Solar Panels for House: Options, Types of Solar for Home Energy (Apts, Sheds)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Solar Panels | March 29, 2024

Person looking at solar panels for house energy wonders about options and types of solar panel installation for home use, like solar panel sheds, pergolas, apartments, mobile homes, and ground installation.

Have you considered installing solar panels for house electricity?

As the price of solar panels decreases and state and local governments (as well as the federal government) look to encourage more green energy options, various incentives and credits can help you pay for solar panels for home installation.

But, did you know that there are many options for home solar power? Your rooftop isn’t the only place where they can be installed.

Understanding the types of solar panels that are available for residential use is the first step. Once you know what type of solar panels for house electricity you’ll need, you can figure up the total cost of solar installation.

This comprehensive guide provides all the details about the various types of panels you can install, whether you plan a rooftop installation or something less traditional.

Solar Panels for House power options showing sheds, ground solar panels, rooftop panels and solar panels for apartments.

And, it explains how you can use government solar incentives like rebates, tax credits, and even solar loans to start reducing your energy costs and footprint immediately.

Installing Solar Panels for Home Power: Home Types and Options

Your home type will determine whether you can install rooftop solar panels or if you’ll need to be more creative in your energy solution.

For example, if you have limited space or rent an apartment, complete solar power may not be available. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t offset some of your energy costs with solar power, it just means that you’ll need to be inventive.

Likewise, the direction and pitch of your roof can impact the solar panel installation, and if you’re a tree enthusiast with trees that cast too much shade on your roof, they may impede direct sunlight, which may hamper the efficiency of a solar system.

Rooftop Solar Panels

The most common instillation for residential solar energy is a rooftop system. Ideally, the pitch of the roof should match the latitude of your home location, and face southerly.

The age of your roof also play a role in whether it will be able to support the solar panel mounting framework.

If you have the option for rooftop solar installation, contact an expert first, who can offer an assessment of the practicality of a system for your specific roof.

Solar Panels for Apartments

Apartments offer challenges people who want to tap into green energy.

However, there are options for having a solar panel in an apartment to provide power for smart devices, appliances, and other electrical items.

For example, there are window solar panels that operate with portable generators, which can be used to charge cell phones, laptops, and other small electronics.

These can work for lighting fixtures and other small appliances as well, and most states offer significant solar water heater rebates for residents who employ this technology.

Indeed, many state offer income based free solar panels and storage options, which can be discovered by searching for state solar incentives from your local energy provider, or the state’s Energy Efficiency Department.

Solar Panels for Sheds, Solar Pergolas and Outbuildings

Sheds and outbuildings offer a great option for residents who want solar panels for home power but don’t have the rooftop option.

Outbuildings can be built specifically for a solar power system, and the best part of this type of solar application is that the system can still qualify for the federal solar tax credit and other solar rebates.

The types of solar panels and applications can be used to power all or part of your residence, and can also provide appliance direct energy and other options that allow you to reduce your home’s energy costs and carbon footprint.

Solar Panels Ground Installation

Solar panels can be mounted on the ground, suing specific mounting systems and racks.

This type of installation makes it easy to access sunlight because it’s possible to install tracking systems as well, that turn the panel along with the movement of the sun.

Likely, with this residential solar power option, you’ll need a storage facility to house batteries, inverters and other equipment.

Solar Energy: What You Should Know When Planning for Home Solar Panels

Before you install solar panels for your home, there are some additional things to consider.

Based on your energy needs and your available space for the panels, the following elements should also be taken into account.

1. Assess Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Assessing your home electricity needs is the first step you need before installing a solar system.

This will provide you with the total amount of power you need to generate to become self reliant.

When performing this step, also consider how much energy is required for specific things. A solar panel calculator can get you started, but remember that some solar energy is better than none.

2. Assess Your Solar Prospects

Before choosing how you want to utilize solar electricity at home, take an inventory of the energy prospects for PV technologies to produce electricity; because they rely on both direct and scattered sunlight as sources, there are ample resources for home solar electric systems throughout America.

However, the exact amount of power generated by solar energy systems at any particular site depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches your panels and their own size and capacity.1

There are various mapping services and tools that can assist in the assessment of solar energy potential for homes.

Some services provide estimates for system size, costs, and savings potential as well as local contractors to assist.

3. Evaluate Your Options for Utilizing Solar

Although a rooftop home solar system may not be an option, make sure you consider the energy efficiency programs offered by your state and your local utility provider.

