7 Steps to Solar Panels in Nevada

With its massive amounts of sunshine and attractive solar equipment costs, Nevada is one of the best states in the country to buy solar panels.

This article discusses the 7 steps in converting to solar in Nevada.

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On average, the state of Nevada receives a staggering 252 sunny days every year, far above the national average of 205.1 Additionally, the average cost of a solar power system in Nevada comes down to about $2.52 per watt (W), which is also much better than the national average of $2.66/W.

If that isn’t convincing enough, Nevada solar incentives and rebates — as well as government policies — make the process of getting solar panels easier and more profitable. Moreover, Nevadans use significant amounts of energy, and more energy consumption means higher savings from solar.

Together, all the above factors mean that going solar is worth it for Nevada residents. If you live in the Silver State and are thinking of going solar, here is a quick list of the steps involved in the process. We will dive into each step in more detail further.

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Step 1: What to consider when Buying Solar Panels in Nevada

All the key factors point to the fact that solar power brings incredible benefits to Nevadans. And yet, owing to its significant initial cost and long life, it is essential to consider a few things before making the decision of purchasing solar panels.

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

For almost every resident in Nevada, buying solar panels is totally worth it. But in certain rare cases, solar power may not be a great fit. For example, it is important to check if you have enough space on your roof or can accommodate the best roof orientation for solar panels.

You may also want to check the available solar incentives and policies in Nevada to find out if you can save additional money when going solar. For instance, Nevada has a slightly complex net metering policy, which is an incentive program that grants energy credits based on your solar generation and your tier of participation in the program.

Some buyers also research other, general aspects of solar power, such as whether it works on cloudy days or at night.

Here is a table that compares Nevada’s solar stats with that of the national averages:

Nevada Average U.S. Average
Cost of Solar $2.52/W $2.66/W
Average System Size 10 kW 9 kW
Average System Cost $25,200 $23,940
Average System Cost After Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) $17,640 $16,758
Solar Payback Period 10 years 8 years

Research How to Finance Solar Panels

Solar power brings tremendous savings to everyone, but it requires a somewhat hefty upfront investment. Like any other big purchase costing tens of thousands, it often feels wise to get a loan for solar panels, especially if you do not have a substantial amount of savings stored away.

Here are a few commonly asked questions related to solar pricing and financing, and their answers.

How much are solar panels in Nevada?

A typical solar energy system in Nevada will cost an average of $25,200. This drops further down when your federal solar investment tax credit kicks in (about $8,000 on average), cutting down your payback period to around 10 years. You can use our solar calculator to find out the sizing and approximate pricing of your system.

How much can I save with solar in Nevada?

Despite the pros and cons of solar power, it can bring massive savings over its lifetime. Specifically for Nevadans, these can be up to an impressive $35,000 or more.

How do I pay for solar panels?

You’ll have access to four different payment options for solar, which we’ll explain briefly below:

  • Cash purchase: Buying your system in cash will obviously come with the highest upfront cost, and this makes it prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. However, you’ll forgo paying interest, which means your all-in system total will be as low as possible, and your long-term savings will be maximized. Cash purchases let you take advantage of all available solar incentives in nevada.
  • Solar loan: A solar loan is a financing arrangement for your solar panel system. You pay principal and interest each month — ultimately driving up your total system price and reducing your savings. However, it’s a more convenient and accessible way to pay, with minimal or no down payment requirements. Solar loans let you take advantage of all solar photovoltaic (PV) incentives.
  • Solar lease: With a solar lease, you pay your installer a monthly fee to rent the panels, and then you get to use all of the power they produce. Unlike cash and loans, leases don’t let you take the federal investment tax credit (ITC). The long-term savings are also much lower, but there’s usually no down payment required and less stringent credit requirements.
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): With a PPA, you let a solar installer put panels on your roof and then agree to purchase the electricity they generate to power your home. You’ll see the lowest savings overall with this arrangement, and you cannot take the federal government’s tax credit. However, it’s a highly accessible arrangement and requires little to no money down.

In the case of Nevada, there aren’t any government-backed financing options such as low-interest soft loans. Buyers of solar panels will need to work with independent lending agencies to borrow a loan. However, the state does offer the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing program, which offers easy solar loans to businesses and multi-family residences.

Are there any tax or other solar incentives in Nevada?

Unfortunately, Nevada does not have a long list of state-mandated solar incentives, especially not compared to its solar-friendly neighbor California. However, solar panel buyers can still benefit largely from the following available national and state solar incentives in Nevada:

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider 

solar panels nevada
Credit: Brittany Eliason / Unsplash

Once you have made the decision to convert to solar, the next step is to look for a solar installer that is a good fit for your needs.

Picking a Solar Installer

With over a hundred solar installers serving the state, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranks Nevada as the sixth best state for solar power.2 This means Nevadans have a lot of choice when it comes to solar companies.

Once you have noted the best solar companies in Nevada, choosing the correct one comes down to a few factors — including location, size, personalized services, etc. Some companies may offer a lower installation cost, others a better warranty, and some may let you choose the equipment brands.

