7 Steps to Solar Panels in Delaware

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.

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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) 

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy 

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Green Street Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • NABCEP-certified technicians
  • Locally owned and operated
  • Many financing options


  • Limited service offerings
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Solar Energy World

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Excellent reputation
  • Independently owned and operated
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers


  • Some reported communication issues
  • Less personalization than competitors offer
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Clean Energy USA

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Excellent reputation
  • Many years of experience
  • NABCEP-certified technicians


  • Slightly expensive
  • Limited information available on website

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels in Delaware

delaware solar panel array
Larger solar arrays will generate more energy but are less cost-effective in many cases. Credit: Public Domain Pictures / Pixabay / Unsplash

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.

Research If Solar Panels Are a Good Fit For You in Delaware

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

Research How to Finance Solar Panels

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:

  • Solar loan: Like any other loan, a solar loan involves a down payment (sometimes $0) and periodic repayments of the loan with a fixed interest rate. Many institutions also offer low-interest loans to promote clean technology.
  • Solar lease: A lease is when you rent your solar system instead of buying it and pay a fixed monthly amount to the installer. Since you do not own the system, you can no longer benefit from the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
  • Solar PPA: A power purchase agreement is when you sign a contract for purchasing the energy generated from a solar system, instead of the system itself. This is similar to your contract with the utility company, with a decided price per kWh. Similar to leases, you cannot avail of any tax benefit with PPAs.

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:

  • Federal solar tax credit (ITC)
  • Net metering
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)
  • DNREC Green Energy Program
  • DNREC Low- to Moderate-Income Solar Pilot Program

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider 

Once you have decided that solar power is a good fit for you, you can start exploring solar installer options in your area.

Picking a Solar Installer

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.

What to Expect After Requesting a Quote

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.

Consider Purchasing Solar Accessories

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.

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract in Delaware

solar panel farm delaware
Credit: Zsuzska321 / Pixabay

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:

How Do Solar Warranties Work in Delaware?

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:

  • Product warranty: The product warranty comes with the solar equipment, and is offered by the original manufacturer. Most solar panels come with 10-15 year warranties, while the best ones can even have a 25- or 30-year term. Solar batteries and inverters usually come with 10-15 years of warranty.
  • Workmanship warranty: Also known as the labor warranty, this warranty applies to the entire system, and is provided by the installer. It is generally supposed to be proof of the quality of installation. Most installers offer a 10-year workmanship warranty, while some may even offer a 25-year term.
  • Performance guarantee: Performance guarantees promise a certain minimum output from the solar panels. Typically, solar panels come with a performance guarantee of 80-85% output by year 25.

When buying a system, make sure you get the longest possible warranties. You can even purchase extended warranties for your solar panel system.

When Can I Expect Solar Service to Go Live?

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.

Solar Panel Permits in Delaware

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.

Solar & Utility Interconnection

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.

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day in Delaware

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.

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels in Delaware 

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:

  • Electrical (3rd party)
  • Framing (if applicable)
  • Footing (if applicable)
  • Final Inspection (always)3

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) in Delaware 

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.

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy in Delaware

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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Article author
Aniket Bhor is a solar engineer who has spent nearly a decade studying and working in the solar power sector in the European, Asian and North American markets. He recieved his Master’s degree in Renewable Energies from Germany at Technische Fachhochschule Wildau. He has since worked in the industry in a variety of capacities including Solar Energy Consultant, Business Development Head, Solar Entrepreneurship Trainer, and more recently writing for solar organizations including Venuiti Solutions, Green Integrations, Solengy, Ecotality.com. Overall, he is a climate enthusiast and avid cyclist, and he also loves to lose himself in books and cooking.
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Expert reviewer
Kristina Zagame is a journalist, editor and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.

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