Solar Panel Cost in Kentucky (2022 Local Savings Guide)
Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in Kentucky:
- Average Cost Per Watt: $2.34
- Cost of Average System: $19,048*
- Cost of Energy Without Solar: $45,987
- Payback Period: 13 Years**
- Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $20,247
*Average system size is calculated using data from the Energy Information Administration. This price is after tax credit.
**Payback period is calculated assuming the system is purchased in cash.
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Cost of Solar Panels in Kentucky
Solar panels are priced per watt, and the average cost per watt in Kentucky is $2.34. That’s good news for Kentucky residents wanting to go solar, because it’s significantly cheaper than the U.S. average of $2.66 per watt.
According to internal data and market research, the typical Kentucky homeowner installs an 11 kilowatt (kW) solar system to offset an average monthly energy bill of $117.1 Plugging these figures into our solar calculator, we see that the average Kentucky homeowner pays around $25,740 for a home solar panel installation. However, that number drops to $18,018 after applying the 30% federal solar tax credit.
Solar Panel System Installation Cost in Kentucky
As we mentioned, solar panels are priced per watt, which means the larger your solar energy system, the larger the price tag it will come with. For example, a 5-kW solar panel system in Kentucky would cost about $11,700, while a 14-kW system would be closer to $32,760.
The table below shows the average prices for the different solar panel system sizes in Kentucky before and after applying the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC):
|Size of Solar Panel System||Kentucky Solar Panel Cost||Cost After 30% Federal Tax Credit|
Interested to see the best solar companies in Kentucky that offer affordable, high-quality systems? Click here to learn more.
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Kentucky?
Most Kentucky homeowners pay around $18,018 for solar panel systems after the federal tax credit, but in actuality, you can pay anywhere from $13,104 up to about $22,932. The cost can vary significantly due to factors related to labor and equipment. We’ll take you through these below and explain how each will affects your total.
The type of solar equipment you choose for your home will always make a difference in your total cost to go solar. Both the specific pieces of equipment you choose and what brands they are affect your cost.
Kentucky residents only get around 189 sunny days per year, which is lower than the U.S. average of 205. The lack of available sunshine means that higher-efficiency panels, which are costlier, are usually needed to offset electric bills entirely.
The need for high-performance panels will naturally drive up the cost to go solar, especially if other factors — like shading on your roof — further reduce the amount of available sunlight.
Luckily, Kentucky doesn’t experience much extreme weather, so most homeowners don’t need to add on solar batteries to provide power through outages like they might in other parts of Tornado Alley that experience more outages. The lack of need for batteries tends to lower the price of solar systems somewhat in KY.
Solar Financing in Kentucky
As we mentioned above, solar panels often total near $20,000 after the ITC (solar investment tax credit) is applied, and how you pay for your panels is another factor that will influence your total.
For example, financing with a solar loan is a popular option that lets you defer the total cost, but you’ll end up paying more over time because of the interest. Choosing a cash purchase will lead to the lowest overall cost and the highest overall savings, but it does require a large initial outlay of cash.
Kentucky makes solar financing affordable and accessible through a few different loan programs. The first is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which limits interest rates and loan terms to keep costs to a minimum.
Unfortunately, Kentucky doesn’t have a dedicated loan program for low-income households, but certain municipalities within KY do. For example, Louisville offers the Solar Over Louisville program, which gives homeowners access to significant discounts on going solar.
Kentucky Solar Installation Company
Aside from solar equipment type and brand and system financing mechanism, the company you select to install your equipment is a major factor in pricing.
Different companies have their own labor rates and equipment charges, so across different companies you could be looking at prices that are hundreds or thousands of dollars apart for the exact same system.
Additionally, each solar company offers different solar panel and battery brands, which vary in price.
Solar Energy Solutions, a small local solar company in Kentucky, installs panels from SunPower, Tesla, Trina and Canadian Solar. Opting for this company and choosing one of the more affordable brands can yield a lower price than choosing SunPower as your installer, for example.
SunPower is a national company that operates in Kentucky. It installs just one brand that happens to be quite expensive.
It’s important to remember that not all solar panels are created equal, so you should consider comparing the installers and brands available to you based on price and overall quality.
Additional Considerations and Costs in Kentucky
There are some other minor things you’ll want to consider as you shop around for solar panels and a reputable installer. We’ll list a few of these below.
- Permits: Building permits are a requirement for all solar panel installations in Kentucky. You might not need to pull the permit and schedule the inspections if your installer does it for you, but you’ll be responsible for the cost of the permit and being home to give the inspectors access.
