Cost of Solar Panels in Rhode Island: Local Solar Installation Prices (2022)
Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in Rhode Island:
- Average Cost Per Watt: $2.84
- Cost of Average System: $12,610*
- Cost of Energy Without Solar: $51,559
- Payback Period: 8 Years**
- Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $34,519
*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 Rhode Island
Rhode Island is well known for its beautiful bays, but this coastal state gets plenty of overcast and rain. As such, many Rhode Island residents are questioning if solar power systems are right for their homes. But, the state actually gets plenty of sunshine, on average 202 sunny days per year. This means that solar energy systems can be a fantastic investment and a path to energy independence for Rhode Islanders’ seeking to reduce their electricity bills.
This guide provides all the details you will need for the cost of solar panel installation in Rhode Island. We also provide information about federal, state and local incentives for the addition of a renewable energy system to your Rhode Island home.
Keep in mind that the price for a clean energy solar solution for your Rhode Island home may look considerably different than these estimates. If you’re interested in getting a free, accurate quote from a pre-vetted solar installer in Rhode Island, check out our guide on the top five solar installers in the state.
Cost of Solar Panels in Rhode Island
The average cost of home solar panels in Rhode Island is $2.84 per watt, which is higher than the U.S. national average. Although, the cost heavily leans on several factors, including the system size and per-watt cost.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average electricity rate in Rhode Island is 22.01 cents per kilowatt-hour. This is far higher than the U.S. national average of 13.15 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Most Rhode Island homeowners opt for a 6-kilowatt residential solar energy system, although your system may look different depending on your particular needs. Besides the size (in kilowatts), several other factors affect the solar system and installation cost.
Solar Panel System Installation Cost in Rhode Island
The below table shows the average costs Rhode Islanders pay for solar energy systems before and after getting the federal solar tax credit. As you might notice, the size (kilowatts) directly correlates with its cost. The size of the solar system is critical to your cost, and getting a smaller one will reduce your expense. But, if you get a system that is too small, you may not meet your energy needs.
For example, let’s say you want to completely eliminate your energy bills. In that case, you will need to get an adequately sized solar system that meets or surpasses your home’s energy usage.
|Size of Solar Panel System||Rhode Island Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Rhode Island?
The cost of your solar array is dependent on several factors. Three main categories contribute to your overall cost: the type and brand of solar equipment, the financing option you choose, and the solar installation company that handles your solar project.
Solar panels come in a range of brands, sizes, and levels of quality. Like most other products, they range in specifications. Higher-wattage, high-efficiency equipment is usually more expensive than lower-wattage, low-efficiency options.
Although the high-wattage, high-efficiency equipment is more expensive, many homeowners find that the extra cost is worth it in the long run. For instance, high-wattage, high-efficiency panels are often a great choice for homeowners with limited installation space, as you may not need as many solar panels to meet or exceed your production needs.
In addition, these panels may be a better choice for homeowners who have energy-hungry appliances or electric vehicles.
The financing option you choose also plays a considerable role in your overall cost. Most solar providers offer two primary financing options: solar loans and solar leases. You usually get a better, more cost-effective deal if you buy your system outright, either with a cash purchase or a solar loan.
Of course, purchasing your solar investment outright with cash upfront is usually the most cost-effective option, as you avoid interest. However, since it’s not a feasible option for some homeowners, solar loans are a great alternative.
You can still take advantage of the federal tax credits and other financial incentives with a solar loan. The main drawback with a solar loan is the interest you’ll accrue over the payback period.
Solar leases aren’t usually the best, most cost-effective option for homeowners seeking a permanent solar solution. With a solar lease, you’re exempt from the federal tax credit. Solar leases may be an attractive option for residents in a rental house, as they allow residents to incorporate solar into their homes without the long-term commitment.
For the most part, solar leases prevent you from maximizing the cost savings your system produces. As such, we never recommend solar leases to homeowners.
Solar Installation Company
The last major contributor to your overall cost falls to the solar installation company you choose to handle your solar project. As you browse through potential options for your solar energy project, you’ll probably notice cost variation from company to company.
For example, a solar installation company in Providence may quote higher prices but a better warranty and faster install time than a competitor in Newport or Narragansett.
Usually, the price differences are minor, but in some cases, companies may quote a few thousand dollars more or less than their competitors. But remember, the cost isn’t everything, and what you pay doesn’t always translate to an installation that is “worth” more.
For the most part, solar installation companies have higher overhead costs, which reflects in the price you pay. We recommend choosing a reputable solar energy company that you feel most comfortable with. Get free solar quotes from at least three solar installation companies in the state of Rhode Island and compare their warranties, features, prices, etc.
Rhode Island Solar Incentives
Rhode Island residents have access to a few financial incentives that help mitigate the overall cost of your new solar energy system. Rhode Island residents have several incentives available from the federal solar tax credit to net metering policies and sales tax exemptions.