Many programs provide opportunities to still take advantage of solar, including full rebates on water heater and heating and cooling system upgrades, as well as significant discounts for solar power storage and use.

4. Gather Solar Installer Bids and Site Assessments

When researching installers, be sure to hire only qualified and insured professionals with certification from an industry organization such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.

Before making any commitments with an installer, ask friends or family who has recently installed solar for recommendations as well as check online resources to assess reviews. Always request proof of licensure prior to any you commence with any agreement.

5. Investigate Solar Financing and Incentives

Solar PV systems installed between 2020 and 2021 were eligible for a 26% tax credit;2 Congress extended it in August 2022, increasing it to 30%, decreasing accordingly until it expires starting in 2035.

If you opt for a solar lease or power purchase agreement, remember that you won’t qualify for tax advantages as the system won’t belong to you. Instead, you should explore additional state, local or utility incentives.

Once you’re done with these elements, an expert can commence with the commercial solar installation process.

How Much Does Solar Panel Installation Cost?

What you should be prepared for when planning to go solar is that you’ll spend anywhere between $5,400 to $18,000 for a six kilowatt to twelve kilowatt solar system (to power your entire home).3

But this depends on two key variables: sunlight exposure and local incentives.

Home solar system purchases made before 2032 qualify for a 30% federal solar tax credit, potentially bringing your installation costs down between $4,600 and $16,000.3

Solar panels for house mounted on its roof and a black car parked on its driveway during daytime.

(Image: P-association26)

Nonetheless, sunlight is the biggest factor causing cost differences in how many solar panels will need to produce power at all, leading to different power production costs for different households.

Let’s look at the average cost of solar panels across 10 states to have an idea.

State Cost of 6 Kw Before Tax ($) Cost After Tax ($)
Alabama 14,700 10,290
Alaska 14,460 10,122
Arizona 14,460 10,248
Arkansas 18,360 12,852
California 17,160 12,012
Indiana 21,780 15,246
Iowa 20,700 14,490
Kentucky 14,040 9,828
Wisconsin 20,460 14,322
North Dakota 14,520 10,164

The cost of solar panels in California is higher than in North Dakota, making solar a more cost-effective solution in sunnier regions like Kentucky than elsewhere.4

Cost of Solar Panels in Different States

The cost of solar panels varies significantly across different states, influenced by different factors.

Price Per Watt

Whilst materials alone typically range between $0.90-$1.50 per watt and labor will add another 25%, making your total costs around $1.10-1.90 per Watt.5

What Does One Solar Panel Cost?

Solar panels typically cost anywhere from $112 to $450 on average; individual wattage ranges between $0.75 and $1.50 depending on the panel type, energy-efficiency rating, and size.5

Companies purchasing in bulk typically spend $0.75 per watt while homeowners usually shell out between $1-1 per watt for solar power solutions.

A graphic that shows the average cost of solar panels in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Dakota.

Most distributors only sell solar panels at wholesale rates to local contractors at bulk rates, so hiring an installer to install your panels could significantly lower overall equipment costs.

While this price includes only solar panels themselves, other fees for installation might apply for inverters, batteries, mounting hardware, or wiring.

Solar Panel Lease Cost

On average, leasing solar panels costs $100 monthly with most users spending between $50-250 depending on location and energy needs.

Leasing solar panels is cost-effective as you’ll likely see savings between 50-100% in electricity bills each month with little upfront payment required for leasing them outright.

Owning your solar system outright and producing all of your power is likely to cost less than $10 monthly in grid-tied connection fees; off-grid systems do not incur monthly charges beyond general maintenance expenses.

Are Solar Panels Worth It for My House?

Installing residential solar panels usually pays for itself in terms of reduced electric bills; on average, switching to solar can save an average of $1,346 annually on energy expenses.

At that point, the question of why are solar panels so expensive rests because you’ll recoup in the long term.

Wide angle shot of home solar panels in a village mounted on their roofs during daytime.

(Image: FrauOdilo25)

Solar can be an expensive upfront investment.6 But in recent years, its costs have steadily reduced by more than 50 percent and incentives such as the 30% federal solar tax credit can even further bring costs down.

When Are Solar Panels Not Worth the Investment?

However, certain conditions and features on a roof could deem solar not worth investing in for you.

If your roof has shaded areas that restrict sun access or is too narrow to support solar panels or is located north, its performance could suffer significantly.

Wide angle shot of a tiny house with solar panel mounted on its roof during a foggy day and nearby trees.

(Image: 407352729)

Furthermore, living in areas that experience frequent cloudy days with limited solar incentives could limit savings over the lifetime of your panels.

