Solar Panel Cost in Pennsylvania (2023 Local Savings Guide)

In this guide to determining solar panel costs solar in Pennsylvania, you’ll learn:

  • How much do solar panels cost in Pennsylvania?
  • Which incentives can help lower the price of solar equipment in Pennsylvania?
  • Are there any ongoing solar system maintenance costs to consider in Pennsylvania?
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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Pennsylvania?

The average cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Pennsylvania is around $15,173 after the federal tax credit is applied. The price averages around $21,675 before considering the credit.

These figures are based on the typical system size required to offset electric bills in Pennsylvania — usually 8.5 kilowatts (kW) and the average price per watt for the equipment, which hovers around $2.55.

Keep in mind that your costs can vary based on numerous factors. These include the brand and durability of your equipment, the size system you need to offset your electric bills and more. Most Pennsylvanians pay between $10,710 and $21,420 for their solar systems after the federal credit is applied.

The table below includes average costs for different system sizes in your area, so you can better determine where the price of your system is likely to fall.

Size of Your Solar Power System Typical Cost in Pennsylvania (Before Tax Credit) Cost After Federal Tax Credit Average Home Size the System Can Support
6 kW $15,300 $10,710 1,200 sq. ft.
7 kW $17,850 $12,495 1,400 sq. ft.
8 kW $20,400 $14,280 1,600 sq. ft.
9 kW $22,950 $16,065 1,800 sq. ft.
10 kW $25,500 $17,850 2,000 sq. ft.
11 kW $28,050 $19,635 2,200 sq. ft.
12 kW $30,600 $21,420 2,400 sq. ft.

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YellowLite

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  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Full-service home energy solutions

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  • No leases or PPAs
  • Relatively short workmanship warranty
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Paradise Energy Solutions

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  • Outstanding customer service
  • Many years of experience
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Slightly limited service offerings

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  • Great warranty coverage
  • No leases or PPAs
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SunPower

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Pros

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage

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  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

How Does the Current Cost of Solar in Pennsylvania Compare to the National Average?

With Pennsylvania’s per-watt prices averaging around $2.55, solar equipment in the Keystone State is well below the national average in terms of pricing. For comparison, the average cost nationwide is $2.66 per watt.

Additionally, Pennsylvania residents use slightly below-average amounts of electricity per month — an average of 851 kilowatt-hours (kWh) as compared to 893 kWh across the country.1 That means smaller systems — an average of 8.5 kW — are required in Pennsylvania than in the U.S. as a whole — an average of 9 kW. Residents of PA can expect to purchase a unit anywhere from 6kW system to a 10 kW system and be comfortable .

With lower equipment prices, your money goes further when converting to solar in the Keystone State. Plus, smaller system sizes mean lower overall conversion costs.

How Are Solar Costs Trending in Pennsylvania?

hazy sunset shining on solar panels

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the cost of solar equipment in Pennsylvania has dropped over the last decade by approximately 53%.2 A system that costs $15,000 today — around the average — would have cost nearly $32,000 in 2010.

This is good news for Pennsylvanians, as is the expected drop in the price of PV equipment in the coming years. Advancements in solar equipment efficiency and manufacturing have led to price drops over the years — and companies are still making advancements, so its likely costs will continue to drop.

While PV equipment is gradually becoming more affordable, the cost of not going solar — which is to say, sticking with fossil fuels for energy — is increasing in Pennsylvania.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electricity prices in Pennsylvania have increased by nearly 24% in recent years.3 In that same time, the electricity rates in the U.S. have gone up by 21%. Not only have energy rates soared in Pennsylvania, but the increase over the past three years has outpaced most other states.

With solar prices decreasing and traditional electricity costs rising, there has historically never been a better time to convert to solar energy in Pennsylvania.

How Much Can You Save by Going Solar in Pennsylvania Today?

The average Pennsylvania resident who pays for their solar system in cash will see utility bill savings that can pay off their panels and save an additional $23,634. These savings are a conservative estimate, as they’re based on current energy prices and don’t account for the rising cost of electricity.

Not only can solar panels save you money on monthly energy costs, but they can also help you avoid the burden of rising power rates.

It’s important to note that your total savings will depend on how you pay for your PV equipment. In the chart below and the following sections, we’ll compare how your payment method affects your average energy savings when converting to renewable energy.

