How much do solar panels cost per square foot?

By Matt •  Updated: 05/22/22 •  11 min read

The cost of solar panels can be classified into cost per kWh, per Watt, per system, and per square foot. Standard solar panels cost ranges somewhere between $0.08-$0.10 per kWh, $1.77-$2.20 per Watt and $10000-$27000 for 6 and 12kW system simultaneously. 

How much you spend on solar panels per square foot depends on the installation cost, taxes and the brand of the solar panels. In general, you can spend something between $4-$10 on solar panels per square foot. However, this is the national estimate before taxation. 

Solar Inverter
Solar Inverter

When estimating the amount of money you will spend on your solar panels per foot, you should consider the amount of energy needed to power your home, the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), other solar incentives and rebates from different authorities. 

By the end of this guide, you will be able to;

  • Estimate how much energy your home needs
  • Know how many solar panels you need to buy for your home
  • Estimate your individual solar panels cost per square foot depending on your state and type of system.

STAY TUNED!

1. How do you calculate square footage for solar panels?

Calculating the cost of solar panels per square foot can be so complicated. This is because there are a lot of factors that play apart in this calculation. For example, you will need to know how much energy your home consumes to know what type of system you will install. However, I don’t mean it is impossible. 

There are number of reliable online calculators that can help you estimate the square footage for your solar panels. We will look into a few examples on how much you will spend on solar panels per square foot on different types of systems.

  • 2Kw system

The average cost of installing 2Kw system as of May 2022 is $2.77 per watt. For the whole 2000W system you will spend;

2000Watts × $2.77= $5540

This is before the 26% discount from the Solar Investment Tax Credit from the federal government. After the discounts it becomes;

100-26=74

74/100×$5540= $4100

A 2kw system contains about 150 square feet. To calculate the cost per square feet you will take;

$4100÷150square feet= $27.33 per square foot. 

  • 4Kw system

We will use the same formula used in the 2Kw system above. However, the cost for a 4Kw changes. 

4000watts×$2.77= $11080

74/100×$11080=$8199.2

There are 301 square feet in a 4Kw system

$8199.2÷301square feet= $27.24 per square foot.

The values are bound to change depending on the state you are in. You can use the values given by EnergySage Solar market place to find out how much you will spend on your system in your individual state. 

2. Is a solar panel square footage calculator good?

Most solar panel square footage calculator are created by companies that sell solar panels. Google also has this of calculator which enables you to estimate how much it will cost you to install solar panels in your home. 

These online calculators work with the assumption that small homes consumes less energy than large homes. Therefore it will cost them less than the large homes. This is however further from the truth. You might find a small home with large energy usage, let’s say they have large appliances. A home the same size but with less number of appliances will use less energy. This calculators don’t take this factors. 

To find a closer estimate of how much it will cost you to install solar panels per square foot, use your solar panels providers calculators. They have an exact idea of the amount of energy each solar panel produces and the cost of each. They also use the zip code that put into consideration the amount the solar incentives and rebates of each region. 

2.1 Solar panel calculator online

Omni Calculator is one of the best solar panel calculator found online. It takes into consideration the environmental factors, bill offset percentage, the amount of solar per day, your areas solar amount per day and other factors to give you the best possible solar panel estimate. 

2.2 Off-grid solar system calculator

Unbound solar off-grid solar system calculator works by giving you segments to fill so that they can give you the best possible estimates. 

  • First, fill in the zip code segment. Giving your zip code allows the operators to check the sun hours in your area. 
  • Secondly, fill in the appliances segment. If you do not see your appliances, you can tap the add appliances and add your other appliances.
  • Lastly, click “Calculate my off-grid system size. This calculator uses the list of appliances provided and the sun hours recorded to find the size of your Off-grid system size. 

You should however remember that this is just an estimate. Some factors that will be discussed later in this guide affect the sizing. 

3. Factors Affecting Solar Panels Cost Per Square Foot

Although many solar panels cost per square foot calculators us the number the national average installation pricing, there are other legit factors that affect the cost. Some of this factors include;

  • The overall system size
  • Location of your house
  • The brand of the solar panels
  • Model of the solar panels

3.1 Overall system size

According to the Energy Sage solar market place, different solar system sizes installation cost differs. When calculating the solar panels cost per square foot for your home, ensure you use the correct size of your home. You can find online calculators that help you estimate your home system size. 

3.2 Location of your house

The cost of electricity in different states vary. Each state also have different incentives and rebates not forgetting the federal Taxation credit of 26%. When calculating the amount you pay per square foot, you should put all that into consideration. 

Insert your zip code here to find estimates from top rated installers in your region.

3.3 The Brand of the solar Panels 

Different brands produce solar panels of different quality. Renown solar panels manufacturers sell their products at a higher price. This affects the overall solar panels cost per square foot. 

