7 Steps to Solar Panels in New Jersey

Solar panels in NJ pay for themselves in just ten years — faster than the national average — and save residents an average of nearly $24,000 over the life of the system.

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New Jersey ranks eighth in the nation for solar adoption according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and for good reason.1 Most New Jerseyans who convert to clean energy find it to be a good decision from a financial standpoint. The cost of solar panels in the area totals around $13,573 after the federal investment tax credit (ITC) and even less after other local solar incentives and rebates are considered.

Installing photovoltaic (PV) equipment in the State of New Jersey might be costly, but it pays for itself in a relatively short amount of time and continues to provide savings on energy bills thereafter. The state also has electricity rates that are well above average, so solar equipment is even more valuable from a savings standpoint than usual.2

In the following sections, we’ll discuss each step of the process you’ll need to go through to get panels installed on your home. You can use the links below to jump to a specific section if you need to.

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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Best National Provider

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


  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer
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Momentum Solar

Best Regional Coverage

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  • Great warranty coverage
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Representatives are experts on local policies


  • Slightly limited service offerings
  • Only available in 11 states
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Trinity Solar

Solar Veteran

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  • Many financing options
  • Family-owned and -operated
  • Makes charitable contributions
  • Relatively short workmanship warranty


  • Limited service area

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels in New Jersey

new jersey solar panels
Downed power lines can cause power outages in NJ. Credit: WikiMedia

Solar adoption turns out to be a great investment for most residents in the Garden State, but it’s not equally as beneficial for all homeowners. We’ll explain some crucial things you need to consider before spending thousands of dollars converting your home to clean energy.

Research If Solar Panels Are a Good Fit For You in New Jersey

First, you should assess your specific property’s solar viability, which involves some basic calculations and considerations.

You can start by determining how many panels you need or figuring out what system size is appropriate for your home and energy needs. The average system in the area needs to be around 7 kilowatts (kW). If your size requirements are well above this, you’ll end up paying more for equipment, and you likely won’t see as much value over time.

Next, you should consider the weather conditions in your area. The state as a whole sees an average of 206 sunny days per year, which is right around the national average.3 Some cities see more cloudy weather, though, and panels generate less electricity in cloudy conditions.

If you see well below average sunshine, your system won’t be quite as beneficial over time. There’s plenty of sunlight to make conversion worthwhile for most residents, but you should still be aware of how local weather conditions may affect your home solar viability.

Consider Net Metering

In many states, it’s essential to consider the net metering program that’s available to you. Net metering — also called net energy metering or NEM — is a program that lets you offset future electric bills using overproduction from your panels that gets routed to the electric grid. NEM isn’t mandated in some states, so your eligibility can depend on your power company.

Thankfully, this isn’t currently a concern in your area, as the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ-BPU) mandates net energy metering for all power providers.4 Plus, the NEM credit amount is guaranteed to be equal to the full retail value per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This is the best-case scenario and yields the highest long-term solar savings.

Still, you should check to see your provider’s policy regarding credit roll-over and cash-out options. We’ll include some information on the NEM policies for the largest electric companies in the area below.

  • Atlantic City Electric: This power company will roll over all unused credits month after month and then pay out any excess credits at the end of the billing statement in January.5
  • Jersey Central Power & Light (First Energy Corp): The credits accrued roll over until the end of the year, but they are never paid out.6
  • Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG): Credits accrue each month and are rolled over to the following months. At the end of the billing period, the balance is reset to 0, and nothing is paid out.7

The table below should paint a pretty clear picture of how valuable solar conversion is for most New Jerseyans. We’ll include a side-by-side look at solar conversion statistics in NJ and the U.S. for comparison.

New Jersey State Average United States National Average
Solar Power System Size Required 7 kW 9 kW
Typical Cost Per Watt to Install Photovoltaic (PV) Equipment $2.77 $2.66
Average Total System Cost Before Federal Solar Income Tax Credit $19,390 $23,940
Average Federal Solar Tax Credit Value $5,817 $7,182
Average Total System Cost After Federal Credit $13,573 $16,758
Average Panel Payback Period 10 years 12 years
Average Lifetime Savings of Converting to Solar $23,806 $22,379

The most telling statistics include the shorter payback period for panels in the state, as well as the higher lifetime savings. Both of these numbers suggest that solar is more valuable in NJ than in most other states.

Research How to Finance Solar Panels

After you’ve confirmed that solar is a good fit for your specific property, you should start thinking about the best way to pay for the equipment and installation.

