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Riding a bicycle is one of the most sustainable ways to get around. If you need a little more oomph than legs allow, an e-bike conversion kit is a great way to supercharge your pedal bike with electricity.

Whether you're plugging in to renewable energy sources or drawing from a conventional electric grid, electric bike kits produce far fewer emissions than fossil fuel-powered alternatives and allow you to keep your old bike you know and love.

An e-bike conversion kit makes use of your existing bike frame by replacing your standard tire or pedals with a motorized hub. Here are the best e-bike kits on the market today.

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Covering roofs with solar panels could significantly contribute to decarbonizing global energy systems. MaddyBris / Pixabay

By Siddharth Joshi, James Glynn, and Shivika Mittal

Rooftop solar panels are up to 79% cheaper than they were in 2010. These plummeting costs have made rooftop solar photovoltaics even more attractive to households and businesses who want to reduce their reliance on electricity grids while reducing their carbon footprints.

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Robert Niedring / Alloy / Getty Images

Riding a bicycle is one of the most sustainable ways to get around. If you need a little more oomph than legs allow, an e-bike conversion kit is a great way to supercharge your pedal bike with electricity.

Whether you're plugging in to renewable energy sources or drawing from a conventional electric grid, electric bike kits produce far fewer emissions than fossil fuel-powered alternatives and allow you to keep your old bike you know and love.

An e-bike conversion kit makes use of your existing bike frame by replacing your standard tire or pedals with a motorized hub. Here are the best e-bike kits on the market today.

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A new study adds to research suggesting pesticides could be contributing to the obesity epidemic. fotokostic /
iStock / Getty Images Plus

It is widely known that the controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos harms children's brains, yet despite this, it was not banned on food in the U.S. until August of this year.

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CHBD / iStock / Getty Images

The sprawling size and sunny days of Texas make it one of the top states for solar energy. If you live in the Lone Star State and are interested in switching to a solar energy system, you may be wondering: What's the average solar panel cost in Texas?

In this article, we'll discuss the cost of solar panels in Texas, what factors affect pricing, Texas' solar incentives and more. Of course, the only way to know for sure how much you would pay to install a solar panel system on your roof is to receive a free, no-obligation quote from a top solar company near you. You can get started by filling out the quick form below.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Texas?

Thanks to the growing investment in renewable energy technology statewide, homeowners now enjoy a below-average cost of solar in Texas. Based on market research and data from top brands, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Texas to be $2.69 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $9,953 after the federal solar tax credit. This is especially valuable when you take into account the unpredictable Texas energy rates.

Here's how that average calculates into the cost of the most common sizes of home solar panel systems:

Size of Solar Panel SystemTexas Solar Panel CostCost After Federal Tax Credit
5kW$13,450$9,953
6kW$16,140$11,944
7kW$18,830$13,934
8kW$21,520$15,925
9kW$24,210$17,915
10kW$26,900$19,906

Though this data reflects the statewide averages, you'll need to contact a solar installer near you to get an accurate quote for your home. Savvy customers will get free quotes from multiple companies and compare them to the state averages to make sure they receive the best value possible. Bear in mind that the biggest providers of solar won't always have the best prices.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Texas?

The main factor determining the cost of solar panel installations in Texas is the homeowner's energy needs. No two homes are the same, and installation costs will look far different for a home needing a basic 5kW system and a home needing 10kW with backup power capabilities. The solar financing and installation company a homeowner chooses will also affect a customer's overall solar costs in Texas. Here's how each factor comes into play:

Solar Equipment

Similar to phones, cars and other technology, solar products and system costs vary greatly based on their quality, scale and included features. Some customers may be satisfied with a modest array of affordable solar panels and inverters, while others may opt for a system with premium panels, full-home backup power and cutting-edge energy monitoring technology.

Solar Financing

The overall cost of solar depends significantly on how a customer chooses to finance their system. The three most common solar financing options include paying in cash, taking out a solar loan and solar leasing.

  • The most economical way to purchase solar, an upfront cash purchase provides the best long-term return on investment and the lowest overall cost.
  • Customers can choose to take out a solar loan to purchase the system outright and make monthly payments to repay the loan. The typical payback period for a solar loan averages around 10 years. Systems purchased with a loan are still eligible for the federal solar tax credit.
  • Signing a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) allows a solar customer to rent solar panels from a company or third party. Though requiring the least amount of money upfront, solar leases provide the least amount of overall value. Also, solar leases aren't eligible for the federal tax credit, as the homeowner doesn't actually own the system.