Every roof and solar project is different. Before beginning a solar installation project, your installer will perform an initial assessment to see if your home can benefit from solar power panels.

Connect with one today so they can assess whether this investment makes financial sense.

When Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Here are the factors to consider when getting solar panels:


Your home’s proximity to the equator has an enormous effect on its solar production; such homes will experience greater sunlight intensity, producing more potential energy from solar systems compared to those located further north in latitudes.7 This may result in greater returns in terms of energy production for such homes than for others located further from it.

Consider also your utility provider; homes in states where electricity costs more, like California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York will derive greater benefit from solar panels than homes located in Louisiana, Washington Oregon, North Carolina, or similar places with cheaper power rates.

Federal, Local, And State-Level Tax Incentives

Solar installation could make financial sense with certain incentive programs available today. Installers who install panels between 2022-2032 could qualify for up to 30% solar tax credits.3

This gives taxpayers every reason to install solar.

Second, many states and counties are offering credits, rebates, or exemptions in a similar fashion as New York offers dollar-per-watt rebates, up to $5,000 tax deductions for purchasing electricity directly. It also offers sales tax exemptions as well as credits back onto utility bills if more wattage than consumed is produced.

Energy Bills and Consumption

It’s a solar system’s primary goal is to decrease homeowner dependence on non-renewable electricity sources while simultaneously cutting energy bills. Most commonly, installing a solar panel system reduces electricity use significantly thereby decreasing energy bills significantly.

Under ideal conditions, solar panel systems may actually make homeowners money. By producing more electricity than is consumed within your home, homeowners could sell this excess wattage back to the utility company in return for a small monthly payout.

While this won’t fully offset installation and bill costs, at least it brings extra funds into your pocket that was once lacking.

Solar Panels Increase Property Value

Installing solar panels on your home will make maintenance costs lower in the long run and energy consumption more efficient,8 ultimately increasing its value over time. Their effect may differ depending on factors like location, quality of installation, and local market conditions.

The precise impact may differ as well as when considering savings on electricity bills offset the initial installation cost, which makes solar panels an advisable investment decision for many homeowners.

Environmental Impact

Solar panels have long been touted for their positive environmental impact. How about carbon footprint solar panels?

Well, generating electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or necessitating the extraction, transportation, and combustion of fossil fuels makes solar power one of the lowest environmental footprints among other forms of energy production.

Although production and disposal still leave some footprints behind, using this alternative source of power will certainly lessen pollution and environmental degradation over time.

What Is the Average Payback Period for Solar Systems for Homes?

Installing solar power can be a costly investment for homeowners; most want to know their payback period will generally range between six and ten years for residential solar installations.

A roof with mounted monocrystalline solar panels with trees nearby during daytime.

(Image: lucascgouvea027)

What you need to know is that the payback period depends on many variables, including financing option selection and available incentives for solar installations.

Factors Affecting the Payback Period

Multiple factors can impact the length of time it takes your solar panel payback period to come full circle. They include;

1. Total System Cost

Your total solar system cost depends on a few key elements:

  • Equipment Expenses: Your total system price covers panels and their additional hardware as well as installation on a rooftop racking system for mounting. Also included are wiring costs as well as any accessories like electric vehicle (EV) chargers or solar batteries that might be added to it.
  • Financing Options: Cash payments require an up-front investment but offer superior ROI. While loans allow less initial outlay, they often shoot up as a result of inflation.
  • Installation Vendors: Different vendors have different prices and this is a factor to consider as well.
  • System Size: The larger the solar panel, the higher the cost of installation. Most homeowners prefer smaller systems to lower the cost.

2. Solar Incentives

You can bring down solar panel costs by taking advantage of tax rebates and rebates

3. Average Electricity Costs per Month

Homeowners that reside in regions that part with 15.47 cents per kWh should see greater long-term energy savings and shorter payback periods when switching over.

Depending upon the type of solar panel, 25-year-old panels with an efficiency rate of 80% may still produce enough energy to meet and surpass your solar payback period.9 High-quality panels tend to produce more power efficiently while cheap versions will eventually lower production rates leading to reduced savings over time.

How Can I Determine Solar Panel Payback Periods?

Your solar provider should offer an accurate solar payback period when providing their quote, so here’s an outline of how to estimate it so you have an idea of what’s in store.

Estimate Your Total System Costs

Your estimate should include both upfront costs for your system as well as accessories or add-ons like solar batteries.

Subtract Additional Solar Incentive Savings

Take into account federal solar tax credits, local tax credits, and rebates which reduce the up-front costs of installing a system.

