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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona: What to Expect (2022)

We break down what the average homeowner pays for solar in Arizona.

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Frank Staub / Photodisc / Getty Images

Anyone who has spent time in the southwestern U.S., particularly in the deserts of Arizona, would find it no surprise that the region has some of the best natural solar resources in the country. But all the sunshine in the world won't mean anything if the cost of solar panels in Arizona keeps renewable energy out of reach for homeowners across the Grand Canyon State.

From reduced energy bills to shrunken carbon footprints, there are many benefits of going solar. Regardless, for most homeowners, making the switch comes down to one key question: How much do solar panels cost in Arizona?

In this article, we'll discuss the average cost of solar panels in Arizona as well as key information about financing solar, public policies that may incentivize solar installations and more. If you want to see how much solar would cost for your home, specifically, you'll need to get a free quote from a solar installer near you. You can do so using this tool or by filling out the form below.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Arizona?

Solar panel costs in Arizona are about on par with the U.S average. Local factors and supply limitations don't hamper Arizona installations or pull prices in either direction. Based on market-based research and data from top solar companies, we've found that the average cost of solar panels in Arizona is $2.61 per watt (the national average is $2.66 per watt).

Of course, solar systems aren't purchased one watt at a time, so what does that price look like in terms of actual installations? Using the state average, for a modestly sized 5-kilowatt (kW) system, the total system cost would be $13,050, but after the federal tax credit is applied, out-of-pocket costs would be lowered to about $9,657.

For larger systems to be installed on homes, businesses, schools or other facilities, average solar power costs break down as follows:

Size of Solar Panel System Arizona Solar Panel Cost Cost After
Federal Tax Credit
5kW $13,050 $9,657
6kW $15,660 $11,588
7kW $18,270 $13,520
8kW $20,880 $15,451
9kW $23,490 $17,383
10kW $26,100 $19,314

The above table provides statewide average prices, but each home solar panel installation will have its own unique characteristics, so costs will vary in actuality.

Some installations will be more straightforward (such as those on a roof that readily faces the sun) while others will be more complicated (such as an irregular-shaped roof or a ground-mounted system), so the actual price for a specific project is best estimated with an installer who can account for your individual needs.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona?

There are a number of factors that can influence the cost of solar panels in Arizona, including the extent of your home's energy needs and the local incentives you're eligible for. Here are a few other key things that will play into pricing:

Solar Equipment

Not all solar energy systems are alike, and the specific equipment chosen for your project will influence the final cost. Solar panels themselves are seeing lots of research and development, meaning the most efficient solar panels can generate greater amounts of electricity — but they come at a higher cost.

Similarly, things like inverters, solar batteries and the mounting equipment needed to secure the panels to your roof will vary in cost based on the quality of materials and complexity of the install. If you opt for added features like rotating panels or smart technology, your investment will be even more significant. These factors can all be discussed during a free consultation with a solar expert.

Solar Financing

Regardless of the size and quality of the solar system being installed, the total will usually be relatively high upfront. Because of these capital requirements, it's extremely common for customers to finance their solar systems. The type of financing used will not only impact what a customer pays upfront, but it will also affect the length of the customer's solar payback period, or how long it takes to "break even" on the investment.

Here's how the three most common payment options can affect the cost of solar panels in Arizona:

  • Cash: For homeowners with the capital available to cover the full price of their solar system, it's smart to pay in full upfront. This is less common because of the aforementioned high price point, but if workable, it results in the lowest overall cost and thus shortens your payback period.
  • Loans: If you're unable or unwilling to pay in full, there's the option to take out a simple loan to pay for the solar system. A solar loan can allow you to purchase a more expensive, premium system, but of course, loans come with interest, and that extra cost will eat into your payback period.
  • Leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs): Lastly, potential solar customers may opt to work with a solar company that leases panels to homeowners. With this payment method, you don't have to pay upfront costs, but you also don't own the system (and, thus, are ineligible to cash in on tax credits). In the long run, the amount you will save on energy bills will be much lower, but you are also relieved of the burden of paying for the system yourself.

Installation Company

A third factor that really impacts the cost of solar systems for Arizonans is the choice of installation company. The solar industry is booming, and as such, there is no shortage of contractors and installers who will be eager to help you install your residential solar system.

As with any major home improvement project, different installers have their own rates, oftentimes correlated with the quality or even speed of their work, and it's up to the customer to do their homework to evaluate potential installation companies. Simply going with the lowest-cost installation company may not be wise if it isn't reputable, but at the same time, certified local installers may charge lower prices to compete with big-name national installers.

Our best advice is to look at the best solar companies in Arizona, research what deals or specials are available, and talk to neighbors or look at online reviews to find a company that offers you a good price and will deliver the quality of work you need.

Arizona Solar Incentives

Public policy leaders have done a fair job of offering financial incentives that lower the cost of solar in Arizona. Although the state's net metering program was phased out in 2016, there are still a number of tax credits and incentives available to homeowners. These include:

Arizona Solar Incentive How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona
Arizona solar tax credit This statewide program allows people who install solar on their homes to be credited 25% of total installation costs (up to $1,000) in the form of a personal income tax reduction.
Solar tax exemptions The 5.6% of sales tax that's typically charged in Arizona is not applied to the purchase of solar equipment.
Similarly, most upgrades to homes will increase the value of the home, and that value is what is taxed via property taxes. Arizona, however, excludes the value increase from solar panels when evaluating how much property tax you must pay.
Local solar incentives On top of state incentives, numerous towns, cities and counties may have their own incentives to encourage citizens to engage with solar. Because these can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next, you should research your area (or call your local representatives) to find out more.
Federal solar tax credit Anyone in the U.S., including Arizona, is able to take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit, or ITC. For any solar systems installed before the end of 2022, 26% of the cost of the system is available as an income tax credit.

FAQ: Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona

Is it worth going solar in Arizona?

