How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Wisconsin? (2024 Savings Guide)

In this guide on the cost of solar panels in Wisconsin, you’ll learn:

  • What the average cost of going solar in the Badger State is
  • How Wisconsinites can save money when going solar
  • Which local installation companies have the best prices
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Converting to solar is a great investment for most residents in Wisconsin, but the cost of photovoltaic (PV) equipment is one of the most significant barriers for most homeowners. In this guide, we’ll be discussing what solar panels cost in Wisconsin and some factors to consider if you want an accurate estimate for a system designed for your home. We’ll also offer some tips on how you can save money when converting to clean energy in the area.

What Will Your Solar Panel System Cost in Wisconsin?

The average price per watt for solar panels in Wisconsin is around $3.32. With the average system size requirement in the area sitting at around 7 kilowatts (kW), that puts the typical total system cost at $23,240 before any incentives. After the federal investment tax credit (ITC), that total comes down to an average of $16,268.

The size of the system you need is the biggest cost factor to consider and is largely based on your monthly energy demands. We’ll include some pricing for typical system sizes and rates of energy consumption in Wisconsin in the following table.

Solar Power System Size Energy Use (per month) House Size (sq ft) Total Cost Cost After the Federal ITC  Energy Savings (over 25 years, after system is paid off)
4 kW 400 kWh 1,200 $13,280 $9,296 $11,032
5 kW 500 kWh 1,400 $16,600 $11,620 $13,790
6 kW 600 kWh 1,600 $19,920 $13,944 $16,548
7 kW 700 kWh 1,800 $23,240 $16,268 $19,306
8 kW 800 kWh 2,000 $26,560 $18,592 $22,064
9 kW 900 kWh 2,200 $29,880 $20,916 $24,822
10 kW 1,000 kWh 2,400 $33,200 $23,240 $27,580
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All Energy Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Full-service home energy solutions
  • Excellent reputation
  • NABCEP-certified technicians


  • Expensive
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Sun Badger Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Competitive pricing
  • Offers rewards for customer referrals


  • No leases or PPAs
  • Relatively young company
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Arch Electric

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Installer

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Excellent reputation
  • NABCEP-certified technicians
  • Competitive pricing
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers


  • No leases or PPAs

How Do Wisconsin’s Solar Prices Compare to the National Average?

On a per-watt basis, Wisconsinites pay just a touch less for solar equipment than most U.S. residents, an average of $3.32 as compared to the national average of $3.33. That means that each dollar you spend on PV equipment goes a tiny bit further in WI than it would in most other states.

While the per-watt pricing is just a little below average, the average total conversion cost is about $6,500 lower in Wisconsin than in most other states before the federal tax break.

This is mostly because the typical resident needs a 7 kW system, whereas most Americans have higher monthly energy needs and require a 9 kW system. The additional two kilowatts will offset the excess energy demands but will cost significantly more.

Not only does your money go further on a watt-per-dollar basis in Wisconsin, but your system total will also be well below average, meaning solar is more accessible and affordable in your state than in most others.

What Are the Main Factors of Solar System Costs in Wisconsin?

close-up shot of solar panels reflecting the sky

There are a few things that contribute to the below-average system costs in Wisconsin. Some of the primary factors include the following:

  • Wisconsin’s below-average energy demands
  • The net metering policy in Wisconsin
  • The below-average sunlight availability in Wisconsin
  • The below-average cost per watt for PV equipment in WI

We’ll explain how these factors contribute to lower conversion costs overall in the following sections.

Wisconsin’s Below-Average Energy Consumption

The most significant cost factor for solar panel systems anywhere is the size of the system required to offset your energy bills. Wisconsinites use an average of 694 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month, which is about 75% of the national average of 881 kWh.

Since less energy is required from your solar project, you can often get away with installing systems that are smaller than average. The typical system size required in the area is 7 kW, which is 2 kW smaller than most Americans need.