Ongoing benefits like net metering or SRECS depend upon program length and market price so it is best to focus on up-front discounts for this calculation.10

Consider Any Hidden Costs Related To Financing Options

Upfront cash payments don’t account for additional expenses that arise; with solar loans, however, taking into account loan length and associated interest rates is necessary for accurately estimating total system cost.

Estimate Your Average Electricity Use and Costs Annually

Homeowners in areas with higher electricity rates could experience greater savings by switching to solar power. Most systems offset but don’t completely eliminate utility costs, helping reduce grid dependence while making payments much less often for grid-tied electricity use.

Furthermore, utility rates often rise every year; take note of expected price hikes from past statements or contact your utility company about expected increases when making calculations based on past statements or estimations from utility company representatives.

Does a Solar-Powered House Save You Money?

It goes without saying that powering your house with solar energy would almost certainly save you a few dollars.

If you choose to connect your system to the power grid, essentially offering solar energy to the utility provider (the excess you don’t use), you can actually earn money and significantly eliminate your energy costs.

You can also take advantage of tax credits and rebates to save on initial investments.11

A light bulb inside a roll of a paper money and a white cable plug in an orange background.

(Image: fotoblend24)

Payback periods measure how quickly energy savings pay back an initial investment through monthly savings. How much you save each month will depend upon factors like system size, usage levels, and other considerations.

Surpassing electricity needs is usually offset with surplus solar production from residential systems; however, cash payments for solar are rare; nonetheless, even paying minimally over time adds up to significant savings over the course of years or decades. Most solar systems pay themselves back within 10 years, giving you decades of free electricity afterward.

However, some younger homeowners, who may switch homes frequently, may shy away from solar due to its long-term commitment. But as noted, much of that investment can often be recovered through increased property value brought about by an installation project.

Your payback period will depend upon both upfront costs and energy rates in your location; but here are some guidelines to estimate when it might break even.

Estimating Solar Savings (Solar Panels for House)

There’s an easy and basic formula to help determine how long it’ll take your solar savings to pay back the costs associated with installing it.

Begin with the upfront installation cost, subtract all tax credits, rebates, grants, or incentives received, and calculate the net system cost; next estimate how much electricity savings could result from installing this system over the lifespan of one year and estimate annual electricity bill savings with it.

Solar Power for Home (How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power My Home?)

High inflation, power outages, and sky-rocketing power bills make solar energy seem appealing, yet before opting to make this change you need to address several considerations first; one such being how many panels would best meet your home energy requirements.

Wide angle shot of a grey wooden house with solar panels mounted outside overlooking trees and mountains.

(Image: pasja100028)

Experts indicate that an inaccurate measurement of return for investment relies solely on wattage alone. However, you may never comprehend the number of panels your home requires until you have a grasp of consumption and the efficiency of each system as well as the region.

So, how do you determine how many solar panels your home requires? Let’s assume your house consumes about 1,500kWh in a month, the following steps would enable you to get the exact number of solar panels you need.

  1. First, you have to evaluate your electricity bill. It is essential that you determine your consumption in a month, in this regard; let’s assume you consume approximately 1,500kWh/month
  2. Change monthly energy consumption into daily usage, thus 1,500kWh divided by 30.42, which brings you to 49.3kWh/day
  3. Determine the hours the sun is always at the peak. While peak hours are determined by the climate and location variables, this would on average be 5 peak hours.
    Calculating daily energy production needs requires dividing daily energy usage by peak sunlight hours – this figure indicates how much power solar panels must produce daily in order to meet consumption demands.12 Production energy required = 49.3kWh daily divided by five hours = 9.86 kW.
  4. Determine Your Panel Wattage. In this final step, it is important to calculate how many solar panels will need to be installed.

On average in the US, solar panels typically range between 250-400 watts; presumably in this example, a 350W solar panel has been chosen as it would make sense with our example setup.

Dividing 350 by 1,000 allows us to convert 350 watts to Kilowatts (kW), thus turning this amount of solar panels into Kilowatts or Kilowatt-Hours (0.35). Thus, solar panels required = 9.86kw divided by 0.35kW/panel which equals 28 panels.

Therefore based on this example, it would take 29 solar panels to meet current electrical energy needs. Thus, answering the question “how many solar panels do I need?”

Residential Solar Panels (Factors Driving Solar Panels for Home in U.S.)

A number of factors drive the cost of and the adoption of solar panels for house across the United States. At that point, residential solar energy represents a considerable fraction in relation to the collective US electricity production.

