Solar Panel Cost in Virginia (2022 Local Savings Guide)
Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in Virginia:
- Average Cost Per Watt: $2.75
- Cost of Average System: $22,385*
- Cost of Energy Without Solar: $51,942
- Payback Period: 13 Years**
- Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $21,692
*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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- Most efficient panels on the market
- National coverage
- Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
- Great warranty coverage
- Customer service varies by local dealer
- Solar Panels
- Solar Batteries
- EV Chargers
- System Monitoring
- Industry-leading warranty coverage
- Expansive service area
- Some reported communication issues
- No leases or PPAs
- Solar Panels
- Solar Batteries
- EV Chargers
- Energy-Efficiency Upgrades
The figures above are only estimates based on the average energy use of Virginia homeowners. The price of a solar system for your home may look different based on factors unique to you.
Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia
A roughly 11-KW solar system is needed to meet the average monthly energy consumption of Virginia residents. With an average cost of $2.75 per watt for solar in Virginia, you’d pay a total of about $30,250 for an 11-kW home solar system. This is reduced to $21,175 after applying the 30% federal solar tax credit.
If your household uses more or less energy than the state average, you’ll need a bigger or smaller system size. Most residents see pre-tax-credit solar costs between $22,000 and $38,500 in Virginia.
Solar Panel System Installation Cost in Virginia
The cost to install a solar energy system in VA depends mainly on the size of the system you need. Most solar equipment is installed based on wattage. At an average per-watt cost of $2.75 in VA, every kilowatt increment will cause your total cost to jump by $2,750. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sizing your solar electric system, so your best bet is to contact a reputable solar company in Virginia to get a quote customized for your home.
Just as an example, if you have a monthly electric bill of $130 — which is about the average in Virginia — you’ll likely need an 11-kW system to offset your utility bill entirely. This number can vary even further based on your home size, the energy efficiency of your appliances and more.
Below are the average costs of different sizes of solar installations in Virginia before and after you take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).
|Size of Solar Panel System||Virginia Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
Want to see our review of the best solar companies in Virginia that offer affordable, high-efficiency solar panel systems? Click below.
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia?
The average solar panel system in Virginia costs around $21,175 after the federal tax credit is applied, but prices range from $15,400 all the way up to $26,950. The range of possible prices you’ll pay in Virginia is so wide because several factors can swing your price by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
We’ll discuss the factors that influence your costs below.
Equipment brands make a big difference in terms of pricing and your power production. Most homeowners don’t need to pay more for highly efficient solar equipment because there is ample sun in Virginia — around 205 sunny days per year, which is right in line with the national average.
On the other hand, the state is prone to extreme weather, including intense thunderstorms, hurricanes and tropical storms, so some homeowners opt to pay more for high-quality panels that can stand up to abuse and come with above-average warranty coverage.
The type of equipment you choose will also play a role in your pricing. All solar systems include solar panels, but add-on equipment — like electric vehicle chargers and solar batteries — can drive up your price.
Solar batteries are particularly useful, as they can provide power through the frequent outages caused by extreme weather. However, these add-ons can raise your price by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
Solar Financing in Virginia
The type of financing you use to acquire your solar panels can also raise or lower your total system price by thousands.
Paying with cash, for example, comes with the highest up-front cash outlay, but you’ll save quite a lot on interest. Paying with a solar loan requires far less money — or none at all — up front, but your all-in price will be higher because of the interest.
Virginia offers homeowners financing via the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE financing can cover 100% of your equipment costs and helps homeowners get a low APR to make solar more affordable overall. C-PACE is Virginia’s commercial PACE program, which helps businesses convert to solar affordably.
Virginia also offers the Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Fund and Program.1 The Virginia Clean Economy Act, which was passed in 2020, also helps low-income households by requiring energy companies to purchase Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) from low-income homes with solar panels installed.
Virginia Solar Installation Company
No matter where you live, the installation company you choose to handle your solar conversion will play a role in your overall pricing. This is true for two primary reasons.
First, each solar installer sets its own prices for equipment and labor. You could end up getting the exact same service and equipment for a lower price from a national company, for example, as you would from a local company.
On average, the national solar companies in Virginia — like SunPower and Blue Raven Solar — will have lower prices than local companies which in Virginia include Nova Solar and Virtue Solar. However, local companies often provide discounts and superior customer service to compete with the larger providers.
Second, each solar installer carries certain panel and battery brands that vary in price. For example, SunPower only offers Maxeon solar panels, which are some of the most expensive options on the market but come with high efficiency and excellent warranty coverage.
Given the price and quality of these panels, SunPower will tend to be a more expensive option than Nova Solar, for example, which offers less costly panels from REC, LG, Tesla, and Solar Edge. The quality and performance will be lower, but so will the overall price.
Additional Considerations and Costs in Virginia
The primary cost factors above will play the biggest roles in your solar system pricing, but there are some other considerations to think about before committing to a particular company. We’ll briefly explain these other factors below.
- Permits: Each municipal building department in Virginia will require you to get a permit to install solar equipment. You’ll seldom need to do the work of filing for the permit yourself as your installer will typically do this, but you will need to pass inspection and pay the fee.
- Licenses: The State of Virginia requires that all solar contractors have an Alternative Energy System (AES) license in addition to a general contractor license. You should check to ensure that the company you’re hiring has both.
- Warranties: Solar equipment is expensive in Virginia, so it’s important to confirm what type of warranty coverage your panels include. Solar warranties usually cover the equipment, the installation, the performance or all three. The more coverage you have, the better, but the higher the system price will tend to be.
