Solar Panel Cost Guide in Columbia, MD (2023 Update)

  • Columbia Solar Installation Cost: $13,837
  • 25-Year Savings: $10,067
  • Payback Period: 16.6 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated February 03, 2024

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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

Here’s how much it might cost to install solar panels in Columbia.

The average cost of a solar panel system in Columbia is 4 per watt.Using this figure, a typical 5.6-kW system would cost about $13,837 before the 0 federal solar tax credit is applied.

The prices above are just estimates to give you an idea of the cost of a solar energy system. The exact cost of making the switch to solar can vary based on multiple factors, such as how many panels you need, your energy consumption and what solar installer you go with.Many homeowners find installing a solar panel system is a sound investment. The average homeowner in Columbia can save around $14,000 on their electricity bills over 20 years.

To calculate 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 $-12,422
3 years $-9,594
5 years $-6,765
7 years $-3,936
9 years $-1,107
11 years $1,721
13 years $4,550
15 years $7,379
17 years $10,208
19 years $13,036
21 years $15,865
23 years $18,694
25 years $21,523

Top Solar Installers in Columbia

When going solar, many homeowners decide to go with a solar company since overseeing your solar installation yourself can be a time-consuming project. Companies can also provide access to various kinds of the best solar panels and help you decide which one will be best for you.

There are several licensed solar professionals that can take care of your solar installation project. Here are our suggestions:

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 for Leasing

Sunrun

★★★★★
4.0

  • Expansive service area
  • Many financing options
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Some reported issues with door-to-door sales

Best Social Impact

Palmetto Solar

★★★★★
4.0

  • Expansive service area
  • Makes charitable contributions
  • Certified B Corp
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Quality of installation may vary by location

See all of the solar companies in Columbia

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Columbia

There are several factors that can play into your total installation cost, such as the size of your system, the equipment you choose, your financing options and the specific company that does the installation.

Solar Equipment

The cost of solar panels varies by thousands of dollars due to a few different factors. One of the most significant factors is the system size, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). Solar power systems with better efficiency or power production need better technology and/or more equipment, both of which can raise costs. For each additional kilowatt you need, your cost can go up by about $3,540.The brand and kind of equipment you want for your solar system can raise or lower the price quite significantly. If you prefer a brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these often have a higher price tag than other brands. Efficiency also matters. Whether you’re opting for high efficiency because you have a small roof or just want maximum energy production, you can expect a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to more savings over time. Plus, if you want add-ons like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also raise the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

If paying for solar panels out of pocket is out of reach, solar loans are a solid option because they decrease your upfront costs and allow you to pay for your system over five to seven years on average.When estimating your overall cost, you should also calculate the interest you’ll pay if you choose to go with a solar loan. Also, paying a higher down payment can reduce the total interest paid over time.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar company you select will affect your total cost to make the switch to solar . Different companies will charge different amounts for the equipment and labor.Some companies only sell high-efficiency and high-priced products — like Maxeon solar panels from SunPower or Tesla Powerwall batteries — so choosing those installers will generally cost more. It’s best to do some research and decide on the company that provides the products, warranties and services you’re looking for and also fits within your budget.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $3.68 $15,463 $6,988 17.2 years
8 kW $3.61 $20,220 $9,714 16.9 years
10 kW $3.54 $24,780 $12,639 16.6 years
12 kW $3.47 $29,141 $15,761 16.2 years
14 kW $3.40 $33,304 $19,082 15.9 years
16 kW $3.33 $37,269 $22,601 15.6 years
18 kW $3.26 $41,036 $26,318 15.2 years
20 kW $3.19 $44,604 $30,233 14.9 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The company that does your system installation will affect the warranties and brands available to you, and it will also have an impact on your total cost. Because picking a company can be a tough decision, we have some tips to help you, such as:

  • Installation Process: When making the switch to solar power, it’s necessary to maintain an open line of communication with your solar company. Make sure you understand how the installation process will go and the completion timeline.
  • Reputation: Companies that have been operating for many years likely have a solid reputation. This is important because it ensures that it will not only see your solar project through, but will also provide quality aftercare and customer support, such as part repairs and replacements.
  • Contract: Before signing a contract with a solar company, make sure you read it through fully so you understand the terms. Also, ask questions if you aren’t sure about some of the terms, such as what to do if a part breaks or malfunctions and what services you can expect from them.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Homeowners will have different preferences for panels depending on their roof configurations and energy needs. Although there are many options for which brand of solar panel you can get, not every company will have the exact one you may want or need, so make sure you ask for their list of offerings before deciding.

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 for Leasing

Sunrun

★★★★★
4.0

  • Expansive service area
  • Many financing options
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Some reported issues with door-to-door sales

Best Social Impact

Palmetto Solar

★★★★★
4.0

  • Expansive service area
  • Makes charitable contributions
  • Certified B Corp
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Quality of installation may vary by location

EcoWatch's Columbia, MD Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Columbia?

The average cost of solar panels in Columbia is about $17,700 for a 5-kW system and $35,400 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on certain factors such as the model of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Columbia?

Leasing solar panels can be an option if you can’t afford to pay upfront or get a solar loan, but since you don’t own the system, you can’t take advantage of many solar incentives. Also your property value won’t increase, so you’ll have less savings over time. If you can afford to buy a solar system upfront, then buying is the better option if you want the most bang for your buck from going solar.

Is making the switch to solar worth it?

Whether or not solar panels are worth it depends on some different factors like how much you pay for electricity and how much direct sunlight your roof gets.

How many solar panels do I need to power my home?

To figure out how many solar panels you need, you should find out how much energy your home requires and how much sunlight your home gets. For a general estimate, however, since each panel can generally produce about 250 to 400 watt-hours per hour, the average home will need 20 to 35 panels.

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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