Solar Panels in North Dakota: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Solar panels against a blue sky with a picture of the flag State of North Dakota

Solar Panels in North Dakota: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Key Points

  • North Dakota produced just 2MW of solar energy in 2022, nearly 1,000 times less than Minnesota
  • Homeowners considering solar panels in North Dakota would spend about $2.42/W, one of the lowest rates in the country
  • North Dakotans could save $27,000 or more with solar panels, with a 6kW system potentially paid off in 8.7 years

North Dakota produced just 2MW of solar energy in 2022, nearly 1,000 times less than its neighboring state, Minnesota. The lack of equipment, which is only enough to provide power for about 200 homes, comes from a focus on other renewables, such as wind and biomass. However, those that decide to make the switch could save $27,000 or more with solar panels in North Dakota.

But let’s slow down; with the lack of infrastructure and only a couple of companies to install a system, where do you even begin with budgeting? In this article, we break down everything you need to know about solar costs. From average equipment rates to potential savings and everything in between, let’s get started.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in North Dakota

In a state known for wind and biomass energy, you’d be surprised that anyone would consider solar. However, the Peace Garden State also has great potential to harness the sun. In fact, homeowners that consider solar panels in North Dakota would only spend about $2.42/W, one of the lowest rates in the country. For a 6kW system, this comes to around $14,520 before incentives.

Additionally, North Dakotans spend a lot on traditional electricity. While the state ranks favorably for utility rates, their average usage draws the monthly bill to one of the highest in the country. While this is sure to drive the necessary wattage for solar as well, there’s huge potential to pay off a system in a reasonable time.

If you’re already considering a switch, it’s worth looking into the federal solar tax credit. This incentive provides a 30% return on all solar purchases, including equipment, labor, and sales tax. For a 6kW system, North Dakotans could watch the price drop from $14,520 to $10,164.

How Much Solar Do North Dakotans Need?

As we mentioned above, the average power usage in North Dakota may result in a larger system than the average 6kW array. However, it’s important to size your solar panels properly to cover your electricity needs accurately. To do this, simply divide your daily average usage by the amount of peak sun in your area. 

Let’s show how this is done using the averages in North Dakota:

Homeowners in the Peace Garden State use about 36.2kWh a day, the ninth highest in the country. When divided by the state’s average peak sun of 5.01 hours, we learn that a solar panel system needs to produce 7.21kW an hour. This system is larger than average and would cost North Dakotans about $17,448 before incentives.

With a higher power need, homeowners may have to spend more than usual for their system. However, everyone’s different, so it’s important to find the right wattage for your household. To discover the average peak sun near your city, check out this North Dakota sun chart.

Plates or solar panels in the field, getting the last rays of the setting sun and hills with oak forests in the background
Homeowners purchasing solar panels in North Carolina can save $4,500 with the federal solar tax credit.


North Dakota Solar Cost Factors

One of the largest cost factors, as we saw above, is sunlight. North Dakota’s northern location makes it harsh during the winter. However, the state has excellent sun in the summer. To learn more about how geography affects peak sun and the cost of solar, compare North Dakota to its surrounding states.

Additionally, it’s worth looking at the type of solar panels as a way to save money in the long run. Polycrystalline panels cost less but aren’t as efficient as monocrystalline. Especially in the winter, homeowners can benefit from mono equipment, making it a good investment over 20 to 25 years.

Finally, do not overlook your solar installer. While labor can seem expensive, those companies offering a lower price may skimp in areas such as equipment, warranties, and installation. However, because the solar industry is lacking in North Dakota, there are only two companies that can install your array. Because of this, you may want to look out of state for a company.

Can Solar Energy Save North Dakotans Money?

Although many North Dakotans might need more wattage to cover their power needs, residents in the state have a good opportunity to save money on utilities. The Peace Garden State benefits from incredibly low equipment rates and surprisingly good sunlight. Let’s see how this can save homeowners money with solar panels in North Dakota.

Before you’ll see any net returns, you’ll have to pay off your system. Typically, North Dakotans can cover the cost with their annual electricity bill offset. With homeowners in the Peace Garden State spending about $1,667.88 a year on power, residents can pay off a solar array quickly. In fact, a 6kW system could be paid for in 8.7 years, much sooner than usual.

After covering the price of an array, homeowners start to see net returns. When we consider that solar panels in North Dakota have a lifespan of about 20 to 25 years, residents could see as much as $18,847 to $27,186 with a 6kW system. While this number would be lower with a larger array, it’s still one of the highest net returns in the country.

Solar Panels in North Dakota: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives

North Dakota puts most of its focus on other renewable energy sources, such as wind and biomass. However, those that make a switch to solar can still find incentives to drop the price of their installation and even earn money back.

At the very minimum, the federal government offers a 30% return on all solar purchases. Homeowners that install a 6kW system could cut its cost by nearly $4,500. And while the state doesn’t offer much, North Dakotans can still take advantage of net metering and tax exemptions. To learn more about these opportunities, check out our North Dakota solar incentives guide.

Summary Table

Average Cost of Solar Panels$2.42/W, $14,520 for a 6kW system (before incentives)
Federal Solar Tax Credit30% return on solar purchases
Average Power Usage in North Dakota36.2kWh per day
Estimated Solar System Size7.21kW
Estimated System Cost$17,448 (before incentives)
Annual Electricity Bill Offset$1,667.88
Payoff Time for 6kW System8.7 years
Potential Net Returns (6kW System)$18,847 to $27,186
North Dakota Solar IncentivesFederal tax credit, net metering, tax exemptions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is solar worth it in North Dakota?

While solar panels receive little support from the state, homeowners can find incredibly low prices on equipment. And with surprisingly great sunlight, North Dakotans can save quite a bit with solar. In fact, those that install a 6kW system could see a net return as much as $27,000 or more.

How much does solar cost in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, homeowners can expect to pay around $2.42 per watt for solar energy. This equals about $14,520 for a 6kW system before incentives. There are a few factors that can cause this price to fluctuate, including wattage, sunlight, equipment type, and installation quality.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay back in North Dakota?

With an average annual electricity bill of $1,667.88, North Dakotans could pay off a 6kW system in just 8.7 years. This is much lower than normal, although some residents may need more wattage, resulting in a longer payoff time.

Can you get a federal tax credit for solar panels in North Dakota?

North Dakotans considering a solar installation could save money with the federal solar tax credit. This program returns 30% of all solar costs, including equipment, labor, and sales tax. In fact, those purchasing a 6kW array could save nearly $4,500.

How does net metering work in North Dakota?

North Dakota’s net metering policy allows customers with renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, to receive credit for excess electricity they generate and send back to the grid. The credits can be used to offset the customer’s future electricity consumption, effectively reducing their overall energy costs.

Does North Dakota have renewable portfolio standards (RPS)?

North Dakota had a voluntary RPS of 10% by 2015. However, no regulations pressured utilities to fulfill these goals, and the standards were not updated. This effectively means that North Dakota no longer has an RPS.

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