- Licenses: Technically, your solar installer in KY doesn’t need a special license to install your system. However, you should confirm that your installer has a certified electrician on its team, as the permitting and system connection require a licensed electrician.
- Warranties: Solar warranties are crucial because they protect what is likely a major investment for your home. Solar warranties usually cover performance, equipment damage and issues with the installation. The best warranties cover all three, as well as roof leaks.
- HOAs: Kentucky has laws in place to protect each homeowner’s rights to install solar. Homeowners’ associations and other private and public entities cannot prevent you from installing or using solar panels.
- Environmental zoning: Kentucky does have some zoning laws that prohibit where solar farms can be installed, but rooftop solar systems aren’t prohibited by local zoning laws.
Watch Below: Former Kentucky coal miner launches solar energy business to help economy and environment
Kentucky Solar Incentives
Kentucky is not one of the top states for solar, likely because it doesn’t offer many statewide incentives — like tax credits or exemptions — for residents who go solar. However, it does have a favorable net metering program that rewards solar users.
Aside from that, switching to solar is a popular option for Kentucky residents who are seeking energy independence from utility companies, or are perhaps interested in lowering their electricity rates.
Whatever your reason for making the switch to clean energy, we want you to get the maximum benefit. So we’ve outlined some of the top incentives in Kentucky below.
|Kentucky Solar Incentive||How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Kentucky|
|PACE Financing||Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to finance the cost of their solar installation and pay back the money via a voluntary property tax assessment. Although this doesn’t lower the cost of going solar, it can be a great option for homeowners who can’t take out a traditional loan or pay for a system in cash.|
|Net Metering||Kentucky requires investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives (exempting Tennessee Valley Authority [TVA] utilities) to offer net metering to consumers with a capacity of up to 30 kW. Customers are credited at full retail rate.2 (Learn more about net metering here)|
|Local Solar Rebates & Incentives||There are a handful of local utilities that offer energy efficiency rebates, which solar companies can complete along with your panel installation. For instance, the Blue Grass Energy Cooperative offers rebates up to $750 for air sealing and ceiling installations, and Jackson Energy Cooperative offers up to $2,000 to households for weatherization.3,4 Check out DSIRE to see if your utility offers any applicable incentives to your home solar system.|
|Federal Solar Tax Credit||The solar investment tax credit (ITC) allows solar adopters to claim 30% of their total solar equipment and installation costs as a tax credit on their next federal filing. The 30% credit is in effect for any solar project purchased through 2032. The credit will decrease to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before being phased out in 2035.|
|Incentives for Energy Independence||This state incentive is for commercial solar installations (and other renewable energy facilities) but it’s a pretty enticing offer. Kentucky offers incentives — including income tax credits, sales and use tax incentives — to facilities that don’t use fossil fuels as an energy source.5|
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Kentucky
There are many different brands of solar panels and equipment available in Kentucky, all of which have varying levels of efficiency and come at different costs.
The table below outlines some of the top solar brands in KY and a relative pricing model to help you decide which brands are likely to fit into your budget.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
Want to know how many solar panels you need and how much your system will cost? Select one of our top providers below, and a reliable installer in your area will provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for your system.
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FAQs: Solar Panel Cost Kentucky
The EcoWatch team fields many questions from Kentucky homeowners interested in solar. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at email@example.com.
The average cost of solar panels in Kentucky is $2.34 per watt or $25,740 for the average 11-kW solar system. A solar system in Kentucky also qualifies for the 30% federal tax credit, which would give you an additional savings of about $7,722.
Yes, data from Zillow shows that adding solar boosts property value and that homes with solar panels tend to sell for 4.1% more than homes without.7 It’s important to remember that you can only capitalize on the increase of your Kentucky home’s value if you own your solar system and not if you have a solar lease.
It’s always better to buy your solar panels if you can because you can’t enjoy all of the benefits of going solar if you don’t own your solar system. For instance, if you choose to lease solar panels, you will not be able to claim the federal tax credit or take advantage of increased property value.
No, solar panels are never free. Some companies may advertise “free solar panels,” but what they’re really offering are solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs). We don’t recommend leasing your solar panels because you won’t be able to capitalize on all of the benefits of going solar if you don’t own your panels.
Depending on your energy needs and local electricity prices, solar panels can eliminate your energy bills in Kentucky, especially if your utility offers a good net metering program. If your solar system generates more energy than what you need to power your home, you’ll not only reduce your electric bill, but you’ll receive credits from your utility company to use on months when your electricity costs are higher.