Solar Panel Cost In 2023 (Homeowner’s Installation Savings Guide)
By Karsten Neumeister /
In this guide to choosing a reliable and professional solar installer in South Dakota, you’ll learn:
Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates that there are just five solar installation companies located in South Dakota, but there are other national and regional companies that service the state. Although there are fewer installers here than in most states, choosing one to handle your solar project can still be a time-consuming process.
To save you time and energy, we’ve done the research for you and have found the top solar companies suited to providing professional solar installations in South Dakota:
We’ll provide additional information on each of these companies in the drop-down menus below to help you decide which is right for you.
GenPro is our top pick for South Dakotans for two primary reasons: it has many years of experience, and it maintains well-below-average pricing.
GenPro has been in business since 2003, so it has nearly two decades of experience. In a state like South Dakota, which has had one of the slowest solar adoption rates in the country, this amount of experience is uncommon. It suggests that GenPro has the know-how needed to install your solar power system without any major issues or setbacks.
GenPro also has pricing that is well below the local average. This is crucial in areas like South Dakota, where the overall cost to convert to solar is about 20% higher than the national average. Below-average pricing means more customers will be able to afford its products and services.
GenPro maintains low pricing by offering more affordable solar panel brands, which means panel efficiency may be a bit lower. Still, we think the cost and the experience behind this installer make it a good option for South Dakota property owners.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, Generators, Energy-Efficiency Audits, Community Solar|
In our opinion, Lakota Solar Enterprises is the premier choice for South Dakotans looking for below-average solar costs and extensive service offerings related to improving home efficiency.
Lakota Solar Enterprises offers photovoltaic (PV) panel and solar battery installations like most other providers. However, it also offers a wealth of energy-efficient and sustainable building services and solar heating. Solar heating is especially valuable in South Dakota, where the extremely low winter temperatures are the primary reason for above-average energy consumption and utility bills.
This installer also manages to keep pricing below average for the area, which is great news for customers who see the typical $25,000 price tag on a photovoltaic (PV) system and turn the other way.
Lakota Solar doesn’t offer the best warranty coverage, as you’ll only get the manufacturer’s warranty on the equipment and efficiency.
However, we still feel confident recommending this provider, as its technicians are highly skilled and have nearly two decades of experience. This should be sufficient to avoid most issues that could come up due to poor installation techniques.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, Solar Heating, Sustainable Building|
Black Hills Solar makes our list of the top solar providers in SD as it’s one of the only local providers that offer warranty coverage in line with the industry average. It also provides outstanding customer service.
This installer offers a 25-year solar panel efficiency warranty, the manufacturer’s warranty (usually 25 years) for the equipment and a 10-year workmanship warranty. The labor warranty, in particular, is great for ensuring your panels are installed properly and won’t leak. Roof leaks are an elevated risk in SD due to the above-average snowfall.2
You’re also insulated from installation errors, as the technicians are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
Black Hills Solar is a smaller company that offers outstanding customer service and communication. This is harder to come by in South Dakota than in most other states, as the majority of companies that serve the area are larger national companies and regional installers.
Black Hills only serves a small portion of South Dakota, but we believe the value it provides is excellent for those that fall within its service area.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, EV Chargers, Maintenance & Repairs|
Midwest Solar is a small local company that excels in offering above-average customer service. It also provides a customizable solar setup to help you find the perfect solar solution to meet your needs.
To that end, Midwest Solar is one of the few companies that can provide access to any PV panel brand. This allows you to choose a brand that has the efficiency rating to meet your above-average energy needs in SD and still stay within your budget.3 Of course, this is important in your area, as solar panel costs are well above average throughout the state.
Midwest Solar’s locally experienced techs are able and willing to help you take advantage of local solar rebates and incentives and help you secure solar financing to make solar conversion more accessible.
This company is relatively young and doesn’t have much of a proven company history. It also doesn’t offer a workmanship warranty. Still, we think the outstanding customer service and hands-on approach to solar make this a worthwhile installer to consider.
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, EV Chargers, Energy-Efficiency Audits, Maintenance & Repairs|
Watch Below: Is Going Solar Worth It?
Although the cost per watt for PV equipment is below average in South Dakota — $2.39 as compared to $2.66 in other states — most residents still pay more in total for their systems due to the larger capacity requirements to meet local energy needs. The average cost to convert to solar in SD is $25,095 before incentives — about 20% higher than the U.S. average.
Given the high cost of solar conversion, most South Dakota property owners will look for ways to reduce their up-front costs and maximize their long-term energy savings. There are some things we recommend doing to bring your conversion costs down, including:
We’ll explain how these tips can save you money on your PV equipment in the sections below.
Solar incentives are some of the best options for reducing your initial conversion costs and boosting your long-term savings. Unfortunately, South Dakota has far fewer benefit programs than most states, but the perks that are available can help save you thousands on your system.