Solar Installation Company

Texas has seen some of the strongest solar energy market growth over the last few years, and the SEIA reports that there are now nearly 600 solar companies based in Texas, and each is looking to expand its market share.

Price ranges can differ significantly based on the installer. Larger solar providers like Sunrun offer the advantage of solar leases and quick installations. Local providers, on the other hand, provide more personalization and competitive prices to undercut the biggest national companies.

Because of this, it's wise to get quotes from a few local and national installers and compare rates — because of the stiff competition between companies, you could end up saving several thousand dollars.

Texas Solar Incentives

For the most part, Texas taxes are administered by local governments. As a result, the state doesn't offer a large number of statewide solar-related policies, and incentives will depend more on the locality in which you live.

However, all homeowners in the state remain eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and there are some statewide local property tax exemptions for both photovoltaic solar and wind-powered renewable energy systems. Let's walk through how to find what incentives are available to you.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

All Texans can claim the federal solar investment tax credit, or ITC, for PV solar panels and energy storage systems. By claiming the ITC on your tax returns, the policy allows you to deduct 26% of the total cost of the solar system from the taxes you owe the federal government.

The tax credit is available to both residential and commercial system owners who have installed solar panels at any point since 2006. The credit is worth 26% through the end of 2022 and will drop to 22% in 2023. It is set to expire at the end of 2023 unless congress extends it.

Net Metering Policies in Texas

Net metering programs allow customers to sell unused solar energy back to their local utility company in exchange for credits that can be cashed in when panels aren't producing energy. Due to the energy bill savings, this incentive can greatly reduce the solar investment payback period.

As is true with most of Texas' solar rebates and incentives, there is not one net metering program that is offered throughout the entire state. Rather, your eligibility will depend on the policy of your local utility company or municipality. Most utilities in the state have a net metering policy, including American Electric Power (AEP), CPS Energy, Green Mountain Energy, El Paso Electric, TXU Energy in Dallas and more.

The rate at which your local utility will compensate for this excess energy will depend on your local policy, so we encourage you to look into the policy offered by your utility company.

Local Solar Rebates in Texas

In addition to identifying your local net metering program, look into any local rebates available to you. Homeowners who live in the top cities for solar in Texas, like Austin, San Marcos or Sunset Valley might have more luck than customers in other areas. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency has a full list of local rebates, solar loan programs and more.

FAQ: Solar Panel Cost Texas

Is it worth going solar in Texas?

Long, sunny days and below-average solar installation costs make Texas one of the best states in the U.S. for generating energy with solar panels. The ample sunshine provides more than enough energy for most families, serving up huge benefits to homes in Texas equipped with solar panels.

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Texas?

As of 2021, the average cost of solar panels in Texas is $2.69 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $9,953 after the federal solar tax credit. This is slightly below the national average due to the resource availability in Texas, current energy costs and the state's available sunlight. The best way to assess how much solar would cost you is to consult local providers near you for a free estimate.

Do solar panels increase home value in Texas?

Solar panels increase home value everywhere, but mostly in areas with generous net metering policies and solar rebates. As such, the proportion at which solar panels increase home value in Texas corresponds with the areas with the most solar-friendly policies.

How much do solar panels cost for a 2,500 sq foot house?

Though knowing the size of a house is helpful in determining how many solar panels could fit on its roof, the energy use of the house is the more important factor in determining solar panel cost in Texas. The higher your energy use, the greater your solar needs will be.

Stella Vita, a solar-powered recreational vehicle, in Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 20, 2021. Zhang Cheng / Xinhua via Getty Images

Can a road trip change the world?

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During their Project Alacranes, Oceana scientists found coral disease and invasive lionfish on pristine reefs. Oceana

In August, scientists from Oceana conducted the ocean conservation organization's first-ever expedition to investigate and document the condition of two reefs in the Gulf of Mexico using cutting-edge technology. Assessing the data, they're now reporting invasive species and deadly coral disease in Bajos del Norte, a pristine national park.

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Climate activist Lauren MacDonald confronts Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. TEDBlog

Lauren MacDonald gave Shell CEO Ben van Beurden the reception he deserved, though likely not the one he expected at a TED Countdown forum in Edinburgh on Thursday.