Yes, it is generally worth going solar in Arizona. Solar panels are a great way to reduce electric bills and carbon emissions for your home or business. Depending on the size and cost of the system, customers who install solar can expect to see a full return on their investment decades before the end of life of the system, turning additional savings into pure profit.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves in Arizona?

The average payback period for solar panels is about eight years, and the average lifespan of a system is about 25 years. The payback period can be greater or shorter depending on the size of installation, tax incentives utilized and total cost paid by the customer.

How many solar panels are needed to power a house in Arizona?

The average home needs about 20 to 25 solar panels to offset 100% of energy needs. However, that figure will vary widely based on the energy used by the home, the size and efficiency of the panels, how much shade falls onto the panels from nearby buildings or trees, and other factors.

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2022 Florida Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & Rebates

See how you can save money on solar panels in Florida.

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Pitsanu Prom-or / iStock / Getty Images

Florida is well-known as the Sunshine State because of its year-round sunny weather that draws millions of tourists each year, but historically, Florida hasn't actually been a national leader when it comes to solar energy generation. That said, financial incentives like Florida solar tax credit and rebate opportunities have played a huge part in its rise to become one of the top states for solar energy.

To the glee of clean energy advocates across the state, various Florida solar incentives have succeeded in bringing solar power throughout the state. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2020, Florida ranked third in the nation for solar energy capacity, and it had the second-most installations during the second quarter of 2021.

This progress in the solar field comes from many different sources, not the least of which is Florida solar incentives. For any homes or businesses feeling left behind while the rest of the state goes solar, these types of solar tax credits are still widely available across Florida, which will be discussed in this article.

For most homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. To see how much you'd pay for a home solar system (and how much you can shave off that price with Florida solar tax credit and incentive opportunities), you can get a free quote from a top solar company near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Florida Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates

As much as transitioning to clean energy is the best thing for the environment and the fight against climate change, the reality has always been that such changes would be slow to happen (if they happened at all) unless they made sense financially. When solar energy systems are proven to save money for those who pay the high upfront costs to install them, those purchases are better considered a worthy investment.

As such, some of the most effective policies encouraging solar installations have been those making the decision a no-brainer from the budgetary perspective. Let's take a look at some of the top Florida solar incentives.

Florida Solar Incentive Program Overview
Florida Net Metering Programs Credits homeowners when their solar panels produce extra electricity and it is exported to the local power grid
Florida Tax Exemptions Property tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for solar and other renewable energy equipment
Local Incentives Incentives, rebates and low-interest financing programs at the town, city, and county level that encourage local solar installations

Florida Net Metering Programs

Regardless of the state, one of the most critical types of energy policy for solar panels is known as net metering. Through net metering, homeowners can feed excess electricity produced by their solar panels into the power grid in exchange for utility credits. These credits can be used to pay for the energy a home uses when panels aren't producing (such as at night).

Net metering tends to be a state-by-state policy, as there is no federal policy regarding net metering. Florida is one of the states where there is, in fact, a statewide net metering program, applicable for homeowners regardless of which utility serves their area.

The specific net metering provision covers up to 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity for any customers who generate electricity with a renewable energy source. Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have the largest net metering programs in the state.

The availability of such net metering serves as an incentive for Floridians to install solar panels on their property. Not only do they benefit by reducing their power bills from pulling energy from the grid less often, but they can even profit when the utility pays them for generating more power than they consume, bringing their solar payback period down.

Florida Solar Tax Exemptions

Another financial mechanism that the Florida state government offers to solar system owners is solar tax exemptions. To start, Florida doesn't want to make the upfront cost to purchase and install solar equipment to be any higher than the open market says it should be, so since 1997, all solar energy systems have been completely exempt from Florida's sales and use tax.

Once a solar photovoltaic system is purchased and installed, there is a statewide property tax abatement that further helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on it. Most home additions, such as a new shed or outdoor patio built in a home's backyard, would be appraised to determine the value it added to the property and thus increase the overall property tax. However, the added home value of solar panels is excluded from the property's taxable value.

Local Incentives

Florida is also a large, diverse state, so in addition to the state solar incentives, many local jurisdictions enact their own policies to encourage and support installation of solar energy systems. At the town, city or county level, Floridians will commonly find low-interesting solar financing options, specific solar incentives or rebates, and more.

You can determine whether your locality offers such incentives by investigating your local government websites or talking to utility company representatives. When you do, you may come across such successful programs as Jacksonville's $2,000 rebate for solar battery installations, Boynton Beach's Energy Edge Rebate Program, or the Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program offered by Dunedin.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Floridians, of course, can also benefit from all the tax incentives, rebates and credits that are offered at the federal level. Over the past two decades, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has attributed largely to the rapid growth in solar energy across business sectors, geographies and customer types.

For systems installed and operational before the end of 2022, the federal solar tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the installation, dropping to 22% for systems installed in 2023. It is currently set to expire afterward, though the idea of extending the ITC beyond its current expiration date, as has been done in the past, has been a part of active clean energy policy debates.

FAQ: Florida Solar Incentives

Does Florida have a solar tax credit?

State-wide, there is no specific Florida solar tax credit. However, all utilities in the state of Florida do offer customers the ability to utilize net metering, Florida solar homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and some local jurisdictions in Florida may offer their own tax credits.

Is solar tax exempt in Florida?

In Florida, the purchase and installation of a home solar system is exempt from all sales tax, and the value of renewable systems are excluded from 100% of residential property taxes.

How much is the solar tax credit for 2022?

For any solar panel system installed before the end of 2022, the federal solar investment tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the system.

Is Florida a good state for solar?

Florida is a great state for solar from the perspective of having year-round sunny weather, higher-than-average solar irradiance and a policy landscape conducive to solar installations. Because of these factors, Florida ranked third among all states in terms of solar capacity installed in 2020 (rising to second when looking at the third quarter of 2021), per the SEIA.

