How much does a 5kW solar system cost in your city?
Written by Andrew Sendy
Updated August 07, 2023
5 minutes read
A 5kW solar system was tradtionally used as a benchmark for an average size of residential solar system allowing people to shop between solar companies for 5kW system prices. Nowdays the average size of a residential system is a little larger and so it is worth first determining what size of system you actually need before spending too much time loking at the cost of 5 kW systems specifically.
What is a 5kW Solar System?
While solar energy systems can be built with any capacity a 5kW solar system refers to a grid connect solar power system with a capacity of 5,000-watt (5kW). This does not necessarily mean that a 5kW PV system will produce 5,000 watts of power at any one time but what this usually refers to is a system where the combined peak DC capacity of a system is 5,000 watts.
Why were 5kW solar systems so popular in certain states?
5kW solar systems are a very common size of residential solar system for three reasons:
- In many states the electricity produced by a 5kW PV system is roughly equivalent to the amount of power that is used in the typical home;
- A 5kW solar system will usually fit on a typical 2000 square foot home; and
- 5 kilowatts (kW) has been a common inverter size for some time and so arrays that matched the capacity of the most common models of inverters are common
What is the average cost of a 5kW solar system?
The average cost of a U.S. 5kW solar installation in 2018 is easy to calculate:
- The average U.S. cost of solar is between $2.95 and $3.50 per watt, depending on your location. For the sake of estimation, we'll assume an industry average of $3.14 per watt.
- For a 5kW system, this comes out to $15,700.
- After applying the 30 percent Federal ITC tax credit, the total cost of a 5kw system is brought down to $10,990.
Keep in mind that your state may have additional rebates or incentives that can further bring down the cost of your system.
How many solar panels do I get in a 5kW system?
In the typical 5.04kW solar system, each solar panel will produce 280 watts of power—meaning you'll receive 18 solar panels in total.
If you use a higher wattage panel then there will be fewer panels in number. So for instance, if you used a 300-watt panel then 17 panels would give you a 5.1kW system.
How much money will I save with a 5kW system?
The calculator below will show you exactly how much 5 kilowatts of solar panels will save if installed on your specific home. It has a lot of smart technology that knows the solar production in your location, the rates charged by your utility and even how much the direction of your roof will affect savings.
How do I find the average price of a 5kW solar system in my city?
We suggest using the tools provided by Solar-Estimate to start, as they'll be your best resource for receiving detailed estimates on solar costs.
If you'd like to see the data without entering any information, Solar Reviews has put together a state-by-state breakdown of solar costs for U.S. homes in 2020.
Which cities are best for solar installations?
There's no doubt about it—some cities offer a better solar return-on-investment (ROI) than others. This largely has to do with historical weather conditions in the area, the utility providers operating in each city, and the available rebates available in each state. Let's list a few of the highest-ranking cities, based on the average cost of utility power and the total savings each month:
- Los Angeles, California. $0.17/kWh, $128.44 in monthly savings
- Las Vegas, Nevada: $0.13/kWh, $104.78 in monthly savings
- Albuquerque, New Mexico: $0.13/kWh, $103.22 in monthly savings
- Phoenix, Arizona: $0.13/kWh, $101.47 in monthly savings
- Baltimore, Maryland: $0.14/kWh, $89.04 in monthly savings
The general trend is that states and cities with greater sun exposure and higher utility power costs will offer a better ROI than cloudier cities. Generally, areas such as California, Nevada, Arizona, and the southwest see the best savings from solar investments, though homeowners in New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York also make good returns despite having less sunshine because of high power prices in those areas.
Which states offer solar incentives?
We can't forget about incentives! Different states have rebate programs that can help significantly bring down the cost of a solar investment. To find out if you're eligible for these incentives, check out this handy tool.
How much roof space do I need for my 5kW solar system?
A standard, 5kW solar panel system requires 330 square feet of roof space—about 66 square feet per kW generated. For the average U.S. home, this is easily achievable because it only requires about one-sixth of a standard 2000 square foot homes roof to be suitable for the installation of solar panels
Which installer should I choose?
Once you've decided to look into a residential solar system, it's time to begin your research. You'll find plenty of installers online, but don't just call one. You can save as much as 10, 20, or even 30 percent on your installation costs by shopping around:
- Understand your needs: Any decent solar installer should be able to assess your home and offer advice on different brands of solar panels or different technology to help you meet your goals. While it's important that they know their stuff, you should do your own research ahead of time to make sure the installer has experience with your desired system.
- Get multiple quotes: Larger installers tend to inflate their prices, while smaller installers are harder to locate. Do your research and get multiple quotes for your solar installation. Consider checking with friends or family in the area to get a personal recommendation.
- Check for warranties: Warranties for solar panels generally run from 25 to 35 years, but don't stop there. Look for installers who offer warranties on other product components, such as your inverters or the backing for each panel.
- Certifications: Look for installers certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This group is a reputable solar agency in the U.S. and offers certification credentials that all solar installers should have.
Buying the best solar energy system
Whether you're interested in a standard 5kW system or a full solar energy solution that minimizes your reliance on traditional power grids, research is key. Look into your local energy rates, utility providers, and rebates to get a better idea of the costs of a residential solar system for your home.