6 kW Solar Panel System: Can It Work For Your Home? (2022)
Here’s what we’ll go over in this guide:
- How much a 6 kW solar system costs
- Power output and production
- How many panels you’d need to install
- How much you can save on electricity with a system this size
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Will a 6 kW Solar Panel System Work for Your Home?
You may be looking into a 6 kilowatt (kW) — aka 6,000 watt (W) solar power system because it fits your budget or available roof space configurations. Installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system is a great way to create your own renewable energy and save money on monthly utility bills. However, the upfront investment can be high, so you want to make sure that the solar system size you install will be efficient enough for your home.
Whether you’re living in a big city or installing a solar array for an off-grid home, we’re here to help you figure out if a 6 kW solar system will work for your needs.
Jump To: How Much Does a 6 kW Solar System Cost? | How Much Energy Does a 6 kW System Produce? | How Much Can You Save With a 6 kW System? | How Many Panels Are Needed in a 6 kW Solar System? | Find the Right Installer
How Much Does a 6 kW Solar System Cost?
Using our internal solar calculator, we’ve found the average 6 kW solar system costs roughly $15,960, which comes down to $11,810 after applying the federal solar tax credit. This is based on the U.S. average cost of solar of $2.66 per watt.
It’s important to note that the solar tax credit is currently worth 26% of your total installation costs, but it is expected to drop to 22% in 2023, so the sooner you buy your solar panels, the more you’ll save.
The price of a solar system can vary based on a number of factors unique to each household, including your location, if you’re planning a DIY installation with a solar kit or letting a solar installation company handle the job and what brand of equipment you choose. There are also financial incentives and rebates available for renewable energy systems that may reduce the cost.
Here’s a look at 6 kW solar system price tags for the top states for solar energy:
|State||Average Cost Per Watt||Average Cost of 6 kW Solar System||Average Cost of 6 kW Solar System After Tax Credit|
This cost estimate includes the installation of your solar PV system and all of the basic equipment that comes with it — solar inverters, panels, racking and mounting equipment, etc. Any additional gadgets, like a combiner box, solar battery storage or charge controller, will likely raise the cost.
How Much Energy Does a 6 kW System Produce?
On average, a 6 kW system will produce roughly 750 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) of electricity per month, or between 8,000 and 10,000 kWhs a year.
Just like with cost, the amount of energy your solar system produces will vary depending on where you live. That means a 6 kW solar panel system in Miami is going to produce more energy than a 6 kW system in Seattle, despite them being the same size. With that said, solar panels are still worth it in less sunny states, they may just not save you as much money.
Can a 6 kW System Power a Home?
A 6 kW system can certainly produce enough energy to power a home. But, once again, it depends where you live and how much energy your household consumes.
The average U.S. homeowner consumes 893 kWh of electricity per month, or 10,716 kWh per year.1 Based on these numbers, a 6 kW system will produce slightly less electricity than is needed to completely power the average U.S. home. However, if you live somewhere like California, where average annual energy consumption is 6,864 kWh, then a 6 kW system should be sufficient.
For more information, check out our guide to determining how many panels you need.
How Much Can You Save on Your Electricity Bill With a 6 kW System?
A 6 kW system may or may not eliminate your utility bill, but it should significantly reduce it. Through our market data and research, we’ve found the average U.S. homeowner will save $1,187 per year on electricity expenses, based on the average utility bill of about $120 per month.2
Our estimates are based on the assumption that the homeowner has net metering, which are programs by which homeowners with solar can earn credits from their local utility company for any electricity their panels generate and send to the local power grid. If net metering is available in your area, you will be credited for your surplus energy in one of two ways:
- Net metering at retail price: You get full credit for each kilowatt-hour sent to the grid. For example, if you’re charged 15 cents per kWh consumed, you’ll get a credit of 15 cents per kWh exported. This type of net metering is required by law in 29 states.
- Net metering at a reduced feed-in tariff: Surplus electricity sent to the grid is credited at a lower rate. For example, you may be charged 15 cents per kWh for consumption but paid 9 cents per kWh exported. Feed-in tariffs and other alternative programs are used in 17 of the states where retail-rate net metering is not mandatory.
Note: This is just a simplified example — the exact kWh retail price and solar feed-in tariff will depend on your electricity plan.
While the exact length will be unique for each homeowner, we’ve estimated that it will take roughly 10 to 12 years to pay back, or “break even” with, a 6 kW solar panel system.
The basic formula for calculating a payback period for solar panels is to divide the cost of the system, including tax rebates and financial incentives, by the annual amount you’ll save on utility bills. To get our estimate, we divided the average cost of a 6 kW solar system after applying the solar tax credit by the average annual energy savings: 11,810 / $1,187 = 9.95 years.
Again, these are just rough estimates. You can get a more accurate idea of how long it will take to pay off your solar panels by examining your current power bills and getting a professional quote from a solar company.
How Many Panels Are Needed in a 6 kW Solar System?
Homeowners can expect to install about 17 to 24 panels for a 6 kW system, depending on the type of solar panel you choose. When you’re measuring space for a rooftop solar panel kit or a solar array, note that the average solar panel is 65 by 39 inches, or roughly 17.5 square feet.
Monocrystalline or “mono” solar panels are the most efficient and have the highest wattage, followed by polycrystalline and then thin-film. The best solar panels on the market have an output of around 350 W to 400 W each, but the output of less efficient panels can be as low as 250 W.
If you’re looking to buy a 6 kW (6,000 W) system and you’re buying solar panels that have an output of 350 W, you’ll need about 17 panels. Your formula will look like this: 6,000 W / 350 W = 17.1 panels.
Although the cost of solar panels is lower if you choose a lower-efficiency model over a high-efficiency one, remember that the total you pay for your solar energy system may come out to be the same or higher because you’ll have to buy more panels to produce the same amount of energy.
Find The Right Installer for a 6 kW System
Most solar companies are capable of installing any size system, but you will want to choose the best solar installer in your area for the job. Here are a few factors to look out for when choosing a solar company:
- Availability: Even big-name solar companies tend to only serve about 25 states maximum (with the exception of SunPower). If you live in one of the top states for solar, you’ll likely have plenty of options. On the other hand, if you live in an area where solar energy is still developing, you may only have a few solar installers near you.
- Solar costs and financing: Different companies have different solar financing options. You’ll want to find the one that works best for your household’s budget.
- Consultations: Many solar companies will offer a free home consultation or evaluation or at least offer some sort of free estimate based on specifics to your household. We recommend getting solar quotes from at least three companies to compare prices before picking an installer. And be sure to ask about any discounts, rebates or sales the company may be offering.
- Warranty: Solar panels are a hefty expense, and you’ll want to make sure that investment is protected. One way to do this is to choose solar panels that have at least a 10-year warranty, as that’s the industry standard. However, most of our top picks for solar panels have warranties that last up to 25 years.
Need help finding a solar installer? Start here for more information, or fill out the form below to be matched with an EcoWatch-approved company near you.