How much do solar panels cost in Florida?

Based on market research and data from top solar companies, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $2.53 per watt. However, this is only an average, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live, the number of solar panels you need and more.

To get a free estimate for your own home solar system, you can get connected with a pre-screened local installer by using this tool or entering your home's information below.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona: What to Expect (2022)

We break down what the average homeowner pays for solar in Arizona.

Reviews
Frank Staub / Photodisc / Getty Images

Anyone who has spent time in the southwestern U.S., particularly in the deserts of Arizona, would find it no surprise that the region has some of the best natural solar resources in the country. But all the sunshine in the world won't mean anything if the cost of solar panels in Arizona keeps renewable energy out of reach for homeowners across the Grand Canyon State.

From reduced energy bills to shrunken carbon footprints, there are many benefits of going solar. Regardless, for most homeowners, making the switch comes down to one key question: How much do solar panels cost in Arizona?

In this article, we'll discuss the average cost of solar panels in Arizona as well as key information about financing solar, public policies that may incentivize solar installations and more. If you want to see how much solar would cost for your home, specifically, you'll need to get a free quote from a solar installer near you. You can do so using this tool or by filling out the form below.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Arizona?

Solar panel costs in Arizona are about on par with the U.S average. Local factors and supply limitations don't hamper Arizona installations or pull prices in either direction. Based on market-based research and data from top solar companies, we've found that the average cost of solar panels in Arizona is $2.61 per watt (the national average is $2.66 per watt).

Of course, solar systems aren't purchased one watt at a time, so what does that price look like in terms of actual installations? Using the state average, for a modestly sized 5-kilowatt (kW) system, the total system cost would be $13,050, but after the federal tax credit is applied, out-of-pocket costs would be lowered to about $9,657.

For larger systems to be installed on homes, businesses, schools or other facilities, average solar power costs break down as follows:

Size of Solar Panel System Arizona Solar Panel Cost Cost After
Federal Tax Credit
5kW $13,050 $9,657
6kW $15,660 $11,588
7kW $18,270 $13,520
8kW $20,880 $15,451
9kW $23,490 $17,383
10kW $26,100 $19,314

The above table provides statewide average prices, but each home solar panel installation will have its own unique characteristics, so costs will vary in actuality.

Some installations will be more straightforward (such as those on a roof that readily faces the sun) while others will be more complicated (such as an irregular-shaped roof or a ground-mounted system), so the actual price for a specific project is best estimated with an installer who can account for your individual needs.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona?

There are a number of factors that can influence the cost of solar panels in Arizona, including the extent of your home's energy needs and the local incentives you're eligible for. Here are a few other key things that will play into pricing:

Solar Equipment

Not all solar energy systems are alike, and the specific equipment chosen for your project will influence the final cost. Solar panels themselves are seeing lots of research and development, meaning the most efficient solar panels can generate greater amounts of electricity — but they come at a higher cost.

Similarly, things like inverters, solar batteries and the mounting equipment needed to secure the panels to your roof will vary in cost based on the quality of materials and complexity of the install. If you opt for added features like rotating panels or smart technology, your investment will be even more significant. These factors can all be discussed during a free consultation with a solar expert.

Solar Financing

Regardless of the size and quality of the solar system being installed, the total will usually be relatively high upfront. Because of these capital requirements, it's extremely common for customers to finance their solar systems. The type of financing used will not only impact what a customer pays upfront, but it will also affect the length of the customer's solar payback period, or how long it takes to "break even" on the investment.

Here's how the three most common payment options can affect the cost of solar panels in Arizona:

  • Cash: For homeowners with the capital available to cover the full price of their solar system, it's smart to pay in full upfront. This is less common because of the aforementioned high price point, but if workable, it results in the lowest overall cost and thus shortens your payback period.
  • Loans: If you're unable or unwilling to pay in full, there's the option to take out a simple loan to pay for the solar system. A solar loan can allow you to purchase a more expensive, premium system, but of course, loans come with interest, and that extra cost will eat into your payback period.
  • Leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs): Lastly, potential solar customers may opt to work with a solar company that leases panels to homeowners. With this payment method, you don't have to pay upfront costs, but you also don't own the system (and, thus, are ineligible to cash in on tax credits). In the long run, the amount you will save on energy bills will be much lower, but you are also relieved of the burden of paying for the system yourself.

Installation Company

A third factor that really impacts the cost of solar systems for Arizonans is the choice of installation company. The solar industry is booming, and as such, there is no shortage of contractors and installers who will be eager to help you install your residential solar system.

As with any major home improvement project, different installers have their own rates, oftentimes correlated with the quality or even speed of their work, and it's up to the customer to do their homework to evaluate potential installation companies. Simply going with the lowest-cost installation company may not be wise if it isn't reputable, but at the same time, certified local installers may charge lower prices to compete with big-name national installers.

Our best advice is to look at the best solar companies in Arizona, research what deals or specials are available, and talk to neighbors or look at online reviews to find a company that offers you a good price and will deliver the quality of work you need.

Arizona Solar Incentives

Public policy leaders have done a fair job of offering financial incentives that lower the cost of solar in Arizona. Although the state's net metering program was phased out in 2016, there are still a number of tax credits and incentives available to homeowners. These include:

Arizona Solar Incentive How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona
Arizona solar tax credit This statewide program allows people who install solar on their homes to be credited 25% of total installation costs (up to $1,000) in the form of a personal income tax reduction.
Solar tax exemptions The 5.6% of sales tax that's typically charged in Arizona is not applied to the purchase of solar equipment.
Similarly, most upgrades to homes will increase the value of the home, and that value is what is taxed via property taxes. Arizona, however, excludes the value increase from solar panels when evaluating how much property tax you must pay.
Local solar incentives On top of state incentives, numerous towns, cities and counties may have their own incentives to encourage citizens to engage with solar. Because these can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next, you should research your area (or call your local representatives) to find out more.
Federal solar tax credit Anyone in the U.S., including Arizona, is able to take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit, or ITC. For any solar systems installed before the end of 2022, 26% of the cost of the system is available as an income tax credit.

