Rhode Island Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives


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Rhode Island brings to mind images of warm, sunny days on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. And, with 200 to 210 days of sunshine each year, Rhode Island is an ideal state for those who are interested in investing in home solar panels.

The use of solar panels has become popular on both homes and RV solar systems are also available. Solar panels offer many benefits to homeowners. They can help you lower your energy cost, increase the value of your home, achieve energy independence, and lower your carbon footprint.

Rhode Island solar panel cost

The typical cost for a residential solar panel system is $3 to $5 per watt. This makes the average cost of solar panels in Rhode Island between $15,000 and $25,000. However, there are federal and state incentive and rebate programs that can bring down the total cost.

The overall cost is determined by several factors, including the brand of solar panels you choose, cost of solar installation, and whether work needs to be done on your roof to prepare for the panels. Fortunately, as the use of solar panels has increased, the price has dropped. In fact, over the last 10 years, the overall cost of solar panels has decreased by more than 70 percent. This means you may be able to recoup your initial solar investment within six to nine years.

Why choose Rhode Island solar power?

There are three primary reasons for choosing to invest in solar panels in Rhode Island.

1. Lower energy costs

Using solar panels as your primary energy source can lower your energy bills. By capturing the sun’s energy, you may be able to completely power your home, only relying on the nation’s electrical grid during periods of poor weather. This shift of reliance on the electrical grid to solar power can lead to lower energy costs. In fact, your solar energy savings could range from $44 a month to $187 a month.

2. Establish energy independence

In addition to solar panels, you may want to purchase solar batteries to complete your system. When there is a lot of sun, the solar panels may produce more energy than you need to power your house. This excess energy, which can be stored in solar batteries, can be used in place of the electrical grid on overcast days when there isn’t enough sun. Or, if you choose to have the electrical grid as your backup when you don’t produce enough energy, the solar batteries can keep you from being affected during periods of high demand on the grid. A home solar system increases your energy independence and allows you to rely less on the Rhode Island power grid.

3. Go green

Solar power is a green energy and is also a renewable resource that does not emit harmful greenhouse gases. Traditional power sources like coal or gas do emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming. By choosing to power your home with solar panels, you can greatly reduce your overall carbon footprint.

Rhode Island solar panel incentives or rebates

The upfront cost of solar panels can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to lower that overall investment. The federal government and the state of Rhode Island provide financial incentives to help lower these costs.

Homeowners can receive a 26 percent solar tax credit from the federal government when they install solar panels. However, this program is set to expire at the beginning of 2024. It’s possible Congress may renew the tax credit, but in order to know for certain it’s available to you, it’s best to purchase your solar panels now.

In addition to the federal tax credit, Rhode Island solar incentives include a 100 percent sales tax exemption and 100 percent property tax exemption on solar panels. These state tax exemptions will help to lower the total cost of solar panels and can make them more affordable for many homeowners.

Should I buy or lease my solar panels?

The financial savings of owning residential solar panels exceed the savings you can achieve by leasing them. In fact, installing solar panels on your home could increase the resale value of your home by $15,000.

However, purchasing solar panels is not always an option for all homeowners. If the upfront cost of solar panels is too high, there are also solar leases and solar power purchase agreements. With these options, solar companies retain ownership of the panels and cover the costs of installing solar panels on your home. For a set monthly rate, you’ll receive the energy generated by those panels. But keep in mind that if you choose a solar lease or power purchase agreement, you will not benefit from the tax credits available and your total cost savings will be lower than if you purchase your system upfront.

You can still use solar energy through community solar programs. In these programs, the same solar facility can serve multiple families. Shared solar is a good option for people in multifamily buildings, renters, homes that receive a lot of shade, places where HOA rules prohibit the installation of solar panels, and for homeowners who can’t afford their own system.

Rhode Island solar panel companies

There are close to 30 solar companies in Rhode Island, including 10 manufacturers and 12 installation companies. This makes researching your options an important consideration in your purchase decision. To help you with this process, you can use SaveOnEnergy’s solar resources to better understand the solar energy industry and how to choose the best solar panels for your energy needs.

The history of solar power in Rhode Island

Though not in the nation’s top 10 states, Rhode Island is in the top 25 states for solar power generation. With more than 8,500 solar installations, Rhode Island generates 412 megawatts (MW) of energy, enough to power more than 73,500 homes.

The state’s largest installations are the Forbes Street Solar Project and the West Greenwich Solar Project. Forbes generates about 3.7 MW to power more than 640 homes, while West Greenwich produces 2.1 MW and can power more than 370 homes.

Important solar installation factors to consider

There are three important factors to consider before installing solar panels.

  • Your home’s roof — The average lifespan of solar panels is 25 years. If you have an older roof, you may want to replace it before installing solar panels. If you don’t replace your roof, you’ll want to make sure you complete any necessary repairs beforehand. For the most effective home solar results, place your panels on a section of the roof that faces south on a slope ranging from 15 to 40 degrees.
  • Sunshine — For solar panels to operate efficiently, they need to be installed in an area that gets a great deal of sun. If your roof is heavily shaded, you may want to look at one of the community solar options.
  • HOA/Community Rules — If you’re in an area that has neighborhood rules, either through an HOA or other community organizing body, you’ll want to make sure solar panels are permitted.

Solar power FAQ

How much would solar cost in Rhode Island?

The cost of solar panels in Rhode Island range from $15,000 to $25,000. But that price can be reduced through the tax credits offered by both the federal government and the state of Rhode Island.

Is solar power a good investment in Rhode Island?

Solar power in Rhode Island has been shown to be a good investment. It can lead to long-term savings on your monthly energy bills and an increase in the value of your home. However, you’ll want to consider your location, energy use habits, and weather patterns before deciding to install solar panels in Rhode Island.

How much could I save by investing in solar?

There are many things that factor into the total amount you could save with solar panels. This includes the amount of sun your roof receives, the roof’s slope and the amount of energy you use. But, typically, homeowners in Rhode Island could experience an annual solar savings of $1,144, which is in the top 3 in the United States.

Where can I find a good solar panel installer in Rhode Island?

With 12 solar installation companies and 10 solar manufacturers, you’ll want to do your homework before you make a selection. You may want to develop a set of questions to ask each company, including business history, customer reviews, and whether the solar installer offers solar panel warranties.

How does solar power help the environment?

Since solar energy is a renewable resource, it is constantly being replenished. Therefore it does not put a strain on the environment. Additionally, solar energy is a clean energy source, meaning it does not emit harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. With the installation and use of solar panels, you’ll be able to aid the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.