How much do solar panels cost?

One of the most common questions homeowners have while researching renewable energy options is: “How much do solar panels cost?” or “How much are solar panels?”. We’re here to breakdown solar panel cost for you.

Ok, maybe you’re looking for a solar investment.  Maybe you want to contribute to environmental conservation, but let’s face reality: there are bills to pay and budgets to mind. How many times have you asked a solar company, “How much does solar cost?”, only to find yourself still in the dark about solar panel price? It’s exasperating when all you want is a ballpark figure to determine if you’re truly “interested in solar”. So frustrating!

There are a number of considerations affecting the solar panel price and solar installation cost. Our aim is to help you navigate those variables. While we are passionate solar advocates, we’re also realistic about who solar can benefit, especially given cost considerations. Equating solar to car buying is a good analogy. Asking “How much are solar panels?” is similar to asking, “How much is a car?” Just as with automobiles, specifics are key. The luxury versus affordability question is as pertinent to solar as it is to vehicles.

Rooftop Solar, being a specialist in the field, tailors solar systems to your individual needs. Before diving into details like “How much does it cost to install solar panels?” or “Is solar worth it?”, say in Phoenix, AZ, let’s evaluate the factors that influence it.  Select a link to see if solar is a good fit for you in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, or Prescott/Prescott Valley.

Solar Panel Cost - Equipment Cost

The journey to determining “how much do solar panels cost” starts with a comprehensive understanding of solar panel costs. The solar panel price can be influenced by various components:

  • Efficiency and Solar Panel Price:

    Over the years, the efficiency of solar panels has evolved significantly, which basically means the same size solar panel is producing more today than it was a few years ago. While older panels might come at a reduced cost, they may not be as efficient.

    When evaluating “how much are solar panels” or “is solar worth it” in today’s market, it’s essential to recognize that the latest panels, while being priced slightly higher, often offer better energy output. This increased efficiency could mean that while the upfront solar panel cost is more, the panels might be more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Brands and Solar Panel Cost:

    The brand can substantially impact the solar panel price. Established brands such as Sunpower have a legacy of quality, but that often comes at a much steeper solar panel cost. However, other companies, both local and international like LG, Panasonic, REC, Hanwha, and Solaria, are giving stiff competition in terms of efficiency, durability, and solar panel price. So, when you’re wondering, “how much are solar panels from different brands?”, it’s crucial to compare not just the solar panel cost but also the value they offer.

  • Technical Developments and Solar Panel Price:

    As technology advances, solar panel cost can be influenced by the latest innovations. Panels integrated with advanced monitoring systems or those that can harness a broader spectrum of sunlight may have a different cost compared to traditional models. When looking to answer “how much do solar panels cost with the latest technology?”, one should also factor in the  potential energy savings and increased lifespan these new technologies might offer.
  • Size Matters:

    It seems self-evident, but worth reiterating: the number of panels you need depends on the amount of energy you use, thus the higher the solar panel installation cost. So when asking “how much are solar panels,” also consider how many you’ll need. The goal is to strike a balance between the upfront solar panel cost and the long-term energy savings that more panels might provide in order to offset your entire energy costs.

    Not all solar panels are created equal in terms of size and capacity. The larger and more efficient panels might have a higher solar panel price, but they could potentially better meet your energy needs. When wondering, “how much are solar panels that can cover my entire roof?”, it’s crucial to consider both the solar panel cost per unit and the total area they will cover.

Solar Panel Installation Costs

When you’re looking into “how much to install solar panels,” it’s critical to understand the components that contribute to the actual solar installation cost. A detailed look at the solar panel installation cost is key to making an informed choice:

  • Labor Cost:

    Solar installation cost often reflects regional variations, particularly influenced by prevailing wage rates. When wondering, “How much does it cost to install solar panels?”, labor costs are a pivotal element to consider. High-quality installation relies on a knowledgeable and experienced team. 

    A motivated and skilled workforce is crucial to ensure that the solar panels function optimally. This is why Rooftop Solar places great value on offering competitive wages, ensuring that we retain top talent. By investing in our team, Rooftop Solar aims to offer a seamless experience to customers looking at solar panel installation.

  • Roof Types:

    Different homes have different roofing types, and each type can greatly influence the solar installation cost. When homeowners ask, “How much to install solar panels on various roofing types?”, it’s essential to have a detailed understanding. 

