Mother Earth News Blogs > Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

All things energy, from solar and wind power to efficiency and off-grid living.


How Much Does an Average Solar-Panel System Cost?

5kw solar panel system cost

If you’re shopping for a solar energy system, one of your first questions is probably, “how much will it cost?” Prices depend on the size of your system, the type of equipment you choose, and the state that you live in, but reviewing prices for a 5 kilowatt (kW) system is a great place to start – that’s the average system size in the United States. Learn more about how much a 5kW solar system costs, how much electricity a 5kW system will produce, and the smartest way to shop for solar.

What are solar shoppers paying in your state?

We looked at data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the leading comparison-shopping platform for homeowners who are considering home solar panel systems, to find out just how much solar shoppers are paying for 5kW solar energy systems in different states across the U.S.  

The prices listed below have already had the 30 percent federal tax credit for solar deducted. Depending on where you live, you might have additional state or local solar incentives and rebates that reduce the price even more. You may even be able to earn extra income by selling your system’s solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs)

Even if there are no other incentives where you live, comparing multiple offers from solar companies is important to ensure that you’re finding the best deal. Homeowners who register their property on EnergySage save up to 20 percent just by shopping around for the right option for their home. 

5 kW solar system price map

How much does a 5kW solar system cost in my state?

State

5 kW solar system price range (2015)

Arizona

$10,360 – $14,070

California

$11,865 – $14,875

Colorado

$11,025 – $14,245

Connecticut

$11,872 – $15,095

District of Columbia (Washington, DC)

$10,386 – $14,583

Florida

$8,505 – $11,305

Illinois

$11,074 – $14,687

Massachusetts

$12,460 – $16,240

Maryland

$10,150 – $13,230

New Jersey

$10,325 – $14,455

New York

$11,270 – $16,030

North Carolina

$10,531 – $14,801

Ohio

$9,898 – $13,720

Texas

$9,835 – $12,705

Washington

$12,880 – 16,310

Remember, the cost of solar depends on a lot of factors, so these numbers are just meant to be a starting point. In most cases, you should be able to find a 5kW solar system in this price range – if you receive offers from solar companies that are much higher or lower, be sure to ask follow up questions. 

How much electricity will a 5kW solar system produce?

The amount of electricity your solar panels produce depends on many factors, including the direction and angle of your roof. The most important one is how sunny it is where you live – for example, a 5kW system in Las Vegas makes about 30 percent more electricity in a year than one in Philadelphia. That being said, you don’t have to live in the Southwest for solar to make sense for you. The cost of electricity where you live is the biggest determinant of your solar savings.

The table below shows average estimated electricity production numbers for 5kW solar energy systems in cities across the U.S. By comparison, the average household in the U.S. uses 911 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a month, which equals 10,932 kWh per year. We estimated these numbers using PV Watts, a tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Solar electricity output of a 5kW solar panel system in U.S. cities 

City

Average daily kWh

Average monthly kWh

Average annual kWh

Austin, TX

20.3

617

7,405

Boston, MA

18.1

551

6,606

Charlotte, NC

19.5

592

7,098

Chicago, IL

17.5

554

6,648

Cleveland, OH

16.6

506

6,071

Denver, CO

20.9

637

7,639

Hartford, CT

17.1

519

6,223

Las Vegas, NV

26.8

816

9,794

Los Angeles, CA

21.7

660

7,915

Miami, FL

20.0

609

7,313

New York City

17.5

531

6,372

Philadelphia, PA

17.9

543

6,513

Phoenix, AZ

23.7

720

8,643

Seattle, WA

14.9

454

5,447

Washington, DC

18.2

554

6,648

Maximize your solar savings by comparing multiple offers

Now that you know what to expect, you can ensure that you get the best deal on a 5kW solar energy system by registering your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. Use the comprehensive, easy-to-understand comparison tables to evaluate all of your equipment options, financing offers, and solar company reviews. When you compare multiple solar quotes, you can feel confident that you’re making a smart investment in your home.

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.