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In the 1970s, environmentalists and politicians in the imperial core quivered in their seats over the prospect of a population explosion. Malthusian prophecies of total collapse and Thanos-esque proposals of racial extermination pervaded political thought. For many, it seemed the end of the world was at our doorstep, and one of the main worries was that food production wouldn't be able to support the billions of mouths that would be born in the coming decades. But then the green revolution happened, and everything was supposedly better. Labor-saving technology and fossil fuel-laden chemicals pulled the world back from the precipice of famine and death. At least, that's the dominant narrative that has been pushed since the 1970s. Today, though, we're going to deconstruct this story about industrial farming, and answer the question: can small-scale regenerative farming feed the world?

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This Year's E-Waste to Outweigh Great Wall of China

2021's mountain of waste didn't grow out of nowhere.

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EcoWatch Illustration by Devon Gailey

October 14th is International E-Waste Day, and, to raise awareness about this growing problem, the waste electrical and electronic equipment forum, or WEEE Forum, has published an alarming statistic.

In 2021, human beings will discard an estimated 57.4 million tonnes (approximately 63.3 million U.S. tons) of electronic waste. That waste will outweigh the Great Wall of China, the world's heaviest human construction. This is why the WEEE Forum is calling for these items to be repaired or recycled instead of discarded.

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EcoWatch Illustration by Devon Gailey

Are you getting enough vitamin D? Statistically, probably not. One billion people worldwide and 42 percent of people in the United States are vitamin D deficient — and most don't even know it.

The NIH recommends 600-800 IU per day, but it is recommended that vegetarians and vegans shoot for the top of that range. The amount every person needs depends on their age and other factors as well. Babies need less (400), while most kids and adults need 600. If you are a senior citizen, consider upping your intake to at least 800, but keep in mind the upper limit of how much anyone should take is 4,000. After that, you could experience nausea, vomiting and weakness.

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alphaspirit / iStock / Getty Images

The cost of solar panels has declined roughly 80% in the last decade, bolstering the technology's reputation as an affordable energy source like never before. Now that solar power has reached this cost-effective price point, customers and businesses looking to capitalize on the benefits of solar energy are flooding the market looking for cheap solar panels.

In this article, we'll discuss the most affordable solar panels available and whether it's better to save money upfront or invest in high-quality models. We'll also give recommendations for solar panels at the crossroads of affordability and efficiency, providing the best bang for your buck.

If you're looking for cheap solar panels, one way to find them is to get free quotes from multiple installation companies. By comparing pricing from a few local installers, you can make sure you're getting the best deal. To get started, fill out the simple form below.

Are Cheap Solar Panels Any Good?

The cheapest panels are typically manufactured in China (with the U.S. and Germany close behind), and some are cheap for a reason. They can come with underlying issues, most concerningly in the form of environmental and workers' rights violations in their production process.

Cheap solar panels also tend to be less durable and will likely come with a shorter lifespan. In fact, the cheapest upfront options sometimes end up being the most expensive in the long run. A good comparison is buying a car. Though the cheap initial cost of a beater may be the most tempting, frequent repairs, poor gas mileage and checkups can outweigh the initial savings within a few short years.

However, for those whose most important consideration is price, there are still some good options for cheap solar panels on the market today to turn your home into a renewable energy source.

Top 5 Cheap Solar Panels

Below are the five of the cheapest photovoltaic solar panels (that are rated at least 100W) on the market. Bear in mind that the current industry minimum for solar panels capable of powering a home is around 300W. Panels between 100W and 300W may be suitable for DIY solar projects, off-grid systems and charging things like portable generators or small appliances.

Note that prices and availability fluctuate with inventory, demand and supply chain issues. Prices change often when vendors have surplus supply, so sales are frequent. Customers will not be able to purchase some brands' panels directly, as they must be ordered from a distributor.

Cheap Solar Panel Price Per Panel Power Rating Price Per Watt Efficiency Rating Warranty
Renogy
100W 12 Volt
Solar Panel
$125 100W $1.25 21% 1-year materials warranty
LONGi
#LR6-60-HPB-350M
$225 350W $0.60 20.3% Limited 25-year warranty
Canadian Solar
Model #CS1H-315MS
$225 315W $0.71 18.68% 25-year output warranty
Silfab Solar
- SIL-330 NL
$250 330W $0.76 17.3% 12-year module warranty
LONGi
#LR4-60-HPH-360M
$260 360W $0.72 19.8% 25-year output warranty

Cheap Vs. Affordable Solar Panels

There's a key distinction between cheap solar panels and the most affordable solar panels. Cheap considers only the price tag. Affordability involves factors beyond initial price, such as price per watt (aka bang for your buck), efficiency of the panel and warranty. A cheap solar panel isn't worth anything if it breaks without a warranty to replace it.

