Report: Big price gap between large-scale, local solar installers
Rooftop solar panel installers that complete more than 1,000 jobs annually charged 10% more, on average, than their smaller counterparts, Fast Company reported, citing an analysis of EnergySage data by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Considering an average difference of roughly $0.33 per watt, consumers who don't shop around before purchasing rooftop solar energy systems could end up paying around $2,000 extra to have a standard 6-kilowatt system installed.
The report attributes the higher costs from larger companies to more money spent to market their services, as well as to the large market share held by a few companies who control pricing for the category.
Solar energy is picking up in the residential market as more homeowners turn to rooftop photovoltaics. A 2013 survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that one in 10 of the association's members used solar panels on projects that year, with more expecting to do so in the future. Overall estimates put rooftop solar installations on more than 1 million homes in 2016, and predictions hold that such usage could reach 3.8 million homes by 2020.
Though consumers are concerned about energy efficiency, distributors have struggled to commercialize such technology due in part to the upfront cost associated with adopting PVs and manufacturers' struggle to create an attractive design.
Companies like Tesla hope to fare better in taking the power source mainstream. The company says its new textured glass solar roofing shingle will cost less to produce and install than traditional roofing materials, along with delivering energy savings.
Research continues to support the return on investment in PV technology. Data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes furnished with solar installations sold 20% faster and for 17% more, on average, than neighboring houses without a PV system. Many owners have looked to state and federal tax credits, utility rebates and other incentives to help pay for the systems and their installation.
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- National Renewable Energy Laboratory Using Residential Solar PV Quote Data to Analyze the Relationship between Installer Pricing and Firm Size
- Fast Company The Best Way To Get Cheap Solar: Shop Around
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