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Solar Panels in Virginia: Cost and Savings

Solar panels in Virginia

With a dynamic landscape and multiple national parks, Virginia is becoming a landmark state for pursuing sustainable resources, including solar energy. In 2020, Virginia legislators passed the Clean Economy Act, which will generate nearly 30,000 jobs in the solar industry and encourage more clean energy use. 

But is solar worth it? After decades of technology and industry evolution, the answer is yes, solar energy is now worth it more than ever. Incentives like job growth will not only enable all levels of incomes to have access to solar, but allows communities to embrace a greener approach to supplying households with carbon-free energy. To learn more about the benefits of solar and whether solar might be right for you, keep reading.

Cost of solar panels in Virginia

The cost of solar panels in VA can depend on several variables. Even the type of panel you go with will matter when it comes to the generation of usable energy for your home. For those who want to retrofit their home with solar harnessing hardware, you’ll want to be well-researched before purchasing and installation. 

On average, a residential solar system is about 5 kW and costs between $15,000—$20,000. However, this number doesn’t factor in any state or federal tax credits, rebates, or other incentives that may be available to you. A typical payback period for a residential system is  between six and nine years.

Should you decide to go solar, you’ll get to know the hardware required for your home’s system. The items below are some of the basic equipment needed for your solar energy system.

  • Photovoltaic panels (either monocrystalline and polycrystalline)
  • Solar panel inverter
  • Solar cell or bank

Photovoltaic panels come in two types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. These crystals are the reason for the photon harvest from the sun. The differences in energy generating efficiency will vary according to silicon crystal type. We’ve narrowed down the similarities and differences below:

Monocrystalline

  • Pure silicon crystals
  • Conversion efficiency: 15-20%
  • Lifespan: About 40 years
  • Recyclable: Yes
  • Cost: Generally pricier than polycrystalline panels

Polycrystalline

  • Silicon fragments that form single unit after melting
  • Conversion efficiency: 13-16%
  • Lifespan: About 35 years
  • Recyclable: Yes
  • Cost: Generally less expensive than monocrystalline panels

As you learn more about going solar, you will see there are a variety of ways to acquire your home’s new solar panel roof. You can lease, lease-to-own, or outright purchase your solar system. By leasing your solar system, you may save money upfront, but you’ll miss out on the 26% federal solar tax credit, as well as face possible lease payment increases. Owning your system can be more costly upfront, but the panels can help increase the value of your home and you’ll be able to take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. 

Solar incentives and rebates in Virginia

Here’s a quick checklist of money-saving solar incentives and tax rebates that could prove very cost-effective for Virginia residents:

  • 26% federal solar panel tax credit
  • Energy Efficient Mortgages
  • Residential Property Tax Exemption for Solar
  • Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion
  • Residential property tax exemption
  • LG solar rebates
  • Low Income Individuals Credit
  • Credit for taxes paid to another state

Solar energy in Virginia may help lower your electric bills

To estimate how much you could save with solar, you’ll need to find out how much electricity you use and how much you pay for it. This figure is defined as the cost per kWh. When you go solar, savings will accrue over time rather than immediately. The average electricity rate in the U.S. is 12.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but cost per kWh depends on the area you live in.

Energy independence in Virginia can help you

Energy independence is when an individual is self-reliant when it comes to producing and maintaining energy for their household without relying heavily on the grid. For example, if there is a storm in the area and power lines are disrupted, someone with energy independence will still have access to a working power supply. Energy-independent equipment on your home, like solar panels, can provide an extra layer of safety and increase the value of your home. In fact, having solar panels on your home can increase the value of your property by up to $15,000.

How to buy solar panels in Virginia

On a broader scale, some important aspects you may want to consider are solar energy policies that are being developed and enacted in Virginia. To learn more, you can reach out or get involved with the MDV Solar Energy Industries Association, which is an organization that advocates, educates, and helps form policy in Virginia and surrounding states. 

However, here are some specific factors you may want to consider before installing solar at your home:

  • HOA rules
  • How long you plan to live in your home
  • Value of your home
  • The direction your roof faces
  • Nearby trees (or other structures) that could shade your roof
  • How much sun you get in your area

The future of energy in Virginia is Solar

Renewable energy is the use of energy resources that have the ability to restore themselves over time and do not deplete. Utilizing green energy means to use renewable energy sources that offer environmental benefits such as solar energy, wind energy, and geothermal. 

Solar can help customers make their environmental footprint smaller, add to the value of their property, and save them money in the long run on utilities. Solar is becoming a more popular source of energy for people in Virginia, especially with policies like the Clean Economy Act.

Virginia Solar energy FAQs

How many people use solar energy in Virginia?

In Virginia, thousands of residents have already gone solar. In 2020, the state was ranked fourth nationally by the Solar Energy Industries Association for solar energy usage. Enough solar power has been installed in Virginia to power 254,918 homes.

Do solar panels save you money in Virginia?

With solar panel costs dropping 45% over the last five years, it’s easier than ever to save money by going solar in Virginia. However, remember that going solar is a long-term investment, so don’t expect to see huge returns right away.

What is the life expectancy of solar panels in Virginia?

Solar panels can last 25—30 years in Virginia. Panels can slowly degrade and become less efficient over time, meaning they will produce less energy over time. This is why the quality of the solar panels on your home matter.

How does solar power help the environment?

Solar panel technology converts sunlight into energy to power your home. Sunlight is a renewable resource that will never deplete, and creating energy using sunlight avoids putting harmful toxins into the air and creating more carbon.