- HOAs: Virginia has legislation in place that prevents homeowners’ associations from stopping you from installing solar panels. As such, you’re guaranteed to be able to install panels no matter where you live and take advantage of the sun that hits your property.
- Environmental zoning: Some states have zoning codes that might prevent solar installation. Luckily, Virginia’s laws are pro-solar, so you shouldn’t have any issues going solar in the Old Dominion.
Virginia Solar Incentives
Going solar has never been easier or more affordable, thanks to a number of solar incentives offered to Virginia residents. Taking advantage of some or all of these can reduce your installation costs by more than $10,000 in some cases. Below, we’ll discuss the incentives available to VA homeowners from federal and state governments.
Federal Solar Tax Credit For Virginia Homeowners
The federal solar tax credit is a massive incentive to go solar offered by the federal government and available to all Virginia homeowners. Currently, taking advantage of this incentive will leave you with a credit come tax season worth 30% of your total photovoltaic installation costs. With the average price of an 11-kW system in Virginia totaling $30,250, that means savings of $9,075.
U.S. homeowners can take advantage of the full 30% tax credit through 2032. After that, the credit will fall to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before expiring in 2035.
Net Metering Policies in Virginia
Net metering programs are offered by many utility companies throughout the country to benefit customers who go solar. The specifics of net metering policies can vary, but the general idea is that homeowners can be credited for producing more energy than they consume.
If your solar energy system produces more power than your home needs, the excess can be fed back into the local electricity grid in exchange for a credit from your utility company. These credits can be used to pay for future electricity bills, and in some cases, your power company could even write you a check for the value of the credits. The exact benefits will depend on your provider.
For most Virginia homeowners, Dominion Energy will supply electricity. Luckily, Dominion is quite solar-friendly and has a great net metering policy. Dominion buys back excess kilowatt-hours of energy your system produces at the full retail rate for up to 20 kW for residential solar systems.
Local Solar Rebates and Grants in Virginia
There is also a solar tax exemption that the State of Virginia offers to incentivize the move to solar energy.
Installing solar will almost always increase your property value, provided you buy or finance rather than lease your panels and equipment.
In most cases, property tax increases when your property value goes up. To keep the indirect cost of solar down, Virginia offers a property tax exemption that ensures your tax rate won’t increase due to the addition of your solar panels.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Virginia
The best solar panel brand for you is the one that fits into your budget and provides the efficiency you need to cover your home’s energy consumption. The table below includes a quick look at the relative pricing of the top solar brands available in Virginia to give you an idea of which ones might be affordable.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
Ready to see what going solar will cost for your specific Virginia home? Select one of our recommended solar providers below to get a free, no-obligation quote based on your energy needs and expectations.
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FAQs: Solar Panel Cost Virginia
The EcoWatch team gets tons of questions from Virginia homeowners about going solar and the costs associated with the conversion. Below are some of the more common questions we see, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The average cost to install solar panels in Virginia is between $22,000 and $38,500 — or $16,280 and $28,490 after the 26% solar tax credit is applied. It’s challenging to estimate where your total will fall within that range because many factors can affect your pricing.
To get a good idea of your price for going solar, you’ll need to consider your home size, its energy efficiency, your energy usage, the equipment and installer you choose, local electricity rates, and much more. It’s best to have a reputable solar installer assess your home and come up with an estimate designed to meet your needs and expectations.
Yes, absolutely! Solar panel systems unilaterally increase the value of your home, provided you purchase the system outright or finance using a solar loan. This is especially true in areas like Virginia, where properties are already valuable and desirable, and local utility companies offer great net metering policies.
According to Zillow, solar systems will bump the average home’s value by around 4%. Research completed by the Berkeley Lab suggests that you could enjoy an even steeper increase. While the exact amount you can expect your home value to jump isn’t known, experts agree that solar is a worthwhile investment in the long run.
The lease vs. buy debate has been ongoing for years, and there really is no universal answer. Leasing and buying options both have their upsides and downsides.
Buying solar panels — via cash purchase or financing — allows you to take advantage of federal tax credits and other solar incentives. It also raises your home value, and you stand to save far more on energy costs over time than you would pay monthly for a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). However, purchasing solar can be expensive upfront or if you’re only able to secure a loan with high-interest rates.
Leasing your solar equipment doesn’t raise your home value nearly as much, and you won’t be able to get the same incentives offered to homeowners who own their systems. Additionally, leasing saves the least amount of money over time on your electric bill. However, leases are some of the most affordable options in the short term, as companies usually don’t charge you high installation fees to get the system up and running.
We typically recommend buying your solar system outright or financing, as these options deliver the most benefits. Luckily, most Virginia homeowners will be able to secure low-APR loans and even no-money-down deals to keep clean energy accessible.
No, solar panels are not free in Virginia. Some companies might advertise that you can get panels for free, but this is usually code for a solar lease, which doesn’t actually help you save much money in the long run.
However, the average solar payback period for an 11-kW system in Virginia is about 13 years. For reference, solar panels typically last 25 years at the very least. This means that after your system has been producing energy for 13 years and you “break-even” on your investment, the energy you produce will essentially be free.
Yes, it is possible to eliminate your electric bills in Virginia by going solar. Virginia receives an average amount of sun, but residents throughout the state enjoy full retail rates for net metering and promising incentives that help to offset energy costs.