Solar Panel Cost Guide in Chapel Hill, NC (Jan 2023)

  • Chapel Hill Solar Installation Cost: $12,410
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,049
  • Payback Period: 9.6 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 Chapel Hill

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar panels in Chapel Hill.

In Chapel Hill, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. Using this figure, a typical 7.0 would cost about $12,410 before the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

Remember that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll pay for solar may look quite different based on your household energy consumption, the type of equipment you choose, your solar contractor and more. With typical savings of about $18,000 on power bills over 20 years, many homeowners in Chapel Hill find going solar has a decent ROI.

To get a free quote from a highly rated solar installation company in Chapel Hill, you can click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Chapel Hill

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-11,112
3 years $-8,515
5 years $-5,918
7 years $-3,322
9 years $-725
11 years $1,872
13 years $4,469
15 years $7,065
17 years $9,662
19 years $12,259
21 years $14,856
23 years $17,453
25 years $20,049

Top Solar Installers in Chapel Hill

Although it's possible to install solar panels yourself, it takes extra time and know-how. That's one of the reasons most people choose to hire a solar panel installer. Plus, if you're unsure what brand of solar panels and equipment you want, a solar installer can help you figure that out after a site survey and consultation.

If you'd like to switch to solar energy but still aren't certain which solar panel company to go with, here are our recommendations for providers in Chapel Hill:

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)

Outstanding Regional Installer

Renu Energy Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

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

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 who are considering investing in solar. There are a few primary factors that determine your overall cost 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

The cost of solar panels varies by thousands of dollars due to some different factors. One of the main factors is the system size, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). Solar power systems that have greater efficiency or power generation use 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 $2,540. The brand and type of equipment you choose for your solar system can raise or lower the price quite significantly. If you prefer a brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these often come at a higher price 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 add-ons like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also raise the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Solar panels can save you money on power bills over time, but they can also be a big investment. That's why many Chapel Hill homeowners opt to finance their solar panel systems to offset upfront costs. You'll have to consider the long-term cost of loans, including the total interest you'll pay over the length of the loan. If you can only get a high-interest loan, then your total can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars above the equipment and labor cost. Making a larger down payment or finding a solar loan with a low interest rate could reduce your costs remarkably.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar company you choose to handle your switch to clean energy can play a part in your total costs. There are about 3 solar panel companies operating throughout Chapel Hill, and each can charge varying amounts for labor and equipment. You may see national solar installers that have lower prices due to their bigger brand name and access to bulk prices, or you might see small, local installation companies offering deals or specials to compete with those larger companies.

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 $11,095 $16,794 9.9 years
8 kW $2.59 $14,508 $22,677 9.8 years
10 kW $2.54 $17,780 $28,701 9.6 years
12 kW $2.49 $20,909 $34,868 9.4 years
14 kW $2.44 $23,896 $41,178 9.2 years
16 kW $2.39 $26,741 $47,629 9.0 years
18 kW $2.34 $29,444 $54,223 8.8 years
20 kW $2.29 $32,004 $60,959 8.6 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

Since the kind of solar panels and the company you choose significantly affects your costs and your system's durability and efficiency, it's important to pick the right ones for you. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help with your decision:

  • Contract: When reading through your solar company's contract, ask questions about any terms you're not sure of and make sure you understand what happens in scenarios such as a system part breaking or if the company goes out of business.
  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a good reputation as a company and have verifiable 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 positive reviews from past customers.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies have various brands and kinds of panels. If you prefer a specific brand, make sure the solar installer you're considering has it.
  • Warranty: Many companies offer different types of warranties that provide different kinds of coverage. A 25-year, all-inclusive warranty is the gold standard.

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)

Outstanding Regional Installer

Renu Energy Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

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

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 like the kind of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Are solar panels free in Chapel Hill?

You can't get solar panels for free in Chapel Hill. However, you may still be able to afford them on a lower budget. You can lease solar panels for a low upfront cost or, if you'd rather own your solar panels, you can finance them with a solar loan.

Can solar panels significantly reduce my electricity bills?

It is possible to eradicate 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 are completely unusable 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 continue to use 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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