3.4 The Model of the Solar panels

Different types of solar panels retail at different price per watts. For example, monocrystalline which are high energy efficient solar panels cost about $1-$1.5 per watts. A 6Kw system cost something between $6000-$9000. It takes at least the same amount to buy Thin-film solar panels. 

Another type is the polycrystalline solar panels which are less efficient than monocrystalline and Thin-film solar panels, retail somewhere between $0.9-$1 per watt. This amounts to something between $4500-$6000 for installation. 

The table below is a summary 

solar panels cost per square footPrice
Go upGo downNot affect much
Solar panel brand recognitionyes
Solar panel model Yes
Solar System sizeYes
Government taxesYes
Government grantsYes
Annual solar irradiance hoursYes

4. How much do solar panels cost for a 1,000 square foot house?

It is impossible to give the exact amount you need to install solar panels per square foot. This is because factors like; home system size, quality of solar panels, location and grants affect your total cost. However, we will give estimates for when using low quality, medium quality and high quality solar panels.

 The only factors we will consider in this estimations is the government solar Investment credit since it is the only constant factor in all states. You can consult with installers in your area to find out other factors affecting the average cost in your area. 

From the first segment, the average cost for solar panels per square foot is somewhere between $4-$10 after taxation. Therefore;

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5per square foot

Square foot:1000

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot× 1000 square foot= $4500 

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 1000 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot× 1000 square foot = $6000

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 1000 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 1000 square foot = $9800

5. How much do solar panels cost for a 1,200 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5per square foot

Square foot: 1200 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot ×1200 square foot = $5400

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 1200 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot × 1200 square foot = $7200

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 1200 square foot

Average cost : $9.8 per square foot × 1200 square foot = $ 11760

6. How much do solar panels cost for a 1,300 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5per square foot

Square foot: 1300 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot × 1300 square foot = $5850

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 1300 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot× 1300 square foot = $7800

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 1300 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 1300 square foot= $12,740

7. How much do solar panels cost for a 1,700 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5 per square foot

Square foot: 1700 square foot

Average foot: $4.5 per square foot × 1700 square foot = $7650

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot : 1700 square foot

Average cost : $6 per square foot × 1700 square foot= $10,200

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 1700 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 × 1700 square foot = $16660

8. How much do solar panels cost for a 1,500 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5 per square foot

Square foot: 1500 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot × 1500 square foot = $6,750

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 1500 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot × 1500 square foot = $9,000

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 1500 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 1500 square foot = $14,700

9. How much do solar panels cost for a 2,000 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5 per square foot

Square foot: 2000 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot × 2000 square foot = $9,000

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 2000 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot × 2000 square foot = $12,000

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 2000 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 2000 square foot= $19,600

10. How much do solar panels cost for a 2,500 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5 per square foot

Square foot: 2500 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot × 2500 square foot = $11,250

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 2500 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot × 2500 square foot = $15,000

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 2500 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 2500 square foot= $24,500

11. How much do solar panels cost for a 3,000 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5 per square foot

Square foot: 3000 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot × 3000 square foot = $13,500

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 3000 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot × 3000 square foot = $18,000

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 3000 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 3000 square foot= $29,400

12. How much do solar panels cost for a 4,000 square foot house?

Low quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $4.5 per square foot

Square foot: 4000 square foot

Average cost: $4.5 per square foot × 4000 square foot = $18,000

Medium quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $6 per square foot

Square foot: 4000 square foot

Average cost: $6 per square foot × 4000 square foot = $24,000

High quality solar panels

Cost per square foot: $9.8 per square foot

Square foot: 4000 square foot

Average cost: $9.8 per square foot × 4000 square foot= $39,200

The table below shows summarizes the figures found above

Square foot sizeAverage cost
Low cost/quality solar panels1000- 4000 square foot$4,500- $18,000
Medium cost/quality solar panels1000-4000 square foot$7,200-$24,000
High cost/quality solar panels1000-4000 square foot$11,760-$ $39200

*please note that these figures are only for rough idea. Always get the advice from subject experts to calculate proper value for your home. 

Final thoughts

Choosing to go the solar way is one of the most exciting moves anyone can experience. Just the thought of never paying electricity again can make you rush into  buying solar PV system kit. However, solar panels installation is not just done blindly. You will need to calculate the amount of energy used in your home.  

There area a number of factors that affect the cost of solar panels installation;

  • Are you using cost per square foot or per wattage?
  • What are the regulations and incentives in your local area.
  • Do you know that there are some tax credit offered by the federal government when installing solar panels?
  • Can you size your home system?
  • What type of solar panels do you need?

Luckily, this guide provides you with the information you need when installing solar panels in your home. 

Matt

I’m Matt, a computer and electronic embedded system developer. Currently, working as an electronic engineer. In my leisure time, I do love to blog about technology stuff. Specially, new advance high tech devices. Portable solar systems are one of topic that I love to investigate. They are becoming more powerful day by day which keep me alert.