FAQ: Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona

Is it worth going solar in Arizona?

Yes, it is generally worth going solar in Arizona. Solar panels are a great way to reduce electric bills and carbon emissions for your home or business. Depending on the size and cost of the system, customers who install solar can expect to see a full return on their investment decades before the end of life of the system, turning additional savings into pure profit.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves in Arizona?

The average payback period for solar panels is about eight years, and the average lifespan of a system is about 25 years. The payback period can be greater or shorter depending on the size of installation, tax incentives utilized and total cost paid by the customer.

How many solar panels are needed to power a house in Arizona?

The average home needs about 20 to 25 solar panels to offset 100% of energy needs. However, that figure will vary widely based on the energy used by the home, the size and efficiency of the panels, how much shade falls onto the panels from nearby buildings or trees, and other factors.

Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

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DiyanaDimitrova / iStock / Getty Images

Solar power is among the most affordable renewable energy options, whether for businesses or homes. Companies that provide solar products are everywhere these days, but to take advantage of the benefits of solar energy, homeowners are faced with a major decision: solar leasing vs. buying panels outright.

A solar lease is a long-term contract between a customer and a solar panel provider. For homeowners seeking to fulfill their energy needs without high utility bills, but who don't have the upfront capital to buy a system, solar leasing can seem like a viable option. In this article, we'll take a look into whether a solar lease is actually a smart investment.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

What is Solar Leasing and How Does it Work?

Solar leasing is a financing option through which customers pay a monthly fee for the panels and get to use the power the system produces. They do not, however, own the panels. It is an arrangement similar to leasing a car — the idea is to provide a convenient option for those who want to go green and reduce their electricity bills without the overhead of buying a solar energy system.

There are a few benefits to solar leasing. First, it reduces a customer's upfront costs to install panels. Using a solar lease means the maintenance and liability to damaged panels rests on the solar company rather than the homeowner. However, because you do not own the panels, you miss out on incentives like local and federal tax credits.

Typical solar leases last for 20 years, and they include a solar lease escalator that increases the monthly installment once per year based on current market prices and the energy landscape. Many solar leases come with the option to buy the solar panels at a discounted rate at the end of the lease agreement (again, similar to a car).

Solar leasing was especially important in the early days of solar when systems were more expensive, but as the cost of solar panels has decreased, leasing doesn't make as much sense as it used to.

How Leasing Differs from a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

In many ways, solar leasing presents a competitive option compared with a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). For solar leasing, customers pay monthly rent for the panels; with a PPA, customers instead pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy generated. In other words, the amount customers pay for a solar lease is determined based on the capacity of the panels, while solar PPAs are paid based on the actual generation. This difference means that those with solar leases will have a more fixed price, benefit more during the sunny summer months and save even more money in the long run from reduced energy bills.

While both solar leasing and solar PPAs are contracts by which the customer doesn't actually own the solar panels, the specifics of costs, reliability, savings and more differ and require consideration by the individual building owner.

Typical Terms of a Solar Lease

The terms of a solar lease are critical to understanding whether it's the right route for you. Based on individual requirements, solar leasing companies can provide various lease terms, ranging from short to long periods. Typically, though, solar leases last 20 to 25 years. Given that solar panels have an average lifespan in the range of 25 to 30 years, customers end up being able to utilize solar panels to their full lifetime potential.

Different solar leasing companies will also offer opportunities for advanced services, including monitoring, payment and observation through mobile and web apps. Included in these digital offerings are online portals through which customers can review their contract, make monthly payments and observe usage over time. As with the wider utility sector, solar customers are looking to choose companies with improved service and customizable solutions, all of which provide a better user experience.

Customers must also be aware that, typically, solar leases will require an annual payment escalator of 1 to 5% per month as a result of inflated electricity costs. These terms are spelled out clearly in the contract, though, so they should not come as a surprise.

Ending Your Solar Lease

Customers who choose to lease solar panels may find themselves in circumstances where they want to end their lease, such as if they are moving to a new home. Solar leasing companies try to make this process as easy as possible, providing the option to transfer the lease to the new owners of the home or break the contract and remove the panels.

Even if you don't break your lease early, it will come to an end eventually. When this happens, customers can either renew the same lease or cease the solar contract. In the latter instance, the solar company will dismount and remove the panels. A last option is that customers can purchase the solar panels at a discounted rate (a price that is sometimes outlined in the contract at the time of the original solar lease).

Is a Solar Lease Right for You?

The decision of whether to lease solar, buy solar panels outright, engage in a PPA or simply ignore solar as an option is a very personal and major decision. To help with such decisions, here are a few pros and cons of solar leasing to keep in mind:

Pros of Solar Leasing

Solar leasing comes with many natural benefits, including the following:

  • No need to pay high upfront costs of solar panel installation
  • Locks in energy prices for the future, when the market may be volatile
  • Avoid the headache of maintenance and monitoring of equipment
  • Significant utility bill savings
  • Reduced household carbon footprint
  • Power production guarantees in solar leases mean payments can decrease if the panel doesn't produce as anticipated, minimizing the risk

Cons of Solar Leasing

Solar leasing is certainly not for everyone, though, as these contracts can come with a certain level of risk and concern as well:

  • As utility rates increase, the leasing price also increases each year and could undercut expected cost benefits.
  • Since you do not own solar panels, you are not entitled to the federal solar tax credit or local benefits.
  • Although there isn't a high upfront cost, over the system's lifetime, you'll likely end up paying an equivalent or higher amount than what you would have if you bought the solar panels outright.
  • Leased solar panels don't add value to your property like panels you own do, because they are not a part of the property you own.
  • Breaking your lease may be a hassle if you wish to move.

