Solar Panels in Pennsylvania: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

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

Solar Panels in Pennsylvania: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Key Points

  • Pennsylvania developed over 100MW of residential solar energy in 2022, the highest amount in any year.
  • Homeowners in Pennsylvania can save up to $21,000 on electricity with solar panels.
  • The average cost of solar panels in Pennsylvania is as low as $2.38 per watt.
  • Pennsylvanians can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, which offers a 30% return on all expenses of an array.

In 2022, Pennsylvania developed over 100MW of residential solar energy. This is more than any other year, suggesting a large push for support. And it’s no surprise; homeowners can save as much as $21,000 on electricity with solar panels in Pennsylvania.

If this intrigues you, it’s worth considering an installation. But how much do solar panels cost in the Keystone State? This article breaks down the important numbers. Continue reading for average rates, cost factors, and potential savings below.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Pennsylvania

You won’t find better prices on solar panels than in Pennsylvania. Homeowners in the Keystone State can find equipment for as low as $2.38 per watt. For a 6kW system, that comes to about $14,280 before incentives. While this is already more affordable than in most states, its value rises when considering the cost of electricity.

In general, Pennsylvanians do a good job conserving energy. However, they pay some of the highest rates for energy at about $0.14 per kilowatt. Even with their low power usage, homeowners in the Keystone State spend just below the national average each month on utilities. 

Why is this good for solar panels? Because when homeowners have higher utility bills, they can expect a higher net return when they make the switch.

To save even more, Pennsylvanians can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. This program offers a 30% return on all expenses of an array, including labor, equipment, and tax. That means homeowners can watch the price of that 6kW system drop from $14,280 to $9,996.

How Much Solar Do Pennsylvanians Need?

Now the above example sounds good on paper, but does it actually represent the power requirements of your home? With some of the lowest amounts of sunlight in the country, homeowners in Pennsylvania might need more wattage than usual. 

To find the right size array for your home, you’ll have to do some simple math. Take your average daily power usage and divide it by the peak sun in your area. This determines the number of kilowatts your system needs to produce each hour.

To show you how this works, let’s use Pennsylvania’s averages as an example.

Homeowners in the Keystone State use about 28.2kWh a day (from 846kWh a month). When we divide that by Pennsylvania’s average peak sun of 3.91 hours, we learn that our system needs to produce 7.2kW an hour. Larger than the national average, a system of this size will cost Pennsylvanians around $17,136 before incentives.

Now that you understand how to find the right amount of wattage for your array, you can start to budget accurately for an installation. Because sunlight varies depending on location, check out this Pennsylvania sun chart for the average peak sun in your area.

Modern house with solar panels. Night view of a beautiful white house with solar panels.
Solar panels in Pennsylvania are incredibly affordable, but poor average sunlight means homeowners may need more wattage than usual.


Pennsylvania Solar Cost Factors

In the previous example, we demonstrated how sunlight can affect the cost of solar panels in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State stretches wide from West to East and features a diverse landscape. Because of its location in the Southeast corner, homeowners in Philadelphia experience as much as 4.6 hours of peak sun, nearly 45 minutes more a day than average.

To see how sunlight and geography can affect the price of equipment, compare Pennsylvania to its surrounding states:

Additionally, residents of the Keystone State can save money with the type of solar panels in their array. The standard notion is that monocrystalline panels are more efficient but more costly than polycrystalline. Especially if you live in an area of Pennsylvania with little sunlight, mono equipment will be more cost-effective. However, if you live closer to the coast, you may be able to save money with poly panels.

Finally, you must not overlook the quality of the installation. While labor might seem pricey, installers that offer a low rate might skimp on equipment and warranties. And since you want your array to last for 20-25 years, you want a company that’s going to care for it. Fortunately, there are over 230 solar installers in Pennsylvania, so you can take time to choose the best for your needs.

Can Solar Energy Save Pennsylvanians Money?

While solar panels in Pennsylvania come at an affordable price, the low level of sun can drive the wattage beyond national averages. Still, depending on location, equipment, and installation quality, homeowners in the Keystone State can save thousands throughout their system’s lifetime. 

To find out how much you could earn back, you’ll first need to know how long it takes to pay off your array. If we use Pennsylvania’s average annual electricity bill of $1,431.48 to offset the installation cost, homeowners could expect to cover the price of a 6kW system in about 10 years. While this is about average, it’s worth remembering that some Pennsylvanians might need a larger system.

After paying off the array, you’ll start to see net returns on your investment. Considering the average lifespan of solar panels in Pennsylvania of 20 to 25 years, your total saving could range from $14,315 to $21,472. And with financial incentives and government regulations, that saving could be even higher. 

Solar Panels in Pennsylvania: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives

Pennsylvania sits right at the edge of states with little support for solar energy. So while there’s lingering sentiment for traditional power, the Keystone State has some motives in place that help with the purchase of an array.

Foremost, homeowners have the opportunity to utilize the federal solar tax return. This provides a 30% tax credit on all solar purchases, making an array much more affordable. Those that install a 6kW system can save nearly $4,500.

Additionally, Pennsylvania has a modest set of renewable standards that pressure utilities to help with solar costs. Homeowners in the Keystone State can benefit from net metering, rebates, and more. For a closer look at these incentives, check out our Pennsylvania solar savings guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is solar worth it in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, homeowners can take advantage of great equipment rates that offset a high cost of electricity. Even with notoriously poor weather conditions, homeowners can save as much as $21,000 or more on utilities by making the switch.

How much does solar cost in Pennsylvania?

Homeowners in Pennsylvania can expect to spend about $2.38 per watt on solar energy. This equals around $14,280 for a typical 6kW system. Factors that can affect this price include wattage, sunlight, location, equipment type, and installation quality.

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

With an average annual utility payment of $1,431.48, Pennsylvanians can offset the cost of a 6kW solar panel system in about 10 years. While this is about average across the country, it’s essential to know that some homeowners in the Keystone State may need more wattage to match the relatively low peak sun hours.

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

Homeowners in Pennsylvania can apply the federal solar tax credit to their system to save 30% on all installation costs. Those that purchase a 6kW array could lower the overall price by nearly $4,500.

What is net metering in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from renewable energy systems to receive credits for any excess electricity they produce and send back to the grid. These credits can be used to offset future electricity bills when their renewable energy system doesn’t generate enough power to meet their needs.

Does Pennsylvania have renewable portfolio standards (RPS)?

Pennsylvania’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that electric utilities must source 18% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2021 and 8% from in-state solar by 2026.

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