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Solar Panels in Michigan: Cost and Savings

Michigan has only started heavily investing in solar power over the past several years, but the state has already made a lot of progress. Many residents have wondered whether home solar panels are worth the hefty upfront investment. Solar power allows you to save on monthly energy costs, become energy independent from the grid, and benefits the environment.

Wondering whether solar panels in Michigan are right for you? Keep reading to learn how much solar panels cost, the benefits of installing solar panels, and more.

Cost of solar panels in Michigan

On average, residential solar systems cost between $3 and $5 per watt, with a total average price tag of $15,000 to $25,000. This price is before any tax credits and other financial incentives that will help you to save even more.

Keep in mind that there are several factors that can affect the total cost of your solar system. The cost of solar panels in Michigan depends on a variety of factors, including the size and configuration of your system, the components included, and any labor and permitting costs.

Solar panel setup

One important factor that affects the cost of your solar panel setup is the components included. Some of the most important pieces of equipment in a solar setup include:

  • Solar panels: Your panels can be either monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film. Each type of panel comes with a different price tag, as well as unique advantages and disadvantages.
  • Solar cell: When you install solar panels, you’ll also need a solar cell to convert the sunlight that your solar panels capture into electricity.
  • Inverter: A solar panel inverter converts direct current (DC) power and converts it into alternating current (AC) power, which is what your household outlets and appliances use.
  • Battery: Many solar investors also find solar batteries to be a worthwhile addition to a home solar system. When you convert solar power to electricity, you can then store it in batteries to use later or to sell back to the electricity grid through a process called net metering.

Solar incentives and rebates in Michigan

It’s true that solar panels are expensive. But thankfully governments at various levels have put incentives in place to help you save money on your green energy investments.

First, the federal government offers a solar panel tax credit that can reduce your out-of-pocket cost by 26 percent. The tax credit is scheduled to decrease in future years, and will eventually go away if the federal government doesn’t renew it.

Michigan also has a financing program that helps homeowners to borrow up to $30,000 to create energy efficiencies in their homes at interest rates as low as 4.99 percent with loans ranging from 1-10 years. This program helps to make solar power more accessible for those who can’t afford solar panels outright.

Solar energy in Michigan may help lower your electric bills 

Solar panels can help you save a lot of money on electricity. Depending on your average electricity rate, you may expect to save up to $100 per month, or $1,200 per year, on electricity. Michigan electricity rates tend to be higher than other states – in May, the average Michigan electric rate was 17.69 cents per kWh – the 10th highest in the nation. This means Michigan residents can save a substantial amount in energy costs each month through investing in solar.

Suppose you buy a solar system for your home for $15,000. Right off the bat, you’ll receive $3,900 back thanks to the government’s 26 percent tax credit. After that, if you save $1,200 per year on electricity, you’ll break even on your system after less than ten years.

Energy independence in Michigan can help you

One of the most important benefits of installing solar panels on your home is that you can reach energy independence. When you’re energy independent, you aren’t reliant on the traditional electricity grid to power your home.

First, energy independence means you don’t have to worry about power outages. When the power in your neighborhood goes out because of a storm or a downed electrical line, you can keep powering your home with solar energy.

Energy independence can also save you a lot of money. When electricity demand increases, prices tend to spike as well. Luckily, with solar panels, you can power your own home and won’t be subject to price spikes when the wholesale cost of electricity goes up.

How to buy solar panels in Michigan 

There’s a lot to consider if you plan to buy solar panels for your home. It’s critical that you research solar providers to find the best one for you and learn about whether solar panels are really right for your home.

First, it’s important to consider the setup and location of your roof. It’s no surprise that solar panels are most effective in areas that get a lot of sunshine. If your roof doesn’t get much sunlight, then solar panels may not work. Panels are also best on homes with south-facing roofs with 15-40 degree slopes. And make sure your roof is in good condition since solar panels aren’t ideal for older roofs and those in poor health.

You should also look into any neighborhood rules that govern you. Some homeowners’ associations have restrictions around the use of solar panels or require approval before you install them. The last thing you want is to pay a lot of money for your panels and then find out you broke an HOA rule.

There are also solar leases to consider, which are an alternative to purchasing solar panels. If you opt for a solar lease, you will not save as much in the long run as you would if you purchased the panels upfront. There are many pros and cons to solar leases, but they are available for those who cannot afford to buy a solar system.

Luckily, Choose Energy has plenty of resources to learn about the pros and cons of solar energy and decide whether it’s right for you. Use our expertly-written guides to navigate the solar energy industry.

The future of energy is solar in Michigan

Michigan didn’t start adopting solar energy policies until 2008 with the creation of its Renewable Portfolio Standard and net metering program. And while the state has been slower to adopt solar energy than other states, it’s made up for lost time over the past five years. 

Michigan still ranks in the bottom half of states for solar energy generation, getting just 0.37 percent of its total electricity from solar energy. But over the past few years, the state has seen huge increases in residential and utility solar installations.

Solar energy FAQs

Do solar panels save you money in Michigan?

Solar panels can reduce your electricity bill since you’re able to power your home with solar energy rather than paying for traditional electricity from the grid. Solar panels can also increase the value of your home, so you will recoup some if not all of that investment back if you sell your home. 

What is the life expectancy of solar panels in Michigan?

Solar panels typically last between 25 and 30 years, but their exact life expectancy depends on their quality and other factors. If you choose to purchase solar panels, make sure to have a professional perform routine maintenance to help them last as long as possible.

Are there disadvantages to using solar energy in Michigan?

Solar panels can be extremely cost-effective, but there are some downsides to consider. First, solar panels are very expensive. Luckily, you can reduce your costs by taking advantage of solar tax credits and incentives. Another downside is that in areas without a lot of sunlight, solar panels won’t save you as much money because they won’t generate as much electricity. Familiarize yourself with all of the pros and cons of solar panels before signing a solar contract.

How does solar power help the environment?

Traditional electricity generation emits harmful greenhouse gasses into the air, which pollute the air and water and contribute to climate change. Generating solar power does not emit these greenhouse gases, making solar energy better for the environment. When you power your home with solar power, you reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

What percentage of Michigan energy production is solar?

Michigan currently gets 0.37 percent of its electricity from solar power, which is enough to power 83,045 homes.

[Millenius]/Shutterstock