* 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.
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.
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.
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Prices based on a 5.3kW system, after 26% federal tax credit
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.
(forecast avg Virginia electric rates over the next 25 years)
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.
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.
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.
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
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.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2021 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximize savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. The solar electricity generated by your panels that your home does not use is stored in the battery instead of being sent to the grid, which 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.
Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the grid at all, so all of your energy needs must be met by the sun. There is no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not only during the day, but after dark as well, so many solar panels and a large battery system are required. These systems are often expensive and don’t make sense for homes that have access to the grid.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
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 2021.
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.
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.
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.
While Duke Energy’s new net metering program will cut customers’ solar savings, it could potentially increase battery installations.