significantly reduce the efficiency of solar panels. Homes with minimal shade are ideal for solar systems, whereas those with constant shading from trees or buildings might not be suitable for rooftop installations. Ground mount systems are an alternative but tend to be more expensive and time-consuming to install.

The Financial Benefits of Solar Energy

The substantial upfront cost required for solar energy installation often causes homeowners to pause, wondering if the investment will yield long-term financial benefits.

Typically, solar panels reach a break-even point, where they’ve paid for themselves, in about six to 10 years. This period, known as the payback period, varies based on factors like system size, existing energy usage, and the monthly savings you can expect.

Our solar calculator offers an estimation of your total savings over the lifetime of going solar. This calculation spans 20 years, nearly aligning with the average lifespan of monocrystalline solar panels, which are among the highest quality panels.

Use the 8MSolar Solar Estimate Calculator by clicking here.

To accelerate your return on investment (ROI), you can leverage state and federal solar incentives and rebates. These financial aids can substantially reduce your system’s installation costs, shortening the payback period. Additionally, you can benefit from net metering programs. These programs allow homeowners to sell surplus energy back to the grid, receiving either utility bill credits or end-of-year payments, further enhancing your solar investment’s value.

Options for Financing Solar Panels

There are several financing options for solar panel installation, depending on the installer you choose. These include cash purchases, solar loans, solar leases, or power purchase agreements (PPA). For the greatest return on investment, it’s generally advised to either buy your solar panels outright with cash or finance them through a solar loan.

Cash Purchase:

Buying solar panels with cash is the most direct payment method. This option, while requiring a significant upfront payment, avoids interest charges associated with loans and typically results in the most savings over time. However, not all homeowners can afford this upfront cost, leading many to consider alternative financing methods.

Solar Loan:

If paying in cash isn’t feasible, a solar loan is a viable alternative. Solar loans may involve some interest, but they offer the convenience of paying for your system in installments. Many solar providers offer attractive terms like $0 down payments, flexible loan durations, and competitive interest rates. By placing a down payment, you can further reduce the total interest paid over time. Often, the monthly solar loan payment can be lower than a typical energy bill, allowing for immediate savings.

Compare cash purchase vs solar loans with 8MSolar by clicking here.

Solar Leases and PPAs:

Solar leases and PPAs enable you to have solar panels installed with minimal or no initial cost. The solar provider is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the system. However, with these options, you’re essentially renting the equipment or the energy it produces, rather than owning the system. This means you can’t claim benefits like the federal solar tax credit. Moreover, solar leases often involve long-term commitments (usually around 25 years) and can be costly or challenging to break early.

While solar leases and PPAs offer some upfront savings on utility bills, they generally result in lower overall savings compared to owning the system. Therefore, they are typically not recommended if your goal is to maximize savings over the lifespan of your solar panels. Ownership almost always proves to be more financially beneficial in the long run.

Use the 8MSolar Solar Estimate Calculator by clicking here.

Are There Financing Options Available at 8MSolar?

Yes! Financing your solar panel system via one of our solar-specific loans is a very popular option for our customers.

Customers will typically go with either a short-term financing plan, such as a $0 down / 18 months of no payments / “same as cash” loan to hold them over until they receive the 30% tax credit.

Or a longer-term financing plan, something like a 25 year / 2.99% / $0 down plan where you would have very low monthly payments – often lower than your current electric bill!

Our consultants will walk you through all options available and guide you depending on your goals, plans, etc.

Install With 8MSolar

After you’ve gotten your estimate, schedule a free consultation with 8MSolar. Our team of solar experts has over two decades of experience, and we’re ready to help start your solar journey. If you live in North Carolina, book a free consultation with 8MSolar today. 

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