Solar Financing Option Initial Cost Payback Period Est. 25-Year Savings
Cash $15,173 (after the federal credit) 10 years* $23,634*
Loan Often $0, but higher down payments can reduce your payback timeline and your total interest paid 13 years* $18,000*
Lease Often $0 N/A $6,000

*These are conservative estimates intended to represent base-level averages. In most cases, customers can see an even higher return on investment (ROI) and shorter payback periods.

Cash Purchase of Solar System

Purchasing your solar system, no matter where you buy it, in cash is financially speaking, the best way to approach solar conversion. A cash purchase is expensive initially, but you’ll avoid the interest charges that drive up your total purchase price with loans, maximizing your long-term savings.

Since you won’t have an added interest cost when you pay with cash, you’ll begin saving money on your electricity bills immediately. You can expect your savings to pay off your system in the shortest time possible — 10 years — and then provide another decade of return on your solar investment, on average.

After paying for your system in cash, you can expect your monthly energy expenses to be significantly reduced, often dropping down or close to $0 if your system is sized appropriately for your home.

Cash purchases also allow you to take full advantage of all local incentives in Pennsylvania, which is not the case for other payment methods, like leases.

The most significant downside to paying in cash is that you need the entire cost of your system upfront. This total is $21,675 on average, as you won’t be able to take the federal tax credit until you file your taxes for the year you commission your equipment. This cost may be unrealistic for many Pennsylvania residents, making cash purchases less attainable overall.

Below are some pros and cons of using cash to buy your solar system in Pennsylvania.

Pros of a Cash Purchase in Pennsylvania

  • Yields the largest return on investment
  • Avoids interest charges, which reduces your total system cost
  • Shortest possible panel payback timeline
  • Leads to panel ownership
  • You can take advantage of most solar incentives

Cons of a Cash Purchase in Pennsylvania

  • Requires the highest amount of money upfront

Solar Loan

Paying for your system with a solar loan makes converting to renewable energy far more affordable and accessible to Pennsylvania residents. A loan lets you pay a small portion of your system cost initially — often $0 with today’s loan products — and finance the rest.

In most cases, your financier can structure your repayment schedule so your monthly loan payment is equal to or less than what you currently pay for energy every month. In Pennsylvania, that means a monthly expenditure at or below $117.4

Solar loans still lead to panel ownership, but they add interest to your total payment, making your all-in system price more expensive in the long run. Over the life of the loan, you can expect to pay approximately $5,000 in interest, although the total added cost can vary.

The added interest cost will prolong your payback period, usually by around three years, which means a lower overall return on investment than if you had paid with cash.

Solar financing still lets you take advantage of all solar incentives available in Pennsylvania, including the federal credit. State level solar incentives for PA also exist and can add to your savings.

Below, we’ll include a list of the upsides and downsides of choosing a loan to finance your PV equipment in Pennsylvania.

Pros of a Solar Loan in Pennsylvania

  • Leads to panel ownership
  • Provides a better ROI than leases
  • Makes solar far more accessible and affordable
  • Often requires no money down

Cons of a Solar Loan in Pennsylvania

  • Lower savings compared to a cash purchase
  • Higher overall system cost due to added interest
  • Decent credit is required to qualify

Solar Lease

A solar lease used to be a popular option in the solar industry, as it’s a convenient way to get panels installed on your home without putting any money down. However, with loan terms becoming more appealing and offering no-down-payment requirements, leases have fallen out of favor.

Leases can be a good option for homeowners who just care about supporting the renewable energy movement and want to start saving money right away. Many leasing companies will set your monthly payment below what you currently pay for electricity, so you’ll see instant energy savings.

However, leases don’t lead to panel ownership. Instead, you lease the equipment and get to use the energy it generates to reduce your monthly utility bills. That means you’ll never pay off your panels, and your long-term savings will be significantly lower overall — in Pennsylvania, you can expect to save about a third of what you would with a loan.

Leases also don’t let you take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit, which is an average savings of $6,503 that you’ll miss out on.

Below are some benefits and drawbacks of choosing a lease to finance solar in Pennsylvania.

