All the big parts, all the little parts, and everything it takes to put them all together. Below is the full breakdown of what exactly goes into the cost of powering your home with clean solar energy.
The largest and most costly part of any solar system is,of course, the modules. But costs have dropped dramatically over the past decade and there are now several high quality AND aesthetically pleasing options at great price points. The solar modules make up ~20% of a residential solar install.
There are hundreds of different ways to mount modules to roofs. Fortunately, the best looking and highest quality mounting options do NOT cost more than many of the lower quality unattractive products on the market for securing modules to the roof. Mounting equipment is roughly 10% of the total cost.
The average solar system can be installed by a 3-4 man crew in one to two days. Labor rates for qualified solar installers vary by region, but the labor for a solar project typically makes up about 10 -15% of the cost of the entire system.
Inverters turn the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity we use in our homes. They are the workhorse of every system and a critical component to a long producing energy asset on your home. A couple major brands dominate the market share and the cost of inverters has stabilized. Inverters account for ~15% of a residential solar installation.
Once electricity is created at the solar panels it needs to be delivered to your home's electrical system at your main service panel (where all the circuit breakers are located). The electricity is routed there via wires protected in metal conduit for safety. This is a small part of the total system cost that the industry refer to as BOS (Balance of System). This equipment accounts for under 5% of the total costs.
Soft costs are defined as everything involved in getting your system installed and turned on that are NOT actual material and labor. The site audit to gather measurements, construction plans, permit coordination and fees from the city, utility company fees and coordination, sales commissions, overhead costs and profit all make up the rest of the costs for a solar project. This is usually 30-35% of the total project cost.