Solar panels Virginia:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg VA solar panel cost:

$10,113 - $12,361*

Avg 25 year savings:

$44,112 - $53,915

Avg payback period:

5.6 - 6.8 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.

Virginia solar panels guide 2020

Updated November 3, 2020

Despite the lack of a solar carve-out and an absence of tax exemptions, homeowners in Virginia still have the potential to save big on their electric bills. Thanks to net metering and the federal tax credit, going solar in Virginia is still a smart investment.

On this page:

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

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Virginia is currently $11,797 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.66 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: Other
Utility bill: $ 176

Prices based on a 5.3kW system, after 26% federal tax credit

Cost range of local prices

$10,113-$12,361

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$44,112-$53,915

Payback period

5.6-6.8 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

5.3kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 5.3kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Virginia

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

6¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

24¢ /kWh

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

VA solar panel cost calculator

Virginia solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

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

Net metering

Utility companies are required by Virginia law to offer net metering to their customers. What this means is if your solar system produces more energy than you use, you will be given a credit on your monthly bill for each of those excess kilowatt-hours that you generated. 

Each of these credits is equal to the avoided cost rate. The avoided cost rate, despite being less than the retail rate, is still profitable - receiving bill credits is better than receiving no credits at all.

Property tax exemption

Though there isn’t a state-mandated property tax exemption in place for renewable energy systems, a law exists that offers counties, cities, and towns the option to enact a policy that excludes the costs associated with installing a solar system from property owners’ taxes. 

Some of the towns in Virginia that take part in this are Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Chesterfield. Be sure to check your town’s website to see if your solar system is eligible to be exempt from property taxes.

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Net Metering

Showing 1 - 2 of 3

Top models of solar panel installed in Virginia 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Virginia by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $11,600 $12,412
5kW $13,915 $14,889
6kW $15,942 $17,058
7kW $18,410 $19,699
8kW $21,360 $22,855
9kW $23,184 $24,807
10kW $25,490 $27,274

Best solar companies in the main cities of Virginia

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Virginia

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 Virginia 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 Virginia will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Virginia?

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

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 27-degree pitch roof Virginia will generate 1,150kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in Virginia.

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 Virginia?

The main advantage of installing solar panels in Virginia is the state’s net metering law, which requires retail sellers of electricity to provide solar customers credit for the excess generation their systems create. Also, homeowners can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. These two incentives alone make solar an excellent investment for your home or business in Virginia.

The disadvantage of installing solar panels is that Virginia receives less sunshine than some other states. This means that a solar system will produce a little less here than it will in sunnier states like Arizona. 

Also, the state does not require a property tax exemption on solar energy equipment like many other states do. The lack of a solar carve out and Virginia’s renewable portfolio goals being voluntary puts less pressure on utilities to create incentives for expanding solar.

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 Virginia 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.

Useful links

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