Solar Panel Cost Guide in East Lansing, MI (Feb 2023)

  • East Lansing Solar Installation Cost: $12,156
  • 25-Year Savings: $21,735
  • Payback Period: 9.0 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

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We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in East Lansing

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar in East Lansing.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in East Lansing, the typical cost of solar panels is $3 per watt. The average East Lansing homeowner needs a 6.2-kilowatt system, which would cost about $12,156, or $8,995 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

The actual price you pay can go higher or lower than the average in East Lansing based on a few factors, such as the type of solar panels you choose and the solar installer you hire. With typical savings of about $21,000 on energy bills over 20 years, many homeowners in East Lansing find installing solar panels has a decent ROI.

Click the button below to get connected to a top solar panel company in your area for a personalized quote.

Solar savings over time in East Lansing

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-10,800
3 years $-8,089
5 years $-5,378
7 years $-2,666
9 years $45
11 years $2,756
13 years $5,468
15 years $8,179
17 years $10,890
19 years $13,601
21 years $16,313
23 years $19,024
25 years $21,735

Top Solar Installers in East Lansing

When going solar, many homeowners decide to go with a solar company since handling can be a time-consuming project. Solar warranties and repairs are often included in the cost of installation when you go with a solar company as well, which can save you more money over time.

If you're on the hunt for a solar installer in East Lansing, we've put together a list of our top suggestions here:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Solar Veteran

Michigan Solar Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Slightly limited service offerings
  • No leases or PPAs

Outstanding Local Installer

Strawberry Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Educational, no-pressure sales approach
  • Limited warranty coverage
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited brands of solar equipment available

See all of the solar companies in East Lansing

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in East Lansing

Cost is usually one of the most important factors for homeowners considering investing in solar. There are a few major factors that affect your total cost in East Lansing: solar equipment and system size, financing options and the solar installation company you choose. We'll discuss each of these briefly below.

Solar Equipment

One of the most significant factors to consider when it comes to the cost of adopting solar energy is the size of the solar system, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). The more energy your household uses, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to spend around $2,810 per kilowatt in East Lansing. The brand and type of equipment you choose for your solar system can increase or decrease the price quite significantly. If you prefer a brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these often come at a higher price than other brands. Efficiency also matters. Whether you're opting for high efficiency because you have a small roof or just want maximum energy production, you can expect a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to greater savings over time. Plus, if you want extra equipment like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also increase the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

If paying for solar panels in cash is too expensive, solar loans are an affordable option because they decrease your upfront costs and allow you to pay for your system over five to seven years on average. You'll have to consider the long-term cost of financing options, including the amount of interest you'll pay over the length of the loan. If you can only get a high-interest loan, then your total can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than the original cost. Making a larger down payment or securing a solar loan with a low interest rate could reduce your costs considerably.

Solar Panel Installation Company

A final consideration when trying to evaluate the cost of solar for your home or business in East Lansing is the company you hire to install your PV system. Similar to choosing a company to build a deck or pool, for example, you'll have many options for solar installers that offer a range of services for different budgets. You may come across national solar installers that have lower prices due to their bigger brand name and access to bulk equipment pricing, or you might see small, local installation companies offering deals or promotions to compete with those larger companies.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.92 $12,274 $20,654 9.3 years
8 kW $2.87 $16,051 $27,853 9.1 years
10 kW $2.81 $19,670 $35,210 9.0 years
12 kW $2.75 $23,132 $42,724 8.8 years
14 kW $2.70 $26,436 $50,396 8.6 years
16 kW $2.64 $29,584 $58,224 8.4 years
18 kW $2.59 $32,574 $66,211 8.2 years
20 kW $2.53 $35,406 $74,354 8.1 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

Since the type of solar panels and the company you choose has an impact on your costs and your system's efficiency, production, and durability, it's important to select the right ones for you. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help with your decision:

  • Reputation: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a respected certification organization for renewable energy professionals. If your solar panel installer is NABCEP-certified, it likely has a solid reputation and is qualified to install your solar system. Another way you can verify your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • Installation Process: Make sure you're on the same page with the company regarding how the installation process will go and what needs to be done before your solar system is installed, such as updating or replacing your electrical system or roof.
  • Contract: When looking over your solar installer's contract, ask questions about any terms you're not sure of and make sure you understand what happens in scenarios such as a system component breaking or if the company goes out of business.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Not all solar companies carry the same brands of solar panels, so the brand and type of panel you want can play a significant role in the company you go with.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Solar Veteran

Michigan Solar Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Slightly limited service offerings
  • No leases or PPAs

Outstanding Local Installer

Strawberry Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Educational, no-pressure sales approach
  • Limited warranty coverage
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited brands of solar equipment available

EcoWatch's East Lansing, MI Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in East Lansing?

This is a difficult question to answer exactly, because the cost depends on a variety of factors. Generally speaking, it costs about $14,050 for a 5-kW system and $28,100 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. It will be more expensive if you want extra solar equipment or more efficient panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy consumption. Conversely, you can spend less if you want a smaller solar panel system or cheaper solar panels.

Are solar panels free in East Lansing?

A solar panel system isn't free in East Lansing, but there are some options that can make getting them more affordable, such as leasing solar panels or getting a solar loan. There may also be local programs or incentives that can further reduce the cost.

Can you sell solar power back to the grid in East Lansing?

Most states offer net metering programs of some kind. Through these, you can either receive compensation for the extra power your system generates or or receive credits to put toward future energy bills. Currently there are just three states that don't have any net metering laws: Alabama, Tennessee and South Dakota.

What solar power system size is right for my home?

To figure out how many solar panels you need, you need to know how much energy your home uses and how much sunlight your home gets. For a general estimate, however, since each panel can typically produce about 250 to 400 watt-hours per hour, the average household will need 20 to 35 panels.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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