Consequently, the rapid development of solar panels continues apart from the hitches evident along the supply chain.

Based on Pew Research, solar panels for homes went up by 34% (2.9 gigawatts) from 2020-2021.13 Thus far, solar energy growth clinched the fifth record in 2022. While fed solar tax credit and state rebates have made the adoption of solar energy friendly, home solar panels retail at an exorbitant cost nevertheless.

When you apply for tax credit and put into the equation other external factors, for instance, the installation costs, the cost for a home solar panel may be anywhere between $16,870-$23,170. In retrospect, solar panels farms generate more electricity than residential solar panels.

Despite this, electricity from solar panels is just but a minute fraction of the total electricity generated in the U.S.

Homeowners surveyed in 2019 reported 6% having installed solar panels versus only 4% who reported doing so the year prior. Yet the percentage who have given serious consideration to getting them has dropped 7 points since 2019.13

Most homeowners who reported in January having installed or seriously considered installing solar panels said environmental concerns were their driving factor (81%), followed by improved health (59%) and tax credits (64%).13

Federal solar panel tax credits had previously accounted for 26% of installation costs; with recent legislation increasing it to 30% through 2032. Furthermore, many states provide additional rebates when solar panels are installed in homes or businesses.

Additional Costs To Consider When Installing Solar Panels for a House

As you plan for solar installation, you better budget for hidden solar panel expenses; such as cleaning costs and repair. Here’s everything you should consider before installing solar panels on your rooftop.

So, how much do solar panels cost? This is complex but can also be an easy question to answer.

Maintenance: Solar panel maintenance costs range between $140 to $180 per service visit or $280 to $720 annually, depending on the manufacturer or manual that came with your panels.5 At least twice annually should be scheduled depending on manufacturer instructions; homeowners may wish to schedule more frequent services in case any potential problems arise.

Close up of a worker in working gear with white safety helmet connecting solar panel cables.

(Image: chrischesneau23)

Cleaning solar panels typically costs $25 per panel or $425 to $525 for an average 17-21 panel system. Pollen, dirt and grime accumulation can have an adverse impact on the efficiency of panels leading to reduced energy yield; so for optimal performance, cleaning should be performed annually or twice.

Attempting to clean solar panels yourself won’t cost more than $100 for tools and solutions to clean them properly.

When it comes to the question of how much does home insurance go up with solar panels, you ought to understand that solar panels will augment the value of your home. This is to say, the installation of solar panels will augment premium rates too.

In fact, your insurance rates will almost certainly go up by approximately $10,000-$15,000. So, does solar increase home value? Technically speaking, yes it does.

Though how much your policy rates increase will vary based on where your roof type; be sure that any replacement costs are adequately covered within their policy terms in case of damages.14

Solar System Monitoring

To keep an accurate account of your solar energy production, costs range anywhere from $0.0 to $400 for PV system monitoring services;5 most installations however will require some sort of financial investment into measurement instruments, the internet connection, or other technology specifications for proper functioning.

Tree Trimming

On average, tree trimming service costs anywhere between $250 and $700 depending upon their complexity, type, and number.

Large, difficult-to-reach trees requiring major trimming services typically incur the greatest expenses for trimming services.

Roof Repair

Before installing solar panels, any minor roof issues must first be taken care of, with repair costs typically falling between $150 to $1,500 for minor concerns and $1,500 to $7,000 for major ones.5

It is imperative that any structurally weak areas on a roof be corrected first to allow proper functioning before proceeding with solar installations.

Solar Panel Repair

On average, repairs to solar panels typically range between $300 and $1,300 in cost;5 smaller cracks or chips in glass typically fall on the low end while solar panel inverter repairs could incur higher expenses.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Solar Panels for House

Multiple factors affect the cost of solar panels, all related to your electricity use and home. Here is what should be kept in mind when calculating costs:

Solar Panel Companies

The price of solar panels depends entirely upon which solar company you select for installation costs and add-ons. Thus, everything from equipment systems themselves, to installation costs and extras can vary considerably, making the initial step in selecting suitable providers an essential one.

When researching potential companies it’s essential that all options available to you are carefully evaluated so as to find your perfect partner.

Size, Weight, And Number of Panels

When considering solar panel costs, size, weight, and number are three major components to take into account when making purchasing decisions.

When selecting how many panels are appropriate for you to buy you should use as guidance the following information: How much energy your household uses per month

Roof Space Availability

To determine the costs, take note of how many hours of sun your home receives as well as the size, efficiency, wattage, and relative cost of PV solar panels you intend on installing, then determine what percentage they contribute towards costs. Once that information has been established, calculate costs accordingly.

