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.

Ecowatch Author Karsten Neumeister

By Karsten Neumeister, Solar Expert

Updated 5/17/2022

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Find Cost Savings on Solar in Rhode Island

As a homeowner in Rhode Island, you may be wondering: How much do solar panels cost in your area? In this article, we’ll discuss the average cost of a solar installation, how much that can save you on energy for your home and what incentives are available in your region. If you want to jump straight to getting a quote for an installation, you can follow the links below to speak with a verified professional.

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  • Pros icon Most efficient panels on the market
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  • Con icon Expensive
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Green Power Energy

  • Pros icon Educational, no-pressure sales approach
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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
3 kW $8,520 $6,305
4 kW $11,360 $8,406
5 kW $14,200 $10,508
6 kW $17,040 $12,610
7 kW $19,880 $14,711
8 kW $22,720 $16,813
9 kW $25,560 $18,914

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 Equipment

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. 

Solar Financing

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 ($-$$$$$)
LG Solar $$$
Canadian Solar $$$
JA Solar $$
Mission Solar $$
Panasonic $$
Q Cells $$
REC $$$
Silfab $$$
SunPower $$$$$
Tesla $$
Trina Solar $$$

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. 

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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.

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Karsten Neumeister

Solar Expert

Karsten Neumeister is a solar energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the renewable energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on solar energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.