Solar Panel Cost Calculator: Installing Solar at Home -
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Solar Panel Cost Calculator

Short on Time? Here’s The Article Summary

The article discusses the costs and benefits of installing solar panels, emphasizing their long-term savings and environmental benefits. It introduces a solar panel cost calculator to estimate the number of panels needed based on space and power requirements.

It explains how to calculate solar power costs per kWh, determine the size of a solar setup, and calculate the payback period for the investment. The article also highlights the importance of choosing the right products, such as batteries and inverters, for optimal performance and cost-effectiveness. It concludes by noting that factors such as location and peak sun hours can affect the efficiency and payback period of a solar panel system, and offers various calculators to assist in planning and decision-making.


Installing solar panels can be a costly venture, but luckily, they pay themselves off over a few years and eventually give you free electricity!

Still, it’s understandable that you’d want to have a rough cost estimate before taking the plunge. That’s what our solar panel cost calculator is for.

Below, you’ll find easy ways to estimate how many solar panels you might need based on your available space and how much power you need to produce. We hope it helps, but you’re welcome to contact us if you’re feeling stuck.

We’re on a mission to make solar simple for everybody. There is so much value in harnessing energy from the sun.

Solar Power Cost Calculator

Solar power is a great way to reduce your energy costs and be more sustainable. To help you determine the cost of installing solar power, you can use online solar cost calculators. These calculators allow you to enter information about your location, current energy usage, and other factors to determine the estimated cost of installing solar power.

solar panels cost calculator

If you’re looking for a really precise calculation, though, it’s best to do it on your own. Don’t worry - we’re here to help. We’re going to take you through the formulas needed and show you how to use them.

We’ll include examples so you can see the formulas in use. 

Each home is different, so it’s important to understand your needs and what those mean in terms of having a solar setup. For example, you’re going to want to make sure your setup can produce more power than you need so that you never run out.

Additionally, you will need to store all of that power in an adequate battery attached to an inverter. By adequate, we mean that the battery you choose needs to always stay above 50% capacity to avoid battery degradation.

If you allow your battery to fall below 50% capacity often, it’ll start to lose its ability to charge to 100%. That means you won’t be able to store as much power and run the risk of running out on a rainy day.

It's so important to know exactly what products you need and how much they will cost before making a purchase. Having an accurate estimate like the solar panel cost calculator you offer will be incredibly helpful in making an informed decision. Have a look below.

Solar Cost Per kWh Calculator

The cost of solar energy per kilowatt-hour (kWh) can vary widely depending on the type of solar panel system you choose, your location, and other factors. Generally, the cost of solar energy is about $0.10 to $0.20 per kWh, although some areas may be higher or lower.

solar system cost calculator

This is where our calculation comes in. It allows you to input the values specific to your home and area. This means you can optimize your electricity spend and make sure you’re buying solar setup components that really do save you money in the long run.

Calculating the economics of a home solar-electric system is an important step before investing in solar energy. To get started, you'll need to determine your average daily electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh/day). 

The best way to do this is to add up a year's worth of electricity used from your monthly electric bills, and then divide the total number of KWH used by 365. This will give you an accurate estimate of your average daily electricity usage. 

Additionally, you can calculate your daily usage based on the power needs of the lights and appliances in your home or cabin. 

Knowing your average daily electricity usage will help you determine the size of the solar-electric system you'll need and the estimated savings you can expect.

Solar Roof Cost Calculator

Before you can work out exactly what your per kWh cost will be, you’ll need to know what you’ll be spending on your solar panels. There are a variety of factors that affect this.

“How many panels do I need?”

solar cost calculator california

A typical household could use anywhere from six to fourteen 455W solar panels, depending on the size of the home and available space for installation. 

If your electricity usage is higher, you may need to consider up to twenty-three panels to meet the parameters of your inverter.

“How do I calculate my solar system size?”

Calculating the size of your solar setup is a straightforward process that can help you determine how many solar panels you’ll need for your home. 

