Like many states around the nation, Washington D.C. has increasingly begun to embrace solar energy over the past several years. Solar installations have increased over the past decade, especially when it comes to residential, commercial, and community solar.
If you live in Washington D.C., you might be asking yourself this question: Is solar worth it? We’ll explore that question below by talking about the cost and potential savings of solar panels, as well as some other factors you should be aware of.
Cost of solar panels in Washington D.C.
The cost of a residential solar panel system depends on a variety of factors, including its size, components included, configuration, and more. On average, a home solar system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, with a final price tag between $15,000 and $25,000. The total cost of a solar system will be affected by tax rebates or other incentives, so your actual costs are likely to be lower.
Solar panel setup
As we mentioned, the cost of your solar panel system will depend on your setup and the components you choose to include. Below are some of the components you may need for your home solar system:
- Solar panels: The solar panels are the very core of your solar system and the piece that actually captures the sunlight. You can choose between monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film panels, each of which comes with its own advantages.
- Solar cell: The solar cell is the piece of your system that takes the sunlight that your solar panels capture and converts it into electricity, which you can then use to power your home.
- Inverter: A solar panel inverter helps you to use the electricity you’ve created by converting direct current (DC) power into alternating current (AC) power, which is needed for your home’s outlets and appliances.
- Battery: You may choose to include batteries in your residential solar system to store the energy you create. That way, you can use the energy when the sun isn’t shining, or you can even sell it back to the electrical grid through net metering programs.
Solar incentives and rebates in Washington D.C.
Solar panels are a significant financial investment, but there are plenty of ways to lower the costs through tax credits, rebates, and other financial incentives.
First, the federal government offers a 26 percent tax credit for homeowners who purchase solar panels. This credit only applies to those who purchase their panels outright — it doesn’t apply to solar panel leases. This credit can save you thousands of dollars and significantly reduce the cost of a home solar system.
Next, Washington D.C. offers a property tax exemption, which means that you won’t pay extra taxes on the increase in your property values from your solar panels. Other local initiatives to help you save include a net metering program, which lets you sell your energy back to the grid, a rebate for eligible low-income residents who buy solar panels, and solar renewable energy credits.
Solar energy in Washington D.C. may help lower your electric bills
The financial incentives in place aren’t the only way to save money on your solar panel purchase. You could also experience substantial cost savings on your electric bills.
Let’s say you have a monthly electricity bill of $120 and spend $15,000 on your solar panel system. Right off the bat, you can receive $3,900 back from the federal solar panel tax credit. Then, you could save up to $1,440 on your monthly electricity bills. You could expect to break even on your solar panel system in less than eight years. And since solar panels often last 20-30 years, you could have several decades of pure savings.
Here’s an example of how the numbers break down:
|Average initial investment||Years to get ROI||Average savings per year after ROI||Avg. savings five years after ROI|
Energy independence in Washington D.C. can help you
One of the primary benefits you can gain by installing solar panels on your home is increased energy independence, meaning you’re less dependent on the traditional energy grid to power your home.
Becoming more energy independent means you’re not as prone to energy price hikes. When electricity demand increases, which often happens in the winter and summer months, electricity prices also increase. But when you power your home with solar energy rather than power from the electricity grid, you aren’t subject to those price spikes. In fact, thanks to Washington D.C.’s net metering program, you can even earn money from your solar energy.
If you install solar panels, you will still be connected to the power grid. However, the majority of the electricity you need for your home can come from your home solar system.
How to buy solar panels in Washington D.C.
Wondering how to get started with investing in solar panels? There’s a lot that goes into buying solar panels for your home and a lot of research required on the front end. Here at Choose Energy, we’ve compiled a variety of resources to help you navigate the solar industry, including a list of the pros and cons of solar power to consider.
One of the factors you’ll have to think about when shopping for solar panels is the state of your roof. Solar panels are most effective on south-facing roofs with slopes of 15-40 degrees. They’re also best suited to homes with lots of sunshine and when the roof is in good condition. It’s also important to consider your neighborhood. Some homeowners’ associations have restrictions around solar panel use or may require approval before installation.
Finally, consider how long you plan to stay in your home. It takes many years to break even on solar panels, and so they’re most cost-effective when you plan to stay in the home a long time to really take advantage of the savings.
To learn more about solar panels and solar power, visit our complete guide to solar energy.
Want to learn more about solar energy?
- Give us a call: Speak with a solar energy expert.
- Find out if solar energy could work for you: Understand the options available at your home.
- Get a quote today: Call: 1-866-492-8331 for personalized quotes from a solar installer.
The future of energy is solar in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. first began implementing solar policies in 2000, when the city created its net metering policy allowing residents to sell surplus solar energy back to the energy grid. The city later took another step by passing its renewable portfolio standard, setting requirements for solar energy in the city.
Compared to other states, Washington D.C. has been a slow adopter of solar power — it ranks 40th in the nation for solar energy generation. But while it doesn’t produce as much solar energy as other states, solar power makes up 57.6 percent of the city’s electricity. The city has committed to sourcing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2032, and it’s well on its way to reaching this goal.
Solar energy FAQs
What is the life expectancy of solar panels in Washington D.C.?
Solar panels can be expected to last between 20 and 30 years, but their exact life expectancy depends on a variety of factors.
Are there disadvantages to using solar energy in Washington D.C.?
While solar panels can be an excellent investment, there are some downsides to consider. First, there’s a huge upfront cost required to buy solar panels. And if your home gets limited sunlight, then you may not be able to get your money’s worth.
Is it better to buy or lease solar panels?
When you choose to install solar panels on your home, you can choose between buying and leasing your solar panels. Leasing can make solar panels more accessible and affordable, but they may not have the same financial payoff for homeowners.
What percent of Washington D.C. energy production is solar?
Washington D.C. gets 57.6 percent of its electricity from solar power.