Leasing Solar Panels Vs. Buying Solar Panels

Earlier generations of solar panels were expensive, so leasing them was a more obvious choice. But the past decade has seen the cost of solar panels plummet, shifting that calculus and making it more accessible and profitable to outright own your own solar system.

The main difference between solar leasing and buying solar panels comes down to ownership. If you buy a solar system, you own it, and that means you are liable for its maintenance and operation costs. If you lease a solar panel, however, the company providing you with this option is the true owner and must shoulder this load.

Buying a solar panel is the best option when you want to make the most of the potential financial benefits. These economic advantages include reduced state taxes through investment credits, government rebates (sometimes up to 30%), and added Solar Renewable Energy Credits. Additionally, owning solar panels increases the market value of a property. So while solar leasing can be profitable over the lifetime of the contract, customers who have the ability to buy the systems outright will receive more financial benefit.

Solar leasing, however, is the best option when you wish to just use the electricity produced by the solar panel as a source of clean energy. Although you do not own the panels and are not entitled to any tax benefits from the state, you can still enjoy the financial benefits of solar energy without the high installation costs, ever-present risk of needing to repair damage and more.

In case of buying solar panels, if you do not have the cash to pay upfront, top solar companies provide plenty of options to finance them rather than only leaving solar leasing as an option:

  • Financing through solar installer: Many installers partner with lenders to provide lower-interest solar financing to their customers.
  • Getting a PACE loan: Also known as an R-PACE loan, Residential Property-Assessed Clean Energy loans are long-term, low-cost options to fund your solar purchase. This type of loan attaches the cost of the panels to your property tax bill through a special tax assessment.
  • Getting a standard bank loan: Solar loans can be secured through credit unions, banks, utilities or state programs. In certain cases, you can choose an on-bill financing option, in which the loan is repaid through your monthly electric bill with your utility provider. With this option, part of your monthly utility savings can be put toward your loan payment.
If you're interested in seeing how much buying a solar panel system would be for your home, you can get a free, no-obligation quote from a top provider near you by filling out the form below.

Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Leasing

What is a solar lease?

A solar lease is a long-term (usually 20-year) contract that allows a company to install a solar system on your roof without you purchasing the system. You pay monthly installments and annual price surges in exchange for the energy produced by these panels.

Is a solar lease worth it?

A solar lease may be worth it for people who do not wish to take up the hassle of maintaining solar panels or who tend to move every five to 10 years. Solar leasing may also sound beneficial to customers who cannot pay a huge amount upfront. However, there are significant financial downsides, including not being eligible for the 26% federal solar tax credit.

Why is leasing solar a bad idea?

The monthly payments you make toward a solar lease will typically increase year over year due to a price escalator that accounts for inflation. Because of this, it's likely you will end up paying an equivalent or greater amount than you would have paid if you were buying solar panels outright. Leased solar panels don't add value to your property, and contract cancellations can be a hassle if you are trying to sell your house before your lease is up. Further, because you are not the owner of the panels, you are not entitled to any financial incentives or tax rebates.

What happens after a solar lease is up?

Solar leasing tends to extend up to 20 to 25 years, which is about the average lifespan of solar panels. Once your lease is up, you have the option to either renew it, discontinue the services and get the panels removed, or buy the panels from the solar vendor at a discounted market rate.

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As solar energy becomes increasingly popular for residential use, you've probably had a few neighbors install solar panels and may even be thinking of getting a system for your own home. But before adopting this technology, you may be wondering: What are solar panels made of, and how are they made?

Many people simply accept that solar panels work and that's all we need to know about them, but for the scientifically and technologically curious, each individual solar panel contains a world of interesting components and materials. Keep reading to learn more about what actually makes up a solar panel.

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Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

It likely comes as no surprise that the world's best-selling electric vehicle manufacturer is also one of the top solar companies in the U.S. Tesla solar products like the Solar Roof and Powerwall have made a name for themselves in the renewable energy industry, and in this article, we'll dive into whether they're really worth the hype.

Read on to learn more about Tesla solar panels, the Tesla Solar Roof system and the Tesla Powerwall solar battery.

Overview of Tesla Solar

As noted, the Tesla enterprise has sought to become the first and foremost name in U.S. solar rooftop installations. These efforts started back in 2016 when Tesla acquired the company SolarCity. At the time, SolarCity was the leading residential solar installer in the country, and it just happened to be founded by cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

In the time since, numerous other solar manufacturers have made strong plays in the residential solar market, and some of those leaders, such as Sunrun and Vivint Solar, have jockeyed back and forth with Tesla for being the market leader. Rankings vary depending on the year, quarter or even month observed, though no single provider ends up providing more than 15% of the market share.

That inherent diversity in the market is a great opportunity for potential customers to shop for their best option and identify what specific offerings best align with their needs and budget. Unsurprisingly, Tesla solar comes in first place for many households. Specifically, the basic offerings that Tesla solar has become known for are:

  • Tesla solar panels: Standard rectangular panels most people associate with solar installations
  • Tesla Solar Roof: Rather than panels on top of the roof, these systems use solar shingles designed to cover the entire roof and look like the roof tiles themselves
  • Tesla Powerwall: Rechargeable battery Tesla can install in conjunction with new solar systems or add to existing systems to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of home energy use

To find out how much a solar panel system would cost for your home, you can fill out the form below and get a free quote from a top installer in your area.

Tesla Standard Solar Panels

The most basic offering, and the one the majority of customers are envisioning when considering solar energy for their household, are standard Tesla solar panels. These work the same way as any rooftop solar panel, but the main features that set Tesla solar panels apart from competitors' products include:

  • 24/7 monitoring: You can keep tabs on your panels at any time and from anywhere through a mobile monitoring app. The app tracks your panels' performance, efficiency and generation, as well as detects any issues with your system.
  • Aesthetics: Tesla prioritizes the design of its rooftop panels in a way competitors don't, creating a sleek, blended, low-profile installation that brings direct curbside appeal.
  • Streamlined pre-installation: As part of Tesla's solar panel installation process, homeowners send in photos of their equipment and system spaces rather than having a crew come out to inspect these areas. This helps bring total costs below the national average.

