- Virginia built nearly 1.5GW of solar energy in 2021, enough to power over 250,000 homes.
- Switching to solar panels in Virginia can save homeowners thousands on utilities.
- The average cost of solar panels in Virginia is $2.66 per watt, with potential savings of 30% through the federal solar tax credit.
- Virginia homeowners typically require larger solar panel systems due to high energy needs, resulting in an average cost of $23,408 for a system producing 8.8kW an hour.
- Sunlight and location can affect the price of solar panels in Virginia, with homeowners in Lynchburg receiving nearly an hour more of sun per day.
- Choosing the right installer is important, with Nova Solar and Cosmo Solaris being two highly recommended options in Virginia.
- Even with a larger system, Virginians can save thousands on utility bills over the lifespan of a solar panel system.
- Virginia offers a 30% federal solar tax credit and other state incentives to further reduce the cost of solar panel installations.
In 2021, Virginia built nearly 1.5GW of solar energy, enough to power to support over 250,000 homes. It’s clear that the state means to invest in renewable infrastructure, which is good news for homeowners. Those switching to solar panels in Virginia could save thousands on utilities.
If you’re not sure where to start with a budget, we’ve got you covered. This article introduces all the important numbers, from average costs to potential savings. Let’s get started.
Average Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia
When considering the cost of solar panels in Virginia, you’ll find slightly higher rates than in most states. However, at $2.66 per watt, the price actually ranges lower than its neighboring states just north. Virginians considering a 6kW system could expect to pay about $15,960 before incentives.
Where this number finds its real value is in the average electricity rate. The Old Dominion provides power at about 12.5 cents per kilowatt, about average across the United States. However, because of the high energy needs in Virginia, homeowners pay some of the most in utility bills. This results in huge savings over 25 years.
If this excites you, there’s even more good news; Virginians who make the switch can save 30% on installation costs with the federal solar tax credit. This program offers a major return on your annual taxes for any solar purchases. Those who install that same 6kW system from above could watch the price drop from $15,960 to $11,172.
How Much Solar Do Virginians Need?
The above example shows the average price of solar panels in Virginia as it relates to the typical size array. However, because homeowners in the Old Dominion require more power than usual, their systems might look a little bigger. Therefore, it’s worth your time to size your array to your household accurately.
To the amount of wattage your solar panels should produce, you’ll need to divide your typical daily power usage by the amount of peak sun hours that your nearest city receives. Let’s use Virginia’s averages as an example.
Homeowners in the Old Dominion typically use about 36.5kWh a day (or 1,095kWh a month). When divided by the state’s average peak sun of 4.13, the standard Virginian solar panel system should produce 8.8kW an hour. Significantly larger than the typical array in the United States, residents could expect to pay around $23,408 for this much wattage.
Now that you know how to calculate the right size system for your home, you can create a budget that meets your needs. Because sunlight varies depending on where you live, use this Virginia sun chart to find the average amount for your nearest town.
Virginia Solar Cost Factors
As mentioned in the previous section, sunlight can have a major effect on the price of solar panels in Virginia. The large state features a diverse geography, which can influence the amount of sun received depending on location.
For example, homeowners in Lynchburg receive as much as 5 hours of sun a day, nearly an hour more than usual. This much extra sun could significantly affect the size of an array, thus dropping the overall installation price.
To learn more about how sunlight and location can affect solar panel prices, compare Virginia to its surrounding states:
You’ll also see the price of solar panels fluctuate depending on the type used. You generally have a choice between monocrystalline for efficiency and polycrystalline for affordability. Since Virginia features relatively poor sunlight, most homeowners can save money in the long run with mono panels.
Finally, you’ll want to take your time choosing an installer for solar panels in Virginia. While the cost of labor might feel high, those companies offering lower rates may cut expenses in equipment quality and warranty coverage. In the Old Dominion, homeowners have a choice of nearly 90 installers. Therefore, you can take advantage of the options to find the services that best fit your needs.
Best Solar Installers in Virginia
When choosing the right installer for solar panels in Virginia, we prefer to use EnergySage’s pre-screening qualifications. With endorsements from the Department of Energy and the SEIA, the review company offers highly reliable information. When suggesting a solar installer, we consider the following aspects:
- Years of experience installing solar panels
- Equipment quality
- Contractor transparency
- Length of warranties
- Licenses and certifications
Let’s take a look at two of the best installers in Virginia.
With its headquarters in Falls Church, Nova Solar has served Virginians for over 10 years. The local company works with highly certified technicians and a complete, 25-year workmanship warranty. Nova Solar also uses the top solar brands in the industry, including Enphase, LG, and IronRidge. While they may charge a higher rate, it’s worth it for the local knowledge and care.
However, if you’re looking to save money without sacrificing quality, you may opt to work with Cosmo Solaris. The regional company has five offices in Virginia and focuses its efforts in the Southeast area. While much larger than Nova Solar, Cosmo Solaris still uses an in-house team of installers. And with a 30-year warranty, the company has you covered longer than most in the industry.
Can Solar Energy Save Virginians Money?
When deciding to switch to solar panels in Virginia, we’ve learned that while equipment rates are lower than in some states in the region, the sheer amount of power needed drives the overall installation cost up. However, even with a larger system, Virginians can save thousands on their utility bills over the lifespan of a solar panel system.
To find out exactly how much you can earn back, you’ll first need to know the length of time it takes to pay off your array. If we use the average annual electric bill ($1,649.04) to pay off a system, Virginians could cover the price of a 6kW system in 9.7 years.
While this is slightly less time than in most states, it’s important to remember that some homeowners may need much larger arrays, thus taking longer to pay off.
With the installation cost covered, homeowners start seeing net returns on their investment. Since a solar panel array in Virginia can last around 20-25 years, this means you could earn back $16,985 to $25,230 in utilities you didn’t pay for. And with the federal incentive and other state benefits, there’s even more to save.
Solar Panels in Virginia: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives
Although installation prices for solar panels in Virginia are a little high, there’s still plenty of benefit to making the switch. And to tip the scales even further in favor of renewable energy, the Old Dominion is upping its support.
Right off the bat, homeowners can cut the cost of their solar purchases by 30% with the federal solar tax credit. Those installing a 6kW system could save nearly $5,000 on their initial investment. And with a brand new, aggressive set of renewable standards, Virginians have a lot to look forward to. For more on the Old Dominion’s solar incentives, check out our in-depth guide.
|Average Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia
|$2.66 per watt, $15,960 for a 6kW system before incentives
|Federal Solar Tax Credit
|30% off on installation costs
|Typical Solar Panel System Size in Virginia
|8.8kW an hour
|Cost for Typical System Size
|Best Solar Installers in Virginia
|Nova Solar, Cosmo Solaris
|Potential Savings Over 25 Years
|$16,985 to $25,230
|Payback Period for 6kW System
|Virginia Solar Incentives
|Federal solar tax credit, aggressive set of renewable standards
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