Solar Panel Cost Guide in Columbia, IL (Feb 2023)

  • Columbia Solar Installation Cost: $11,600
  • 25-Year Savings: $13,293
  • Payback Period: 11.7 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

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We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Columbia

We break down average solar pricing in Columbia.

The average cost of a solar system in Columbia is $3 per watt. The average Columbia homeowner needs a 6.1-kilowatt system, which would cost about $11,600, or $8,584 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

The true cost of your system can go higher or lower than the average in Columbia depending on several factors, such as the type of solar panels you choose and the solar contractor you hire. Even with the significant initial cost, the average Columbia homeowner can save about $16,000 on their power bills over 20 years, which is one of the positives of solar.

To see your potential ROI and connect with a local solar installer, click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Columbia

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-10,604
3 years $-8,613
5 years $-6,621
7 years $-4,630
9 years $-2,638
11 years $-647
13 years $1,344
15 years $3,336
17 years $5,327
19 years $7,319
21 years $9,310
23 years $11,301
25 years $13,293

Top Solar Installers in Columbia

When making the switch to solar, many homeowners opt to go with a solar installation company since overseeing your solar installation yourself can be a challenging project. Also, companies with a good reputation that are more expensive upfront could actually save you money in the long run with their warranties, repair services and expert design.

If you'd like to switch to solar energy but still aren't certain which solar system installer to go with, here are our recommendations for providers near you:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Columbia

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Columbia

Cost is often one of the most important factors for homeowners who want to invest in solar. There are a few primary factors that affect your total cost in Columbia: solar equipment and system size, financing options and the solar installation company you choose. We'll cover each of these briefly below.

Solar Equipment

The cost of solar panels varies by thousands of dollars due to some different factors. One of the notable factors is the system size, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). Solar power systems that have higher efficiency or power generation need better technology and/or more equipment, both of which can increase costs. For each additional kilowatt you need, your cost can go up by about $2,730. The solar equipment you choose can increase or decrease your cost by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you get the most efficient solar panel brands, you'll end up paying more upfront than if you opted for the most affordable panels. On the other hand, more efficient panels could save you more in the long run on your energy bills. In addition, extra products, such as solar batteries, can bring your total well above the Columbia average.

Solar Financing Terms

Solar panels can save you money on power bills over many years, but they can also be a big investment. That's why many Columbia homeowners choose to finance their solar panel systems to offset upfront costs. However, the interest on solar loans also adds to your overall costs, so it's important to take that into consideration as well. You can always reduce the total you pay in interest and sometimes even your APR by making a larger down payment.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Finally, the company you hire to install your solar system can play a part in determining the cost. Columbia's solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. Larger national companies typically have lower costs, but some local companies compete with them by offering sales and discounts. While the smaller companies might not have access to specific equipment options like Tesla Powerwall batteries or additional services like electric vehicle charger installation, they might be cheaper overall.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.84 $11,925 $12,678 12.1 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $17,210 11.9 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $21,895 11.7 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $26,732 11.4 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $31,723 11.2 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $36,866 11.0 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $42,162 10.7 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $47,611 10.5 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

Since the model of solar panels and the installer you choose greatly impacts your costs and your system's durability and efficiency, it's important to pick the right ones for you. Here are some things to keep in mind to help with your decision:

  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a sound reputation as a company and have proven expertise in the field. Two ways to check this are to look for whether a company has technicians that hold a certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and if it has satisfied reviews from previous customers.
  • Solar Panel Brands: The brand of solar panel you'd like to install plays a part in which installer you should go with, since different companies have access to different panels.
  • Installation Process: Make sure you're on the same page with the company regarding how the installation process will go and what you need to do before your solar system is installed, such as updating your electrical system or roof.
  • Contract: Look through the contract terms thoroughly to make sure you understand the total cost, completion timeline rebates and warranties.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Columbia, IL Solar Cost FAQs

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

The average cost of solar panels in Columbia is about $13,650 for a 5-kW system and $27,300 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on certain factors like the type of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Is cost the most important thing to keep in mind when buying solar panels?

Cost is certainly one of the most important things to keep in mind when buying solar panels, but other important factors include efficiency, durability, and quality.

Does Columbia have a net metering program?

Each state has some kind of net metering programs except Tennessee, South Dakota and Alabama currently. Some states let you sell power back to the grid, but others just offer you credit toward your future utility bills.

How long do solar panels last in Columbia?

On average, solar panels can last about 25 to 30 years. Some even last up to 50 years, but their efficiency decreases by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a larger level of energy production.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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