How Much Does A 5kW Solar System Cost?

5kw solar system cost

Recently, we discussed whether a 5kW solar array was enough to run a household.

The answer was a resounding yes. Though the question remains, how much does a 5kW solar system cost?

To answer this question, we need to delve into the various components that much up such a system, including:

  • Solar Panels
  • Charge Controller
  • Inverter
  • Battery storage

Let’s dig a little deeper to determine which components are necessary and whether cost-saving alternatives are available.

How Much Does A 5kW Solar System Cost?

The following table illustrates the cost of a 5kW across various U.S. states. Moreover, it includes the average tax incentive of 26%.

State

Cost

After-Tax Incentives (26%)

Arizona

$13,050 – $12,000

$9,657 – $8,880

California

$13,650-$13,900

$10,101-$10,286

Colorado

$13,450 – $15,850

$9,953 -$11,729

Florida

$12,650-$12,900

$9,361-$9,546

Massachusetts

$14,700-$15,650

$10,878-$11,581

New Jersey

$13,700-$13,850

$10,138-$10,249

New York

$14,350-$14,767

$10,619-$10,927

Texas

$13,400-$13,450

$9,916-$9,953

Washington

$13,350-14,550

$9,879-$10,767

 

What Factors Determine The Cost Of A 5kW Solar System?

The above table only provides you with average cost estimates. True, more accurate price estimates here is what can make your installation higher than the average values. What should you consider while choosing an apt solar panel, inverter, and battery storage?

Solar Panels For A 5kW System

Solar panels come in different shapes, sizes, wattages, etc.; choosing the right one helps you from overspending.

Monocrystalline

  • Most efficient type of solar panel – 15% to 20%.
  • Most expensive type because it is made from a single piece of silicon.
  • Less sustainable as there is a lot of wastage.

Polycrystalline

  • Slightly lower efficiency – 13% to 16%.
  • Least expensive -blended together from multiple pieces of silicon.
  • More sustainable as smaller bits of silicon are molded together.

Thin Films

  • Lowest efficiency compared to other types – 6 % to 10%.
  • Least expensive -depositing a thin layer of conductive material on plastic.
  • Most suitable for mobile, portable devices.

Polycrystalline and thin film solar cell types are the most cost-saving option with minor differences in efficiency.

Charge Controllers For A 5kW Solar System

A charge controller is a safety device used to protect the batteries from overcharging, reverse current, etc. Although for low wattage applications, it is entirely optional for a 5kW solar system, it is necessary to fix one for the long life of your batteries.

Key functions include:

  • Multistage charging of the battery bank: it sets the total power sent to the battery and keeps it healthy during the operation cycle.
  • Reverse current protection: prevents current flow back to panels during nights and low sunshine days.
  • Low voltage disconnect: switches off the devices when the battery charge is low and connects them back when there is enough charge.

MMPT Vs. PWM Charge Controller For Your 5kW Solar System

This will be a very determining decision that will cost you. Without taking a deep dive into its technical reasoning, keep this in mind.

If your house, apartment, or building is a sunny area and favorable for solar panels to get maximum solar radiation, then PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) is a cost-effective option. Also, for portable solar devices, solar boats PWM is more suitable.

If you are a user concerned about the performance and do not mind spending some extra dollars for better performance, MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) is best suitable. It works the best in cloudy and cold places over PWM.

Inverters for a 5kW Solar System

It’s a quick, no-brainer choice of all components in a 5kW solar panel system. You will need one in either of the following cases:

Case 1: Your System Is Grid-Tied

A grid-tied 5kW solar system will need an inverter to convert the DC power stored in your battery to AC and be used in your homes. AC power can also be sold to the grid at a price when you have it in excess.

Case 2: You Want To Connect To AC Devices

In your house, you will have mainly two types of devices, one that uses stored energy in a battery such as a torchlight, electronic devices, etc. The other type directly takes power from the AC grid, like your refrigerators, television, etc. The second type needs input current in AC and hence requires an inverter to convert DC to AC.

Battery Storage For A 5kW Solar System

Batteries are the lifelines of a solar panel system. It stores up energy when the sun is available and powers your devices later during nights and less sunny days.

In all cases where you need to use energy at a point when sunlight is not available, you need batteries.

How many batteries will your house, apartment, or commercial building need depends on your location, how much is produced, and how much you want to back up?

How Much Does A 5kW Solar System Cost To Maintain?

Maintenance cost is an inherent cost that adds up to your total cost so that the device works its best at all times. It extends the useful life span of your device.

Panel Cleaning

This ensures the solar panel is giving its maximum power output at all times. How dusty your panels get depends more on where you are located. But cleaning them once in two months would be necessary.

Panel Inspection

Regular inspections are necessary to ensure the panels are working in their designed conditions.

For example, even though you designed the system to have enough backup for the whole night and you are not getting the same, this means it requires a full inspection. It checks for possible connection errors.

Panel Repair

Repairs are necessary when come components turn faulty. Be it major or minor repairs; it depends on the usage, external climatic conditions, etc. A yearly check-up of your device is advisable to keep it working to its best performance.

Will A 5kW Solar System Get Cheaper In The Future?

Solar systems have become way cheaper over the years. The cheaper manufacturing process has made the cost of solar systems affordable and a cost-effective alternative. The rise in awareness and demand has been another reason they are pocket friendly. 

As per NREL Market research analysis, The cost of solar panel systems has come down by 64% for residential users. For commercial and utility-scale applications, the price has been reduced by 69% and 82%, respectively.

A significant reduction in solar panel system costs has been because of a reduction in solar panels by up to 85%.

Final Thoughts

The cost of a solar system can sometimes be daunting if you are not fully aware of the cost drivers. The article summarises how you can have a 5kW solar system well within your budget and as per your requirement.

Before you dive into a solar installation, make sure you have the right size for your application because if you oversize or undersize, it will cost you. A solar calculator can be handy to help you in this process.

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