Pros of a Solar Lease in Pennsylvania

  • Usually no down payment required
  • Maintenance and repairs are typically included at no cost
  • Offers instant savings on energy bills
  • Lets you support renewable energy without large initial expenditure

Cons of a Solar Lease in Pennsylvania

  • Doesn’t lead to panel ownership
  • Offers the lowest long-term savings
  • Makes you ineligible for the federal solar tax credit
  • Yields the lowest energy savings over time
  • Requires a credit check

If you’re not sure which option is right for you, or want to explore the average costs of each payment method for your home, you can use this solar calculator to get started.

How Do You Get the Best Solar Prices in Pennsylvania?

Since the average cost of a complete solar PV system in Pennsylvania tops $21,000, most residents may look for ways to save money on equipment and keep costs as low as possible. There are a few things you can do — and incentives you can take advantage of — to bring your total cost below the average in Pennsylvania.

In the sections below, we’ll provide tips to help you minimize your all-in costs and maximize savings from your home solar system.

File for the Federal Solar Tax Credit

In our opinion, the best way to effectively save money on your solar panels in Pennsylvania is to make sure you file for the federal tax credit. It is a credit offered by the federal government for all solar equipment purchased in Pennsylvania, including panels, solar batteries, inverters and electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

The credit rate, previously 26% of your total system cost, was recently bumped to 30% with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in September 2022. At 30%, the federal credit averages around $6,503 in Pennsylvania. You can calculate your IRA savings with Ecowatch’s new tool.

It’s important to note that this is not a rebate. The credit offers a reduction to the income taxes you owe for the year after your system is installed in the amount of 30% of your system cost. This means two things.

  • First, if you don’t owe income taxes at all, you won’t be able to take any of the credit.
  • Second, if you don’t expect to owe at least $1,300 per year in income taxes, you won’t be able to take the full credit amount in Pennsylvania.
  • You can, however, claim a partial credit and roll over the remaining amount each year for five years after you convert to solar.

You should also note that the credit will only be available until 2034. The rate will reduce according to the following schedule:

  • The credit rate will be 30% for systems installed between 2022 and 2031
  • The credit rate will drop to 26% in 2033
  • The credit rate will drop to 22% in 2034
  • The credit will no longer be available in 2035

Take Advantage of Net Metering

Net energy metering is a policy that ensures you get credit for all of the solar energy your system generates, even if you don’t use that energy as you produce it.

On sunny days, your panels will typically generate more energy than your home will use. Net metering allows you to send that excess energy back to the grid to pull from later, like on cloudy days or at night when your panels don’t produce as much energy.

Net metering credits you for all of the power your panels produce. You earn credits for each excess kWh generated, and those credits go toward future bills when your consumption outweighs your solar production. This can help you reduce more of your energy bills, maximizing your savings in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has an outstanding net energy metering program. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requires all investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to credit solar customers for excess energy at the full retail rate. As such, every excess kWh you send to the grid will equate to one kWh you can pull from the grid for free at a later date.

Net metering helps to maximize your energy savings, which pays off your system more rapidly.

Take Advantage of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)

The Keystone State also has a local SREC market, which you can automatically opt into to boost long-term savings.

SRECs are credits you earn for every kWh you generate with your solar system. Those credits can then be sold on the local energy credit market for a profit, usually to utility companies that need to offset their carbon footprint.

SRECs in Pennsylvania had an average value of around $40 in 2021. With the typical 8.5 kW system in Pennsylvania producing close to 10 credits per year, that’s around $400 per year you can earn to put toward paying down your system. Over the first 15 years of your system’s lifespan, that’s around $6,000 in savings to help reduce the cost of solar panels for your home.

Get Multiple Solar Quotes

Finally, we recommend getting multiple quotes for your solar energy system to find the best price available.

According to the SEIA, Pennsylvania is home to over 185 solar installation companies, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Each company charges different prices for equipment and labor, so the total can vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars between providers.

We suggest getting a few free quotes from local installers and then comparing them based on the following factors.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Solar Panel Systems in Pennsylvania?

old rural house with a solar panel roof

The cost of solar PV systems in Pennsylvania often totals anywhere between $10,710 and $21,420 after the federal credit is applied. There are several things to consider to get an idea of where in this range your system price will fall. We’ll discuss the most prominent cost factors in the sections below.

