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Why Your Solar System Could be More Expensive than Your Neighbor

Updated: May 28, 2020

There is a lot of information out there about the cost of solar panels, which can vary from state to state, but it may surprise you to learn that it can also vary from one home to another. There are a few reasons that your neighbors may get a quote for solar that seems wildly different from the quote you got, and it’s nothing shady on the part of the solar company. Here are the most common reasons for pricing disparities.

1: Power Needs

The amount of power you use will determine the size of your solar system. When you get a quote from a solar installer they will calculate your average usage and how many panels are required to meet your needs. The system should be designed to meet all your energy needs in order to save you the most money, so if you have higher average usage, you may pay more for your panels.

2: Lease vs Buy

If your neighbors were sold on a solar lease, their costs will be much lower because it will just be a fixed monthly cost without purchasing any equipment. However, they won’t be able to take advantage of any of the tax incentives because they don’t own the solar panels. In addition, if the neighbors decide to sell the house and have a solar lease that is still active (most last for 20 to 25 years), the buyers will have to agree to take over the lease. If you’re not planning to stay in your home forever and you still want the benefits of solar, paying a higher up-front price to purchase the system could be the better choice.

3: Different Equipment

While residential solar installations have the same general components, that doesn’t mean they all include the same equipment. You may opt for a Tesla Powerwall battery backup, for example, while your neighbors get a grid-tied system with no backup, or choose a cheaper battery. Panels can also vary in price, from more expensive higher efficiency or higher wattage panels tocheaper ones with lower efficiency and output. However, those costs could be worthwhile, especially if you want to minimize the space your panels take up, have high energy needs and not a lot of room for panels, or plan to add more panels later.

4: Installation

Not all solar installations are the same, and depending on what equipment you get you may get quoted a higher or lower price. For example, a carport or ground mount might cost more than a rooftop solar system. Anything that requires more components or involves more complicated wiring will add to your total. Difficult installations on a roof with unusual angles could also include higher labor costs.

Comparing quotes can help you get the best price for solar, but make sure you’re comparing “apples to apples” if you plan to talk neighbors, friends, or family about their installations. Contact PRVL Energy today to get your quote.

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