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I'm looking to have a ~20kW grid-tied solar system installed at our property in Ontario, Canada. I've been searching and reading but am unable to find current (last year or two) data on how much such a system should cost (per watt installed).

There's no shortage or news and press releases regarding falling prices of PV and batteries over the years but locating information of the form "it cost this to install it" seems more illusive.

I've been quoted $5(CAD)/kW installed (no batteries). How does one go about finding out a reasonable rate for installed solar?

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As with many purchases, the most straightforward route is to get quotes from 3 completely separate suppliers.

There isn't a simple rule for establishing what a reasonable rate is, because every installation is different. Some of the relevant factors:

  • If it's mounted on rooftop, how high is the roof?
  • Is scaffolding needed?
  • What wind and snow loading does it need to withstand?
  • How good is access from the road?
  • What are the connection costs to the grid?

and so on.

Many countries will have internet forums where people with such systems will gather to compare notes and quotes. In the UK, we've got Navitron. Something similar will exist for Canada, I'm sure.

For a simple system with no access difficulties, then CAD 5 per Watt capacity looks to be on the high side, by the standard of international costs. But there are often country-specific factors: your neighbour to the south has atypically high soft costs (insurance, marketing), and so has higher prices for PV systems than most of the world. There may also be import tariffs on the panels.

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