Solar Panel Cost In 2023 (Homeowner’s Installation Savings Guide)
By Karsten Neumeister /
Delaware hasn’t shown particularly rapid growth in solar power adoption, but a below-average cost of solar and lifetime savings of over $21,000 is helping homeowners realize it’s well worth it to go solar.
While Delaware was the first American state, the Solar Energy Industries Association ranks it 39th for solar adoption.1 It may not have the sunniest climate, but you cannot dismiss the state just yet.
Delaware has a solid Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and favorable local incentives for homeowners who switch to solar. With the average cost of solar in Delaware at $2.58 per watt (W), it’s slightly cheaper than the U.S. national average of $2.66.
Despite the limitations, going solar in Delaware is worth it. If you are curious about going solar, here are the steps involved in the process:
Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels
Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider
Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract
Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day
Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels
Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO)
Delaware’s uninspiring levels of sunlight and relatively lower savings mean that solar may not be the right choice for all Delawareans. This makes it important to research if solar is a good fit for you.
When researching the suitability of solar power, start by calculating how many solar panels you need. A good tool for doing this is our solar calculator.
You may also want to study which type and orientation of roof are ideal for solar and if your home’s roof is a good fit. You can also check out your potential savings from solar in Delaware. For instance, a typical homeowner can save more than $21,000 over the lifetime of their solar panels.
Researching the solar rebate programs in Delaware is also a good idea. This includes key incentives such as the solar tax credit and net metering. Thankfully, Delaware has an excellent net metering law – which prices the net metering credits at the retail rate of electricity.
Here is a table that compares several financial parameters of solar power in Delaware with national averages.
|Delaware Average||U.S. Average|
|Cost of Solar||$2.58/W||$2.66/W|
|Average System Size||9.5 kW||9 kW|
|Average System Cost||$24,510||$23,940|
|Average System Cost After Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)||$17,157||$16,758|
|Solar Payback Period||12 years||11 years|
Residents in Delaware use more energy on average than other Americans, which means they need larger (more expensive) solar power systems. Solar installation costs in Delaware typically well over $20,000 before the income tax incentive kicks in.
Obviously that’s a substantial cost, which is why many people prefer to use a solar financing option rather than spend it upfront. Aside from cash purchases, solar installers in Delaware generally offer the following payment options to make buying solar panels easier:
Delaware residents can benefit from several solar loan options in the state. For instance, “Energize Delaware” is a residential solar loan program that offers a loan of up to $30,000 at 3.9% interest.2 Many private lending institutions are also offering solar loans, and work with solar installers to make the process easier.
Keep in mind that solar loans, as well as leases and PPAs, will reduce your savings and subsequently increase your payback period.
Homeowners can also benefit from the following Delaware solar incentives:
Once you have decided that solar power is a good fit for you, you can start exploring solar installer options in your area.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Delaware has about 20 local solar companies to choose from, plus some of the best national companies in solar industry serve homes in the state. You can start with these national installers, or research the top rated Delaware solar companies.
Large, national companies tend to be more reliable and stable. But choosing a local company has its perks as well, such as competitive pricing and personalized service. Make sure to look at multiple options and list down a few that you think are a good fit for your needs.
Once you have a list of preferred installers, the next thing is to request a quote from all of them. Getting multiple solar quotes allows you to compare equipment, warranties and pricing, while also giving you an idea of how professional an installer feels before signing an agreement. You may even be able to convince a company to match the price of another one.
When you request a quote, the solar installer will require some information from you, including your address, roof type and pitch, energy bills, etc.
Using this information, the company will put together a system design and share it with you in a proposal. The proposal will also include the pricing of the system, along with other details such as the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), projected energy savings, payback period, etc.
This is a good step to ask as many questions as you have about their offering and solar in general. You can ask the installer about the equipment quality and warranty, maintenance requirements, financing options, solar rebates, etc.
Before you finalize an installer, you can also consider adding any solar accessories to your system. This can include solar batteries – a great addition if you are going off-grid, or want to protect your home against power outages. Another example is EV chargers if you plan to buy an EV in the future.
Not all installers are equal, and no single installer can be labeled the absolute best in all aspects. It is therefore important to study which installer suits your requirements best. Once you go through all the received proposals carefully, it is time to make a choice. Here are a few things to consider when doing so:
The warranties on your solar power system are a crucial aspect of consideration, given the substantial investment and long lifespan of the system. Delaware installers offer the following three types of warranties:
When buying a system, make sure you get the longest possible warranties. You can even purchase extended warranties for your solar panel system.
The process of going solar involves multiple steps besides the actual installation. In Delaware, going solar can take up to three months on average, but can be longer depending on specific factors.
Your solar power system is located on your roof and, in most cases, is connected to the local grid. That’s why your city office and utility company requires one or more civil or electrical permits before you install the system.
The building permits required by most counties in Delaware ensure that the system does not pose a threat to the owners. Different counties have different sets of requirements and charge different fees.
Thankfully, your solar installer is aware of all the required permits and includes the permitting fees in your original system price. They will apply for all the permits on your behalf and can apply for any incentives and rebates you are eligible for.
Unless you are installing an off-grid system, most systems will be connected to your local utility grid. This interconnection allows you to send and receive power from the grid, adding flexibility to your solar power system through net metering.
You’ll need to submit an interconnection request to your electric utility company, whether it is Delmarva power, Delaware electric cooperative, or DEMEC. Getting interconnection approved can add time and cost to your solar project, but it is always worth it.
After you have received all the required permits for your system, it is finally time for installation. Your installer will schedule an installation day with you. Based on factors such as the size of your system and the prevailing weather conditions, it may take between a day and a week for installation.
You should plan on at least one adult being home for the entire day when your panels are being installed. Most of the installation takes place outside, but your technicians will need interior access throughout the day to install add-on products, connect to your electric panel and complete the panel installation.
Although your city office and utility company have approved the installation of your solar energy system, there is one remaining step before the system can start sending power into your house and the grid – the final inspection.
A representative of the utility company, and in some cases, one from the city office too, will visit you and inspect the system as per their safety checklist. For example, the City of Dover may include the following inspections:
Your system’s inspection will be completed within a day, and within the next few days, you will receive the permission to operate (PTO) your system. This is the final approval needed to activate your system.
Your installer will guide you in switching on your system. Make sure to ask them about the safety features, any emergency breaker switches, etc. Most modern solar equipment, especially inverters, come with monitoring capabilities. Ask your installer if your system has this feature, and which app/platform you can use to monitor your system for production levels or issues.
Once your system is up and running, all the hard work on your end is done. You can now sit back and enjoy clean, renewable energy for decades to come.
This clean energy from your system will not only help save the planet, it will also save you thousands of dollars in electric bills, while also increasing your home value.
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