Solar Panels in Ohio: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

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

Solar Panels in Ohio: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Key Points

  • Ohio nearly reached 1GW of solar energy in 2022, enough to power 117,000 homes and save homeowners more than $19,000.
  • Solar equipment in Ohio costs about $2.50 per watt, lower than average, and a 6kW system costs around $15,000 before incentives.
  • Federal solar tax credit returns 30% of all purchases made toward an array, potentially reducing the cost of a 6kW system to $10,500.
  • Ohioans can save thousands on utility bills after paying off their solar panel system, with potential net returns of $12,508 to $19,380.
  • State incentives include net metering, performance payments, and tax exemptions, further reducing the cost of solar installations.

Ohio nearly reached 1GW of solar energy in 2022, producing enough power to support 117,000 homes. It makes the Buckeye State one of the more supportive states in the Midwest, and that’s good news for homeowners. Those considering solar panels in Ohio could save more than $19,000.

So, where do you start budgeting for an array? In this article, we cover all the important aspects, including average prices and potential savings. Let’s get into it so you can begin making the switch.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Ohio

At first glance, you might think solar panels in Ohio aren’t worth it. After all, equipment in the Buckeye State runs about $2.50 per watt, which is lower than average. When scaled to a 6kW system, homeowners could expect to pay about $15,000 before incentives.

However, this benefit balances out when considering the average price of electricity. Homeowners in Ohio use less power than usual, about 873kWh a month. Coupled with a standard electricity rate, Ohioans only spend about $114.54 monthly, one of the lowest in the country.

Still, those on the fence about making the switch might appreciate the federal solar tax credit. This program returns 30% of all purchases made toward an array, including labor, equipment, and sales tax. Ohioans utilizing this with a 6kW system could watch the cost drop from $15,000 to $10,500.

How Much Solar Do Ohioans Need?

While the above example shows an average cost for solar panels in Ohio, it might not represent your household’s needs. Because of their lower electricity requirements, homeowners in the Buckeye state may want a different wattage. To properly size your solar array, simply divide your daily power usage by the typical amount of direct sun.

We’ll give you an example using Ohio’s averages.

On average, homeowners in the Buckeye State use about 29.1kWh a day (from 873kWh a month). When we divide that by Ohio’s overall peak sun of 4.15 hours, our solar panel system needs to produce about 7.0kW an hour. Higher than the national average, Ohioans can expect to pay about $17,500 before incentives.

Now that you know how to find the wattage for your home, try it with your personal power usage and sunlight. Because direct sun differs depending on location, use the Ohio sun chart to find the estimated time for your city.

Solar panel powers the pavilion in Euclid Creek Reservation, part of the Cleveland, Ohio Metroparks system.
While homeowners use less electricity than normal, the lack of sun makes solar panels in Ohio slightly more expensive


©John Judnick/Shutterstock.com

Ohio Solar Cost Factors

As we saw in the above example, sunlight can have a major effect on the cost of solar panels in Ohio. Because of the Buckeye State’s location on Lake Erie, cities on the southern side may have more direct sun than on the northern side. For example, homeowners in Dayton receive about 4.4 hours of peak sunlight, around 15 minutes more than average per day.

To learn more about how sun and location affect solar panel costs, compare Ohio to its neighboring states:

Another factor that influences the price of an installation is the type of equipment used. Generally, you can expect higher efficiency out of monocrystalline panels at a higher cost than polycrystalline. In Ohio, where the weather notoriously changes, homeowners should consider the former.

Now, it’s important not to overlook the company installing your panels. While labor prices might seem high, an installer that undercuts their competition might provide lower-quality equipment or warranties. And with nearly 70 installation companies in Ohio, you can prioritize picking for your needs.

Can Solar Energy Save Ohioans Money?

In the Buckeye State, you could go either way with an installation. While equipment prices and power usage are low, sunlight and electricity prices are similar. So the question stands: Can you save money with solar panels in Ohio?

The short answer is yes. Homeowners can save thousands on utility bills after paying off their solar panel system. Here’s what that looks like.

Ohioans pay on average $1,374.48 a year for electricity. When this bill is applied to offset the cost of a 6kW system, homeowners can pay it off in 10.9 years. While that might feel longer than usual, it’s not the longest. However, it’s important to remember that some Ohioans may need a larger solar array.

With the system paid off, homeowners start to see net returns from their investment. With an average lifespan for solar panels in Ohio of 20 to 25 years, residents could earn around $12,508 to $19,380. And with state incentives and regulations, there’s even more to save. 

Solar Panels in Ohio: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives

Ohio has a lot going for it, but there are also factors that make the switch less desirable. Therefore, it’s worth considering any benefits that the state offers. Fortunately, the Buckeye State offers decent incentives to help cover the cost of an installation and even earn a paycheck.

First and foremost, homeowners need to consider the federal solar tax credit. This program covers 30% of all aspects of an installation. Those that utilize this credit with a 6kW system can save about $4,500.

Additionally, Ohioans benefit from a modest set of renewable standards. This promotes incentives such as net metering, performance payments, and tax exemptions. For a deeper look into these available benefits, check out our Ohio incentives guide.

Summary Table

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Ohio$2.50 per watt, $15,000 for a 6kW system before incentives
Federal Solar Tax Credit30% of installation costs, reducing 6kW system cost to $10,500
Ohio Solar Cost FactorsDirect sunlight, location, equipment type, and installation company
Potential Savings$12,508 to $19,380 over 20-25 years
Ohio IncentivesFederal solar tax credit, net metering, performance payments, and tax exemptions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is solar worth it in Ohio?

Up front, Ohio has decent rates for equipment and low energy requirements. However, the Buckeye State also has weak sunlight and low prices for electricity. With these in mind, there’s still opportunity to save money with a solar array. In fact, those that install a 6kW system could see net returns as high as $19,000 or more over 25 years.

How much does solar cost in Ohio?

In Ohio, homeowners can expect to pay about $2.50 per watt for solar energy. This equals around $15,000 for a 6kW system. These prices can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, including wattage, sunlight, location, equipment, and installation quality.

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

Homeowners in Ohio spend about $1,374.48 a year for electricity. When used to offset the cost of a 6kW system, it can be paid off in about 10.9 years. This is slightly longer than in some states, and it’s worth knowing that some Ohioans may need more wattage than normal.

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

Ohioans can use the federal solar tax credit to save money on their solar panel system. This program offers a 30% return on all solar purchases, including equipment, labor, and sales tax. Homeowners in Ohio could save as much as $4,500 on a 6kW system.

What are Ohio's renewable portfolio standards (RPS)?

Ohio’s renewable portfolio standards require utilities to obtain 12.5% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2027, with a specific carve-out for solar energy. However, in 2014, the state enacted a freeze on these standards, suspending their further implementation until 2026.

What is net metering in Ohio?

Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows customers with renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, to receive credit for any excess electricity they generate and feed back into the grid. The credits earned can then be used to offset the customer’s future electricity consumption when their renewable energy system is not producing enough power.

What are monocrystalline solar panels?

Monocrystalline solar panels are photovoltaic panels made from a single continuous crystal structure, typically of high-purity silicon. They are known for their high efficiency and sleek appearance due to their uniform and consistent black color, making them a popular choice in residential and commercial solar installations.

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