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Solar Costs

A solar electric system is one of the most cost-effective home improvement projects you can invest in, allowing you to reduce your monthly utility bills while increasing the value of your home and protecting yourself from the rising cost of electricity. Current incentives make solar more affordable than ever.

The cost of a solar electric system is measured in dollars per watt installed. The average cost of solar has dropped recently – call for a free estimate! The total cost depends on the system size, which is determined by the electricity load of your building and available roof space.

To begin, take a look at your electric bill to determine your average kWh usage. Simplex Solar will calculate your average daily consumption, which determines the size of the solar system you require.

Recognizing the benefits of solar power, many states offer favorable incentives, which can reduce the cost of going solar by half or more. Money is made available if you live in a state with a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is a mandate that requires electric utilities to purchase renewable power like solar energy. To view a comprehensive database of the incentives avaiable for renewable energy, visit www.dsireusa.org

Use our Solar Calculator to calculate the incentives and approximate cost involved when you install a solar system for your business.

What Will Reduce My Costs?

Federal Tax Credit:
The federal government offer the Federal Investment Tax Credit (FITC) for solar. It was initially established for a finite period of time with a cap, but has now been extended until December 31, 2016 with no maximum credit. Businesses and homeowners alike are given a 30% rebate for the cost of the system as a federal tax credit.

State Rebates:
These are upfront payments or a fixed price per watt provided by your state for installing a solar system. Pennsylvania, for example, has the PA Sunshine Solar Program, which currently rebates $.75/watt, subject to availability.

Net metering:
Net metering is a billing arrangement in which power generated by your solar panels but not used in your home is sent back to the utility grid. This excess power is credited to your next bill at the full retail rate, and the utility will reimburse you on a yearly basis for excess power.

For each 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), or 1 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean solar electricity a solar system produces, the owner receives a digital Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC), aka Alternative Energy Credit (AEC). These are used by utilities to meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard, and traded on an open market. Prices vary based on the state in which they are sold.

How Are My Costs Broken Down?

Solar panels:
Panels make up the largest cost of a solar system, accounting for 60% of the total cost.

The inverter typically accounts for 10% of a system's total cost. With a 10-15 year lifespan, these often must be changed once during the 25-30 year lifetime of the panels.

Racking, wires, and other necessary hardware make up 15% of the cost of the system.

Labor accounts for the remaining 15% of the system cost.

Monitor Cost:
The hands-off nature of a solar energy system can make it easy to lose track of the system's daily operation and assure it is functioning optimally - even if its isn't. Many months go by before a problem is detected resulting in unexpected high electrical bills, loss of potential electricity and dollars. As a result, solar monitors are becoming more widespread. For a low initial cost local PV monitoring can be installed on an inverter with a built-in monitor. Another option in local monitoring is to connect the inverter to your computer to log the system data.

Maintenance Costs:

One of the great things about solar modules is that they have no moving parts and therefore require little maintenance. The following potential issues are fully covered under our optional Solar Maintenance Program:

  • Soiling: Dust, dirt and bird droppings can diminish energy production, although normal rainwater is generally sufficient to keep solar panels clean, a low-pressure hose and squeegee sponge can be used to spray the panels clean.
  • Cracked Panels: Even though panels are made of glass, they are durable. They are designed to withstand 3/4 inch hail at 120mph.
  • Animals/Birds: Squirrels have been known to occasionally chew wires resulting in short circuits while birds have been known to take up residence.
  • Trees: Occasional trimming may be required to prevent shading and soiling.
  • Corrosion: Electrical circuits can be subject to corrosion.
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