Installing solar panels earns you a federal solar tax credit, giving you credit against your income taxes to reduce your bill. Congress recently renewed this benefit so systems installed between 2022-2032 qualify for up to a 30% tax credit.2

Residential Solar Panel Options

There are three primary solar panel types for residential use: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film.

Monocrystalline panels offer maximum energy efficiency at $1 to $1.50 per watt while less-efficient polycrystalline ones range between $0.90-$1 per watt while thin-film solar panels cost between $1-1.50.5

Roof Pitch

Your roof’s characteristics such as pitch will help determine solar panel cost. Solar companies usually charge according to installation complexity; having an intricate roof may increase installation expenses.

That said, an expert will guide how to install solar panels on roof.

How Much Are Solar Panels for a House: Cost Per Square Foot of Solar Panels

The price range for solar panels is typically between $4 and $10 per square foot to power a house;15 the majority of installers provide solar cost estimates by the energy needed, typically $2.53 – 3.15 per watt before tax credits and incentives are applied.

In addition, 59% of Americans want solar power for homes and 86% would welcome rooftop solar installations in their communities.

A residential building with monocrystalline solar panels mounted on its roof during daytime

(Image: P-association22)

You won’t be able to compute the number of solar panels needed to supply enough electricity for your house except by being able to compute square footage, your monthly energy bill, and the amount of time in a year. Let’s assume your home sits on a surface area that is 2,000 square feet and your monthly electric bill is approximately $100; this equals 20kWh of energy in a month.

However, one key obstacle may be cost. However, you don’t have to fall prey to unsubstantiated information, which creates an impression that solar panels are an expensive venture.

The best approach would be to collect first-hand information concerning the cost of solar panels before engaging with solar dealerships. This gives you an edge to bargain or avoid being ripped off.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Installing Solar Panels for Whole House

Below are the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating solar panels into your tiny house lifestyle:

Advantages of Installing Solar Panels for Tiny House

Installing solar panels for tiny houses offers three key advantages:

  1. Solar panels will slash electric bills: One of the primary motivations behind why American households opt for solar energy is its potential to lower electric bills.16While smaller houses typically already experience reduced utility expenses, installing solar panels could potentially eliminate most or even all of your monthly electricity costs altogether. An installation ranging between one kilowatt (kW) and three kW should provide ample energy savings, usually between $250-750 annually for most small homes.
  2. Solar panels for house offer an excellent return on investment: In most states, the payback period on solar panels generally falls between 4-9 years. Tiny homeowners have an advantage in that solar can be integrated with little investment required; for example, a 3kW system would only set you back $5,985 after taking into account cost/watt of $2.85 with a net of 30% solar tax credit. However, there are various financing solutions to assist in covering upfront costs associated with solar, including loans, leases, and power purchase agreements.
  3. Solar panels offer clean, renewable energy: One of the primary considerations for tiny homeowners should be their impact on the environment; solar panels offer one effective means of doing just this. Their emissions-free nature allows you to significantly decrease your overall carbon footprint while their production of renewable electricity means no resources are consumed by harnessing its light. Solar panels are also an affordable and usable renewable energy option for tiny houses, unlike wind power or hydroelectricity systems that may incur higher installation costs or have specific installation location restrictions. While solar production leaves a carbon footprint, it is negligible when that solar panels measured against emissions help avoid it.

Disadvantages of Installing Solar Panels for Tiny House

Despite its advantages, installing solar panels for tiny houses comes with three notable disadvantages:

  1. The upfront cost to purchase for cash-payers: Small 1kW systems typically cost $3,250 while larger 3kW ones run about $9,750, before taking into account any incentives and rebates that might apply.17However, as long as you are a taxpayer, the 30% federal solar tax credit may help lower the price to just $2,275 and $6,825, respectively for one kW systems and three kW systems respectively. Assuming the figure exceeds what is within your means or desired, alternatives might include solar loans with minimal down payments.
  2. Solar batteries are expensive: Combining solar energy systems and batteries could provide greater renewable energy reliance as well as backup power solutions.18 However, solar batteries tend to be relatively costly. Though battery storage technology has improved considerably – for instance, lithium batteries have replaced bulky lead acid AGM batteries – they still represent a costly addition.
  3. Space requirements: Tiny houses may have limited square footage available and it may be challenging to fit all the solar panels onto your roof at once. An average electricity user uses 4,380-kilowatt hours (kWh) annually – this amounts to an electric bill of $622 at 14.2 cents/kWh, or $1,024 if living in California.4 Covering that much usage with solar panels requires roughly 140 square feet if using eight 375W panels measuring 17.55 square feet each – covering this much consumption requires eight of such panels totaling 1,795 watts.