The exact nature of the installation chosen for your home will be customized based on your rooftop, power needs, geography, budget and more.

Tesla solar panel Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Here are a few specs to note regarding Tesla solar panels:

Category Tesla Solar Specs Why it Matters
Wattage 42 5W Most residential solar panels run around 250 W to 300 W. This means you will need to purchase fewer Tesla panels to produce a certain amount of power.
Operating Temperatures -40°F to 185°F These are the lowest and highest temperatures your Tesla solar panels will operate in. While it's not likely they will ever reach these extremes, most residential solar panels are rated to similar degrees.
Size 82.4" x 40.9" x 1.57" (including frame) Most residential solar panels measure about 65 inches by 39 inches. Tesla's are longer, which allows you to purchase fewer modules.
Warranty 25 years Tesla's performance warranty is about average for the industry.
Inverter 3.8 kW or 7.6 kW The Tesla Solar Inverter is a key part of the home solar system, as it converts the panel's direct current (DC) power into usable alternating current (AC) power for in-home consumption. Tesla's inverters operate at 97.5% efficiency and come with a 12.5-year warranty.

As you may be able to tell, Tesla's panels are some of the best solar panels on the market today. This leads to one question: How much do they cost?

How Much Do Tesla Solar Panels Cost?

While Tesla is known for high quality (which can often be quite pricey), the company actually advertises its solar panel systems as the "Lowest-Cost Solar Panels in America." Is that a fair claim to make?

Kind of. The cost of solar panels depends on a number of factors, including the size of your system, installation complexities, available local tax incentives and more. Given all of these considerations, though, Tesla seeks to ensure it can truly follow through on the "lowest cost" claim via its price-match guarantee. Through this program, homeowners can present a recent quote (within 14 days of order) from a competitor for a similar system, and Tesla will match the price.

In general, the average Tesla solar system of about 8.2 kW will cost a home $11,840 (after accounting for the federal solar tax credit), while an extra-large system of 16.3 kW will cost $22,200. Tesla estimates that most homeowners recoup that investment in six to eight years.

If you want to see how much a Tesla solar panel system would cost for your home, you can use the company's design feature. And to get a free quote to compare from a top installer in your area, you can fill out the form below.

Tesla Solar Roof

Moving beyond the conventional solar panels that are associated with household solar power, Tesla has made waves with its offering of the Tesla Solar Roof. The difference in this system is that rather than large-scale panels installed on top of roof tiles, Tesla uses solar shingles that integrate with the look of your existing roof while generating energy to power your home.

This new way of thinking about residential rooftop installations isn't just a gimmick. The Tesla Solar Roof brings with it a host of benefits that makes it more appealing than standard solar panels:

  • The solar shingles are three times more durable than standard panels, meaning the risk of damage from hail, storms or other environmental factors is minimized.
  • By covering the entire rooftop, even more clean solar energy can be generated for the home.
  • The aesthetic appeal of the solar rooftop is undeniable, as no panels appear outside of the existing design of the roof. Rather, the Solar Roof is a part of the building aesthetic. Note that Tesla used to offer different styles of solar roof tiles, but today it only offers black-on-black tiles.

Tesla Solar Roof Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

That said, the decision to go for a full solar roof over standard solar panels is not an obvious choice for all households. These installations bring with them a number of downsides that may turn customers away:

  • Solar shingles are more expensive to create on a per-watt basis, and they usually have a greater total coverage area. This makes the initial investment notably more expensive and out of reach for many customers.
  • While a storm is more likely to damage a standard solar panel than a solar shingle, if a storm is severe enough that it is able to cause Solar Roof damage, repair costs will be higher than they would be for other types of solar panel repairs.
  • Solar panels can be readily installed and then removed later on for any reason a homeowner may choose, but the solar roof is a more permanent decision.

While customers may have an untold number of solar panel providers to choose from when going the traditional route, Tesla is among the only companies offering solar shingles today.

How Much Does a Tesla Solar Roof Cost?

Given that the main drawback of a Tesla Solar Roof is the significant investment it will require, even more so than traditional solar panels, curious homeowners will naturally ask: Exactly how much more do they cost?

We used Tesla's website to design theoretical systems in Florida and received the following outputs:

City in Florida Square Footage of Home Average Monthly Power Bill System Size System Cost Estimate* Powerwall Cost Cost of System Per Watt
Jacksonville 1,000 $75 6.55 kW $32,210 $10,500 $6.82
Orlando 1,500 $100 8.71 kW $59,414 $10,500 $6.82
Daytona Beach 2,000 $125 10.88 kW $63,460 $10,500 $5.83
Tampa 2,500 $175 15.26 kW $60,680 $17,000 $3.98
Fort Lauderdale 3,000 $225 19.59 kW $93,772 $17,000 $4.79

*System estimates include installation and Powerwall costs but do not reflect federal and local tax credits. All data sourced from tesla.com/energy/design.

These costs, of course, are simply example quotes, and prices will vary based on location, energy needs, local incentives and more. For example, the Solar Energy Industries Association notes that the average cost per watt for a fully installed system in 2020 was $2.96 (before tax credits). All told, the solar roof is significantly more expensive than the traditional solar panel route.

The ideal customer who will want to consider a Tesla Solar Roof either a) doesn't consider money to be an object, or b) is already considering a rooftop replacement and wants to lump in this upgrade (though installing a solar roof amid a roof replacement will add $10,000 to $70,000 to the solar roof installation costs, according to Tesla's online cost calculators).