We’ll provide a brief explanation of South Dakota’s incentives in the table below, but you can read more about these perks and how to take full advantage of them in our guide to solar benefit programs in South Dakota.
|Solar Benefit Program||Program Description|
|Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)||The federal solar tax credit gets applied to your income tax liability and can effectively bring down the cost of your system by thousands of dollars. The credit is offered by the federal government for 30% of your entire installation cost, which averages around $7,529 in SD.|
|Renewable Energy Systems Property Tax Deduction||This is a property tax exemption that prevents your taxes from going up after you install solar. Without this perk, your panels would bump up your tax-assessed value, and you’d end up paying more in property taxes.|
Next, we strongly recommend considering installing a solar battery — like a Tesla Powerwall — alongside your panels. Doing so will increase your initial solar panel system costs, but it’s very often a worthwhile investment in South Dakota.
The reason is that The Mount Rushmore State doesn’t mandate net metering through interconnection. Net metering credits you for the excess energy your panels produce and send to the electric grid. The credits normally offset the energy you take from the grid — for instance at night or when your panels are covered in snow and production plummets.
Installing a battery lets you overproduce energy and store the excess for later use. You can maximize your energy savings in this way, even when your panels aren’t generating electricity. This helps maximize long-term savings, which means batteries can pay for themselves in South Dakota.
We also suggest choosing a company that installs high-efficiency panel brands like SunPower or Tesla. The higher the efficiency rating, the more power your panels will generate given the limited space on your roof. Higher production rates are ideal in South Dakota, as the energy needs in the area are well above the average in the U.S.
Efficient panels are more likely to save you money on your electricity bills, making them more worthwhile in the long run.
Finally, we suggest that you get quotes from a few installers for your solar project. Although SD isn’t home to many installers, each will likely quote a different amount for installation services on your home. Getting a few free quotes from installers in your area lets you compare and find the best value for your money.
Yes! One of the major benefits of converting to solar in SD that many property owners forget is that solar panels make your home more valuable.
Specifically, installing panels on your property should boost the value by around 4.1%, according to estimates from Zillow.4 With the average home value in South Dakota sitting at around $306,000, that’s an increase of approximately $12,500.5
With solar adoption being so slow in South Dakota, your actual value bump could be a bit less. However, you may also see even more value in areas that have taken steps to popularize solar and educate consumers about its benefits.
For example, there was recently a massive community solar farm installed in Oglala Lakota County, suggesting that solar is more widely accepted there than in other areas, so you could see a more significant value bump in this area.
DIY PV panel installation is often an attractive option, especially in areas like South Dakota where professional installation is more expensive than average. Hiring an expert to convert your home in SD will cost around $25,000, while a DIY solar solution would average between $10,000 and $15,000.
Looking at cost alone, DIY solar seems like the way to go. However, there are a few reasons why we recommend against installing your panels yourself. These include:
We’ll discuss why we think these reasons are so compelling and why we recommend against DIY installation in the sections below.
First and foremost, DIY panel brands have efficiency ratings below 18% in most cases, with an average closer to 15%. Not only are they less efficient than professional brands — which average above 20% and push close to 23% — but the efficiency also degrades much more quickly.
As mentioned above, panel efficiency is a crucial thing to consider in South Dakota, as the energy consumption among residents is well above average. High-efficiency professional panels cost more than DIY options, but they will often pay for themselves in energy savings over time.
We also mentioned above that solar batteries are particularly useful in South Dakota because they ensure no energy your panels generate is lost to the grid, since net metering isn’t mandated in the state. Solar batteries with a high capacity are more likely to have a shorter solar payback period and save you money on utility bills in the long run.
DIY solar batteries — usually 12-volt batteries — hold minimal charges and may not be able to store enough energy to maximize your savings on your energy bills.
In comparison, professionally installed batteries like the Tesla Powerwall can store several kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy to provide power through the night, cloudy days, snow coverage and blackouts. Therefore, they’re far more likely to provide more energy savings.
Third, DIY panels come with less appealing warranty coverage in some cases. The typical DIY kit includes a 15-year product warranty and a 10-year production warranty. Warranties from professional installers average 25 years for the equipment, 25 years for the production and 10 years for workmanship.
It’s true that some installers in South Dakota don’t offer much in the way of a workmanship warranty, but even the product warranty from the manufacturer alone is significantly longer than what you’d get with a DIY system.
Finally, penetrating your roof and installing PV panels is inherently risky — but especially so if you don’t have experience. DIYers that are new to solar setups are far more likely to make mistakes. Unfortunately, those errors could lead to roof leaks and resulting property damage that could negate the initial savings on your DIY system.
There are a few things we recommend prioritizing when choosing a PV panel installation company in South Dakota. These include:
We’ll explain why we believe these factors are so important in the sections below.
