Solar Panel Cost Guide in Columbus, MI (Feb 2023)

  • Columbus Solar Installation Cost: $11,704
  • 25-Year Savings: $13,416
  • 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

Why you can trust EcoWatch

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 Columbus

We go over average solar pricing in Columbus.

The national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, but in Columbus it's $3 per watt. Using this figure, a typical 6.0 would cost about $11,704 before the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

Bear in mind that the figures above are only estimates based on the average energy use of Columbus homeowners. The cost of a solar system for your home may be different depending on factors unique to your situation, like your household energy use and solar contractor. Many homeowners find installing a solar panel system is a rewarding investment. The average homeowner in Columbus can save around $16,000 on their energy bills over 20 years.

Click the button below to get connected to a reputable solar company in Columbus for a customized quote.

Solar savings over time in Columbus

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-10,699
3 years $-8,689
5 years $-6,680
7 years $-4,670
9 years $-2,661
11 years $-651
13 years $1,359
15 years $3,368
17 years $5,378
19 years $7,387
21 years $9,397
23 years $11,407
25 years $13,416

Top Solar Installers in Columbus

Although you can install solar panels on your own, it involves extra energy and knowledge. That's one of the reasons the majority of homeowners choose a solar panel installer. A solar company can also help save you money over time by providing warranties, repairs and system component replacements.

If you're on the hunt for a solar company in Columbus, we've compiled a list of our top suggestions here:

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

Solar Veteran

Michigan Solar Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Slightly limited service offerings
  • No leases or PPAs

Outstanding Local Installer

Strawberry Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Educational, no-pressure sales approach
  • Limited warranty coverage
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited brands of solar equipment available

See all of the solar companies in Columbus

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Columbus

For many Columbus homeowners, the decision to install solar panels depends on cost. However, the range of solar installation costs can be quite wide in Columbus, with typical prices between $20,000 to $40,000. There are several factors that greatly influence the price you'll pay, which we'll go over below.

Solar Equipment

The size of the solar system you need to offset your energy usage, which is measured in kilowatts, is the most important cost factor to consider. For every additional kilowatt you need, you can expect your total to increase by around $2,810. The brand and kind of equipment you choose for your solar system can increase or decrease 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 limited roof space or just want maximum energy production, you will be looking at a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to greater savings over time. Plus, if you want additional equipment like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also raise the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Solar panels can save you money on energy bills over many years, but they can also be a big investment. That's why many Columbus homeowners decide to finance their solar panel systems to offset upfront costs. It's a good idea to factor the interest you'll pay in your final cost estimate. If you can afford to put more money down upfront, you can reduce your total costs and how long it'll take to pay off the loan.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar company you opt for to handle your switch to sustainable energy can have an effect on your total costs. There are about 3 solar installation companies in Columbus, and each can charge varying amounts for labor and equipment. The company's size sometimes plays the most significant role in the cost of installation. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower prices due to greater resources and better pricing. Smaller local companies might be more costly, but they can sometimes have better customer service and more customization options, and the occasional sale or promotion can bring their pricing lower to compete with bigger names.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.92 $12,274 $13,040 12.1 years
8 kW $2.87 $16,051 $17,702 11.9 years
10 kW $2.81 $19,670 $22,520 11.7 years
12 kW $2.75 $23,132 $27,496 11.4 years
14 kW $2.70 $26,436 $32,630 11.2 years
16 kW $2.64 $29,584 $37,921 11.0 years
18 kW $2.59 $32,574 $43,369 10.7 years
20 kW $2.53 $35,406 $48,975 10.5 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

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

  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies carry various brands and models of panels. If you know you want a specific brand, make sure the solar installer you're considering has it.
  • Installation Process: Make sure you're on the same page with the company in regard to how the installation process will go and what you need to do before your solar panel system is installed, such as updating your electrical system or roof.
  • Contract: Review the contract terms thoroughly to make sure you understand the cost breakdown, completion timeline rebates and warranties.
  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a good reputation as a company and have demonstrated expertise in the field. A couple of 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 good reviews from previous customers.

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

Solar Veteran

Michigan Solar Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Slightly limited service offerings
  • No leases or PPAs

Outstanding Local Installer

Strawberry Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Educational, no-pressure sales approach
  • Limited warranty coverage
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited brands of solar equipment available

EcoWatch's Columbus, MI Solar Cost FAQs

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

This is a difficult question to answer exactly, because the cost depends on a variety of factors. Generally speaking, it costs about $14,050 for a 5-kW system and $28,100 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. You can expect to pay more if you want additional solar equipment or more efficient panels, or if you have above-average energy usage. On the other hand, you can spend less if you choose a smaller solar panel system or less efficient solar panels.

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

Leasing solar panels can be an option if you can't pay upfront or secure a solar loan, but since you don't own the system, you don't have access to 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 financial benefits from going solar.

How much can I save on power bills after installing solar panels?

It is possible to erase your electricity bills with solar panels, but for most homeowners in Columbus, that will require at least a 10-kW system. Not all homes will have the roof space for that size system, so you'll want to check with a local solar installer to see how many panels can fit on your roof.

How many solar panels should I get to power my home?

The exact number of solar panels you need depends on your household energy needs and the amount of sunlight your roof gets. You can look at your energy bills for the past year to get an idea of the solar system size you'll need. The average household has to buy between 20 and 35 panels to cover their typical energy usage.

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.

Follow us