Solar Equipment

The solar equipment you install on your property will always play a role in your total system price.

In Pennsylvania, residents enjoy 179 sunny days per year on average, which is lower than the national average of 205. More specifically, the western side of the state is prone to more cloudy days than the eastern side.5

With limited days of sun in certain parts of the state, it may be worth considering higher-priced high-efficiency panels — especially if other property-specific factors limit sunlight like a non-south-facing roof or lots of shade.

Pennsylvania also experiences some severe weather, including tornadoes (though they rarely cause damage), thunderstorms and heavy snowfall — making power outages more likely. Consequently, many homeowners supplement their panels with solar batteries, which can provide electricity through blackouts, but also add to your total system price.

Solar Financing in Pennsylvania

The payment method you use for your solar panel system is another factor that can bring your total cost up or down. Paying with cash is the cheapest option as you won’t pay interest, but you’ll have the highest up-front cost.

Solar loans are a more realistic option for most homeowners, and loans sometimes don’t require any money down. Interest payments, though, can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars over time, increasing your all-in price to go solar.

Pennsylvania has two programs to help make PV equipment loans more affordable — the Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) program and the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Both programs provide low financing costs and rates to all Pennsylvania residents.

Pennsylvania doesn’t have financing options for low-income households specifically.

The Solar Company You Hire

Just as with any home improvement company, the provider you hire to install your solar panels will play a part in your system total. Solar companies can upcharge or discount equipment and offer varying rates for solar panel installation labor, which means identical systems from two separate companies could have completely different prices.

It’s important to look not only at the cost of the solar installer you choose but also at the quality of panels it provides.

For example, SunPower is a national solar company that services Pennsylvania. This installer only offers Maxeon panels, which have some of the highest efficiencies and top warranties on the market.

Yellowlite, another national company that operates in Pennsylvania, installs a variety of panel brands including Canadian Solar, SunPower, SolarWorld and Sunviva. Many of these brands will be significantly cheaper than Maxeon from SunPower, but the quality will also be lower.

Are There Any Maintenance Costs of Going Solar in Pennsylvania?

While the cost of converting to renewable energy in Pennsylvania can be quite high, the ongoing costs of maintaining your system are often non-existent.

One of the more common maintenance costs for solar equipment is panel cleaning. Over time, dirt, pollen and other debris can settle on your panels and absorb some of the sunlight that would otherwise be converted to electricity. This can bring down your solar savings and make your system less valuable overall.

Panel cleaning usually costs between $75 and $150 and is done one to two times a year. Pennsylvania residents don’t need this service, however, since the state sees above-average amounts of rainfall throughout the year and the precipitation serves to keep your panels clear of any significant build-up.6

The only other common maintenance cost after installation is removing panels for roof repair or replacement. In most cases, your installer will warn you before installation if your roof isn’t expected to outlast your panels. As such, choosing a reliable solar installer in Pennsylvania should help you avoid this maintenance cost altogether.

If you do need to remove and replace your panels, you’ll usually be looking at a one-time cost of between $500 and $1,000.

Typical Costs of Solar Providers in Pennsylvania

As mentioned above, residents of the Keystone State have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to solar installation companies, and prices range based on which you choose. Below, we’ll include some of our top picks for installers and the average cost of installation for each.

Solar Installer Average Installation Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)
Yellowlite $$$
Paradise Energy Solutions $$
SunPower $$$$
Solar SME $$$
Public Service Solar $$$

Read More About Going Solar in Pennsylvania

FAQ: Pennsylvania Solar Panel Costs

At EcoWatch, we get tons of questions on a daily basis from homeowners in Pennsylvania. Below are some of the ones we see most often, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at solar@ecowatch.com.

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Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.
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Expert reviewer
Tori is an editor, writer, rock climber and travel enthusiast. A native New Yorker, she graduated from the College of Saint Rose with a degree in communications and journalism. Before joining EcoWatch, Tori helped to oversee communication strategies for the City of Philadelphia. Her experience also includes communications work in the nonprofit and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering political, environmental and social issues in New York's Hudson Valley. In her spare time, Tori can be found in the mountains climbing boulders, traveling to new cities or at one of Philadelphia's many music venues.

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