Labor Costs of Installing Solar Panels

The total costs of a typical solar panel system of 5kW (15 – 25 solar panels), is typically somewhere around $30,000. According to Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL), average cost of labor is $0.59/W – about 10% of total system costs ($6.19/W). You should expect to pay around $3,000 in labor costs for a 5kW solar system.

Total labor costs ($0.59/W) consists of electrician installation labor ($0.33/W) and non-electrician installation labor ($0.26/W).

The price varies tremendously depending on where you live. Solar is about half as cheap in Germany. This is not because the solar modules themselves are cheaper there, but because soft costs (non-hardware) in the U.S. are exceptionally high. Labor costs are 0.36/W cheaper in Germany.

Why is the labor of a solar panel installation cheaper in Germany?

  • Installers rarely install systems that require roof-penetration.
  • Residential systems are larger in Germany (economics of scale).
  • Nationwide sales tax exemptions reduce installation costs.
  • Average installation time is 39 hours in Germany versus 75 hours in the U.S.

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