Solar Panels in Virginia | 2021 Cost and Incentives | SaveOnEnergy®

Virginia Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

Virginia solar panels

Virginia has a strong growth projection for solar panel popularity. The Solar Energy Industry Association projects a 6,847 MW increase over the next 5 years. Solar power has enjoyed both steady growth in interest from residential customers and utilities companies. This makes solar energy more accessible for Virginians.

Now is an especially good time to invest in solar panels in Virginia. Prices have fallen by an estimated 45 percent over the past 5 years, giving you access to more affordable solar panels in your area. Investing in solar power in Virginia allows you to become part of a widespread movement. You get reliable, clean energy right on your own property.

Virginia solar panel cost

While different Virginia solar panel installers will charge varying amounts to install solar panels for your home, you can estimate the average costs for your solar panel project. The general pricing structure is by watt of energy generated by the system. The average price per system watt is usually about $3-5. As you price out your system in total, you’re likely to come to a total of $15,000 to $25,000. But keep in mind that this is before tax credits and rebates.

What you’ll find is that a solar panel system pays for itself. Eventually you save money every month as your system generates electricity with no additional costs. The payback period varies, but often your system can pay for itself in generated electricity in 6-9 years. If you are taking advantage of any available federal and state programs, the payback period is even shorter. 

Why choose Virginia solar power?

The biggest reason why many people have started switching to Virginia solar power is the fact that their energy costs less. Virginia’s average electricity bill in December 2020 was $125.82. If you instead invest that much every month into solar energy, you can generate free electricity for 20-30 years. For those looking to sell their home, solar panels are a popular feature. They involve a cost savings for the new owners, boosting your home value. By investing in solar panels in Virginia, many homeowners see substantial savings.

As occasional hiccups in global supply chains have shown, we are reliant on the electricity grid. Solar panels in Virginia give you the opportunity to establish energy independence. You invest in a known upfront cost and receive reliable electricity for years to come, with no surprise rate changes. If the grid has very high demand and prices go up, your electricity will still be available and will not cost a penny more.

Lastly, many Virginia solar panel owners are noticing that the impacts of fossil fuels on the environment. The effects of pollution and climate change are growing fast and could have unpredictable results. By choosing to go green with solar energy, you’re reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and reduce your home’s environmental footprint. Many people are seeing that this investment in solar panels in Virginia is one of the best ways to create a positive environmental impact.

Virginia solar panel incentives or rebates

Virginia solar incentives help you see a faster return on your investment through a variety of opportunities. They offset some of the upfront costs and speed up the time when you’ll be generating solar power “for free” after you’ve paid back the initial costs.

The federal tax credit is one of the biggest reasons to invest in solar panels in Virginia. After an extension of the original tax credit legislation, you can take advantage of a 26 percent tax credit on the solar systems you install in 2021 and 2022. It’s smart to check and ensure you qualify for the tax credit. When you finish submitting your taxes, you should be able to see substantial savings on your investment.

Many Virginia towns, cities, and energy companies provide rebates for solar panels. However, one of the best ways to defray the cost of solar panels in Virginia is the passing of net metering in this state. This legislation allows you to sell back unused electricity into the power grid. This reduces your own electricity bill and could occasionally result in a payment from the power company.

Should I buy or lease my solar panels?

Programs are available to install a solar panel array that you own. There are also ways to rent a solar panel system from a company, which retains ownership of the panels. Overall, you benefit more as the owner of the panels than you do when you lease. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy estimates that they add $15,000 to the resale value of a home. You get all the benefits of having the panels yourself as well as a price boost if you sell your home.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the financing or the cash to foot a large bill for the price of a solar array, leasing solar panels can be a valuable option. It breaks up the price into monthly payments. Before you decide to lease rather than buy, check to see if  your community has incentivized solar panel loans or shared solar programs. Community solar programs in Virginia sometimes bring the upfront costs down and help you access solar power.

Virginia solar panel companies

There are a variety of solar panel companies in Virginia that can help you access the power of the sun. What’s more, many solar panel installers in Virginia offer a wide range of customized options that will work for different households’ needs. Whether you are ready to invest in solar energy in Virginia or just want to learn more about your options, SaveOnEnergy is here with resources and guides to help you make the right decision for your home.

The history of solar power in Virginia

Virginia has done well in promoting solar power and getting residential customers on board. They rank eleventh in the nation for solar energy generation. Utilities have recently joined the ranks and are adding more solar to their portfolios. The passing of the Clean Economy Act boosted jobs in the solar sector particularly for utility companies. The focus on solar, however, also includes an emphasis on residential customers, with 175 solar companies across the state. Solar currently represents 1.64 percent of the electricity used in Virginia. This is a substantial amount, but there is also plenty room for growth with developing solar projects in Virginia.

Important solar installation factors to consider

Solar installations vary in effectiveness. For instance, a high-pitched roof that faces away from the sun will gather less solar power than a south-facing roof with a gentle slope of 15-40 degrees. How well-maintained your roof is, as well as its age, also make a difference. The amount of sun your roof receives can also vary. Areas with more cloudy days will see a longer payback period than areas with more sunny days. Finally, many neighborhoods have rules within their Homeowners Association for how and where solar panels can be installed in Virginia, so be sure to check your neighborhood guidelines ahead of time.

Virginia solar power FAQs

How much would solar cost in Virginia?

Most solar panel systems cost between $15,000 and $25,000, but a lot depends on the size of your house, the shape and orientation of your roof, and the costs to install. This price tag can come down long-term, since the U.S. currently offers tax credits for the cost of solar panels, which can lower the payback period.

Is solar power a good investment in Virginia?

While not every home in every location in Virginia will get excellent sun, investing in solar panels for residential purposes often leads to savings. It’s a long-term investment that depends on location, weather patterns, and how much electricity you use as a family. Evaluating your own usage habits can help you estimate whether your payback period would be longer or shorter than average.

How much could I save by investing in solar?

The easiest way to evaluate potential savings is to look at your current energy bills and then subtract the life of the solar panel (about 22 years) from the potential payback period (for instance, 9 years). If all goes well and you stay in your home, you could save the equivalent of 11 years of energy bills, though you’d want to estimate a bit lower given the costs of occasional maintenance needs.

Where can I find a good solar panel installer in Virginia?

There are a variety of great solar panel installers available in Virginia. It’s important to do your research before choosing one company. Before signing a contract with a solar installer, you should read reviews or testimonials about the company, ask for references, and research the company’s history. SaveOnEnergy can also provide guides and tips about the solar industry to help you make an informed decision.

How does solar power help the environment?

Solar panels don’t require you to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and unlike fossil fuels, the sun is a renewable resource. Your home’s carbon footprint will be lower with solar panels than with conventional electricity, and every home that switches to solar lowers the total amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.