Indiana Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Indiana solar panels:

  • How much solar panels cost, on average, in IN
  • How much electricity you can expect your system to generate
  • What incentives are available to bring upfront installation costs down and maximize savings
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How to Get Solar Panels in Indiana

When you’re ready to convert to solar energy in IN, you’ll first need to reach out to a local installer for a free quote. This company will inspect your roof for measurements and sun exposure (in person or via satellite), then design a system to meet your energy needs and get your approval on it.

Once you make payment via your preferred financing option — cash, solar loan, solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) — your installer will pull permits and begin the installation. When the system is activated, the company will schedule a final inspection with the local building department to close out the permits.

Converting to solar energy in IN is almost always beneficial for residents. Photovoltaic (PV) equipment in the area lets you cut your fossil fuel emissions and contribution to climate change, but it also saves money on energy bills. The average system in The Hoosier State saves residents nearly $22,000 over time.

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SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer
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Blue Raven Solar

Best Solar Financing

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation

Cons

  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)
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GRNE Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Comprehensive service offerings
  • Excellent reputation

Cons

  • Limited brands of solar equipment available

What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Indiana?

Most Indianans pay around $2.68 per watt for PV equipment. This is slightly above the national average, and it comes out to around $25,500 for the typical 9.5 kilowatt (kW) system. After the federal Residential Clean Energy Credit is considered, though, the total comes out closer to $17,800.

The typical solar power system in the U.S. pays for itself in 12 years by providing energy savings each month. This time period is called the panel payback period, and it’s a great measurement of solar viability for an area. Solar equipment in IN provides about the average value to customers, as the local payback period is also 12 years.

You can read more about PV system pricing and other value metrics by checking out our guide to solar panel cost and savings in Indiana.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Indiana

Indiana is ranked 20th in the nation for solar adoption by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).1 With such a strong local solar industry, it’s no surprise that residents have access to most of the major panel brands in the country.

Generally, property owners choose panel brands based on efficiency or warranty coverage and durability. Indianans need to consider both, as the state receives well below the national average number of sunny days, and it’s prone to severe weather, including tornadoes.2,3

Below is a brief list of some of the more popular monocrystalline panel brands that are suitable for Indiana’s lack of sunlight and extreme weather. These are generally superior for IN to less efficient polycrystalline panels.

  • Maxeon (previously branded as SunPower)
  • LG
  • Panasonic
  • Tesla
  • Qcells
  • REC
  • Silfab
  • Canadian Solar
  • Trina Solar
  • Mission Solar

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Is Indiana a Good State for Solar Panels?

Indiana is considered a decent place to go solar, with the majority of solar customers in the area benefiting from converting. Below, we’ll discuss some of the factors that make IN a good locale for solar adoption.

Indiana solar panels

  • Above-average energy consumption: Indiana residents pay average electricity rates, but they consume more electricity than most Americans. With an average monthly energy consumption of around 938 kilowatt-hours (kWh), IN homeowners have higher-than-average utility bills to offset. Above-average energy bills mean each kilowatt-hour (kWh) your panels produce will save you more money, which means the value of your PV equipment is higher than average.
  • High risk of power outages: Although IN is not technically located in Tornado Alley, it has one of the highest risks of tornado activity in the country.4 This leads to an above-average risk of power outages throughout The Hoosier State. Installing solar panels and inverters alone will not bring your home off-grid. However, adding a solar battery — like a Tesla Powerwall — to your rooftop solar array will provide power through blackout conditions, so solar modules and solar energy storage solutions are quite valuable in IN.
  • Excellent solar incentives: While IN isn’t the most solar-friendly state, it does provide a slew of benefit programs, rebates and other perks for residents who convert to renewable energy. We’ll discuss the specific benefits available in a later section and discuss how each one affects your up-front costs and long-term savings.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Indiana?

The amount of electricity solar PV systems can generate depends on many different factors, so it’s often a challenge to get an accurate estimate. Generation rates can fluctuate from property to property, and a system on your property can produce varying amounts of energy from day to day and season to season.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the most significant factors that can affect solar production on your home.

  • The orientation of your roof: One of the first things your installer will look at when determining solar viability is the direction your roof faces. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, south-facing roofs are angled toward the path of the sun in the sky, so they receive the most direct sunlight.5 Greater solar irradiation will always lead to higher levels of energy production because the electrons in the solar cells will become more excited, leading to higher levels of direct current. East- and west-facing roofs can also be decent options for solar installations, but they won’t generate nearly as much power.
  • Shading on your property: Sunlight availability is another crucial consideration when sizing and installing your solar energy system. Panels produce the most electricity when they’re hit with constant sunlight throughout the day. Impediments to sunlight from things like tree coverage, nearby buildings, electrical lines and other obstructions will cause a dip in your production rates. Shading during the peak sunlight hours in the early afternoon will cause the most significant drop in generation capacity.
  • The weather: Local weather conditions can play a big role in solar production as well. Cloud coverage can drop your peak production capacity by up to 90%. Weather is an especially important factor in IN because of the general lack of sunlight. With far fewer sunny days per year than in most states, installers in the area need to size your solar panel system with sunlight availability in mind.
  • How many panels you install on your home: The more panels you install on your home, the more energy your system as a whole will produce. Each additional panel should provide around 100 extra kWh to your monthly production, although this can fluctuate based on other factors.
  • The brand of panels you choose for your home solar system: Finally, the efficiency rating of your panels — which is unique to each solar technology brand — matters a great deal. Panels with high energy efficiency ratings will produce more electricity in similar conditions. Most IN property owners choose high-efficiency panels to maximize production in the low-sun conditions.

