Delaware Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Delaware solar panels:
- How much the typical solar energy system costs in Delaware
- How much electricity your panels will generate under local conditions
- What incentives are available to help keep costs down
How Can You Get Solar Panels in Delaware?
The first step to having solar installed on your property is to contact a local company for a solar quote. This should include a property inspection to measure your roof and assess for shading during the day. Once you get the estimate, you’ll decide on a financing option: cash, solar loan, solar lease, or power purchase agreement (PPA).
Then once payment is arranged your installer will file for permits for your solar project and then complete the installation. The process from start to finish can take as little as a month but more often takes two to three months or more.
Most Delaware residents find that adopting solar energy is a great way to decrease their carbon footprints and use fewer fossil fuels — and save money in the process. Over 25 years, the average solar system in Delaware can pay for itself and then go on to deliver over $21,000 in additional energy savings.
Green Street Solar
Solar Energy World
Clean Energy USA
What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Delaware?
The average price for solar equipment in Delaware is around $2.58 per watt. With an average system size of 9.5 kilowatts (kW) to offset local utility bills, the total cost will come in at around $24,510. If you’re able to take the full federal solar tax credit, you could get your effective total down to around $17,157.
Solar panel systems that are sized appropriately to cover your energy needs almost always pay for themselves in Delaware. The time it takes for this to occur in the First State — called the panel payback period — is around 11 years. This is shorter than the national average of 12 years, meaning solar is more valuable in DE than in many other states.
You can get more information about the cost of solar equipment in your area and the metrics for determining the value of a renewable energy system by reading our guide to solar costs in Delaware.
What Are The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Delaware?
Delaware property owners are spoiled for choice when it comes to solar equipment brands. This is thanks to a booming local solar industry and an increasing demand for photovoltaic (PV) equipment. Most of the larger panel brands are widely available throughout the state.
Residents of some states need to choose high-efficiency equipment or panels that come with robust warranty coverage due to a lack of sun or a prevalence of extreme weather. Delaware experiences neither, so most residents choose a brand based on cost and value.
Below are some of the most popular brands that are regularly installed in the state.
- SunPower (now called Maxeon — these are considered the best monocrystalline panels for solar power generation)
- Canadian Solar
- LG (panels under this brand will soon no longer be available)
- Mission Solar
- JA Solar
Is Delaware a Good State for Solar Panels?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), DE ranks 41st in the nation for solar adoption.1 However, this doesn’t mean that solar isn’t a sound investment in the area. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Below, we’ll include a few factors that make DE an outstanding place to convert to solar.
- Below-average equipment costs: DE residents pay an average of $2.58 per watt installed, while the U.S. average sits at $2.66. This is a small difference when scaled for watts, but most homeowners in the area require a solar array that is 9.5 kW. That means DE property owners save around $760 over the average cost.
- Plenty of sunshine: DE gets an average of 202 sunny days per year, putting it just a touch below the national average of 205.2 This is plenty of sunshine to generate enough electricity for residents of The First State to reduce utility bills significantly. More sun means more savings, so property owners are in good shape when it comes to energy savings potential.
- Above-average energy needs: Residents in DE consume an average of 932 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month, which puts the state above the national average for energy needs.3 When energy consumption is higher, energy bills also tend to be higher, which means solar power systems have more to offset. Generally speaking, this means a higher savings potential as well, making solar energy more valuable in the area.
- Decent solar incentives: Finally, DE only has a few solar incentives available for residents, but they are quite beneficial in minimizing up-front costs and improving the opportunity for long-term savings. We’ll discuss the available incentives in a later section.
How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Delaware?
Solar panel production — the amount of electricity your solar modules generate — will naturally fluctuate with changes in the weather, property conditions, and equipment options, so estimating how much energy your panels will provide is a challenging endeavor that usually requires a professional opinion.
Below are some of the factors that can affect production levels for your system.
- Direction and the angle of your roof: Your panels will perform best when the solar cells have access to direct sunlight. In North America, south-facing roofs face the path the sun takes in the sky and will get the most intense light possible. Additionally, the angle of your roof will make a difference. Somewhere around a 42-degree tilt is ideal in DE and will yield the greatest production year-round.
- Amount of direct sunlight that hits your roof: If the sunlight hitting your panels is blocked at any point, you’ll also see a dip in production. Tree coverage is one of the primary things your installer will look for during the initial property inspection, but shade from other homes, utility poles, or power lines can also lead to a lower level of energy generation.
- Local weather conditions: Similarly, clouds obstructing the available sunlight can cut your production by up to 90%. Your installer should take average weather conditions in DE into consideration when determining how many panels you need.