First and foremost, we recommend choosing an installer that carries tier-one panel brands with above-average efficiency ratings. Having efficient panels on your home will help ensure that your PV system produces sufficient energy to meet the above-average energy demands in your area.
Ultimately, an efficient panel can help effectively bring down your overall electricity rates, which improves the value of your system and allows you to pay it off more quickly.
Next, since solar PV systems in South Dakota are significantly more expensive than they are in most other states, we suggest prioritizing your installer choices based on price and payment options.
Companies with average or below-average pricing will help maximize the value and return on investment you see from your equipment. Choosing an installer with a payment option that works for you also means your system will be accessible and will fit within your budget.
Finally, we suggest choosing an installer with years of experience in the solar industry, if at all possible. Since solar adoption is really just starting to pick up in SD, new companies have been popping up over the last few years to meet demand.
Young companies aren’t inherently bad, but they are more likely to leave the industry and void your warranties in the process. Choosing an experienced installer also means you’re more likely to get a professional installation that is done properly the first time around.
When we’re ranking the top solar providers in South Dakota, our primary goal is to bring you providers that are most likely to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. That’s why we use a unique rating system with factors that we believe are most important to South Dakotans, specifically. Below is a quick look at how we rank SD installers:
We also never let our commercial partnerships affect our methodology, so each company is rated solely based on how likely they are to provide a system suited to your home. We’ll explain why we believe these factors are most crucial in SD below.
First, we look at the services and equipment brands offered by each provider. As we explained previously, high-efficiency panels like those from SunPower are crucial in South Dakota, as they are most likely to offset the high energy consumption in the state. We prioritize installers who carry top-tier, efficient panels.
We also rank companies higher if they offer a good selection of solar batteries. Since South Dakota doesn’t offer net metering to solar customers, having a battery to store the energy you can call on at any time is a great way to reduce energy costs and save money over time with your PV system.
Next, we look at the relative pricing of each provider as well as the payment options afforded to customers.
Companies that have average or below-average pricing can score higher, but we also prioritize installers who keep clean energy accessible by accepting multiple, flexible payment options. Since we don’t recommend leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), we don’t dock companies that don’t offer these options.
Next, we prioritize experience. South Dakota’s local solar industry is just now starting to bloom, so new companies are more prevalent than ever before. We give precedence to installers with at least five years of experience. Those that have ten or more years get a perfect score in this category.
Since solar isn’t terribly popular throughout SD, some installers focus their efforts on larger cities where the demand is naturally higher. Since companies with wider service areas appeal to more consumers, we rank companies higher if they serve the entire state.
Other things we look for to avoid recommending companies that provide below-average service include qualifications, certifications and signs of a positive reputation that set installers apart from others. We rank companies higher if they hold:
Warranties for solar energy systems help protect your equipment and the structure on which they’re installed. Longer and more robust warranty coverage is always better, so we use the industry averages below to compare installers in South Dakota:
Unfortunately, many of the installers in the area don’t provide particularly good warranty coverage options, and most just include the manufacturer’s warranty. Still, this is all the more reason for us to highlight those that provide superior coverage.
Finally, we like to promote companies that have a positive impact on the environment and the areas they serve. Some things that suggest this include:
While solar isn’t terribly popular yet in South Dakota, we still get questions pretty frequently from customers looking to choose one of the top installers in the area. We’ll answer some of the most common questions we see below.
Based on our company assessments, GenPro Energy is the most reputable solar panel installer in South Dakota. This is a regional company with a service area throughout all of South Dakota. It maintains outstanding customer service and affordable pricing, and it provides a good array of products and services to help you offset your electric bills.
Yes, absolutely. Many homeowners in South Dakota choose a solar provider based on the panels it installs. Some residents opt for panels that have robust damage coverage from the manufacturer for peace of mind in South Dakota’s extreme weather. Others opt for installers who carry only high-efficiency panels because they want to maximize their savings on energy bills. The type of panel you have installed will affect your entire experience after installation, so choosing the right brand for your needs is crucial.
GRID Alternatives, having installed the most kilowatt-hours in the state, is widely regarded as the biggest solar provider in South Dakota according to most estimates. GenPro Energy sits closely behind GRID Alternatives in terms of the number of installations in South Dakota.
According to data available from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are 15 solar-related companies based in South Dakota. Of these, only five provide PV panel installation services for homeowners.
South Dakotans are well prepared to deal with long, frigid winters, but many wonder if their PV panel systems will still work with the less intense sunlight and snowfall. Photovoltaic panels will still work in the winter, but energy production will likely be lower given that the sunlight isn’t as strong or plentiful. High-efficiency panels can produce enough energy in the winter to maximize savings, so more costly panels typically suit homeowners in South Dakota better. Also, electricity actually flows faster in colder temperatures, so you may see your solar panels produce more efficiently in the winter anyway.
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