Here’s an overview of the process, which you can view as the formula you’ll use:

  • Find your monthly average kW usage.
  • Divide this by the number of days in the month to give you your daily usage.
  • Then, divide this number by between 3 and 5, the average peak sun hours per day in your state. This will give you the setup size you need in kW.
  • Lastly, take the above answer and divide it by the wattage rating of the solar panel you’re looking at installing. This will tell you how many panels you need to install in total to meet your daily demand.

Solar Roof Calculations

Here’s an example to illustrate.

  • Let’s assume your monthly average kW usage is 900kW. This is an average household usage across the US, so make sure you use your specific usage here. If you use the average and it’s incorrect, you run the risk of not putting enough panels on your roof.
  • Now, we’re going to divide 900 by 30, the average number of days in a month. This gives you your daily usage, which in this case is 30kW.
  • Next, we’re going to divide our daily usage of 30kW by 4, the average peak sun hours in California. If you’re in another state, you can research the average peak sun hours in your particular state. Input that value in this step. Our answer here is 7,5kW. This is the setup size we need in kW.
  • Lastly, we’re going to divide the above answer by the wattage of the solar panel we’re interested in purchasing to determine how many solar panels we need. We’re going to input an average wattage, which is 500W. This gives us an answer of 15. This is the number of solar panels we’d need on our roof to give us an adequate electricity supply.

Have a look at our solar power system kits designed for a range of needs.

solar power cost calculator

Solar Cost Benefit Calculator

Naturally, you’re going to want to know how much money your solar setup is saving you over time. We’ve got you sorted!

Our solar panel efficiency calculator can help you understand how efficient your solar panels are. This is an important aspect of how much money they save you over time. You can also take a look at our solar expansion calculator if you’re looking to upgrade your setup before calculating the cost-benefit.

To figure out the payback period for your solar system, you will need to start by calculating the true cost of installing solar after any incentives have been claimed. 

To do this, you'll need to look at the cost of the solar panels, the cost of the labor needed to install the system, and any other costs incurred. Once you know the true cost of the system, you'll then need to compare it against the cost of electricity from your local utility company. 

This information allows you to understand how long it’ll take to break even on the costs of solar installation. Below is a formula you can use:

(Total System Cost – Value of Incentives) ÷ Cost of Electricity ÷ Annual Electricity Usage = Payback Period.

Simply plug in the values specific to your setup, and you’ll be all set to understand how long it’ll take for your setup to pay for itself and start offering you real value. Remember, solar is a long-term investment.

Have a look at our solar savings calculator for more information on this.

Solar Cost Calculator California

solar roof cost calculator

The area you live in can make a difference in terms of how long it takes your setup to pay itself off. This is because the amount of sun received in each area differs, meaning the amount of electricity your setup produces will differ per state.

If you live in California, you get between 4 and 4.5 peak hours of sun per day. This is needed for your panels to produce power at their maximum capacity.

Take this into account when doing your calculations. If you’re in a different state, you can do a simple internet search for your peak sun hours. You’ll need this value for an accurate answer.

Peak sun hours can also affect how long it takes your batteries to recharge. Have a look at our solar panel charge time calculator if you need help in that department.

We’ve also got a solar panel inverter size calculator that will help you determine the inverter size you need once you’ve decided on which solar panels you’ll be investing in.

The Ultimate Solar + Storage Blueprint (Mini Course)

Struggling to understand how solar + storage systems actually work? Looking to build or buy your own solar power system one day but not sure what you need? Just looking to learn more about solar, batteries and electricity?

Join 15,000+ solar enthusiasts breaking free from their energy dependence with this short step-by-step video course that will make you a solar + storage expert. Start your journey to energy independence today.

Learn More Now

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Article by

Cody Oehm

Cody is the Head of Marketing at Shop Solar, and joined the company in spring of 2022. 

He has an entrepreneurial background and has been in the ecommerce industry since 2015. With 4 businesses under his belt and a drive to make a bigger impact, he decided to team up with Shop Solar on their mission to make solar simple and affordable. You can browse best seller's here.

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