Solar Panel Cost Guide in Charleston, WV (Oct 2022)

  • Charleston Solar Installation Cost: $20,605
  • 25-Year Savings: $28,284
  • Payback Period: 10.5 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 Charleston

See how much it might cost to make the switch to solar in Charleston.

Although the national average of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, solar panels in Charleston generally cost around $3. To account for the typical energy needs of the average home in Charleston, most homeowners require a 11.2-kilowatt system. Using the figure above, a solar installation costs around $20,605, or $15,248 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

Keep in mind that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll pay for solar may look quite different based on your household energy use, the type of equipment you choose, your solar contractor and more. For most homeowners, the upfront cost of solar power is worth paying. On average Charleston homeowners see about $17,000 in savings on electricity bills over 20 years.

Click the button below to get connected to a top solar installer in your area for a personalized estimate.

Solar savings over time in Charleston

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-18,650
3 years $-14,739
5 years $-10,827
7 years $-6,916
9 years $-3,005
11 years $906
13 years $4,817
15 years $8,728
17 years $12,639
19 years $16,550
21 years $20,462
23 years $24,373
25 years $28,284

Top Solar Installers in Charleston

DIY solar panel installation is a way to cut costs, but it's an undertaking that can be a headache. Hiring a solar panel installer can make swapping over to solar power much easier. Another benefit of going with a solar company is that they can help you optimize your investment by bringing down your future costs of repairs and replacements with the help of warranties and informing you of local incentives you can take advantage of.

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 Charleston:

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 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 Charleston

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Charleston

Even though the average cost of solar panels in Charleston is $20,605, your final cost may be higher or lower than that. There are quite a few factors that can have a significant impact on the cost of a solar system installation. Below are some of the more important things to take into consideration.

Solar Equipment

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the cost of going solar is the size of the solar system, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). The more power your household uses, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to pay about $2,640 per kilowatt in Charleston. The type of solar panels and equipment you get is another factor that will significantly impact costs. Solar panels that have higher efficiency, like monocrystalline panels, tend to be more costly. Plus, solar equipment is more than just the solar panels themselves. You'll also need to decide on the kind of racks used to mount the panels, inverters, solar batteries, etc. It's important to take all of this into consideration when looking into a solar system that falls within your budget.

Solar Financing Terms

If paying for solar panels out of pocket is too expensive, solar loans are a popular route because they cut back your upfront costs and let you pay for your system over five to seven years on average. However, the interest on solar loans also adds to your all-in costs, so it's crucial to consider that as well. You can always bring down the total you pay in interest and in some cases even your APR by putting more money down.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Lastly, the company you opt for to install your solar system can affect the cost. Charleston's solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. The size of the company can sometimes play the most significant role in the installation costs. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower pricing because they have more 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 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 $2.75 $11,532 $14,766 11.0 years
8 kW $2.69 $15,080 $19,984 10.8 years
10 kW $2.64 $18,480 $25,349 10.5 years
12 kW $2.59 $21,732 $30,863 10.3 years
14 kW $2.53 $24,837 $36,524 10.1 years
16 kW $2.48 $27,794 $42,333 9.9 years
18 kW $2.43 $30,603 $48,290 9.7 years
20 kW $2.38 $33,264 $54,395 9.5 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

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

  • Contract: It's important to look over your solar installer's contract closely to understand what services they will provide, what the warranty covers and what expectations you should have about the cost.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Not all solar companies carry the same brands of solar panels, so the brand and type of panel you want can play a significant role in the company you hire.
  • Reputation: Solar installers that have great reviews from their customers and that have been in business for many years likely provide quality solar panel installation and expertise.
  • Warranty: Companies typically offer different kinds 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 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 Charleston, WV Solar Cost FAQs

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

The average cost of solar panels in Charleston is about $13,200 for a 5-kW system and $26,400 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on things such as the type of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Should I lease or buy solar panels in Charleston?

Leasing solar panels can be an attractive choice, as it often comes with low or $0 upfront payments. The drawback is that you won't be able to save as much. If you lease, you don't own the system, so you can't claim any incentives and your home value won't increase. Buying solar panels is a better option if you want to get the most savings.

How much can I save on power bills after switching to solar?

It is possible to eradicate your electricity bills with solar panels, but for most homeowners in Charleston, that will require at least a 10-kW system. Not all homes can accommodate 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 do I need to power my home?

To figure out how many solar panels you need, you need to know how much energy your home uses and how much sunlight your home gets. For a general estimate, however, since each panel can usually produce about 250 to 400 watt-hours per hour, the average household will need 20 to 35 panels.

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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