That single difference in energy consumption and, consequentially, the system size requirements in WI, contribute to about $6,500+ worth of savings when converting to solar in Wisconsin as opposed to most other states.

The Net Metering Policy in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a decent net metering policy, which mandates net metering statewide. Net metering, also called net energy metering or NEM for short, is a policy that credits you for excess energy production and lets you use that energy to offset consumption when your panels aren’t generating enough, like on cloudy days or at night. Net metering significantly boosts solar savings and makes eliminating your utility bills possible.

Net metering is mandated in Wisconsin, but the rate at which you’re credited per kWh of excess energy isn’t set. Many electric companies offer a rate that’s below the retail cost per kWh, which limits your savings.

In areas like Wisconsin, solar batteries are a popular option for maximizing savings because they effectively give you access to retail-rate NEM. Batteries will bump up your installation price by around $10,000 each, but they can pay for themselves over time. We recommend considering your NEM program and deciding if a battery is right for you based on that.

The Below-Average Sunlight Availability in Wisconsin

Wisconsin sees an average of 188 sunny days per year, which is quite a bit below the national average of 205. Where sunlight is limited, you either need higher-efficiency panels or a larger system to compensate for the loss and keep up with your own demand. Investing in either will drive up your installation price.

We recommend choosing high-efficiency panels like those from Maxeon to bridge the gap. These deliver industry-leading rates of energy production, but they also come with stellar warranty coverage and solid durability and longevity.

A high-efficiency panel could cost you a few thousand dollars more initially, but over time, they will likely pay for themselves in a low-sun area like Wisconsin.

The Below-Average Cost Per Watt in Wisconsin

Another key factor that contributes to below-average system costs in Wisconsin is the below-average cost per watt for solar equipment. It’s unclear why the price is lower than it is in most states, but it likely has something to do with the accessibility of panels and proximity to production centers.

The typical cost per watt in Wisconsin is around $3.32, which is $0.01 lower than the national average.
Watch Below: How Well Will Your Solar Panels Still Work When Covered In Snow?

Additional Costs of Going Solar in Wisconsin

The cost of your solar PV panels and major add-on products like solar batteries is going to make up the bulk of your conversion price. However, there are some additional costs you might need to consider if your installer doesn’t include them in the per-watt cost. We’ll explain these additional charges below.

  • Additional solar equipment: In addition to solar panels and major add-on products, your installers might charge you separately for wiring to connect your system to the inverter and the grid, conduit to protect the wiring, mounting racks and things like critter guards to protect your system after the installation is completed. These components usually won’t account for more than a few hundred dollars, but they’re still things to consider.
  • Building permits and inspections: All municipalities in Wisconsin require building permits for solar panel installations. Your installer will have to file for permits prior to starting any work, wait for approval and then close them out after the installation is completed. Depending on your building department, you could be on the hook for between $25 and $350 for panel installation permits. Your installer should let you know the total amount. You’ll also need to be home for the final inspection in most cases, and you may have to pay a reinspection fee if you miss the appointment.
  • Interconnection fees: In order to be connected to the grid and maintain the ability to take advantage of net metering, your installer will need to complete and submit an interconnection application for your utility company. While you won’t need to fill out the paperwork, you will need to pay any associated fees. These typically fall between $25 and $150 in Wisconsin.
  • Product markup and administration fees: Finally, your installer might mark up the equipment it installs to maximize profit, and they may also charge admin fees for things like filing for incentives and solar rebates. Some installers don’t do either of these, but those that do can bump up your total installation price by a few hundred dollars in some cases.

What Maintenance Costs Can Solar Owners Expect in Wisconsin?

Installing a solar array is usually an expensive endeavor, but thankfully, the majority of the costs you’ll pay over the lifespan of your panels will be upfront. There are virtually no maintenance costs associated with solar arrays in Wisconsin.

If you run into issues that demand repairs or replacement, the likelihood is that it will be covered by your warranties. Just make sure to choose a reputable Wisconsin solar installer, and you should get adequate coverage.

