Solar Panel Cost Guide in Columbia, PA (Feb 2023)

  • Columbia Solar Installation Cost: $11,727
  • 25-Year Savings: $12,583
  • Payback Period: 12.1 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 Columbia

Find out what the average cost of a solar system is in Columbia.

The average cost of a solar system in Columbia is $3 per watt. To account for the typical energy needs of the average home in Columbia, most homeowners require a 6.6-kilowatt system. Using the figure above, a solar installation costs about $11,727, or $8,678 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

Remember that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll end up paying for solar may look quite different based on your household energy use, the type of equipment you choose, your solar contractor and more. But, after you've paid the upfront cost of installation, the ROI for most homeowners is typically rewarding, with a net average savings of about $14,000 over 20 years on power bills.

To calculate your potential savings and connect with a local solar expert, click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Columbia

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-10,755
3 years $-8,810
5 years $-6,865
7 years $-4,920
9 years $-2,976
11 years $-1,031
13 years $914
15 years $2,859
17 years $4,804
19 years $6,749
21 years $8,694
23 years $10,638
25 years $12,583

Top Solar Installers in Columbia

Installing solar panels by yourself can be a time-consuming task, which is why using a solar installation company is a good option for many homeowners. The expertise that solar companies provide can be useful as well, especially if you don't quite know what type of solar equipment would be right for your home.

There are a number of licensed solar professionals that can help you install your solar system. 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 Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Columbia

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Columbia

There are several criteria 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 installs your solar panels.

Solar Equipment

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the cost of adopting solar energy is the size of the solar system, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). The more energy your household consumes, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to pay around $2,550 per kilowatt in Columbia. There are several different solar panel brands and the one you pick also affects the cost. In general, the brands that offer higher efficiency tend to also cost more. Plus, the type of equipment you want to install can affect your total cost. If you only need panels, your system will be much less expensive than if you also need solar batteries or an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in Columbia to be prohibitively steep, even if the investment pays off over time. Fortunately, nearly every solar company in the area offers financing options. Solar loans drastically decrease upfront costs in most cases, but they also lead to higher prices over time because of interest. Although solar loans make adopting solar energy more accessible for Columbia homeowners, they can also raise the total you pay for your system, depending on your interest rate. If you put down a larger down payment, though, you can avoid paying as much in interest.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar company you choose will influence your total cost to make the switch to solar power. Different companies will charge different amounts for the equipment and labor. You may see national solar installers that have lower prices because of their bigger brand name and access to bulk equipment 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 $2.65 $11,138 $11,056 12.5 years
8 kW $2.60 $14,566 $15,027 12.3 years
10 kW $2.55 $17,850 $19,141 12.1 years
12 kW $2.50 $20,992 $23,398 11.8 years
14 kW $2.45 $23,990 $27,797 11.6 years
16 kW $2.40 $26,846 $32,339 11.3 years
18 kW $2.35 $29,560 $37,024 11.1 years
20 kW $2.29 $32,130 $41,852 10.9 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are many 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:

  • Warranty: A high-quality company stands out from other companies by offering the gold standard warranty — a 25-year, all-inclusive warranty covering parts, labor and performance.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Homeowners will have different preferences for panels depending on their locations and how much efficiency they need. Although there are many options for which model of solar panel you can get, not every company will have the exact one you may want or need, so be sure to take a look at their list of offerings before deciding.
  • Reputation: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a respected certification organization for clean energy professionals. If your solar panel installer is NABCEP-certified, it likely has a solid reputation and is qualified to do the job well. Another way you can look into your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • 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're not certain about some of the terms, such as what to do if a component breaks or malfunctions and if there are any guarantees about energy production.

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 Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Columbia, PA Solar Cost FAQs

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

This is a tough question to answer exactly, because the cost depends on a few different factors. Generally speaking, it costs about $12,750 for a 5-kW system and $25,500 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. You can expect to pay more if you want extra solar equipment or more efficient panels, or if you have above-average energy consumption. On the other hand, you can spend less if you opt for a smaller solar panel system or cheaper solar panels.

Is cost the most important consideration when buying solar panels?

Cost is definitely one of the most important things to bear in mind when buying solar panels, but other important factors include efficiency, durability, and quality.

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

Solar panels can potentially eliminate your electricity bills depending on where you're located and the efficiency of your system. Even if it doesn't get rid of them completely, you can save a lot of money on your bills, about $739.82 per year.

How long do solar panels last in Columbia?

On average, solar panels can last about 25 to 30 years. Some even last up to 50 years, but their efficiency goes down by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a larger amount of energy production.

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