Solar Panel Cost Guide in Chapel Hill, NC (Jul 2022)

  • Chapel Hill Solar Installation Cost: $13,120
  • 25-Year Savings: $19,340
  • Payback Period: 10.1 Years

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 7/19/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Chapel Hill

Find out what the average cost of solar panel installation is in Chapel Hill.

In Chapel Hill, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. Since a 7.0-kW system is needed to cover the energy consumption of a typical home in Chapel Hill, the average price of going solar will be about $13,120 before claiming the federal solar tax credit.

The prices above are just estimates to give you an idea of how much a solar energy system could cost. The exact cost of installing solar panels can vary quite a bit depending on multiple factors, such as how many panels you need, your energy consumption and what installation company you go with. But, once you've paid the upfront cost of installation, the payback for most homeowners is quite good, with a net average savings of about $18,000 over 20 years on power bills.

For a free quote from a local solar company that has been pre-vetted by the EcoWatch team, click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Chapel Hill

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-11,821
3 years $-9,224
5 years $-6,628
7 years $-4,031
9 years $-1,434
11 years $1,163
13 years $3,759
15 years $6,356
17 years $8,953
19 years $11,550
21 years $14,147
23 years $16,743
25 years $19,340

Top Solar Installers in Chapel Hill

Installing solar panels on your own can be a dangerous undertaking, which is why hiring a solar installer is a good option for many homeowners. A solar installer can also help save you money over time by providing warranties, repairs and part replacements.

There are several licensed solar professionals that can help you install your solar panels. 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

Outstanding Regional Installer

Renu Energy Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Excellent reputation
  • Many financing options
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • No leases or PPAs

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

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

See all of the solar companies in Chapel Hill

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Chapel Hill

Cost is often one of the most important factors for homeowners considering investing in solar. There are a few major factors that will push your cost above or below the average in Chapel Hill: solar equipment and system size, financing options and the solar installation company you choose. We'll discuss each of these briefly below.

Solar Equipment Size

Size is one of the largest factors that determines the overall cost of going solar. For that reason, it's a priority to accurately gauge the size of the solar energy system needed for your home by figuring out your average energy use. Some solar brands — like Maxeon from SunPower — are more expensive upfront but also tend to offer higher efficiency. In a city like Chapel Hill, where sunlight is relatively abundant, efficiency can quickly pay off. Also, if you have a small roof or limited space for your panels, higher efficiency options will be more impactful. Additional equipment like electric vehicle chargers and solar batteries will also increase the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Most solar companies in Chapel Hill offer solar loans, which reduce the initial cost of installing solar. 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 final significant cost factor you should take into consideration is the installer you choose. Given the booming popularity of green energy solutions in Chapel Hill, you'll have plenty of options to choose from, but each comes at various price points for labor and equipment. Companies that only sell high-efficiency and high-priced products — like Maxeon solar panels from SunPower or Tesla Powerwall batteries — so choosing those installers will generally come at a higher cost. It's best to do some research and decide on the company that has the products, warranties and services you want and also is 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 $2.64 $11,729 $16,160 10.5 years
8 kW $2.59 $15,338 $21,848 10.3 years
10 kW $2.54 $18,796 $27,685 10.1 years
12 kW $2.49 $22,104 $33,674 9.9 years
14 kW $2.44 $25,262 $39,812 9.7 years
16 kW $2.39 $28,269 $46,101 9.5 years
18 kW $2.34 $31,126 $52,540 9.3 years
20 kW $2.29 $33,833 $59,130 9.1 years

Solar Incentives in Chapel Hill

Name ITC
Type Tax Incentive
Incentive Amount 26% of installation cost
Website Visit here

Name Duke Energy - NC Solar Rebate Program
Incentive Amount Residential: $0.60/W-AC
Nonresidential: $0.50/W-AC
Nonprofit: $0.75/W-AC
Incentive Max Residential: $6,000
Nonresidential: $50,000
Nonprofit: $75,000
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Piedmont EMC - Residential Solar and Energy Efficiency Loan Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Local Option - Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
More Info Click here

Name PSNC Energy (Gas) - Green Building Rate Discount
Incentive Amount discount/therm based on seasonal values
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems
Incentive Amount Residential systems: 100% of the appraised value
All other systems: 80% of the appraised value
More Info Click here

Name Local Option - Green Building Incentives
More Info Click here

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 selecting a company can be a challenge, we have some tips to help you, such as:

  • Installation Process: Homeowners should make sure they understand how exactly the installation process will go, as well as important factors like the project completion timeline.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and model offers varying levels of quality, longevity and energy efficiency. They will come at different costs as well. The company you choose plays a role in which solar panel brands you have access to.
  • Contract: Before you sign a contract with a solar installer, make sure to look it over fully so you understand the terms. Also, ask questions if you aren't sure about some of the terms, such as what the warranty covers and what services you can expect from them.
  • Reputation: Solar installers that have great reviews from their customers and that have been in business for many years likely offer high-quality solar panel installation and expertise.

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

Outstanding Regional Installer

Renu Energy Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Excellent reputation
  • Many financing options
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • No leases or PPAs

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

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

EcoWatch's Chapel Hill, NC Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Chapel Hill?

The average cost of solar panels in Chapel Hill is about $12,700 for a 5-kW system and $25,400 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on certain factors such as the type of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Is cost the most important consideration when buying solar panels?

The initial cost is a crucial factor to consider, but whether it's the most important for you depends on your reasons for going solar. In cities where rooftop space is limited, efficiency can be more important than the cost. Other factors that are important to keep in mind are the quality and durability of your solar panels.

Can solar panels significantly reduce my power bills?

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

How long do solar panels last in Chapel Hill?

Even though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they should be disposed of at that time. What this means is the amount of energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can decide to replace them once you've had them for that long or you can keep using them at a lower efficiency.

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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