Cost to Install Solar analyzes hundreds of thousands of residential solar installation records to determine the average cost of solar in the United States, as well as individual regions, states, cities, and zip codes. To ensure that our cost numbers remain current and up-to-date, we only consider data from solar systems installed within the last 24 months from the latest update. Because we only report costs for areas where a number of solar systems have been recently installed, some regions may not currently have local installation cost estimates. Our solar cost numbers are updated periodically throughout the year. The last update occurred on July 10, 2017.
Our solar installation data comes from the Open PV Project, a government, industry, and public collaborative effort managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Records are contributed from a variety of sources, including solar incentive programs, utilities, solar installers, and solar customers. Much of the data is provided by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which issues an annual report on solar cost trends, Tracking the Sun.
Average residential electricity rates and annual electricity consumption are based on information reported by the United States Energy Information Administration.
Solar system sizes are calculated in kilowatts direct current (DC). Production data is based on reported annual system kilowatt-hour generation.
Solar installation costs assume no incentives of any kind, such as the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Savings are based on current electricity costs, with no escalator for future price increases, and assume a household can either directly consume all electricity generated by their solar system (which may require energy storage) or that electricity exported to the grid is credited back to the customer at full retail rate through net metering (which may not be the case in some states). System payback does not account for operation and maintenance expenses that may occur over the life of the system, such as inverter replacement, or additional system financing expenses. These factors should all be considered when deciding whether or not to install a solar energy system.
Solar installers listed for each location are based on those most represented in reported installation records. These installers are presented as a possible starting point for those interested in exploring solar in a certain location. The list is not intended to be exhaustive nor does it in any way represent a recommendation or endorsement of a company’s services by Cost to Install Solar.