- Quality of panels you install: Panel brands differ when it comes to a few metrics, but one of the most crucial is the efficiency rating. This number tells you how efficient your equipment is at converting available sunlight into electricity for use in your home. The more efficient your panels are, the fewer you need to install.
- Number of panels you can fit on your roof: Additionally, the size of your system is a major factor that affects production levels. Each panel you add will increase your daily and monthly energy production.
You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much electricity different system sizes can produce under ideal conditions in DE. Keep in mind that actual results will vary quite a bit based on the factors discussed above.
|Solar Power System Size||Expected Daily Energy Produced||Expected Monthly Energy Produced||Expected Annual Energy Produced|
|7 kW||23.3 kWh||700 kWh||8,400 kWh|
|8 kW||26.6 kWh||800 kWh||9,600 kWh|
|9 kW||30 kWh||900 kWh||10,800 kWh|
|10 kW||33.3 kWh||1,000 kWh||12,000 kWh|
|11 kW||36.6 kWh||1,100 kWh||13,200 kWh|
|12 kW||40 kWh||1,200 kWh||14,400 kWh|
|13 kW||43.3 kWh||1,300 kWh||15,600 kWh|
If you’d like a more accurate estimate of how much electricity panels on your specific home can produce, you can use our solar calculator. This tool uses local data and satellite imaging to determine sun exposure and solar viability.
Solar Panel Policy History in Delaware
Delaware jumped on the clean energy bandwagon about two decades after the first states began pushing solar energy. However, the policies it created have helped to shape the local solar industry into what it is today.
The policies began back in 1999 when the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC) deregulated the energy market and made net metering mandatory.
This billing policy lets solar customers generate excess energy and earn credits for providing it to their utility companies. Those credits can offset future utility bills to keep long-term savings high. DE mandates that credits are offered at the full retail rate, which is the best-case scenario for this policy and an industry-leading rate.
Also in 1999, the DE General Assembly started the Green Energy Fund to supply funds for solar rebates and other incentive programs to push clean energy.
Delmarva Power, the largest electric company in DE, was required to provide the funds collected by charging its customers a small fee per kWh consumed. The rate charged was bumped up in 2007 to increase the pot.
A few years later, in 2005, DE set its first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal to generate 10% of the state’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2020.
In direct response to the RPS goal, Delaware Electric Cooperative (DEC) and Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) both initiated green energy funds. These were similar to the one Delmarva had been funding since 1999.
Three years later, in 2008, DE opened its statewide Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) market. This policy provided energy certificates to solar customers based on production. Those SRECs could then be sold for a profit and put toward the cost of the system or just provide additional savings.
In 2010, DE revised and improved its RPS goal to call for generating 25% of the state’s energy from clean sources by 2026. This revision included a 3.5% carve-out specifically for solar energy. Most recently, in 2021, the target was raised to 40% of energy from clean sources by 2035.
It’s also worth mentioning that community solar — which uses large solar installations to produce energy for many customers off-site — surged in 2012 and 2013 in DE. This doesn’t change solar policies, but it does solidify that solar is here to stay.
What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Delaware?
Thanks to the policies mentioned above, DE residents currently have access to a few incentive programs. We’ll briefly explain each of the perks available below.
- Net metering: If your panels produce more energy than you use in your home, this policy credits you for the excess. Your future electric bills can then be offset using those credits. All credits are provided at the full retail rate for energy, which is outstanding.
- Residential Clean Energy Credit: The federal solar tax credit is for 30% of your PV system value, including panels, inverters, and batteries for grid-tied and off-grid systems. The credit offers an average of over $7,300 in DE. It’s applied to the income taxes you owe for the year your solar modules are installed.
- Delmarva Power Green Energy Program: This is a rebate program that provides up to $0.70 per watt for your solar equipment, up to $6,000. Given the average system size in DE, most residents can take the full amount.
- Delaware Electric Cooperative Green Energy Program: This is another cashback program for a variety of green energy generation sources. For solar, you can get back between $2,500 and $3,500.
- Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation Green Energy Fund: This is also a rebate program for DEMEC customers. It provides up to $1 back per watt for the first 5 kW, and then $0.50 per watt thereafter.
You can check out our complete guide to Delaware solar incentives for more information on these perks and how to take advantage of them.
Find a Local Installer in Delaware
Choosing a solar installation company requires a lot of time and research for most property owners. A lot hinges on your decision, including your PV module costs, the warranty coverage you get, the quality of the equipment that’s available to you, and more.
We’ll include links down below to reviews of some of the top solar providers in major cities in DE. For additional company recommendations in other cities in DE, you can check out our guide to choosing a solar installer in The First State.