- West Virginia ranks second-last in productivity for solar energy installation, with only 33MW installed as of 2023.
- Homeowners in West Virginia could save up to $24,000 over 25 years by switching to solar panels.
- West Virginia offers a solid net metering program, allowing homeowners to receive credit for excess solar energy at retail rates.
- West Virginia does not have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), making it uncertain when homeowners may see more than just net metering.
- West Virginians have the option to lease solar panels, providing affordable access to clean energy.
As of 2023, West Virginia only has about 33MW of solar energy installed, making the state the second-last in productivity. And while the Mountain State has plans to install over 600MW more in the next 5 years, it’s unsure if those numbers include residential. This leaves homeowners wondering if solar panels in West Virginia are worth it.
One option to access a home array is through financial incentives. But without renewable portfolio standards, it’s unclear if any even exist. This article dives deep into the Mountain State’s solar programs so you know where to start. Let’s get into it.
How to Save Money on Solar Panels in West Virginia: Overview
When it comes to solar panels in West Virginia, homeowners may spend more on equipment due to high power demands and lack of sun. Still, those who are energy-conscious could save as much as $24,000 over 25 years by making the switch.
To get over the initial investment, you may look into solar incentives. Alongside federal assistance, it seems that lawmakers in the Mountain State are keeping an open mind to renewables. While we’ve seen no positive movement, they’re holding firm by supporting a solid net metering program.
Let’s take a look at this benefit and more below.
Solar Panels in West Virginia: Federal Incentive
Before looking at state-sponsored benefits, West Virginians need to utilize the federal solar tax credit. This government incentive offers a 30% return on all solar purchases, including labor, equipment, and sales tax. Homeowners in the Mountain State that apply this to a 6kW system can cut the installation cost by around $5,000.
Before you can use the federal return, you must meet the requirements. Firstly, it’s important that you own your system outright, either through a purchase or a loan. You’ll also need to live at the home where it’s installed and all the equipment must be new.
West Virginians can take full advantage of the federal solar tax credit until 2032. Then, it depreciates to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034. Finally, the incentive terminates in 2035 unless it’s extended.
West Virginia’s State Credits and Rebates
Some of the most effective benefits for supporting home solar panels come in the form of direct financial incentives, such as tax credits and equipment rebates. Unfortunately, West Virginia does not offer programs like these.
However, lawmakers in the Mountain State believe in strong net metering for those making the switch. In 2019, state officials reaffirmed their program, allowing residents to save money on their electricity bills.
In West Virginia, net metering requires utility companies to offer credit to homeowners for their excess solar energy. This credit offers retail rate (about 12-14 cents per kWh) that helps cover next month’s bill. They roll over each month and never expire. These aspects make West Virginia’s net metering one of the best in the country.
Solar Panels in West Virginia: Government Regulations
With such a solid net metering program, it’s a wonder that the Mountain State doesn’t have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). We use a state’s RPS to determine its intentions to invest in renewable infrastructure. And with West Virginia’s lack of standards, it’s hard to tell when homeowners may see more than net metering.
Should West Virginians Lease Solar?
In some states, homeowners have the option to lease a solar panel array when purchasing doesn’t work. While solar leasing disqualifies the system from any incentives, including the federal solar tax credit, it does provide affordable access to clean energy. Fortunately, West Virginians can lease solar panels. And with high electricity bills, there’s plenty to save even after lease payments.
Solar Panels in West Virginia: Incentive Summary
|Federal Tax Incentive||30% credit|
|West Virginia Tax Credits / Rebates||None / none|
|Net Metering||Net metering at retail rate; rolls over indefinitely|
|Renewable Portfolio Standard||None|
|Property Tax Exemption||None|
|Sales Tax Exemption||None|
|Performance Payment Program||None|
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