Some solar customers also opt to pay for panel cleaning services. As dirt, pollen and other debris build up on the surface of your panels, the efficiency could dip a bit. Cleaning services cost between $100 and $150 twice per year to combat this issue. In most cases, this is totally not necessary, as it will only have a minimal effect on your system.

Plus, Wisconsin receives an average amount of rainfall, which should serve to keep your panels clean enough.

Which Solar Financing Options Will Help You Save the Most in Wisconsin?

There are four main ways to pay for your solar array: with a cash payment, via a solar loan or by signing up for a solar lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA). Not all installers accept all of these options, but the one you choose that is available to you will have a significant impact on your upfront costs, your overall system total and your savings.

A cash purchase is the ideal option. It leads to immediate panel ownership, so you’re not locked into any payment plan, and you won’t have an interest rate to drive up the price of your system. A cash purchase lets you take the federal solar tax credit — an average potential value of $6,972 in Wisconsin — and it yields the highest energy savings over time thanks to the avoidance of interest.

A solar loan is your next best option, in our opinion. Loans are more accessible than cash payments because they have much lower upfront costs, often requiring $0 down. However, you will pay interest on your system, which will reduce your savings by around $5,000, on average, and extend your panel payback period by a few years. Loans also let you take the federal credit.

Leases are rental agreements where you pay a monthly fee to have the panels on your roof, and you get to use the energy they generate to offset your electricity rates and save money. Leases do not lead to ownership of your system, so you’ll miss out on the federal credit. You’ll also never hit a period in time where your panels have paid for themselves, so long-term savings are minimal.

A PPA is when you have panels installed at no cost to you, and you agree to pay your installer for discounted electricity generated by the panels. PPAs lead to the lowest savings overall. They also don’t lead to ownership, so you cannot take the federal credit if you go with a power purchase agreement.

We should also mention that leases and power purchase agreements can complicate the sale of your home, while a cash payment or solar loan would boost your home value.

If you’re not sure which option will work best for you, we recommend first using our solar calculator to see how much your system will cost. You can then use the chart below to choose the most beneficial option that you can afford. You can also keep your options open by considering converting to solar with SunPower or All Energy Solar, two installers in Wisconsin that accept all four payment options.

Financing Method Total 25 Year Savings (estimated) Initial Costs (estimated, after the federal tax credit) Monthly Payments (estimated) Payback Period (estimated)
Cash $28,737 $16,268 $0 11 years
Loan $23,500 $0 $75 – $175 12 years
Lease $5,000 $0 $105 N/A
Power Purchase Agreement $4,000 $0 $105 N/A

What Are Other Ways You Can Save When Going Solar in Wisconsin?

dark solar panels on a house roof

In addition to choosing the best financing option for your needs and budget, there are a few other things you can do to save some money when converting to solar in Wisconsin. Some of the best money-saving strategies include the following:

  • Consider a solar battery carefully
  • Take advantage of Wisconsin’s solar incentives and rebates
  • Choose a high-efficiency panel brand

We’ll explain how these things can save you some money in the following sections.

Consider a Solar Battery Carefully

One way to save money on your home solar array in Wisconsin is to consider a solar battery carefully, as they aren’t always a good solar investment.

We recommend taking a look at the net metering policy offered by your utility company. If you are credited for excess energy at a rate that’s close to what you’d normally pay for electricity, then we suggest passing on a solar battery. If that’s the case, the battery will likely never pay for itself and will instead increase your installation total by $10,000 or more.

If, however, you have a credit rate that’s below the retail value for energy in your area, you could benefit and end up saving by installing a battery along with your panels. Your installation cost will still be higher, but you could end up saving money in the long run.

Take All the Solar Incentives You Can

Solar incentives are usually the best way to save on your solar installation in Wisconsin. All residents have access to the federal tax incentive, which can provide an average potential savings of $6,972 in Wisconsin, provided you pay in cash or with a solar equipment loan. That single perk can drop your effective solar power system costs by 30%.