First, you need to know what size system will suit your energy consumption. Our solar calculator is a great tool for determining how many panels you’ll require.

You can multiply the size of your system in watts — or kW/1,000 — by the average cost per watt in the area — $2.77 — to get an estimate of what your panels will cost. Remember, incentives could bring this total down.

Once you have these figures, you can estimate your long-term solar savings — one of the biggest benefits of going solar — which should give you an idea of how long your panels will take to pay themselves off and the overall value and return on solar investment.

Next, you’ll want to figure out which payment option will work best for solar conversion. You’ll have up to four options, depending on what your installer accepts. We’ll briefly explain each of these below.

  • Cash payments:  With a cash payment, you need to pay the full conversion cost all at once before the installation is completed. This is the least accessible and least realistic option for most NJ residents, but it does lead to the most affordable panel ownership and yields the highest savings over time of any other option. Cash payments also let you take the ITC and all other incentives for renewable energy sources.
  • Solar loans: Taking out a loan for your system spreads the payment out over five to seven years, or more in some cases. This helps make going solar more affordable initially, as loans have low or no down payment requirements. However, you’ll pay interest on the loan, which will eat into your overall savings a bit and bump up the price of the equipment over time.
  • Solar leases: Leases involve a monthly rental fee paid to your installer but no other upfront payment. They also don’t require the same credit score as loans. However, you’ll never own your panels with a lease, which means you can’t take the federal tax credit, and your long-term savings will be much lower than with cash or a loan.
  • Power purchase agreements (PPAs): If you sign a PPA, your installer will place panels on your home at no cost, and you agree to buy the electricity they produce at a discounted rate. These can still save you money, but the savings will be the lowest of any option. They come with no initial payments and often no credit check, but they save the least and don’t let you take the ITC.

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider

With your preferred payment option in mind, you can start your search for a PV panel installation company. This can be a surprisingly difficult task, as there are quite a few things to look for in an installer. We’ll discuss how to choose one that meets your needs in the sections below.

Picking a Solar Installer

Choosing an installation company involves quite a bit of research, as you want to make sure you have reputable and reliable technicians working on your home. We suggest choosing your provider based on the following criteria:

  • The company should have a minimum of five years of experience in the solar industry.
  • The company should offer high-quality panel brands and reasonable pricing.
  • The company should offer the financing option that works best for you.
  • The company should have good warranty options — more on what this means later.
  • The installation technicians should be certified by NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners).
  • The company should have no unresolved complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and generally positive customer reviews.

Below are some of the solar providers that we believe are good options in New Jersey. This is not an exhaustive list of NJ solar companies that meet the criteria above, so you should still plan on doing some additional research to find the right installer for you.

  • SunPower — National Installer
  • Green Power Energy — Regional Installer
  • Trinity Solar — Regional Installer
  • New Jersey Solar Power — Local Installer
  • Solar Energy World — Regional Installer
  • Impact Solar LLC — Local Installer
  • Momentum Solar — National Installer

You can read more about these providers in our guide to choosing the best solar company in NJ.

What to Expect After Requesting a Quote

Shortly after you provide your contact information to a solar company in your area, a sales representative should contact you to ask for a copy of a recent electric bill and to set up a consultation. Most companies offer both in-person and virtual consultations.

During the consultation, your sales rep will discuss your energy consumption, so you should be prepared to provide information about the appliances in your home, your heating and cooling system and more. They will explain what size system will work for your energy needs, and they should provide an estimated price.

If you’re comfortable with the information, they’ll send your solar project to the design team, which will come up with a system design that meets your energy demands and fits on your roof. Once the design is completed, you’ll receive a solar proposal, which your sales rep should explain to you.

Below is everything you should look for in your proposal:

  • The total cost of your system before and after New Jersey solar incentives are applied.
  • The brand of panels to be installed and how many you’ll need — the size of your system will be in kW.
  • Detailed schematics for where all equipment will be installed.
  • The warranty coverage that’s included with your system.
  • How much energy your panels should generate and what that translates to in monthly, annual and lifetime energy savings.
  • An estimate for how long your system will take to pay for itself in energy savings.
  • Any fees to be charged to you for permits and inspections.
  • Information on your payment preference and when payments will be due.
  • An estimated installation timeline.

The process to get a solar quote from just one company is time-consuming, but we think it’s worthwhile to go through it at least two or three times with different companies. Having multiple quotes lets you choose the best value for the money, and it can sometimes save you money if the providers are willing to price-match your other estimates.