    Varied roofing materials, from asphalt shingles to metal roofs, may require specialized installation techniques and equipment, potentially affecting the overall solar panel cost. 

    Collaborating with a solar company like Rooftop Solar, which is expert at understanding and handling the intricacies of the many roof types, ensures that the installation is both efficient and reliable. 

    You’ll benefit from our proficiency, ensuring that you get the best value for your investment as well as precise answers to questions like “How much are solar panels going to cost me considering my unique roof type?”  Ask us.
  • Inverters and Other Equipment:

    When breaking down the solar panel price, the balance of system components play a significant role, especially the choice of inverters.  Inverters convert the direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into an alternating current (AC) used in homes. Knowing the type of inverter to choose, micro-inverter vs. string inverter,  can impact the overall solar panel installation cost.


    Furthermore, components like flashing, racking, and wiring, though often overlooked, are critical for a long-lasting and efficient solar setup. These components ensure that the system remains operational for literal decades.  Rooftop solar is proud to use Ironridge solar racking on most applications and stands behind it with our 30-year warranty.  Learn more about what to look for in a solar warranty.


    Rooftop Solar uses only top-tier equipment; so homeowners can confidently answer the question, “Is solar worth it?” with a resounding “Yes!”  Investing in quality components can raise the initial solar installation cost but will ensure longevity and efficiency, reducing costs over time.

  • Location and Accessibility:

    The location of your property can affect the solar installation cost. For properties that are more remote or have limited access, the logistics of transporting panels and equipment might add to “how much does it cost to install solar panels”. Moreover, certain areas might require additional permits, influencing the overall solar installation cost.

Costs (and Credits!) to Consider

When navigating the solar landscape and contemplating “how much do solar panels cost,” it’s paramount to consider not just the solar panel price or solar installation cost but also other potential expenses that might arise.

  • Solar Tax Credits:

    As of 2023, the federal government offers a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) which is set to hold until 2033.  Even better news is that you may take the tax credit over consecutive years if your annual tax liability is less than the total 30% solar tax credit. Learn more about the ITC here, Solar Tax Credit Update 2023.
  • Financing:

    Financing can play a significant role in the overall solar panel cost. When determining how much do solar panels cost, it’s not just the price of the panels themselves but also the associated costs that come with financing options. 

    While many solar companies might advertise enticing interest rates to allure potential customers, it’s essential to scratch beneath the surface. Some of these seemingly attractive rates might be accompanied by hidden charges or higher closing costs. It’s always prudent to be on the lookout for exorbitant “dealer fees” that can inflate the overall solar panel price.

    Just like when purchasing a car or a house, there can be closing costs associated with the financing of your solar system. These fees can sometimes offset the benefits of a low-interest rate, so it’s always crucial to get a comprehensive breakdown of all charges.

    Whether you’re considering making an upfront payment to sidestep these potential additional costs or are keen on exploring various financing options, Rooftop Solar stands ready to advise you, including understanding the difference between Leasing vs Buying Solar Panels.

    As you delve deeper into your solar project, you will find yourself grappling with questions like, “How much does it cost to install solar panels?”, “Are solar panels worth it?”, or “Is solar worth it for my specific circumstances?”  Have confidence that Rooftop Solar is committed to ensuring you have all the information at your fingertips, allowing you to make an informed decision about your energy future.

  • Maintenance and Solar Installation Cost:

    Understanding “how much does it cost to install solar panels” is important to know. But life being life, over their lifespan, solar panels could require periodic maintenance adding to the overall solar installation cost in the long run. Factors like cleaning, potential part replacements, or even system upgrades can contribute to the long-term solar panel cost.  


    To give you peace of mind and energy security for the life of the system, you should know that Rooftop Solar includes a 30-year equipment and labor warranty with every system we install, and we provide free online monitoring for the life of your system.


    To answer the question “are solar panels worth it” requires a holistic understanding of all the costs involved, not just the immediate solar panel price or solar installation cost. By considering all of the factors involved, homeowners can understand solar installation cost and move forward confidently.


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“Rooftop installed a big ground mount solar unit for us. They used their magic box to determine ideal angles and location. Installation was completed last year and I haven't had any issues with it, but have been saving a bundle of $$ by replacing propane and gas (car) by switching cars and appliances to electric. It more than pays for my electric bill.”

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