Solar Panel Cost in Tennessee (2022 Local Savings Guide)

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

  • Average Cost Per Watt: $2.49
  • Cost of Average System: $22,111*
  • Cost of Energy Without Solar: $49,568
  • Payback Period: 13 Years**
  • Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $19,688

*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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Jump to Section:

  1. Cost of Solar Panels in Tennessee
  2. What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Tennessee?
  3. Tennessee Solar Incentives
  4. FAQs: Solar Panel Cost Tennessee

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Best National Provider
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SunPower

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

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon System Monitoring
Outstanding Regional Installer
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Shine Solar, LLC

  • Pros icon Many financing options
  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Pros icon Offers a panel buy-back option
  • Pros icon Outstanding workmanship
  • Con icon Relatively young company
  • Con icon Limited brands of solar equipment available

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon HVAC Services
  • Service icon Energy-Efficiency Upgrades
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LightWave Solar

  • Pros icon NABCEP-certified technicians
  • Pros icon Excellent reputation
  • Pros icon Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Con icon No leases or PPAs
  • Con icon Limited service area

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon System Monitoring
  • Service icon Solar Carports

Cost of Solar Panels in Tennessee

The average cost of solar panels in Tennessee is $2.49 per watt, which is significantly lower than the national average of $2.66 per watt. That means that it’s likely more affordable to install solar energy projects in Tennessee compared to most other states. Plus, solar panel prices have fallen 4% in Tennessee over the last five years and will likely keep falling as renewable energy alternatives become popular.1

Our data shows that the typical Tennessee homeowner installs a 12-kilowatt (kW) solar energy system. Plugging the figure above ($2.49 per watt) into our solar calculator, we found the average homeowner can expect to pay about $29,880 for a 12-kW solar panel system in Tennessee. Note that this figure is before any solar tax credits are applied.

Also, the numbers in this article are averages for the entire state of Tennessee. Solar panel costs may be different for residents who live in more populous cities, like Nashville or Memphis.

Solar Panel System Installation Cost in Tennessee

Based on the company you choose and the size of the solar system needed to power your home, we’ve estimated that the average solar panel installation in Tennessee would cost between $22,400 and $37,400. These figures drop to between $15,687 and $26,145 after applying the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit.

The table below shows the average prices for a solar panel system in Tennessee before and after the 30% federal tax credit:

Size of Solar Panel System Tennessee Solar Panel Cost Cost After Federal Tax Credit
9 kW $22,410 $15,687
10 kW $24,900 $17,430
11 kW $27,390 $19,173
12 kW $29,880 $20,916
13 kW $32,370 $22,659
14 kW $34,860 $24,402
15 kW $37,350 $26,145

Interested to see our picks for the best solar companies in Tennessee that offer affordable, high-quality systems? Click here.

See also: See how much you can save by going solar with the EcoWatch Solar Calculator

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Tennessee?

man installing solar panels on roof

The actual price you’ll pay for your solar panel system in Tennessee can vary quite a lot. Smaller or more efficient homes that require more modest systems might only require a 5 kW system, which would average around $8,892 after the federal tax credit is applied. 

On the other hand, a Tennessee home that has high energy needs could require a 15 kW system, which averages out to $26,145 after the ITC (investment tax credit) is applied.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the more significant factors that can affect your solar system costs in Tennessee to give you a better idea of where your price will fall.

Solar Equipment

The type and size of your solar system will always be a major factor in determining your overall cost of going solar. In Tennessee, homeowners can expect around 207 sunny days per year, which is just a touch above the national average of 205 sunny days annually. Unlike in areas where sunlight is scarce homeowners in Tennessee don’t need the highest efficiency panels (which tend to be more expensive) so costs are a bit lower here than in other states.

Tennessee does get its fair share of extreme weather including tropical storms, tropical cyclones (mostly residual effects), extreme thunderstorms and tornadoes. Many homeowners opt for solar batteries in an effort to avoid power outages, which are relatively common in the area. Solar batteries will provide power through blackouts, but they can add thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to your solar equipment costs.

Of course, the equipment brand you choose will have an impact on your cost as well. Tennessee homeowners have many choices of solar brands, including top-tier options like SunPower/Maxeon and Panasonic that are more costly and lower-tier, less expensive options like Canadian Solar and Silfab. Given the abundance of sunlight in Tennessee, choosing less-costly panels with lower efficiency is an easy way to save money on your installation.

Solar Financing in Tennessee

How you pay for your solar system will affect your up-front and overall costs. If you choose to pay in cash, you’ll lay out the most up-front but will have the least total cost long term because you’ll avoid paying interest. Most homeowners opt for solar loans, though, and the options you’ll have for financing can also have an impact on your cost of going solar.