Consider Purchasing Solar Accessories

When you’re reaching out to companies for a formal solar quote, you should also consider any add-on products you want to be installed with your panels. Systems always include panels and inverters, but below are some additional options that are popular in New Jersey.

  • Electric vehicle (EV) chargers: New Jersey consistently ranks as one of the top states for EV adoption, and the state is mandating a move to EVs by 2035.8,9 That means more and more homeowners will be installing EV chargers in their homes to provide their cars with solar power.
  • Energy efficient home improvements: New Jerseyans use less energy than most Americans, but the electricity rates in the Tri-State area are above-average, specifically in NJ at around 16.35 cents per kWh.10 With the cost of power being so high, many residents choose to couple solar conversion with efficiency upgrades, which some installers in the area offer.
  • Solar batteries: Solar batteries — like the Tesla Powerwall — are popular and highly useful in areas without solid net energy metering programs. The Garden State does have a great net energy metering policy, but batteries are still popular because of the frequency of power outages in the area. Solar storage solutions can provide off-grid power during blackouts.

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract in New Jersey

Once you’ve approved your solar proposal and are comfortable with the terms, you can sign the contract to get the process officially started. We’ll walk through some of the things we recommend looking for in your solar contract and additional things to consider below.

How Do Solar Warranties Work in New Jersey?

One of the most crucial things to be aware of in your contract is warranty coverage. Solar equipment is expensive, so you want to make sure your system will be covered in case anything goes wrong. There are three types of warranty coverage to look for:

  • Equipment warranties: Equipment warranties protect your system from manufacturing defects. Most companies offer these, and the industry standard for coverage is 25 years.
  • Efficiency warranties: Efficiency warranties ensure that your panels perform at a certain efficiency, usually expressed as a percentage of their original production capability. The standard production warranty is no less than 80% of the panel’s starting efficiency will remain after 20 years.
  • Workmanship warranties: Workmanship warranties cover the actual installation and are usually only offered by the best solar companies. Some of the best workmanship warranties also cover roof leaks, although most don’t. Since annual rainfall is well above average in your area, it’s a good idea to choose a warranty that does cover roof leaks.11

When Can I Expect Solar Service to Go Live?

You can expect to wait between two and four months from the day you sign your solar contract to the day your system goes live in New Jersey. There are some things that can extend or shorten this timeline a bit, including the below:

  • If your installer is backed up, you could wait significantly longer for a scheduled installation date.
  • Your timeline can be lengthened a bit if your local building department is backed up with permit applications.
  • Final inspections from your utility provider and building department can cause minor delays.
  • Some equipment — like high-demand products like Tesla Powerwalls — might be back-ordered, which can add months to your installation timeline.

Additionally, since the state sees above-average rainfall and some severe weather at times, rooftop solar installation could be delayed if the conditions aren’t conducive to getting the job done safely.

Solar Panel Permits in New Jersey

Every municipality in New Jersey mandates building permits, electrical permits or both before solar energy systems can be connected to the electric grid. Permits help your local government ensure that panels are installed safely and according to the building code.

Your permits will almost always be filed for by your installer, so you don’t need to concern yourself with the process of opening permits, scheduling final inspections or closing the permits out. However, you will need to pay any fees that your building department charges. Solar permit costs in NJ typically fall between $50 and $250.

For example, the City of Newark charges a baseline building permit fee of $58 for solar permits in the area.12 Jersey City uses a similar flat fee for building permits for solar systems, but the cost sits a bit higher at $75.13 The City of Paterson uses a base fee of $75, plus $6 per $1,000 worth of work.14 For the average solar system price in NJ, that comes out to $129.

You can always ask your solar installation company for a breakdown of the permitting fees in your area, but those numbers should also be included in your solar proposal.

Solar & Utility Interconnection

Interconnection is the means through which your solar power system is connected to the power grid, and it dictates how energy flows back and forth between your panels and your utility provider. As you might imagine, interconnection is required for all grid-tied systems and for any solar customer looking to take advantage of net energy metering.

Most utility companies in your area require an application process and permit issuance before your system can be interconnected. This helps those providers ensure the connection is made safely. Every electric company’s process is a bit different, so we’ll include the guidelines for the largest power companies in your area below.

