6 kW Solar Panel System: Can It Work For Your Home? (2024)

6 kW Solar Panel System: Can It Work For Your Home? (2024)

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
Find local solar quotes
Get Quote
Join the 1,587 homeowners who got free quotes in the past 30 days.

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. Without the right system size, you could be missing out on electric bill savings or overpaying for a system that will benefit the grid more than it benefits you.

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.

Badge icon

Blue Raven Solar

Best Solar Financing

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation

Cons

  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

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 $19,980, which comes down to $13,986 after applying the federal solar tax credit. This is based on the U.S. average cost of solar of $3.33 per watt.

It’s important to note that the solar tax credit is currently worth 30% of your total installation costs, but it is expected to drop to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before being discontinued in 2035, 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
California $3.33 $19,980 $13,986
Texas $2.72 $16,320 $11,424
North Carolina $3.21 $19,260 $13,482
Florida $3.04 $18,240 $12,768
Arizona $3.01 $18,060 $12,642
Nevada $3.04 $18,240 $12,768
New Jersey $3.37 $20,220 $14,154
Massachusetts $3.72 $22,320 $15,624
Georgia $3.29 $19,740 $13,818
New York $3.52 $21,120 $14,784

federal solar investment tax credit tips
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 components, 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.

There are two reasons why identical solar systems could produce different amounts of energy per year. First, the climate in your area dictates how many sunny days per year you experience. More sunny weather will naturally mean more solar energy production. Additionally, southern states closer to the equator see more intense sunlight, which also translates to higher rates of production.

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 881 kWh of electricity per month, or 10,572 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 Southern California, where average annual energy consumption is 6,864 kWh and solar irradiance is above average, then a 6 kW system could very well be sufficient to offset all of your electricity consumption.

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 an average of $31,513 over the first 25 years of owning solar, which comes out to $1,260 per year, or a little over $100 per month. Given that the average electric bill in the U.S. is $139.06, it’s clear that the large majority of electric bills should be offset by your solar array.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 is the ideal situation for net metering, but it’s becoming less and less popular.
  • 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 most states where retail-rate net metering is not mandatory.

It’s important to note that net metering policies are changing for the worse across the country. California just recently rolled out net metering 3.0, which is likely to be adopted by most other states in the near future. The credit rate in this policy is well below retail rate, which means solar batteries are going to be required for most systems to eliminate or even heavily offset consumption. Batteries will increase solar system costs by between $10,000 and $20,000 in most cases, so this is an important consideration to make when sizing your system and deciding what components you want to be installed.

Note: This is just a simplified example — the exact kWh retail price and solar feed-in tariff will depend on your electricity plan.

Payback Period

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 properly sized solar panel system — which, by the way, comes in well above 6 kW and sits around 9 kW.

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: $13,986 / $1,260 = 11.1 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 13 to 17 panels for a 6 kW system, depending on the type of solar panel you choose and the size and wattage. 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. More important is the wattage, which averages between 350 watts and 450 watts per panel.

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 450 W each, but the output of less efficient panels can be as low as 250 W or even 100 W for some DIY panels.

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. The trend in the solar industry has been toward panels with higher outputs, with some pushing 500 to 600 watts. At that size, you’d only need around 10 panels to hit a total capacity of 6 kW.

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 and Tesla). 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. We suggest cash or a loan, but leases can also be decent options if you can’t swing the other ones, and they’ll become more popular as batteries become more of a necessity with changes to the net metering policies across the country.
  • 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.

The cost information presented in this article is derived from a comprehensive analysis, incorporating data from multiple industry sources. The average cost per watt per state was calculated based on figures from Consumer Affairs, Energy Sage, and Berkeley Lab’s Electricity Markets & Policy Department. Additionally, monthly energy consumption and the average monthly cost of electricity were sourced from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, ensuring a well-rounded and accurate representation of the information presented.

Blog author image
Article author
Kristina Zagame is a journalist, editor and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.
Reviewer image
Expert reviewer
Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.

Comparing authorized solar partners

EcoWatch rating
Average cost
Pros
Cons
BBB Rating
Year founded
Service Area
Brands of Solar Equipment Offered
Warranty Coverage
  • 4.5
    • Industry-leading in-house financing
    • Competitive pricing
    • Excellent reputation
    • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)
    A+
    Best Solar Financing
    2014
    Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, SolarEdge, Silfab, SunPower
    25-year manufacturer warranty; 10-year workmanship warranty, 2-year production guarantee

Having trouble deciding? Click below and use our process to receive multiple quotes instead:

Get My Solar Quote