Can Solar Panels Power an Entire House?

One of the most frequently asked a question regarding solar power by homeowners is, can solar panels power a whole house?

While solar energy can certainly do that, explaining exactly how can be more complex.

Wide angle shot of a solar panels mounted on a roof providing solar power for home in a yard full of garden plants during daytime.

(Image: hbruellmann21)

However, an expert will install it for you and also show you how to connect solar panels to house.

How Can Solar Energy Power My Entire House?

Home solar systems can indeed power an entire household; however, success hinges upon several variables you need to take into consideration before going solar. Primarily these variables determine power output levels and the number of panels necessary for reaching energy goals like running an entirely solar-powered household.

Every home is different, requiring its own specific set of solar panels in order to efficiently harness solar energy for use at home.

While solar panel system output may play a part, efficiency plays an even larger part when deciding if and how much of your home you can power with renewables. Solar panel systems tend to operate between 15-20% efficiently.

This also means that about 15-20% of sunlight reaching these panels gets converted into electrical energy. Although a 30kW solar system can generate about 4.5kWh in a day, this should give you a hint as to how much solar energy you need for consumption.

This is also true when it comes to the number of solar panels you need to remain independent.

Also, you need to know the power usage of your gadgets, and this should enable you to understand the load supported by the grid. In a nutshell, understanding the load enables you to figure out whether an extra panel would be required.

An electric oven, for instance, consumes approximately 2,200 watts per hour. An apparel dryer consumes approximately 6,600 watts.

In addition, an electric heater uses about 400-4000 watts in one hour to heat your water.

With this hourly energy synopsis, it becomes practical to install a solar panel that meets your domestic consumption.

Because installing solar panels may result in higher electricity bills than anticipated, be sure to get all your facts straight before installing anything to avoid additional expenses.

Solar Panels for Mobile Homes

While mobile home solar panel installation companies exist, you can also purchase and install them yourself.

Types of Solar Panels for Houses

Before selecting the optimal type and number of solar panels for your home, the initial step should be familiarizing yourself with all available options as well as your desired quantity.

Close up shot of a monocrystalline solar panel in a blue sky background.

(Image: 344475320)

There are three primary varieties; monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels.

Solar roofing shingles represent another option; although more costly initially, they’re an appealing and practical investment for those with the funds available for initial costs.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

When most people think of rooftop solar panels, monocrystalline is probably what comes to mind first. Although all types of panels offer some degree of energy efficiency, monocrystalline is widely considered the most energy-efficient of them all.

According to Energy Sage, these panels are 20% efficient.7 This also means 20% of the sunlight that hits upon these panels is converted to usable energy.

Again, monocrystalline panels are made of pure silicon crystal, cylindrical-shaped, and uniform in color; long-term durability is assured with some warranties extending to 30 years.

Monocrystalline solar panels have the capacity to generate anywhere between 300-400 watts per panel. However, the fact that they are somewhat expensive to produce, this cost may be passed onto consumers.

But there can be downsides as well. Initial investment requirements may often be higher due to this higher production cost being passed directly down to consumers.

But even if 20% isn’t quite efficient enough for you don’t despair; under the monocrystalline umbrella lies another type of solar panel called the passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC).

While its use remains limited at present, experts claim it offers even higher efficiency thanks to an added layer of silicon material on its backside, making its production costs relatively minimal as well.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

In comparison with monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels are less costly to manufacture and therefore cheaper for customers. This cost differential can be explained by manufacturing process differences: instead of being constructed out of individual silicon crystals like monocrystalline panels are, polycrystalline ones consist of many pieces of silicon broken apart into fragments before being fused back together as monocrystalline ones do.

Polycrystalline solar panels tend to produce around 250W each instead of 300+.7 Physically they appear similar and their lifespan typically falls within 25-year warranties.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels boast several distinct advantages over monocrystalline and polycrystalline varieties.19 First, these thin panels are relatively light. Second of all, their malleable construction makes installation much simpler compared to thicker or heavier varieties.

Solar modules made with silicone dioxide cells are generally far less costly to manufacture and install, making them much more cost-effective overall.