Tesla Powerwall

The last Tesla solar product that homeowners may be considering is the Tesla Powerwall, which is one of the best solar batteries on the market. By adding a battery to your home solar system, you can use solar energy even when the sun isn't shining (like at night or on cloudy days), have power stored up in case of a utility outage, and even sell the excess energy back to the grid when energy costs are greatest.

Tesla Powerwall Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

When considering Tesla solar energy storage for a new or existing solar system, customers will come across both the Tesla Powerwall and the Tesla Powerwall+. The Powerwall+ comes with additional benefits (at an additional cost, of course). Key differences between these two options include the following:

Category Tesla Powerwall Tesla Powerwall+
Energy Capacity 13.5 kWh 13.5 kWh
On-Grid Power 5.8 kW continuous 7.6 kW / 5.6 kW continuous
Backup Power 10 kW peak 9.6 kW / 7 kW continuous
22 kW / 10 kW peak
Size 45.3" x 29.6" x 5.75"
251.3 lbs
62.8" x 29.7" x 6.3"
343.9 lbs
Warranty 10 years 10 years

All customers who install a Tesla Solar system, whether standard solar panels or a Solar Roof, are required to purchase a Powerwall (or Powerwall+) to ensure the highest efficiency and effectiveness of their system. The Powerwall and Powerwall+ are also available for purchase alone to pair with an existing non-Tesla solar installation, though the homeowner will still need to utilize a Tesla-certified installer.

How Much Does a Tesla Powerwall Cost?

Once again, cost will be a major question and consideration for potential Powerwall owners. The main factor that will determine how much your Tesla solar battery setup will cost is how many Powerwalls you actually need based on the size of your panel system.

While every system will differ, each installation type will be unique and your mileage may vary, we reached out to Tesla to ask about general cost estimates and found the right rule of thumb to consider is:

  • One Powerwall: $10,500
  • Two Powerwalls: $17,000 (i.e., price drops to $8,500 each when buying two at a time)

Why Should a Home Go Solar?

Given the extensive costs and considerations pertaining to Tesla solar, is solar energy even worth it for your home? The upfront costs of these systems are a serious hurdle for many homeowners, but if you have the capital available, there are numerous reasons to consider going solar:

  • With the climate crisis worsening, installing solar on your home is a direct way for you to reduce your home's carbon footprint and potentially even start a trend of neighbors adopting clean energy after seeing you do so.
  • Monthly power bills can be high and volatile, so the more energy you can generate self-sufficiently for your home, the less you'll pay in utility bills.
  • In many areas, the owners of a solar system can sell their excess energy back to the utility company, which can give you a greater return on your solar system investment.
  • Rooftop solar combined with energy storage is a great way to reduce how likely your home is to be impacted by power outages.
  • Installing solar panels ups the market value of your home, and with a sleek Tesla solar system, they can also make a home more aesthetically appealing.

While the high costs to install may be frustrating, it's important that potential customers research or talk to experts about available tax incentives that come from federal, state and local governments. These incentives come as credits, rebates, low-interest loans and other tools to help make solar power accessible to more homes.

FAQ: Tesla Solar

How much does Tesla solar cost?

A Tesla solar system (including equipment and installation) can vary in cost from $11,840 for 8.2 kW of standard solar panels to $22,200 for 16.3 kW (both after tax incentives). A Tesla Solar Roof will have a higher price tag, typically in the ballpark of $30,000 to $90,000. A Tesla Powerwall will be about $8,500 to $10,500 per 13.5 kWh battery. These costs represent a wide range of system sizes, local geographies, available tax incentives and more.

Why is Tesla solar so cheap?

Tesla is able to mass-produce its equipment, use economies of scale and streamline the installation process by recruiting homeowners themselves to contribute to the evaluation of their homes. These are some of the factors that allow Tesla to offer a price-match guarantee, ensuring the company offers the cheapest solar panels in the U.S.

How effective are Tesla solar panels?

Once installed, Tesla solar panels are highly efficient and effective, which has kept them as one of the most popular solar installers in America and able to offer customers payback periods of just a handful of years.

Does Tesla solar include installation?

When you buy solar panels, depending on your location, Tesla will either send its own installers or contract workers from another local installation company to set up your system.

Should I buy a home solar system?

The concept of going solar is fairly straightforward: by installing solar panels or shingles on the area of your roof that gets the most direct sunlight, power is generated for use in your home, offsetting the need for you to purchase that power from your utility company. Doing so will help you save money each month and ensure the energy used within your home is carbon-free. Other advantages include the ability to generate power even during local utility outages and directly increasing the resale value of your home.

Jon Lovette / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

Solar power has been an energy source of growing importance in recent years, as technology has advanced and the cost of solar panels has declined sharply. As a result, many smaller sun-powered products have become available, from solar phone chargers to solar generators to outdoor solar lights.

Whether you're looking for ground lights or flood lights, illuminating your outdoor spaces with a wired system can be both an electrical challenge and an eyesore. Convenience, sleekness and sustainability are just a few reasons so many people are looking for the best outdoor solar lights.

In this article, we'll go over how solar lights work, show you some of the best solar lights available and help you decide whether solar-powered lighting is a good choice for your home.

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zstockphotos / iStock / Getty Images

Solar energy has been among the fastest-growing sources of power generation in the U.S. in recent years, catapulting from 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of generation in 2010 to over 90.1 billion kWh in 2020. While that's still just a small slice of the overall energy mix (2% of all U.S. electricity in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), the rate of growth is accelerating. The EIA forecasts that by 2022, solar capacity installations will outpace wind capacity installations for the first time on record after wind turbines had a huge head start.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn of 2020 led to equipment shortages and other hardships for the solar industry. However, forecasts show the industry is primed for a resurgence in 2021 and beyond. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, solar companies are ramping up installations at a record pace and experienced a 46% year-over-year increase compared with the first quarter of 2020.

As 2021 continues to look like a prime year for solar power in the United States, which states are leading the charge? We can look to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report® from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for some answers.