  • Atlantic City Electric: This company has an online application process to make things go as smoothly as possible. There are two parts to the process — one for interconnection and another application for NEM — but both are free and should be filed by your installer.15
  • Jersey Central Power & Light (First Energy Corp): First Energy Corp’s interconnection application can also be done online, and there is no charge to apply.16 Again, your contractor should be the one completing the application.
  • Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG): PSEG’s interconnection application is free, but it needs to be printed and submitted via mail.17

Applying for interconnection, waiting for approval and then waiting for the electric company’s inspection to ensure you can get connected to the grid safely will lengthen your installation timeline a bit. However, it is undoubtedly worthwhile, especially since it’s required to get access to NJ’s net metering program, which will help maximize your long-term savings.

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

Once your design is done, and your installer is approved to begin installing and connecting your solar panel system, you’ll get an installation date.

Many solar customers ask, “do I need to be home for solar panel installation?” Yes, you should plan to be home all day when your panels are being installed. Your technicians will need access to your home to install any add-on products and to make the connection to your electrical panel. They may also need access to your attic space.

Solar installations take between four and eight hours in New Jersey, on average. System sizes in the state are relatively small, so this time frame is a bit faster than you’d see in most other states.

Your installer may save time by scheduling your electric company to complete its inspection of your system for interconnection on the installation day. Solar inspections take about a half hour, so this can extend your installation timeframe a bit.

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels in New Jersey

Once the system is installed, your solar provider will need to connect with your local building department to schedule a final inspection. A final inspection is required to close out your permits, and open permits can lead to issues if you ever go to sell your home. Additionally, inspections help your building department ensure all work is done safely and up to code.

Your final inspection can sometimes be done as a drive-by inspection, in which case you don’t need to be home. However, if you have solar batteries or other add-on products, your inspector might need access and will coordinate a date and time with you. Inspections don’t cost anything, but if you miss the appointment and have to reschedule, you might be charged.

After the inspection is completed, you’ll be responsible for ensuring the system continues to function properly. Many of the tier-one solar panel manufacturers include solar monitoring software with their equipment. You can ask your installer to help you connect your system to the app or online software to keep track of production.

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) in New Jersey

The last piece of the puzzle is getting permission to operate (PTO) from your power company. This requires the final inspection if it wasn’t done on your installation day.

Once you have permission to operate, your installer can officially activate your system, and your panels will start generating power for your home. Your technician should show you the emergency shut-off switch for your system — usually located next to your electric meter — and discuss solar monitoring apps or software with you if they haven’t already.

The only additional information you need is the emergency contact number for your utility provider. In the case of an electrical fire or some other serious problem, you should call 911 and then alert your power company. We’ll include emergency numbers for the larger utility companies in the state below.

  • Atlantic City Electric: 1-800-833-7476
  • Jersey Central Power & Light (First Energy Corp): 1-888-544-4877
  • Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG): 1-800-436-7734

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy in New Jersey

At this point, the renewable energy system installation process is completed, and all of your hard work will start paying off. You should start to see immediate savings on your utility bills, you should begin accruing net metering credits for future savings and your carbon footprint will have been significantly reduced.

The greatest lifetime return on investment (ROI) with solar panels in NJ will come from living in your home and enjoying the savings on your electric bills. Keep in mind, though, that solar conversion makes your home more valuable — around 4.1% more, to be exact — so you should see a financial gain in your home value even if you sell your property after converting.18

Find a Local Installer in New Jersey

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are over 200 solar installers in NJ.19 This gives you plenty of options to choose from.

One of the most important decisions you can make when going solar is the installer you pick. Your customer service experience, warranty coverage and overall price will all be determined in large part by this decision.

Below, we’ll include links to some reviews and rankings for top solar companies in different major cities in NJ. This should help get you on the right track.

Aerial view of Atlantic City
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Atlantic City

View of Berkeley and NJ Route 35
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Berkeley

Skyline view of Jersey City
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Jersey City

Skyline of Newark in NJ
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Newark

Beautiful aerial view of Bayonne, NJ
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Bayonne

Road sign leading into Brick Township in NJ
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Brick

Waterfront view of Camden, NJ
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Camden

Street view of downtown Edison in NJ
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Edison

Lake Shenandoah, located in Lakewood, NJ
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Lakewood

NJ Route 202 leading into Bridgewater Township
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Bridgewater

For more general recommendations — especially for NJ residents that reside outside of these cities — you can check out our article on the top solar installers in the State of New Jersey.

FAQ: Solar Panels in New Jersey

In the sections below, we’ll respond to some of the most common questions we see from solar customers in your area.

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