What to Expect After Requesting a Quote

The next step after listing down your preferred installers is to request a quote from them. Getting multiple quotes is a great way to compare different installers on various parameters, such as warranties, timelines, and any other additional perks. You may even convince an installer to price-match another installer’s price.

Before quoting, the installers will request a few details from you, including your energy bills, home address, space, etc. This stage also provides a good chance to ask any questions you may have about going solar, such as the type of equipment offered or the warranties.

Once the installer has assessed your energy bills and other details, they will prepare a solar proposal for you. This will include information such as the cost of your system, expected savings, and the best solar panel brands they recommend.

You can also explore financing options at this stage. Start by asking your installer if they work with a financing agency, or recommend one.

Consider Purchasing Solar Accessories

Before you finalize your purchase, decide if you want to add accessories to your system. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most popular solar add-on products:

  • Solar battery banks: Solar batteries — like the Tesla Powerwall — provide solar energy storage for you to use when your production isn’t sufficient enough to support your consumption. Solar batteries can maintain power through blackouts
  • Solar carports: Solar carports provide additional rooftop solar space, which is very helpful if your roof cannot fit all of the panels needed to supply your home with energy.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers: Nevadans looking to further reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing an electric vehicle may want to consider installing an at-home charger for convenience. Many solar installers offer this service.

Bundling these solar add-ons may even get you discounted pricing. With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), you could also benefit from tax breaks on EVs. Calculate how much you save with our IRA solar calculator.

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract in Nevada

Once you receive proposals from all the shortlisted installers, it is time to decide which company you want to proceed with. Make sure to read and understand the purchase agreement completely.

Below are a few things you might want to focus on.

How Do Solar Warranties Work in Nevada?

Like all other states in the U.S., installation companies in Nevada offer three different types of warranties:

  • Equipment warranties: These are warranties that secure you against faulty manufacturing of the solar equipment. These warranties range from 10 to 25 years and are offered directly by the manufacturer.
  • Performance guarantee: As the name suggests, this is a guarantee that promises a minimum specified performance from your solar panels. Also offered by the manufacturer, most companies offer a performance guarantee of 80% of rated output at year 25 or 30.
  • Labor warranty: Offered by your installer, a labor/workmanship warranty signifies good quality installation work. Any malfunction due to improper connections or mounting is usually covered in this type of warranty. Most installers offer a 5- or 10-year workmanship warranty, although some companies like SunPower are known to offer up to 25 years.

When Can I Expect Solar Service to Go Live?

nevada solar panels
Credit: Robert Linder / Unsplash

Installing a residential solar project involves a lot more than just the installation of equipment. With the permitting process, inspections, and other steps, the entire process may take anywhere between one and four months.

Solar Panel Permits in Nevada

The types of solar permits required can vary depending on your local jurisdiction and/or utility company. The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has published a glossary of potential permits required for solar and other projects.3

While all the listed permits will not be required for all locations, some of them may be applicable. Most cities also publish their permit requirements online, including the city of Las Vegas.4

Thankfully, you do not need to worry about the permitting process, since your installer will handle it entirely. Your solar provider will be fully aware of permit requirements — having fulfilled them several times — and permit fees should be included in your proposed solar cost.

Solar & Utility Interconnection

Interconnection with the grid basically means “plugging your system into” the grid. Unless you are going off-grid with solar, it makes sense to connect your system to the grid. Grid interconnection makes your system eligible for net metering, allowing you to get credits for excess energy supplied into the grid. While you won’t be credited at the retail rate, it still provides solar savings.

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

A typical solar installation in Nevada can take anywhere between one to five days. A common question many homeowners ask is “Do I need to be home for solar panel installation?”

Although not every stage of the physical installation requires you to be home, it is generally advisable to be present from the start of the installation to the end of it. This will help you understand how your system is built and how it works.

Your system’s final inspection will usually be scheduled on a separate day. It will last for an hour or two, and your installer will communicate the date with you.

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels in Nevada

Your solar power system will be inspected by the city office and/or the utility company serving your area. The inspections will ensure that your system is installed safely and adheres to all required norms in the area.

However, different cities and different utility companies may have slightly different criteria for inspection.

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) in Nevada

Once your inspection(s) are completed, your utility company will give you Permission to Operate (PTO) your system. Once you receive the PTO, you can switch your system on.

However, it is important to let your installer guide you on how to turn the system on, along with how to monitor it remotely using an app or website. You can ask the installer if and how everything in your house is connected to the system.

In the event of an emergency related to the system, you can call your installer, your utility company, or 911.

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

Once your system is switched on, it will start powering your appliances instantly. At this stage, you can sit back, relax and get ready to enjoy the savings in your electricity bills.

Over the lifetime of your system, you will not only save tens of thousands of dollars but also help offset a significant amount of carbon emissions. You’ll also enjoy other benefits, like solar panels increasing the value of your property.

FAQ: Solar Panels in Nevada

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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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