If you’re living in Alabama, you might have wondered more than once how to save money on electricity. With the second-highest average monthly bill in the country, the Cotton State could benefit from improving its alternative energy systems.
After looking at solar panel costs in Alabama, homeowners can financially benefit from making the switch. So, how do you know where to start with pricing a budget? We’ve got you covered. From everything from the average cost to how much money you’ll save in the long run, continue reading.
Average Solar Panel Costs in Alabama
While several factors can cause the final cost to fluctuate, the average price of solar panels in Alabama runs about $2.45 per watt. This number falls below the national standard of $3.00 per watt. Translated to a 6kW array, Alabamians can budget around $14,700 (well under the national average of $18,000).
When compared to the typical electricity bill in the Cotton State, we begin to see the influence of installing a solar panel system. Homeowners in Alabama use about 1,145kWh per month at a rate of 13.6 cents per kWh for an average monthly bill of $155.72. When compared to the national average of $122 a month, Alabamians pay much more than most people across the country.
With a lower-than-average price per watt and an incredibly high monthly electrical bill, homeowners in the Cotton State can financially benefit from utilizing solar energy. They can save even more on their installation with the federal solar tax credit, which promises a 30% return on solar purchases. After claiming the federal incentive, the average cost of a 6kW system drops to $10,290.
How Much Solar Do You Need?
The standard solar panels cost in Alabama can help give a ballpark estimate, but it can’t accurately represent your personal situation. Depending on a few aspects, your installation can cost more or less. These are:
- Peak sun hours,
- Wattage rating,
- Average electricity usage.
The peak sun hours in your area represent the amount of maximum exposure your solar panels receive. These times can vary with geographic location and have a noticeable influence on how many watts you need. In Alabama, the average peak sun hours is 4.23 per day, but it fluctuates across the state. For the most accurate reading in your city, check out this sun chart.
The wattage of our solar panels represents how much energy they can produce in an hour of full sun. Individual panels usually range between 100W and 400W, and wire together to produce the appropriate amount of power.
To determine the wattage of our solar array in Alabama, we’ll use our average electrical usage per month to determine a daily number. For this example, we’ll use the Alabamian standard of 1,145kWh:
1,145kWh per month / 30 days = 38.2kWh per day
Next, we’ll divide the daily usage by the number of peak sun hours. This gives us the number of watts per hour that our solar panel system should provide:
38.2kWh per day / 4.23 peak sun hours = 9.02kWh per day
With a standard daily electricity usage of 38.2kWh and 4.23 peak sun hours per day, this house would need a system of 9.02kWh per day. Using the average solar panel cost in Alabama ($2.45/watt), we should budget $22,099 before federal incentives.
Factors that Affect Cost
Now, it’s essential to know that the typical cost of solar in the Cotton State includes more than just the panels. For the standard 6kW array of $14,700, homeowners can expect to pay for all equipment (panels, brackets, inverters, storage), labor, marketing, and installer profit margins. Alabamians should know that a few factors can alter the price within the above aspects.
The type of solar panel can significantly affect the price of a full array. Monocrystalline panels are most common for their efficiency and manufacturing quality. However, they command a higher price and some prefer to go with polycrystalline for their affordability. Talk with your installer for recommendations on which panel type makes sense for your home.
Depending on the type of panel and its manufacturers, you can often find better prices on bulk orders. While the overall cost of the installation might go up, the price per watt will drop. This works in the favor of Alabamians, who may need more wattage than usual to cover electricity usage.
Homeowners in the Cotton State should not overlook the quality of their installers. Because solar panels have lifespans of 20-25 years, you want to look for a company that can work with you over the course of your system. As such, it’s worth your money to search for the right solar installer for your needs.
Best Solar Panel Installers in Alabama
With its headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama, Eagle Solar & Light is one of the best solar installers in the state. Despite only having 6 years of industry experience, the company has earned several awards for its installation quality, including the Clean Energy Innovator Award in 2018 and the Rooftop Solar Project of the Year Award in 2021.
One of the more recognizable services is the company’s 25-year guarantee, which covers equipment, installation, and panel efficiency for the system’s entire lifetime.
Creative Solar USA is another young company just across the Georgia/Alabama border. With expert knowledge of local energy policies, the solar installer comes out with a specialized 25-year leak-free guarantee. This protects solar systems from rain damage, a common issue in Alabama.
If you’re looking for an exclusively local installer, go no further than Solar Technology Alabama. This company has over a decade of experience in the industry, which is some of the most extensive in a state with limited renewable energy policies. On top of their wide selection of equipment brands, you can trust this solar installer to get you the best price on a solar array.
Can Solar Save You Money?
As you’re considering a solar panel array in Alabama, whether or not it will save money might arise as one of the priority concerns. First, let’s determine how long it could take for Alabamians to pay off a system. To do that, we’ll compare its cost to the average utility savings per year.
For reference, a 6kW solar panel system in Alabama would cost about $14,700. With it covering an annual electricity bill of $1,868.64 ($155.72/mo), homeowners in the Cotton State can expect to pay off their array in 7.9 years. After this point, Alabamians will start to see net savings.
Considering the solar panel life expectancy of 20-25 years, homeowners should recognize the potential of earning money back well after the system is paid for. A solar array lasting 20 years can save Alabamians about $22,611 in utilities over the course of its lifetime (after paying off the system).
Of course, this is without considering federal and state solar incentives. In addition to the federal solar tax credit, which returns 30% of the total purchase, Alabamians can find money back in the form of credits, rebates, and other forms in their state and city.
Solar Panels Cost in Alabama: Further Reading
Despite the lack of support in this southern state, homeowners might find financial benefits when looking for solar panel costs in Alabama. Residential alternative energy makes up just one way this tech is changing society. For more on solar, continue reading the articles below.
- Can You Recharge an EV With Solar Power? – With renewable energy making headlines, it’s a wonder whether or not we can use it to power our electric vehicles.
- The 5 Best Solar Lanterns for the Modern Camper – Never run out of light with these lanterns that charge off sunlight.
- The 10 Largest Solar Panel Companies in the World, and What They Do – These companies are building the infrastructure for sustainable energy across the globe.
- A Guide to All of Tesla’s Gigafactories, ad Where They Are Located – Major companies are setting up to produce solar energy like never before. Here’s how Tesla is going about it.