While an accurate estimate of panel production needs to take all of these factors into consideration, the chart below provides general numbers for production based on system size.

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

For a more personalized estimate, you can use our solar calculator. This tool takes your location and sun exposure into consideration to provide an accurate estimate of how productive panels on your roof will be.

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Solar Panel Policy History in Indiana

IN was a bit late to the game in terms of promoting solar energy on a statewide level. However, it has made up for lost time with numerous policies and laws to make solar more valuable.

Pro-solar legislation in The Hoosier State began in 2002 when the solar easement laws were passed. These laws prohibit new construction from blocking available sunlight from existing solar arrays. They also sets up a means for residents to work with neighbors to maintain sun exposure for home solar systems.

The state’s net metering program was introduced two years later, in 2004. This policy is massively beneficial for solar customers. It was mandated for all utility companies, and the policy states that credits must roll over indefinitely and that all excess solar energy be credited at the retail rate.

Solar panels indiana

The policy was updated in 2017 when the credit rate was changed to 1.25 times the wholesale rate. This ended up being less beneficial, but previous solar customers were grandfathered into the retail rate policy.

In 2010, IN implemented the property tax exemption for renewable energy systems. This prevents your taxes from going up as a result of installing solar energy equipment. Effectively, this reduces the barrier to entry into clean energy.

One year later, in 2011, IN set its first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which it called the Clean Energy Portfolio Goal. The goal was for renewable energy sources to be responsible for at least 10% of the state’s energy by 2025. Unfortunately, this is a voluntary goal, which creates less urgency for reaching it.

In 2012, IN began offering the sales and use tax exemption for electrical generating equipment. This policy waived state sales tax on all solar equipment, including panels, inverters, solar battery storage solutions and electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

Although not a statewide incentive, the feed-in tariff offered by the Northern Indiana Public Service Corporation (NIPSCO) was a huge benefit for customers. This provided a payout of $0.17 per kWh produced with solar equipment, which boosts long-term savings and helps residents shorten their panel payback periods.

What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Indiana?

Thanks to the policies and legislation outlined above, Indiana homeowners have access to quite a few solar benefit programs today. We’ll discuss the perks that are currently available and how they make solar more valuable in your area.

  • Residential Clean Energy Credit: The federal tax credit gets applied to your income tax liability to bring down the effective cost of going solar. It’s equal to 30% of your entire system cost, which averages out to around $7,600 in the area. 
  • Net metering: This billing policy credits you for all energy you produce with your panels and don’t use in the same billing period. The credits are currently worth at least 1.25 times the wholesale rate for electricity, which is beneficial but not quite as appealing as the full retail rate. The credits can be used to reduce future electricity bills, and they roll over indefinitely for maximum value.
  • Property tax exemption: This exemption prevents your taxes from increasing just because you install a solar energy system. Normally, any home improvement that raises your property value — like solar photovoltaic equipment — would also bump up your taxes.
  • Sales tax exemption: IN waives sales tax on all solar equipment, which brings down the total cost of converting. With an average state sales tax of 7%, this policy saves an average of nearly $1,800 on PV systems.6
  • Indiana solar easements and rights laws: These laws prohibit homeowners associations (HOAs) and other governing bodies from preventing solar installations. They also helps property owners maintain sun exposure for solar systems installed on their homes.

You can read more about these tax benefits and other programs by checking out our guide to solar incentives in IN.

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Find a Local Installer in Indiana

Choosing a solar installer in IN is a big decision. With nearly 30 local installers available to choose from, plus regional and national providers, it’s also a challenging one. The company you choose will play a role in your overall experience, the price you pay for your equipment, the warranty coverage you get and more.

Below, we’ll include links to some of the best solar companies in some of the major cities in Indiana. These should help you narrow down your options a bit.

Downtown area of South Bend
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in South Bend

Street view in downtown Anderson
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Anderson

Main Street in Brownsburg, IN
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Brownsburg

Bridge leading into Columbus, IN
Credit: Greg Boege / Flickr

Best Solar Installers in Columbus

Street view of Chicago Ave in East Chicago
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in East Chicago

Skyline of Gary, IN
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Gary

Downtown view in Lafayette
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Lafayette

Street view in Bloomington, IN
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Bloomington

Street view in Goshen in Indiana
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Goshen

Shot of the Indianapolis skyline
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Indianapolis

 

For additional recommendations in other cities, you can read through our guide to choosing a solar installer in IN.

Blog author image
Dan Simms, Home Improvement Expert
Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.