U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Ask an Expert

July 17, 2013
Q.

What is a good rule of thumb installed price to use when planning a solar PV project? -James

SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership

The SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership has been tasked with helping accelerate adoption of photovoltaic (PV) solar at the local level by providing timely and actionable information to local governments.

A.

Installed prices for solar PV vary by state and can even vary by municipality within a state. Installed prices also vary by project type and capacity. Residential PV systems are typically more expensive than non-residential systems, and utility scale systems are the least expensive (generally because of economies of scale). We assume you are referring to a residential PV system. The price of the system will also vary depending on specific factors related to your site such as the age of the roof and supporting rafters, roof pitch, the amperage of electrical service and potential need for upgrades, and the need for any tree trimming or vegetation removal. You should check with a local solar installer and get multiple quotes for the most accurate price of solar PV in your area. That said, based on GTM Research and SEIA data the current average installed price (not including any incentives such as federal or state tax credits, or rebates) of residential PV in the US is about $5/Watt. A typical rooftop PV system is around 5 kW, putting the installed price of a residential rooftop PV system around $25,000.  These are national averages and it is important to note that this price does not include any federal or state incentives that are available which significantly lower the cost of a PV system.

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