Solar Panel Cost Guide in Durham, NC (Sep 2022)

  • Durham Solar Installation Cost: $12,428
  • 25-Year Savings: $19,794
  • Payback Period: 9.6 Years

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 9/16/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Durham

Here's how much it might cost to go solar in Durham.

In Durham, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. The average solar panel system size in Durham is around 7.0 kilowatts, meaning a cost of about $12,428 for a solar installation, or $9,197 after the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

Bear in mind that the figures above are only estimates based on the average Durham homeowner. The cost of a solar system for your home may look different depending on factors unique to you, like your household energy use and solar contractor. Despite the high initial cost, the average Durham homeowner can save about $18,000 on their electricity bills over 20 years, which is one of the perks of solar.

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

Solar savings over time in Durham

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-11,139
3 years $-8,562
5 years $-5,984
7 years $-3,406
9 years $-828
11 years $1,750
13 years $4,327
15 years $6,905
17 years $9,483
19 years $12,061
21 years $14,639
23 years $17,216
25 years $19,794

Top Solar Installers in Durham

Although it's possible to install solar panels on your own, it takes extra labor and handiness. That's why almost all homeowners choose a solar panel installer. A solar company can also help save you money over the lifespan of your system by providing warranties, repairs and part replacements.

You can work with a local solar installer to get a free estimate on the cost of solar panels for your home. Here are some in Durham:

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 Durham

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Durham

Cost is usually one of the most important factors for homeowners who want to invest in solar. There are a few major factors that determine your overall cost in Durham: 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

When it comes to estimating the cost of a solar panel system in Durham, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are mainly based on your home's energy usage, which you can determine by looking at past energy bills. Your total cost can increase by about $2,540 for each additional kilowatt you need. The brand and type of equipment you choose for your solar system can raise or lower the price quite significantly. If you prefer a trusted 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 greater savings over time. Plus, if you want extra equipment like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also increase the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Most solar companies in Durham have solar loans, which reduce the initial cost of installing solar panels. However, the interest on solar loans also increases your overall costs, so it's vital to include that in your estimate 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

A final factor to consider when trying to estimate the cost of solar for your home or business in Durham is the company you choose to install your PV system. As with choosing a company to renovate your kitchen, for instance, there's no shortage of solar installers that provide a range of services for different budgets. The company's size sometimes plays the most significant role in your total costs. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower prices because they have access to more resources and better pricing. Smaller local companies might be more costly, but they generally have better customer service and more customization options, and the occasional sale or discount 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 $2.64 $11,095 $16,577 10.0 years
8 kW $2.59 $14,508 $22,387 9.8 years
10 kW $2.54 $17,780 $28,339 9.6 years
12 kW $2.49 $20,909 $34,434 9.4 years
14 kW $2.44 $23,896 $40,671 9.3 years
16 kW $2.39 $26,741 $47,050 9.1 years
18 kW $2.34 $29,444 $53,571 8.9 years
20 kW $2.29 $32,004 $60,235 8.7 years

Solar Incentives in Durham

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

There are a lot of solar installers to choose from, all of which offer different warranties, solar panel brands and price points. To help you select the right company for you, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Contract: Although reading through a contract can be tedious, it's important to do it carefully so you can be sure you understand how much the equipment and services will cost and the terms of the warranty.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should make sure they know how exactly the installation process will go, as well as important factors like the completion timeline.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Homeowners will have different preferences for panels based on their locations and energy needs. Even though there are many options for which type of solar panel you can get, not every company will have access to the exact one you may want or need, so make sure you take a look at their list of options before making your decision.
  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a sound reputation as a company and have proven 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 positive reviews from past 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

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 Durham, NC Solar Cost FAQs

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

This is a tough question to answer precisely, because the cost depends on a few different factors. Generally speaking, it costs about $12,700 for a 5-kW system and $25,400 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. You can expect to pay more if you want additional solar equipment or higher quality panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy consumption. Conversely, you can spend less if you want a smaller solar panel system or less expensive solar panels.

Can you get solar panels for free in Durham?

A solar panel system isn't free in Durham, but there are some options that can make getting them more viable, such as leasing solar panels or getting a solar loan. There may also be local programs or incentives that can help lower the cost.

Is switching to solar power worth it?

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

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

The exact number of solar panels you need depends on your household energy consumption and how much sunlight your roof gets. You can take a 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.

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