Amorphous Silicon (A-Si) Thin Film

Amorphous solar panels use silicon like other panels do, yet differ by having three very thin silicone layers as opposed to just one. Amorphous panels excel at producing energy in hotter environments because of their capacity to withstand intense heat while also producing energy even on darker days.

Unfortunately, amorphous panels don’t last as long. According to the American Solar Energy Society, they only last between 10-20 years before failing.

Furthermore, only about 7-7% efficiency can be expected out of them.

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Thin-Film

This solar panel type can be produced using toxic heavy metal cadmium and is currently the second most-popular solar cell type worldwide after crystalline cells; however, their performance doesn’t compare favorably.

Copper Gallium Indium Diselenide (CIGS) Thin-Film

These ones are also produced using cadmium, with above average efficiency but high costs associated with its cells combining Copper, Indium Gallium Selenide layers on each other to efficiently convert sunlight to energy.

Passivated Emitter and Read Cell Panels (PERC)

Passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) panels are an emerging solar technology designed to be more energy-efficient than monocrystalline panels.

While their prevalence remains limited, PERC panels use silicon material on their backside in order to attain greater conversion efficiencies; furthermore, they do not pose manufacturing cost hurdles when manufacturing is considered.

Adding solar panels for house power is a good idea, even if you don’t know if your roof will be adequate to cover all your electricity needs, because the are a number of types of applications for solar panels that can provide energy to offset your current needs, and lower the emissions related to your household.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels for House

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 2,000 Square Foot House?

To meet the energy needs of a 2000 square foot house requires a large system that cost anywhere between $10,500-$12,500

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 1,500 Square Foot House?

For a 1,500 square foot house, you’ll spend a minimum of $8,000 and an upward of $9,000

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 2,500 Square Foot House?

It will cost you approximately $18,500 to install a 2,500 square foot house.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 3,000 Square Foot House?

You’ll spend an average of $20,000 to install solar in a house that is about 3,000 square feet.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels are designed with a lifespan of over 25 years, addressing the question “how long do solar panels last?”

How Many Watts To Run a House?

It would take you 1, 214 watts to run a house, nonetheless, the actual energy is relative to the number of appliances in a given home. This addresses the question “how many watts to run a house?”

What Does a Commercial Solar Installation Process Entail?

It includes site assessment, system design, construction, commissioning, system operation and maintenance.


1Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. (2023). Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

2Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. (2023). Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

3Murphy, L., & Pelchen, L. (2023, July 3). Solar Tax Credit By State in 2023: A Residential Solar Energy Tax Credit Guide. Forbes. Retrieved July 21, 2023, from <>

4Tindall, T., & Schwahn, L. (2023, April 17). What Do Solar Panels Cost and Are They Worth It? Nerdwallet. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

5Ogletree, A., & Brill, R. (2023, June 27). How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In 2023? Forbes. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

6Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. (2023). Renewable energy. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

7Walker, E. (2023, May 10). Looking to go solar? Here’s everything you need to know in 2023. Energysage. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

8Southeast Missouri State University. (2022). New Solar Panels Begin Operation on Southeast Missouri State University’s Campus. SEMO. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

9Department of Energy. (2023). Solar. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

10Old House Reviews Team. (2023, April 28). What Is the Average Solar Panel Payback Period? (2023 Guide). This old house. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

11Wikipedia. (2022, November 13). Energy rebate program. Wikipedia. Retrieved July 24, 2023 from <>

12The National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2023). Solar energy basics. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

13Kennedy, B., & Leppert, R. (2022, October 14). Residential Solar Panels (Factors Driving Solar Panels for Home in US). Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 24, 2023 from <>

14Jones-Albertus, B. (2021, July 28). Replacing Your Roof? It’s a Great Time to Add Solar. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

15Chopson, P. (2023). Solar Panel Cost – Residential + Commercial. Cove Tool. Retrieved July 24, 2023 from <>

16Wikipedia. (2023, June 8). Solar panels. Wikipedia. Retrieved 21 July  2023 from <>

17Bronner, J. S. & Blok, A. (25 May 2023). Solar Cheat Sheet: Your Complete Guide to Getting Solar Panels at Home.  CNET. Retrieved 21 July 2023 from <>

18United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2023, March 30). Local Renewable Energy: Solar. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved July 21, 2023 from <>

19Wikipedia. (2023, July 10). Thin-film solar cell. Wikipedia. Retrieved July 24, 2023 from <>

203444753. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

21hbruellmann. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

22P-association. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

23chrischesneau. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

24fotoblend. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

25FrauOdilo. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

26P-association. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

27lucascgouvea0. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

28pasja1000. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

294073527. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>