I decided for this post I would put myself in your shoes and plan out a solar panel kit installation from scratch. As I got started I was surprised how simple it was to gather all the needed information to do a rough cost estimate. The first thing I did was to log into my account on my electric providers website and look at the monthly usage for the last year. Based on this I was able to determine that I would need the 5000 watt DIY Solar Kit to completely offset my current electic usage. (This kit is actually our most popular one!)
Luckily the kit comes with everything I will need for the installation which saved a ton of planning time. Beyond what the kit comes with I knew that I would need to pay for a permit and to satisfy my utility and town I would need an electrician to inspect my work and do the final connection to the meter. I ballparked these costs at $1000 but will likely come in under that. These costs for you will of course depend on how much of the installation you do yourself as well as what is required in your area.
At this point I still needed a few pieces of information to get my final costs figured out. I knew I could get the 30% Federal Tax Credit and I found out that Vermont has $0.75/watt incentive as well (5000 watts X $0.75 = $3750!). Lastly I used PVWatts which allowed me to do the estimate of the value of the electricity I will be producing each year (see image below).
Here's the breakdown of costs:
|5kw panel kit with Enphase Micro-Inverters||$11898|
|0.75/w VT incentive||-$3750|
|30% Federal Rebate||- $3570|
|Annual value of power produced||$1158|
|Payback in just under||5 years|
|Without rebates and incentives around||11 years|
Wow, amazing how much shorter the payback time is with those great state and federal incentives in place! Happy planning on your own installation!