Home solar panels in Las Vegas: Everything you need to know

Updated

Cost of solar panels in Las Vegas
The massive solar array atop the Mandalay Bay's rooftop. Image source: Slash Gear

Over the last 10 years, the solar industry has grown tremendously, both on a state and federal level. It’s hard to talk about booming solar energy markets without mentioning Las Vegas. The combination of endless sunshine, the federal solar tax credit, and relatively good utility feed-in tariffs make Las Vegas an excellent location for home solar energy.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about installing solar panels on a home in or around Las Vegas.

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    How much do solar panels cost in Las Vegas?

    The average price of a solar system in Las Vegas is about $2.66 per watt as of Q2 2022. This puts an average 6-kilowatt (6 kW) residential system at $15,960.

    While this figure may seem daunting, note that this is the cost before any incentives, and many zero-down solar loans are available.

    Are there any solar tax credits in Las Vegas?

    Unfortunately, there is no state solar tax credit in Nevada. However, all Americans can claim 26% of the cost of their solar system as a deduction from their federal tax liability.

    After claiming the 26% tax credit, the final price of a typical 6 kW solar system is just $11,810.

    Does NV Energy offer any solar rebates?

    Not anymore. 

    Energy used to offer an 'installation-based incentive' for systems under 25 kW. This incentive initially took the form of a rebate of $245/kW; unfortunately, this was first stepped down to $150/kW, before expiring completely in 2019.

    Does NV Energy offer net metering?

    NV Energy currently offers a modified form of net metering. Net metering, and versions of it,  help you increase your potential savings from solar panels. 

    Here’s how net metering works. During the middle of the day, your solar system will likely produce more energy than needed in your home. This excess is sold to your utility through the grid. In return, you earn credits to use against any energy you draw from the grid at night (or at other times when your panels can't meet your home’s electricity demand). At the end of the month, you are only billed for the net amount of electricity consumed, i.e. the kilowatt-hours (kWh) you drew from the grid minus the credits from your solar power exports. 

    With full net metering, each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy you export earns you a credit equal to the utility’s retail price of electricity, i.e. one-for-one (1:1).  

    However, with NV Energy net metering, customers earn less than a full 1:1 payment. Instead, consumers will be credited 75% of the retail rate of electricity.

    What are NV Energy’s net metering tiers?

    In 2017, the Nevada legislature passed a law establishing feed-in tariffs on a tiered system. Accordingly, NV Energy has reduced the credit amount offered to solar customers as total installed solar capacity increases within its service territory.

    In other words, customers who installed solar earlier earned a better rate from NV Energy for their solar power exports. 

    The table below shows the net metering credit rates for each tier:

    Applicable tier Capacity Credit rate Credit period
    Tier 1 80 MW 95% retail rate 20 years
    Tier 2 80MW 88% retail rate 20 years
    Tier 3 80MW 81% retail rate 20 years
    Tier 4 All applied capacity after Tier 3 expires 75% retail rate 20 years

    At the time of writing (Q2 2022), Tiers 1, 2,  and 3 have already filled up and applications are open for Tier 4. As such, NV Energy will now value your excess solar generation at 75% of the retail rate. 

    While not ideal, this is still a pretty good incentive overall.  To lock in this rate for the next 20 years, it's best to install solar as soon as possible before the feed-in tariff rate declines further.

    What are NV Energy net metering rates in North and South Nevada?

    As discussed above, homeowners who go solar now will qualify for Tier 4 net metering rates. NV Energy has set the net metering rates for single-family homes, effective January 1, 2021, as follows:

    Current net metering rates for the two NV Energy billing zones
    Billing zone Credit rate
    South Nevada $0.07735 per kWh
    North Nevada $0.06436 per kWh

    How long does a solar system take to pay for itself in Las Vegas?

    Solar systems in Las Vegas generally take about 9.6 years to pay for themselves in utility bill savings. 

    To receive the shortest possible payback time, it is best to install solar as soon as possible to ensure you get locked into a good net metering rate.

    Where can I find the best solar installers in Las Vegas?

    Our site has hundreds of reviews for Las Vegas solar installers. At the time of writing, four companies earn both an ‘Elite’ rating from SolarReviews and a high consumer review score of over 4.00 / 5.00. You can compare them all here.

    How much electricity do solar panels produce in Las Vegas?

    For every 1 kW of solar panels installed on a south-facing roof in Las Vegas, you can expect to generate 1,570 kWh per year.

    Average energy output by system size in Las Vegas
    System size Annual energy production
    4kW 6,278 kWh
    6 kW 9,417 kWh
    8 kW 12,556 kWh
    10 kW 15,695 kWh

    How many solar panels do I need to power my home in Las Vegas?

    The average 2,500-square-foot home in Las Vegas uses approximately 12,815 kWh of power per year. This means that the average home in Vegas requires an 8.17 kW solar system to cover its power needs.

    If we assume the use of 300-watt (300 W) solar panels, then you will need approximately 27 panels to power your home. With larger 400 W solar panels, you would need 21 panels. Of course, this will vary with the size of your home and the amount of power usage.

    Can I reduce my electric bill without going solar?

    Although solar is usually the most effective way for NV Energy customers to reduce their electric bills, there are two other possible ways:

    • Swapping to the cheapest available NV Energy electric rates plan.
    • Reducing your energy usage through lifestyle changes or through buying more energy-efficient appliances.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Zeeshan Hyder

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Zeeshan is passionate about promoting renewable energy and tackling climate change. He developed these interests while studying at beautiful Middlebury College, Vermont, which has a strong focus on sustainability. He has previously worked in the humanitarian sector — for Doctors Without Borders — and in communications and journalism.

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