Solar panels Rhode Island:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg RI solar panel cost:

$9,315 - $11,385*

Avg 25 year savings:

$79,656 - $97,358

Avg payback period:

1.4 - 1.7 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.

Rhode Island solar panels guide 2020

Updated August 20, 2020

Rhode Island has some of the best incentives in the nation when it comes to installing solar. The state offers a very generous performance-based incentive that is equal to $0.2845 per kilowatt hour produced and an upfront rebate of $0.90 per watt installed that can help reduce installation costs.

Add in the state’s high electric rates, net metering law, and the 26% federal tax credit and you have a recipe for great savings on a solar system for your Rhode Island home.

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of Rhode Island

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Rhode Island is currently $11,957 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.69 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.

Showing data for:

Utility provider: The Narragansett Electric Co
Utility bill: $ 139

Prices based on a 5.7kW system, after 26% federal tax credit

Cost range of local prices

$9,315-$11,385

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$79,656-$97,358

Payback period

1.4-1.7 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

5.7kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 5.7kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Rhode Island

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

2¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

39¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Rhode Island electric rates over the next 25 years)

RI solar panel cost calculator

Rhode Island solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island is now.

Net metering

Rhode Island policy requires utilities to compensate customers when their solar system produces more electricity than they use. In other words, for each excess kilowatt-hour, your system produces, your utility has to provide a credit to you that is equal to the avoided cost rate of electricity.

Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund

The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund is a grant program that has the potential to cover up to 30% of the total costs of solar projects. Through the program, you can receive $0.90 per watt of solar that you install, up to $7,500. That’s a huge solar market incentive that can significantly lower the payback period for your solar system. 

 

Renewable Energy Growth Program

The Renewable Energy Growth Program is a very unique program with the goal of promoting renewable energy system installations. When you sign up for the program, you will receive a rebate of $0.2845 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy your system produces. What makes this program unique is that before you receive the incentive, you first receive an electric bill credit, and then you get the remainder of the incentive.

 

Property tax exemption for renewable energy resources

When a solar energy system is installed on a home, the value of the property goes up, and so do the property taxes. Rhode Island residents don’t have to worry about this tax hike, thanks to the state’s property tax exemption for renewable energy resources. The law exempts 100% of the assessed value of a solar array from a homeowner’s property taxes. 

 

Rhode Island sales and use tax exemption

Rhode Island law prevents the state’s 7% sales tax from being applied to the sale of solar energy equipment. In some cases, sales tax can accumulate to over $1,000, so this exemption saves you a lot more than you might think.

 

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

Showing 1 - 2 of 6

Top models of solar panel installed in Rhode Island 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Rhode Island by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $11,780 $12,605
5kW $14,095 $15,082
6kW $16,158 $17,289
7kW $18,662 $19,968
8kW $21,680 $23,198
9kW $23,508 $25,154
10kW $25,850 $27,660

Find city information in Rhode Island

 

Best solar companies in the main cities of Rhode Island

Solar Companies in Providence

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Rhode Island?

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

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 31-degree pitch roof Rhode Island will generate 1,168kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in the Providence area.

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 Rhode Island?

The advantages of installing solar panels in Rhode Island include both the state-based incentives and the federal tax credit. Also, Rhode Island has some of the highest electric utility rates in the nation, thereby making the overall return on investment for residential solar panels in Rhode Island outstanding.

The disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Rhode Island is that there is less overall sun exposure in the state per year, so a solar system produces less here than it would in a state such as Arizona. In addition to that, Rhode Island’s net metering policy does not require utilities to credit you for excess generation at the full retail rate, meaning your excess energy will be credited at a slightly lower price. 

However, the state incentives more than make up for these shortcomings. Rhode Island homeowners will be kicking themselves if they don’t install solar panels while these generous incentives are around.

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 Rhode Island 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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