Solar Panel Cost Guide in Charleston, WV (Aug 2022)

  • Charleston Solar Installation Cost: $21,783
  • 25-Year Savings: $27,106
  • Payback Period: 11.1 Years

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 7/19/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Charleston

We go over average solar pricing in Charleston.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in Charleston, the average cost of solar panels is $3 per watt. To cover the typical energy usage of the average home in Charleston, most homeowners require a 11.2-kilowatt system. Using the figure above, a solar installation costs around $21,783, or $16,119 after the federal solar tax credit is applied.

How much you pay can go higher or lower than the average in Charleston depending on a variety of factors, such as the kind of solar panels you choose and the solar company you hire. But, after you've paid the initial cost of installation, the ROI for most homeowners is quite rewarding, with a net average savings of about $17,000 over 20 years on energy bills.

For a customized quote from a local solar installer that has been pre-vetted by the EcoWatch team, click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Charleston

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-19,827
3 years $-15,916
5 years $-12,005
7 years $-8,094
9 years $-4,183
11 years $-271
13 years $3,640
15 years $7,551
17 years $11,462
19 years $15,373
21 years $19,284
23 years $23,195
25 years $27,106

Top Solar Installers in Charleston

Although you can install solar panels by yourself, it requires extra time and handiness. Because of that, the majority of homeowners choose to go with a solar panel installer. Some solar installers, particularly local ones, can help you make the most of incentives in Charleston, therefore optimizing your ROI.

Working with a licensed solar installer can help your solar project go smoothly. Here are our recommendations:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

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

Best Technology

The Green Panel

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Charleston

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Charleston

There are many criteria that can affect your total installation cost, such as the size of your system, the equipment you choose, your financing options and the specific company that installs your solar panels.

Solar Equipment Size

The cost of solar panel systems varies by thousands of dollars due to a variety of factors. One of the main factors is the system size. Solar power systems that have greater efficiency or power generation need better technology and/or more equipment, both of which can raise costs. For each additional kilowatt you need, your cost can go up by about $2,640. There are several different solar panel brands and the one you pick also affects the cost. Typically, the brands that have better efficiency tend to also cost more. In addition, the type of equipment you choose can affect your total cost. If you only need panels, your system will be much less expensive than if you also need solar batteries or an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in Charleston to be prohibitively costly, even if the investment pays off over time. Fortunately, almost every solar installer in the area provides access to financing options. Solar loans substantially decrease upfront costs in most cases, but they also lead to a higher cost over time because of interest. However, the interest on solar loans also increase your overall costs, so it's important to take that into consideration as well. You can always reduce the total you pay in interest and sometimes even your APR by putting more money down.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar company you opt for to handle your switch to clean energy can have an effect on your total costs. There are about 3 solar panel companies in Charleston, and each can charge varying amounts for labor and equipment. Some companies only sell high-quality, high-efficiency and high-price products — like Maxeon solar panels from SunPower or Tesla Powerwall batteries — so choosing those installers will generally cost more. It's best to do some research and choose a company that has the products, warranties and services you want and also fits within your budget.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.75 $12,190 $14,107 11.6 years
8 kW $2.69 $15,941 $19,122 11.4 years
10 kW $2.64 $19,536 $24,293 11.1 years
12 kW $2.59 $22,974 $29,621 10.9 years
14 kW $2.53 $26,256 $35,105 10.7 years
16 kW $2.48 $29,382 $40,745 10.5 years
18 kW $2.43 $32,352 $46,541 10.3 years
20 kW $2.38 $35,165 $52,494 10.0 years

Solar Incentives in Charleston

Name ITC
Type Tax Incentive
Incentive Amount 26% of installation cost
Website Visit here

How to Save on Solar Panels

The company that does your system installation will affect the warranties and brands available to you, and it will also have an impact on your total cost. Because picking a company can be a challenge, we have some tips to help you, such as:

  • Warranty: Warranties that provide coverage for replacement parts and repairs over a long period of time such as 25 years are the gold standard in the business, and offering such a warranty is one indication of a quality company.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and model offers varying levels of quality, durability and energy efficiency. They will come at different costs as well. The company you choose plays a role in which solar panel brands you have access to.
  • Reputation: Make sure your solar panel installer has a good reputation by verifying it has certifications and licenses, checking its work history and reading reviews by previous customers and solar experts like the EcoWatch team.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should make sure they understand how exactly the installation process will be carried out, as well as important factors like the project timeline.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

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

Best Technology

The Green Panel

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Charleston, WV Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Charleston?

The average cost of solar panels in Charleston is about $13,200 for a 5-kW system and $26,400 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on certain factors such as the model of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Are solar panels free in Charleston?

A solar panel system isn't free in Charleston, but there are some options that can make getting them more viable, such as leasing solar panels or getting a solar loan. There may also be local programs or incentives that you can take advantage of.

Can solar panels completely eradicate my power bills?

Solar panels can potentially eliminate your electricity bills depending on your location and the efficiency of your system. Even if it doesn't get rid of them completely, you can save a lot of money on your bills, about $876.59 per year.

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

Even though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they are completely unusable at that time. What this means is the amount of energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can replace them once you've had them for that long or you can keep using them at a lower efficiency.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert’s opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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