Solar Panel Cost in South Dakota (2022 Local Savings Guide)

Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in South Dakota:

  • Average Cost Per Watt: $2.39
  • Cost of Average System: $18,570*
  • Cost of Energy Without Solar: $48,018
  • Payback Period: 12 Years**
  • Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $22,923

*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 9/19/2022

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GenPro Energy Solutions

  • Pros icon NABCEP-certified technicians
  • Pros icon Competitive pricing
  • Pros icon Multitude of products and services
  • Con icon No leases or PPAs
  • Con icon Limited warranty coverage

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Lakota Solar Enterprises

  • Pros icon Representatives are experts on local policies
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  • Pros icon Highly trained technicians
  • Con icon Limited warranty coverage
  • Con icon No leases or PPAs
  • Con icon Limited brands of solar equipment available

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  • Service icon Solar Panels
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Black Hills Solar

  • Pros icon Outstanding customer service
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  • Con icon No leases or PPAs
  • Pros icon Relatively young company
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Cost of Solar Panels in South Dakota

Solar panel systems in South Dakota cost around $2.39 per watt, which is well below the national average of $2.66 per watt. The standard system size required to offset the average electric cost of $121 per month in South Dakota is 10.5 kilowatts, which is also below the national average.1 Using these numbers, we can calculate that the typical solar array in SD totals around $25,095 before the 26% federal tax credit, or $18,570 after the credit. This total is lower than most areas throughout the country.

Solar Panel System Installation Cost in South Dakota

Since your solar system will be priced by the watt, the size of the system you require will be the most significant cost factor to consider. For every additional kilowatt you need for your home, your total cost will increase by approximately $2,390. You can use the table below to estimate the costs of other standard solar system sizes in South Dakota before and after the federal tax credit is considered.

Size of Solar Panel System South Dakota Solar Panel Cost Cost After Federal Tax Credit
8 kW $19,120 $14,149
9 kW $21,510 $15,917
10 kW $23,900 $17,686
11 kW $26,290 $19,455
12 kW $28,680 $21,223
13 kW $31,070 $22,992
14 kW $33,460 $24,760

Curious to see which solar installers are the most reputable and reliable in South Dakota? Click here.

See also: Calculate how much you can save by going solar

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in South Dakota?

The cost of a solar panel system in South Dakota averages around $18,570 after the federal tax credit is applied, although you could pay as little as $14,149 or as much as $24,760, which is the typical price range. 

There are quite a few cost factors at play that will dictate where in this range your system will fall. We’ll discuss each of the most significant factors below.

solar panels installed on a house roof

Solar Equipment

The size of your solar system will be the largest contributing factor toward the final price that you pay. But the type and brand of equipment you choose for your solar panel system will also contribute a great deal.

The upside of solar in South Dakota is the abundant sunlight — despite the state being located in the northern part of the U.S., the Mount Rushmore State gets around 213 sunny days per year, which is more than the national average of 205.

Given that there is no scarcity of sunlight in South Dakota, most homeowners will not feel the need to install the latest high-efficiency panels. Some brands, like the Maxeon panels from SunPower, have super high efficiency ratings and can make the most use of the available sunlight possible.

However, if you have a large roof that receives a great deal of sunlight, you may be able to offset your bills with older, more affordable modules.

South Dakota residents also experience some severe weather, including:

  • Intense thunderstorms
  • Blizzards
  • Ice storms, and
  • Tornadoes

These conditions are especially prevalent in the eastern parts of the state.2 The weather can lead to power outages, which can be inconvenient but also dangerous, especially during the winter.

Many residents opt to install solar batteries with their panels as a result, as these can help maintain power through the frequent blackouts. Solar batteries are add-on products that raise the total cost of your system, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars. As such, batteries and other add-on options can have a drastic impact on your pricing.

Solar Financing in South Dakota

One of the biggest decisions when it comes to installing solar panels is figuring out how you’ll pay for them. The payment method you choose can actually affect your total system cost quite a bit, making it an important thing to consider.

Paying with cash means you’ll have a massive upfront payment, but you won’t pay any interest over time. This method leaves you with the best opportunity for energy savings and the fastest solar panel payback period possible.

Paying with a solar loan is more accessible for most homeowners, but you’ll end up paying interest, which can increase your system cost by thousands over the life of the loan.

Unfortunately, South Dakota doesn’t offer much in the way of state-backed solar financing. The state doesn’t currently have a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for residential customers, although it does offer this option for commercial customers.

There are also no affordable or accessible options specifically for low-income households looking to install solar.

