Solar kits for homes are marketed as prepackaged solar energy solutions. The actual contents and energy production capabilities of a particular solar kit vary considerably depending on the manufacturer. Some solar kits for homes include nothing but solar panels, while others are true turnkey solar energy systems and come packaged with inverters, wiring, and everything else you need to go solar. The variety of home solar kit options means that you could spend a few hundred dollars or several thousand.
Before investing in a solar kit, it’s important to know what you need and what you’re buying. You must first determine what size system you require and what sort of equipment you want (including batteries, racking, and inverters). Then, consult your local energy authority to ensure compliance with utility codes, town codes, and fire codes; file the appropriate permits; and install all the racking, panels, and associated equipment. Using a kit rather than hiring an installer will require patience and time, but it could save you about 30 to 40 percent on the cost of your solar energy system. And if you enjoy DIY home projects and have the time to dive into the details of solar installation, a kit could make a fun project.
Caveat: Installing your own solar panel system can be time-consuming, challenging, and risky (in terms of safety and doing it right). We always recommend using a top-recommended installer and we’d be happy to connect you to one.
While many kits are intended primarily for RVs or yachts, others can be repurposed for home use. The smallest home solar kit will probably be around 100 watts, enough to power a tiny home or a one-room cabin. Larger kits that provide 1,000 watts or more are best for a small home or a modest apartment. If you want to power an average American home, you’ll need a really large kit with a capacity of four to six kilowatts. If you’re in the market for a home solar kit, consider one of the following:
$350 ($3.50 per watt)
This 100-watt system only offers a modest power supply, enough to power your laptop and a few other devices. But it can be wired into the grid and is easy to expand, so if you’re thinking about adding more panels but are also on a tight budget, this might be a good choice.
$300 ($1.88 per watt)
At just one square meter, this solar kit for homes is lightweight and portable. Connecting the panel takes less than a minute and only requires a standard electrical outlet. The panel can produce enough energy to power an average television. Rimmed in an attractive blue, red, yellow, or green frame, the Solaris POP is perfect for renters as well as homeowners.
$1,204 ($3.01 per watt)
If you like the grid-tie capabilities of the Grape Solar 100-watt kit but want more power, you could spring for this 400-watt system. Like its 100-watt cousin, this kit is easy to expand and tie to the grid.
$4,590 ($1.39 per watt)
Renogy’s 3,300-watt kit will power a spacious cabin, providing you with all the creature comforts of home in an off-grid location. This solar panel kit comes with a charge controller, a handy device that allows you to regulate the rate at which your solar battery consumes power. (The solar battery, unfortunately, is not included.) The 12 monocrystalline solar panels are over 15 percent efficient, and the whole system is expandable up to an impressive 4,500 watts.
$10,000 ($1.71 per watt)
One of the larger solar panel kits on the market, the Grape Solar panel kit features 22 polycrystalline panels capable of producing up to 723 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month under optimal conditions. The kit includes an inverter and has the potential to earn you money if you’re in a state that offers net-metering arrangements. Unlike many others, though, this kit requires a grid connection, so it’s not recommended if you’re looking to power an off-grid location. The kit also doesn’t come with cables or fuses, so you’ll need to talk to your electrician about providing them when they connect the solar kits for homes to the grid.