Describing the Typical 5kW Solar Panel Installation in the United States

First of all, the standard US home would benefit from installing 5kW worth of solar panels. These solar panels are typically 77 inches tall by 40 inches wide. They are around 2 inches thick and weight about 50 pounds each (give or take a few depending on the manufacturer). Each panel will generate about 315 watts or power, meaning that you will need around 16 panels to reach the 5000 watt threshold. Now, 5000 watts is just a standard starting point, and depending on your house usage, roof size and roof direction (pointing south is best), your home could end up need more or less to be sufficient.

Cost?

A 5kW installation done by a professional is around $18,000 USD. Well, this amount of money is never easy to discuss, but remember, these are long term investments into your home’s value. Not only will it increase your homes resale value, it will also lower your home’s energy consumption drastically. This lower usage will result in much, MUCH lower electric bills over the next 20-or-so years.

This cost will be reduced by the US government’s federal tax credit, and then even further if your local municipality has its own tax breaks. It is not uncommon for homes to eventually pay around $11,000 for a solar panel installation once all rebates and tax credits are applied. Use ThinkSolar’s Solar Report Card to see detailed information about your home’s exact location.

DIY or Professional Installation?

Not everybody has the ability to attempt a DIY solar panel install, but luckily there are a lot of great professional installers out there.

One caveat that we have run into in the past is that some things simply cannot be done by people like you and I. For example:

  • Interconnection. Big word, but it simply means that most electric companies will not let just anyone connect your new solar panels up to the electric grid. Most of the time (and it should be all the time) a licensed professional should do this.
  • Some states will not allow you to collect rebates if you do this DIY. You should probably check with your local state to see what’s allowed and what is not.

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