The cost of a solar panel is set by the manufacturer and involves a variety of factors, from cost of production to expected lifetime. Let's break down the factors that go into solar panel costs.

Solar Panel Efficiency

The greater a panel's efficiency, the more energy each solar cell's power output will be. Efficiency matters, as a homeowner will have to buy far fewer panels to meet their energy needs with higher-efficiency panels. The most solar efficient panels usually cost more to manufacture, raising their price point and total installed cost.

Solar Panel Power

The power, or wattage, of a solar panel reflects how many watts (W) of energy the panel is capable of generating when producing at maximum capacity. Most modern residential solar panels have power factors between 300 and 350W. As is true with high-efficiency panels, a customer needs to purchase fewer panels overall if they have a higher power output. While they'll typically have a greater upfront cost, high-output panels will provide better value over time.

Solar Panel Warranty

A warranty is simple to understand, yet no less important to consider. Bearing in mind that the average lifetime of a solar panel system is about 25 years, warranties are essential in ensuring reliable energy output. Though solar panels are very durable, a lot can happen over 25 years. Falling tree branches can crack a panel, rooftop critters can chew up wiring and untreated water damage can corrode a system. Some of the cheapest panels will come with the worst warranties, and costs can add up quickly if a solar power system runs into trouble.

Solar Panel Quality

Similar to solar panel efficiency and power, the cost of a solar panel has much to do with its quality. The cheapest solar panels on the market will be of the poorest quality, making them far more prone to breaks, issues and quick aging. The higher the quality of the parts in a solar panel, the more expensive it becomes. However, this is just another time when "cheap" panels are far from the most affordable solar panels in the long run.

5 Best Value Solar Panels

With all this in mind, below are our recommendations for the most affordable home solar panels on the market in 2021.

Most Affordable
Solar Panel
Price Per Panel Power Rating Price Per Watt Efficiency Rating Warranty
LONGi
#LR6-60-HPB-350M
$225 350W $0.60 20.3% Limited 25-year warranty
Hanwha Q Cell
340W Q.PEAK DUO
$240 340W $0.70 19% 25-year warranty
Canadian Solar
Model #CS1H-315MS
$225 315W $0.71 18.68% 25-year output warranty
LONGi
#LR4-60-HPH-360M
$260 360W $0.72 19.8% 25-year output warranty
JA Solar Technology
JAM60S10 -340/MR
$240 330W $0.73 20.2% 25-year output warranty

LONGi and Q Cell are two of the most affordable solar brands that maintain reputations for good quality at a low price. As you can see, they both provide exceptional price per watt and efficiency without sacrificing warranty.

A solar installation with low price per watt and high efficiency provides a number of benefits for a solar customer. With more power and efficiency per panel, a homeowner won't need to purchase as many panels to meet their household energy needs.

FAQ: Cheap Solar Panels

What kind of solar panels are the cheapest?

Polycrystalline solar panels tend to be cheaper (and lower quality) than monocrystalline panels. You can read more about the difference between these types of panels in our monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline solar panel review.

What is the cheapest way to get solar panels?

The cheapest way to acquire solar panels is to purchase them through a distributor in bulk. Though one can save a significant amount of money purchasing and installing solar panels on their own, solar companies can access a wider range of products and get them for lower prices than what's available to the general public.

Should I buy cheap solar panels?

There are many excellent affordable options for solar panels due to the rapid advancement of the technology and industry behind them. There are also a great number of cheap panels that are unreliable, break easily and are likely produced unethically. The best solar panels balance quality and price.

What are the best brands of cheap solar panels?

For DIY installations of off-grid uses, Renogy produces and sells excellent solar panels that are around 100 watts. For residential applications, LONGi and Q Cell have the best reputation for affordable, high-quality solar panels.

Iqaluit is Canada's northernmost capital. Alison Wright / Getty Images

Canada's northernmost capital has declared a local state of emergency because of suspected gasoline contamination in the water supply.

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