Since solar power is still a budding industry in Tennessee, there are few state-funded financing options available and relatively few financing incentives offered. However, residents have access to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Clean Energy Financing. This program helps promote solar financing options and makes them more affordable for Tennessee homeowners.2

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is also available, but only for businesses and agricultural producers.3

Tennessee Solar Installation Company

Every solar installation company can upcharge for equipment and will typically have company-specific pricing for the labor involved in installing your solar equipment, so companies installing the same panels and/or solar batteries can charge different prices. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are 41 solar installers in Tennessee, and which you choose will affect your cost of going solar.4

Some of the top solar installers in Tennessee include Shine Solar LLC, LightWave Solar, SunPower, Greene Tech Renewable Energy and ADT Solar. Opting for a local company like Greene Tech or LightWave will generally be more expensive, as smaller companies are less likely to buy equipment in bulk and pass the savings on to you. However, they sometimes offer discounts to compete with large companies like SunPower, Shine Solar and ADT.

The panel brands offered by your solar installer also matter. For example, SunPower only installs panels from its sister company, Maxeon. These panels are considered the best and most efficient in the industry, but they come at above-average prices in Tennessee. LightWave Solar, a company local to Tennessee, carries multiple brands including LG, Tesla, SunPower and SolarEdge. You can choose more affordable panels through this company to match your power needs and your budget.

Additional Considerations and Costs

There are some other minor factors in Tennessee that can influence your total solar system cost as well, and while these will have less of an impact on your costs, you should consider them before committing to installing solar. We’ll discuss each of these briefly below.

  • Permits: All states and municipalities have their own laws governing solar panel permits. For example, laws restrict ground-mounted panels in flood zones throughout Tennessee, mandate building permits and inspections by the building department in your town or city and require that systems conform to all local zoning codes — although much of Tennessee doesn’t have specific zoning codes for properties.5,6
  • Licenses: The State of Tennessee requires that all solar contractors and installation companies be properly licensed by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance.7 While this doesn’t represent a cost to you, it can drive up the overall price of hiring contractors as more restrictions and fees add to their costs.
  • Warranties: Most solar panel systems come with warranties, which is great news considering you’ll be spending thousands on your equipment. Generally speaking, longer and more comprehensive warranties like the one from SunPower are better, although better warranty coverage tends to mean slightly higher prices.
  • HOAs: Some states have laws that prevent homeowners’ associations from denying solar panel installations. Unfortunately, the current legislation in Tennessee doesn’t guarantee homeowners the right to install solar, so stubborn HOAs can deny your request.
  • Environmental zoning: Tennessee does have some zoning ordinances that could prevent you from installing solar panels. However, zoning regulations are relatively lax in Tennessee, so few homeowners should have any issue at all with environmental zoning.

Tennessee Solar Incentives

Tennessee is not one of the top states for solar, but solar panels are becoming increasingly popular in the state. It could be because residents are seeking energy independence from utility companies, or perhaps they’re interested in lowering their utility bills.

Whatever your reason for making the switch to clean energy alternatives, we want you to get the maximum reward. Unfortunately, Tennessee doesn’t have a ton of great state incentives for going solar, but we’ve outlined some of the financial incentives available below:

Tennessee Solar Incentive How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Tennessee
Green Energy Property Tax Assessment A special “ad valorem property tax assessment” for green energy producers. It’s not quite a tax exemption, but rather a fancy way of saying there’s a limit to how much property tax can be placed on a residential solar photovoltaic system. That limit is 12.5% of the total cost of the system.8
Net Metering in Tennessee Tennessee does not offer statewide net metering and does not have standardized interconnection rules. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offered a dual-metering option for participants in its Green Power Providers program, but it looks like they’re not accepting any new applicants at the moment.9
Local Solar Rebates & Incentives There are a handful of local utilities that offer energy efficiency rebates and solar companies are capable of carrying out those installations. For instance, the Knoxville Utilities Board offers $400 rebates for electric vehicle (EV) charger installations.10 Check out DSIRE to see if your utility offers any applicable incentives to your home solar system.
Federal Solar Tax Credit The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a tax incentive that allows solar adopters to claim 30% of their total solar equipment and installation costs as a tax credit on their next federal filing. The 30% credit is in effect for any solar project purchased through 2032. The tax credit is set to decrease to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before it disappears in 2035. 
Sales Tax Credit for Clean Energy Technology This is only for commercial solar installations, but it allows taxpayers to take a credit, to apply for a refund of taxes paid, or to apply for authority to make tax-exempt purchases for solar equipment in a certified green energy production facility.11

Best Solar Panel Brands and Installed Solar System Costs in 2022

As mentioned above, the solar panel brand you choose can have a significant impact on your total system cost. Generally speaking, higher quality panels and those with higher levels of efficiency and better warranties will cost more on a per-watt basis, leading to higher overall costs. The table below provides some relative pricing for the top solar panel brands in Tennessee to give you a general idea of which brands are likely to fit 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 size system you need and how much it will cost? Check out our preferred solar providers in Tennessee below to get a free quote for your renewable energy system, with no obligation.

Read More About Going Solar

FAQs: Solar Panel Cost Tennessee

At EcoWatch, we’re happy to get questions about the process and costs of getting rooftop solar from Tennessee residents. Below are some of the questions 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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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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