South Dakota Solar Installation Company

close-up shot of solar panels

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are only five local solar installers in South Dakota, although there are some larger national companies that service the state as well.3 Every installer will charge different prices for the equipment installed and the labor involved in the process, so there will be variances in the pricing among companies.

In many cases, the cost of the company you choose will be at least partially dependent on the equipment brands that the installer carries. Some companies only carry high-quality, high-efficiency equipment, which tends to be significantly more expensive and leads to higher overall installation costs.

For example, GenPro Energy Solutions, one of the top solar installers in South Dakota, installs high-quality brands like Suniva and SolarWorld, while Lakota Solar Enterprises only installs tier-three and lower brands, like Magnum Energy and Sensata. As such, choosing GenPro over Lakota will usually be more costly, although your panels will also tend to be of a higher quality.

Since the brands and the resulting prices can vary from installer to installer, it’s important to compare companies based on the value provided and not just cost alone.

Additional Considerations and Costs in South Dakota

Below are some additional considerations you should make when choosing a solar installer in South Dakota, although these will have less of an impact on your overall system cost.

  • Permits: All municipalities in South Dakota require building permits to be pulled and filed before your solar panels can be installed. Your installer should tackle this process for you, but you should confirm before signing any agreements.
  • Licenses: There is no specific solar installer license in South Dakota. However, you should make sure your installation company has a licensed electrician on its team, as this is required by state law.
  • Warranties: Solar warranties range from 10 years to 30 years in most cases and cover equipment, installation, performance, roof leaks or some combination of all of these. You should always be aware of your warranties and exclusions before agreeing to a system and installation services.
  • HOAs: Unfortunately, South Dakota doesn’t have solar rights laws in place. As such, you’ll need to get permission from your homeowners association (HOA) to install solar panels prior to signing any contracts for installation.
  • Environmental zoning: The zoning laws in South Dakota aren’t meant to restrict rooftop solar installation, so it’s unlikely that you’ll run into any issues.

South Dakota Solar Incentives

Most South Dakotans probably find the prospect of paying the average cost of $25,095 to go solar difficult to swallow. Thankfully, the federal government and state government provide some solar incentives to ease the financial burden of going solar and make renewable energy a greater possibility throughout the state. Below, we’ll discuss some of the incentives available to South Dakota homeowners.

South Dakota Solar Incentive How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in South Dakota
Renewable Energy Systems Exemption In most cases, home improvements that raise the value of your home — including going solar — also raise your property taxes. South Dakota implemented a property tax exemption to guarantee that any bump in value up to $50,000 will not cause your property taxes to go up. For many South Dakota residents, that’s a long-term savings of thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
Net Metering Net metering policies allow energy to flow back and forth between your solar system and the grid. Through net metering, you can get utility credits for the energy you send back to the grid when your system produces more than you use.

Unfortunately, South Dakota is one of the few remaining states that does not mandate net metering. Individual utility companies must provide the opportunity for interconnection, but there is no standard net metering policy. You’ll have to check with your electricity provider to confirm if net metering is available before you commit.

Local Solar Rebates & Incentives South Dakota comes up short in the local incentives arena as well. There aren’t any statewide rebates or tax incentives to ease the financial burden of converting to solar. Some utility companies offer energy-efficiency rebates for certain upgrades that your solar installer might offer, like LED lighting, Energy Star appliances and more. You can check the DSIRE database for available incentives from your utility provider.
Federal Solar Tax Credit Luckily, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is available to homeowners across the country, including in South Dakota. This credit on your federal income taxes owed is for 26% of the total system cost, which, in South Dakota, comes out to an average credit of $6,525.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in South Dakota

Although there are only a handful of solar installers native to South Dakota, residents will still have many options when it comes to the brand of panels they want. 

The table below includes pricing information for some of the top solar panel brands available in South Dakota to help you decide which ones are likely to suit your budget.

Solar Panel Brand Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)
LG Solar $$$
Canadian Solar $$
JA Solar $$
Mission Solar $$
Panasonic $$
Q Cells $$
REC $$$
Silfab $$$
SunPower $$$$$
Tesla $$
Trina Solar $$$

Ready to see what your solar panel system will cost? Just select one of our top providers below, and we’ll connect you with a local solar installer that can provide a free estimate for your system.

Read More About Going Solar

FAQs: Solar Panel Cost South Dakota

The EcoWatch team gets questions daily from South Dakota homeowners about the benefits and costs of going solar. Below are some of the questions we see most frequently, which might help you decide if a solar conversion is right for you. 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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Karsten Neumeister

Solar Expert

Karsten is a researcher, editor, writer and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

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