Solar panels Wisconsin:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg WI solar panel cost:

$11,247 - $13,747*

Avg 25 year savings:

$16,813 - $20,550

Avg payback period:

10.7 - 13 years

Estimate cost and savings based on your location and power usage

* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

Wisconsin solar panels guide 2020

Updated August 20, 2020

While Wisconsin may have less-than-average sun exposure and a weak renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the combination of net metering, the 26% federal solar tax credit, expensive retail energy rates, and state incentives make going solar in Wisconsin a great investment. 

In 2013, the state met its renewable portfolio standard goal of deriving 10% of their energy from renewable sources. Having already met their target, there are no regulations pushing utilities to offer incentives that would expand solar generation, which makes it all the more interesting that Wisconsin has a decent solar rebate program. 

With the incentive situation so tenuous, it’s a good idea to go solar in Wisconsin now while there are incentives still available!

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of Wisconsin

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Wisconsin is currently $11,557 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.60 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.

Cost range of local prices

$11,247-$13,747

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$16,813-$20,550

Payback period

10.7-13 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

6.1kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 6.1kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Wisconsin

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.

Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.

Levelized cost of solar energy
?
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

5¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

34¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Wisconsin electric rates over the next 25 years)

WI solar panel cost calculator

Wisconsin solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses is the federal solar tax credit. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will decrease from 26% to 22% of the cost of the solar installation. Because home and business owners want to get the largest incentive amount possible, solar panel installation companies will likely be flooded with new projects before year’s end. In order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Wisconsin is now.

Net metering

Wisconsin’s net metering policy requires investor-owned and municipal utilities to provide a credit for each excess kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy that a solar system produces. The value of the net metering credits varies from utility to utility. 

Madison Electric and Gas provides net metering credits that are equal to the full retail value of electricity. With Wisconsin’s high electricity prices, getting credit for the full retail rate for an excess generation will create the potential for great savings on your electric bills. 

However, some utilities only credit you at the avoided cost rate, which is significantly lower than the retail rate.

Tax exemptions

When a solar system is installed on a home, the value of the property goes up, and so do the property taxes. Wisconsin law exempts 100% of the assessed solar system cost from being added to your property taxes.

Also thanks to Wisconsin policy, the state’s sales and use tax cannot be added to the sale of solar energy equipment. In some cases, sales tax can accumulate to over $1,000, so the exemption provides more savings than you think!

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Sales Tax Incentive

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Top models of solar panel installed in Wisconsin 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Wisconsin by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $11,384 $12,181
5kW $13,645 $14,600
6kW $15,618 $16,711
7kW $18,032 $19,294
8kW $20,880 $22,342
9kW $22,698 $24,287
10kW $24,950 $26,697

Best solar companies in the main cities of Wisconsin

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Wisconsin

You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2020 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.

Hybrid solar system

In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in Wisconsin in 2020?

Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Wisconsin will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Wisconsin?

Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 25-degree pitch roof Wisconsin will generate 1,550kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in Wisconsin.

Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in Wisconsin?

The advantage of installing solar panels for your home in Wisconsin is that there is a state-mandated net metering law, which is key to making solar a worthwhile investment. Pair that with high electric rates and the available state incentives and you have the potential for great savings when you go solar in Wisconsin.

The disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Wisconsin is that there is less overall sunshine in the state per year. This means that a system produces less here than it would in sunnier states, like Arizona. Also, the state’s net metering policy does not have any specific rules, so guidelines vary widely between utilities. You are also not guaranteed to receive the full retail amount for excess generation your system produces.

Despite this, there are still plenty of ways to save that make going solar an excellent choice in Wisconsin.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Wisconsin solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.

Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.

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