Federal Solar Tax Credit For Rhode Island Homeowners
The federal solar tax credit is available to homeowners across the United States. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners to reduce the upfront cost of their solar energy system by 26 percent.
However, there are a few requirements to qualify for the tax credit. Firstly, you must purchase your solar energy system outright. You can do so in one of two ways: a solar loan or cash purchase. If you opt for a solar lease, you cannot use the ITC.
In addition, you must generate enough income to make the tax credit meaningful.
In 2019, the tax credit was available for 30 percent. The following year, the credit dropped to 26 percent. In 2023, the credit will drop to 22 percent. If you plan on going solar in the near future, we recommend making the switch sooner rather than later. Take advantage of the higher tax percentage while it’s still available!
Net Metering Policies in Rhode Island
Net metering programs in Rhode Island are fairly standard compared to other states. These policies allow you to trim down your utility bill even when your system isn’t producing the amount of energy you need.
While the policies are fairly standard, they are beneficial for homeowners with systems that produce an excess of electricity. The utility company pays you back at the “avoided cost rate,” which sits slightly lower than full retail value.
Local Solar Rebates in Rhode Island
Rhode Island residents have access to a few exemptions and state incentives that help cut costs. The sales and use tax exemption can shave off a considerable amount from the final total. Considering sales tax in Rhode Island sits at seven percent, this can be a considerable cost.
In addition, solar panels have a property tax exemption. So, when you pay property tax for your home, you don’t need to worry about additional taxes due to your new solar energy system.
The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (REF), part of the Renewable Energy Growth Program, is an excellent local incentive for solar customers. Customers are eligible to receive 28.75 cents for each kWh their solar energy system generates. The program extends for the first fifteen years of ownership, but it is capped at a 15-kilowatt system.
Best Solar Panel Brands and Installed Solar System Costs in 2022
As discussed earlier, the solar panel brand you choose is a major factor in determining the final price. The table below outlines the costs of some of our best solar panels. Since pricing varies based on the particular scenario, there isn’t a pinpointed number. Regardless, it offers a general overview of pricing compared to other options.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
While searching for the top solar panel brands in Rhode Island, always keep in mind the size and type of solar panel system your home needs.
People Also Ask
FAQ: Solar Panel Cost Rhode Island
At EcoWatch, we receive thousands of solar power questions every month. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions from Rhode Island residents.
Several factors impact the final cost of solar panels for your Rhode Island home. For example, the size of your home, its orientation and roof configuration, and your energy consumption all play a role in the correct system size.
For instance, let’s say a 7-kilowatt system is a perfect size for your home. In Rhode Island, a solar panel system of this size costs about $14,711 on average (after the 26% federal tax credit). Depending on the appropriate size for your home, the final cost may be more or less.
Generally, it’s better to buy your solar panels for your Rhode Island home, if possible. If you buy your system outright, you can take advantage of several benefits accompanying the ownership. For instance, you can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, as well as local financial incentives.
In addition, your home has a boosted real estate value. When you choose a solar lease, you don’t get to use the ITC, and your home doesn’t gain any additional value from the panels since you don’t own them.
With that said, buying your solar energy system outright with a cash purchase isn’t feasible for all homeowners. In that case, financing with a solar loan is an excellent alternative. While you will accrue interest over the entirety of the repayment period, you can still take advantage of the ITC, and your home gains value.
Solar panels aren’t free in Rhode Island. If you see an advertisement for free solar panels, it’s most likely a marketing tactic trying to get you to sign a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA).
Solar leases aren’t the best option for Rhode Island homeowners, so it’s imperative to complete thorough research on the company to ensure you know what you’re getting yourself into. With that said, solar leases may be an okay option for some residents. For example, residents in a rental who don’t want to commit to a long-term solar energy system may appreciate the option of a solar lease.
Yes. There’s certainly a possibility of eliminating your energy bills for your Rhode Island home with solar panels. However, the likelihood of eliminating them entirely hinges on your situation. For example, if your home is heavily shaded or you don’t have a large enough solar energy system, you might not generate enough power to totally eliminate your energy bills.
With that said, you may be able to eliminate your electricity bills entirely with the right size system. But to get energy 24/7, your home still has to be connected to the national grid.
Cost isn’t always the most critical when buying solar panels. Many homeowners begin their search for a solar provider in their area with a specific priority in mind. For example, a homeowner may be looking for the best warranty options available. If that is the case, the warranty availability would likely be their main consideration.
On the other hand, affordability may be the most critical factor for a different homeowner. In that case, the homeowner may compare available options in their area to determine the most cost-effective solution.
Determining the correct solar power system size for your home comes down to quite a few factors. You need to account for various aspects of your home, such as its square footage, roof size, slope and orientation, energy consumption, etc. Given the sheer number of aspects to consider, it’s usually best to pass the process to a qualified solar installer.
An experienced solar company can consider all aspects of your home and your needs to determine your home’s proper solar energy system size. Many companies offer free estimates to get the ball rolling, meaning it might not cost you anything to figure out the perfect solar energy system size specific to your home.