Top 10 States for Solar Energy

The Solar Market Insight Report included a ranking of the top states across the country based on the total amount of solar electric capacity installed and in operation as of the end of the first quarter of 2021. To put it into context, SEIA figures also include the equivalent number of homes that can be powered by that solar capacity in the individual state.

Here are the current leaders for solar power in the U.S.:

State Cumulative Solar Capacity (Megawatts) Equivalent Number of Homes Supplied by Solar Energy
California 31,873 8,548,370
Texas 9,311 1,082,407
North Carolina 7,132 859,707
Florida 7,074 842,897
Arizona 5,247 810,751
Nevada 3,904 672,707
New Jersey 3,653 586,709
Massachusetts 3,263 545,258
Georgia 3,069 359,160
New York 2,840 474,848

On this leaderboard, some states show up that would be expected — California has long been the solar king, and they don't call Florida the Sunshine State for nothing — while other states represent surprising emerging solar hotbeds. For example, you may be surprised to see some smaller, northeastern states like Massachusetts and New Jersey beating out the field. But these results go to show it's not just about land space and the natural sunshine; the policies and economics driving these installations are just as impactful.

2021 Top States for New Solar Installation

With the solar market really exploding in recent years, traditional solar stalwarts like Arizona and Nevada are being actively challenged by some emerging contenders.

Specifically looking at where solar installations were most active during the first quarter of 2021, the SEIA report finds the following were the top states for solar installations from January through March:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. Indiana
  5. Virginia

On top, Texas added 1,525 megawatts (MW) of capacity, which is equivalent to 45% of the capacity installed in the state during all of 2020 and represents 16% of the state's cumulative capacity to date. California added 563 MW of capacity, equivalent to 14% of the capacity installed in 2020 and 2% of the state's cumulative capacity. Florida added 525 MW of capacity, which is 19% of the capacity installed during 2020 and 7% of the state's total capacity.

Compare the above list with the top 5 states for solar installations for all of 2020:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. Virginia
  5. North Carolina

A few compelling trends become evident when looking at the above numbers. First, it's never too late to become a solar leader. While Florida is in the top five of cumulative capacity today, and given its sunny reputation that result may not seem surprising, the truth is that 47% of that capacity has been added since the beginning of 2020. In just over a years' time, Florida nearly doubled its total solar capacity.

Another important trend to recognize is that geography alone doesn't decide whether a state will be a solar leader. Mid-Atlantic states like Virginia and North Carolina or Midwestern states like Indiana wouldn't necessarily be the first most would guess as being solar powerhouses, but thanks to policies like North Carolina's generous Solar Property Tax Exemption, Virginia's allowance for net metering and Indiana's solar easement laws, residents of these states are enjoying solar power on their homes in record numbers.

Where Does Your State Rank for New Solar Installation?

So, are you living in a state that's leading the way on solar or one that has some ground to make up? Factors to consider when looking at why some states are making more progress than others will include the types of policies in place, the availability of rooftops on which solar can be installed, the appetite for new energy generation and even the state's seasonal solar irradiance.

Taking all of those factors into account, here's where each state stands in SEIA's recently published rankings:

Here's how each state's Q1 2021 ranking compares to how it ranked for total solar installations in 2020:

State Ranking
for Q1 2021
Solar Installations
Ranking
for Total 2020
Solar Installations
Texas
1 2
California 2 1
Florida 3 3
Indiana 4 32
Virginia 5 4
Michigan 6 27
Oregon 7 20
Iowa 8 22
Utah 9 10
New York 10 8
South Carolina 11 6
Massachusetts 12 12
North Carolina 13 5
Illinois 14 14
Maine 15 29
Arizona 16 9
New Jersey 17 11
Colorado 18 13
Maryland 19 26
Nevada 20 15
Minnesota 21 21
Connecticut 22 24
Ohio 23 18
Pennsylvania 24 17
Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories 25 33
New Mexico 26 16
Hawaii 27 28
Missouri 28 37
Rhode Island 29 25
Washington DC 30 42
Wisconsin 31 19
Washington 32 34
New Hampshire 33 39
Arkansas 34 23
Idaho 35 38
Oklahoma 36 40
Delaware 37 44
Georgia 38 7
Vermont 39 41
Kansas 40 35
Louisiana 41 30
Kentucky 42 46
Montana 43 45
Wyoming 44 36
West Virginia 45 48
Alaska 46 47
Mississippi 47 31
Nebraska 48 43
South Dakota 49 50
Tennessee 50 49
North Dakota 51 52
Alabama 52 51

Seeing some states jump up or down the list from one year to the next may seem drastic, but keep in mind that certain tax incentives expire, new policies come into play and other market forces affect local solar industries. That reality underscores the point that being a solar-leading state takes continued commitment, and doing so can happen at any point state leaders decide to truly embrace the solar industry.

The Future of Residential Solar

As the Solar Market Insight Report indicates, solar energy is a hot and growing market. To date, though, solar still only provides a fraction of the total energy generated in the U.S. While some customers, buildings and regions see much higher penetration of solar into their power mix on a micro level, there's much improvement still on the way, especially as dirtier energy sources like coal continue to retire.

The recent SEIA report shows that it's a constant push and pull as well, as residential solar installations in the second quarter of 2021 were down 8% from the fourth quarter of 2020 but up 11% from the first quarter of 2020. The fact remains, though, that residential solar had its largest first quarter on record and its second-largest quarter of all at the beginning of 2021. These results signal a growing solar market, especially in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas.

Additionally, customer appetite for residential solar is as strong as ever: 19% year-over-year growth is expected to get the residential market to a total of 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by the end of 2021, a sum that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. Indeed, the future remains bright for residential solar.

If you're interested in becoming one of the millions of Americans who have made the switch to solar panels, fill out the form below to get a free installation quote from a top solar company near you.

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