There are other incentives available in Wisconsin that you can take to save money, including the sales tax and property tax exemptions. There might be local incentives available from your city or utility company as well, or through the state’s solar perks program, Focus on Energy. We recommend checking the DSIRE website (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) for more information.

On average, the incentives in Wisconsin could save you close to or above $7,500.

Choose a High-Efficiency Panel Brand

Finally, we recommend investing in a monocrystalline panel with an above-average efficiency rating. Wisconsin sees fewer sunny days per year than most other states, and a lack of sunlight means lower rates of solar energy production. Ultimately, that translates to lower energy savings or higher installation costs if you need to upsize your system to compensate.

We suggest choosing a high-efficiency panel brand like Maxeon instead. This will bump up your initial costs, but in the long run, the system is very likely to pay for itself. Especially since you have access to some net metering program, high-efficiency panels will boost your production and overall savings in all situations and weather conditions.

What Are the Typical Costs of Wisconsin’s Solar Installers?

Another thing that affects the cost of solar panels in Wisconsin is the solar installer you choose. You have around 80 installers to pick from, and each one charges different prices for their equipment and labor. We strongly recommend considering the quality of the products, service and warranty you get alongside the cost.

The table below includes a quick side-by-side look at what we believe are the best solar panel installation companies in Wisconsin. This should help you decide which companies are worth considering for your project and which are most likely to fit into your budget.

Solar Company  Superlative EcoWatch Rating (Out of 5.0) BBB Rating Average Price ($–$$$$$)
SunPower Best National Provider 5 A+ $$$$
Tesla Best Technology 4.5 A+ $$
All Energy Solar Best Regional Provider 4.5 A+ $$$$$
Arch Electric Best Local Installer 4 A+ $$
Olson Solar Energy Most Affordable 4 A+ $$

How Are Solar Costs and Regulations Trending In Wisconsin?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the cost of solar equipment in Wisconsin has decreased by around 54% over the past decade. That means the standard system, which costs around $16,268 after the federal tax break today, would have totaled over $32,000 ten years ago.

A big reason for the decline in PV system equipment pricing is the advancements made in solar panel manufacturing, a process that has become more streamlined and efficient as the popularity of solar has skyrocketed in the U.S. Since solar still has a lot of room to grow in Wisconsin, we expect the cost of solar equipment in the area to continue to decline in the coming years.

As far as incentives go, we don’t foresee any positive changes to existing perks or any new incentives becoming available in the near future. Wisconsin’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal ended in 2015, and it has yet to set a new renewable energy goal. Since RPS goals are usually the impetus for incentives improving, we expect the perks to stay stagnant at best over the coming years.

If something were to change, we believe it would be a negative change to the net metering program. Net metering is often the first solar incentive to get downgraded across the country, and the lack of an RPS goal in Wisconsin could lead to the net metering perk going away entirely.

With prices lower than they’ve ever been and no positive changes to incentives in sight, we feel that there has never been a better time to go solar in Wisconsin than right now. You can use the tool below to get solar quotes for conversion to clean energy in your area today to take advantage before incentives get downgraded.

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The cost information presented in this article is derived from a comprehensive analysis, incorporating data from multiple industry sources. The average cost per watt per state was calculated based on figures from Consumer Affairs, Energy Sage, and Berkeley Lab’s Electricity Markets & Policy Department. Additionally, monthly energy consumption and the average monthly cost of electricity were sourced from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, ensuring a well-rounded and accurate representation of the information presented.

FAQs: Wisconsin Solar Panel Costs

In most cases, yes! The average solar energy system in Wisconsin pays for itself in just ten years, about two years faster than it would in most other states. After that point, the system is expected to save an average of just over $21,000 on electricity bills. For most Wisconsinites, solar conversion is well worth the investment because it significantly reduces energy costs. Plus, converting to a renewable energy source helps reduce your emissions and your reliance on fossil fuels.

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Article author
Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. 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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Expert reviewer
Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.

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