- Rhode Island produces nearly 667MW of solar energy, which is over 11% of its entire electricity production.
- Solar panels in Rhode Island are some of the most affordable in New England, with an average cost of $2.69 per watt.
- Residents in Rhode Island can save money with a smaller solar panel system, which can cost around $12,643 before incentives.
- The cost of solar panels in Rhode Island can fluctuate depending on sunlight and geography, with some areas receiving more peak sun than average.
- Rhode Islanders have the potential to save big with solar energy, with returns ranging from $17,143 to $25,465 over the lifespan of a solar panel system.
Although it’s the smallest state in the country, Rhode Island produces nearly 667MW of solar energy. That’s over 11% of its entire electricity production! With huge investment into alternative power and equipment at an all-time low, there’s never been a better time to consider solar panels in Rhode Island.
But how do you get started with a budget? In this article, we cover all the important aspects. From average costs to potential savings, let’s get started.
Average Cost of Solar Panels in Rhode Island
While solar panels in Rhode Island may seem expensive, they’re actually some of the most affordable in New England. Homeowners in the Ocean State can expect to spend about $2.69 per watt on solar energy. This equals around $16,140 for a 6kW system.
Now, this price tag seems small when compared to the state’s average electricity rate. While Rhode Islanders rank 6th in energy efficiency across the country, they pay the 3rd highest for power at about 23.35 cents per kWh. This results in the 10th highest electricity bill, nearly $20 more per year than average.
Homeowners in the Ocean State can expect high returns over time, but they can get started with savings by utilizing the federal solar tax credit. This program offers a 30% return on all solar purchases, including equipment, labor, and sales tax. Rhode Islanders that install the same 6kW system can watch the overall price drop from $16,140 to $11,298.
How Much Solar Do Rhode Islanders Need?
Of course, the above example only represents the average cost across the whole state. However, with low energy requirements, some residents in Rhode Island may save money with a smaller solar panel system. To determine how much wattage your array should have, you’ll need to divide your daily power usage by the average amount of peak sun.
Let’s take a look at how this is done using Rhode Island’s averages.
Homeowners in the Ocean State use about 19.8kWh a day (derived from 594kWh a month). When divided by Rhode Island’s average peak sun of 4.23 hours (more on this below), we learn that a solar panels system needs to produce about 4.7kW an hour. This much smaller array would only cost residents around $12,643 before incentives.
Now that you understand how to size your solar panel system properly, you can accurately create a budget for an installation. Because sunlight varies depending on location, check out this Rhode Island sun chart for your nearest city.
Rhode Island Solar Cost Factors
As mentioned in the last section, the cost of solar panels in Rhode Island can fluctuate depending on sunlight. And because of the Ocean State’s location on the Atlantic, this can vary on location. For example, those living in South Kingston can expect about 4.8 hours of peak sun each day, nearly 30 minutes more than average.
To see how sunlight and geography can affect solar costs, compare Rhode Island’s rates to those of its neighboring states.
You’ll also find potential savings on solar panels in Rhode Island in the type of equipment used in the array. You’ll find that monocrystalline equipment typically works better than polycrystalline, but for a higher cost. And because Rhode Islanders use just a small amount of power, it’s possible to take the affordable route while covering those needs.
Finally, you should seriously consider the solar installer you go with when installing your array. The cost of labor has a wide range, but those at the bottom end may skimp on important aspects such as equipment and warranties. There are 11 installers in the tiny state, so you should have plenty of options to choose from.
Can Solar Energy Save Rhode Islanders Money?
Here’s where it all pays off. Because homeowners have a large utility bill to offset installation costs, there’s a huge potential to save big. Let’s take a look at what you can expect.
Before you see any net returns, you need to pay off your system. Assuming we use Rhode Island’s annual electric bill of $1,664.40 to cover the price, Rhode Islanders could pay off a 6kW system in 9.7 years. That’s already lower than average, and some residents could pay it off even sooner with a smaller array.
With the solar panel system paid off, all the money that would have gone to electricity goes back into your wallet instead. Considering an array lasts about 20 to 25 years with proper maintenance, returns could range as much as $17,143 to $25,465. And with a properly sized system and financial incentives, these savings only increase.
Solar Panels in Rhode Island: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives
As explained, homeowners can save thousands with solar panels in Rhode Island. The Ocean State has decent equipment costs for a New England state and surprisingly good sunlight, making the renewable energy a solid consideration. But that’s only the start of the benefits.
Right off the bat, homeowners in Rhode Island can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. With a 30% return on all solar purchases, those installing a 6kW system can save nearly $5,000. And with access to net metering, performance payments, and tax exemptions, some Rhode Islanders can even earn a paycheck for making the switch.
To learn more about the available incentives in the Ocean State, check out our Rhode Island solar benefits guide.
|Average Cost of Solar Panels in Rhode Island||$2.69 per watt, around $16,140 for a 6kW system|
|How Much Solar Do Rhode Islanders Need?||Average of 4.7kW an hour, costing around $12,643 before incentives|
|Rhode Island Solar Cost Factors||Depends on sunlight, location, type of equipment, and choice of installer|
|Can Solar Energy Save Rhode Islanders Money?||Yes, potential savings range from $17,143 to $25,465 over 20-25 years|
|Solar Panels in Rhode Island: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives||Federal solar tax credit, net metering, performance payments, and tax exemptions|
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