Washington D.C. Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives


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The nation’s capital has over 16,000 homes powered by solar energy. Washington D.C. derives over 43 percent of its energy from solar sources. The cost of solar panels has lowered by 43 percent over the last five years, making residential solar power a much more affordable energy option than ever before.

Investing in solar energy is a wise investment for Washington D.C. residents. Not only do you benefit from the lower prices for a residential solar energy system, but you also gain energy independence because your home can produce energy separate from the power grid. Moreover, you also lower your home’s carbon footprint and improve its value by an average of $15,000. All told, there are many ways D.C. residents can benefit from solar energy. This guide delves into all the possibilities available near you.

Washington D.C. solar panel cost

The cost of residential solar panels in Washington D.C. is measured in dollars per watt, with the average system costing between $3-5 per watt. The total price for a residential solar system can range from $15,000 to $25,000. 

However, this does not include any of the solar tax credits or incentives you would receive after installation. These bonuses can reduce the upfront costs substantially. And when you factor in the money you save monthly in energy costs, your payback period (the time it takes to recoup your initial investment) is between 6-9 years. Keep in mind solar panels can last on average up to 25 years. Once you reach your solar return on investment, you will save even more moving forward, making them a worthwhile investment for homeowners.

Why choose Washington D.C. solar power?

Washington D.C. residents gain many benefits from going with solar power. One of the most important factors is lower energy costs. The solar panels on your home harness the sun’s energy. And if you have a solar battery connected to your system, it can convert and store that power for later use. This means you no longer have to pay as much for electricity from traditional power sources.

Solar panels also mean you gain energy independence. With your home solar system generating and powering your home, you don’t have to rely as much on the power grid. This gives you another source to draw from in the event of a power outage. Instead of being left in the dark, use your solar energy to keep your home powered through the storm. 

Most importantly, solar power gives you the chance to reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy does not emit pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, into the air or water, allowing you to use a resource that’s cleaner than traditional sources.

Washington D.C. solar panel incentives or rebates

There are many rebates and incentives available to help offset the initial cost of a residential solar panel system.

The first of which is the Solar Investment Tax Credit, also known as the ITC. The federal government offers a one-time tax credit of 26 percent of the cost of the solar system in 2021. There is no limit for the credit. If you do not owe taxes when you file your return, you receive it back via a refund. Currently, this program runs through 2024. While the government has extended it before, there is no guarantee it will be available forever. Now is an excellent time to take advantage of this incentive.

What’s more, you also gain Washington D.C. solar incentives by investing in and installing solar panels. Washington D.C. has a property tax exemption, which means even if your home value increases due to the installation of solar power, you pay the same tax rate as you did before the improvement. D.C. also has the Low Income Solar Plus Program, allowing qualifying homeowners aid up to $10,000 to install a 3-watt or 4-watt system.

Should I buy or lease my solar panels?

While the initial costs of solar panels can hinder some households from installing them, there are options to spread costs. You can sign a solar lease to break down these costs into more manageable monthly payments. However, the way to save the most money is to buy your solar panels upfront.

With a solar lease, you work with a solar installation company, who’s responsible for installing and maintaining the system. There are also solar power purchase agreements, which are similar to solar leases. The benefit with these options is that they take care of all the work for you, and you still receive some of the benefits of solar energy, like lower electricity bills. That said, the solar company owns the solar panels. This means you will not be eligible for many solar incentives, including the federal solar tax credit.

Another way to receive the benefits of solar energy without the high cost is through community solar projects. How this works is that multiple dwellings draw power from the same solar system. Each home pays its share – it ends up being less than paying for a whole system. Meanwhile, you still enjoy the benefits of a lower carbon footprint and reduced energy bills. However, this option does not increase the value of your home.

Washington D.C. solar panel companies

There are several companies that offer solar energy services in Washington D.C. You can use the solar resources offered by SaveOnEnergy to learn more about solar energy, how to find the best solar panels, and whether solar energy will work for your home. Armed with this information, you will feel more comfortable in the process and know what to look for in a reputable provider. It can also help you determine whether buying or leasing solar panels is the best fit for your financial needs.

The history of solar power in Washington D.C.

Solar energy is slowly catching on in popularity in the nation’s capital. It currently ranks 43rd nationally in homes using solar power. There are 153 solar companies in the state, accounting for installers, suppliers, and more. While D.C. is among the bottom 10 in households with solar panels, keep in mind the state’s population is a little more than Wyoming’s. And with prices reducing considerably for residential solar panel systems, many residents are beginning to consider solar.

Important solar installation factors to consider

There are several factors to consider that might impact whether you can install solar panels on your Washington D.C. residence. 

  • Roof’s condition: Your roof should be in top shape to accommodate solar panels, as they last 25 years on average. Ideally, you want a slope facing the south with an angle between 15 to 40 degrees. If your roof has much shade from nearby buildings or trees, it can restrict the sunlight needed for solar power. 
  • Climate: Washington D.C. has 203 sunny days per year, falling two short of the nation’s average of 205 days. With this in mind, your solar panels need at least one hour of sunlight to operate efficiently. Having too many cloudy days could restrict their ability to generate enough solar power for your home.
  • HOA or neighborhood rules: Before installing solar panels, check with your Homeowners Association or neighborhood guidelines to receive approval. Some HOAs might have restrictions on installing solar panels, and it is possible they decline your request. If you do not have an HOA, Washington DC requires you to have a solar permit to install solar panels.

Solar power FAQs

How much would solar cost in Washington D.C.?

The average cost of a solar system is between $15,000 and $25,000. However, some incentives drive down the price, like the solar ITC tax credit of 26 percent. And if your home increases in value due to solar panels, you do not receive an increase in your property taxes.

Is solar power a good investment in Washington D.C.?

Investing in solar energy is a wise investment for homeowners. You can receive lower energy bills because you use an energy source separate from your utility. Further, with the tax incentives and lower electricity costs, you can earn a return on your investment within 6 to 9 years. Considering solar panels last 25 years on average, there are many years where you can maximize your savings. 

How much money can I save with solar panels in Washington D.C.?

Your solar savings depend on many factors, including your home’s energy usage, the climate, utility prices, whether you have to replace your roof before installing solar panels. While the initial costs can seem high, it is not a stretch to say you can save thousands of dollars through the operational life of solar panels due to lower energy bills, tax incentives, and improved property values. Some residents experience savings of up to 50 percent.

Where can I find a good solar panel installer in Washington D.C.? 

With several solar panel installers available near you, it is vital to research each one thoroughly. Examine each solar installer to learn the services offered, their reputation and business history, and customers’ reviews of the company. Proper research will help you pinpoint the best solar installer for your home. 

How does solar power help the environment?

Solar power is a clean energy source because it does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is also a renewable energy resource. Using solar energy for your home reduces its carbon footprint because you’re using a natural energy source to power most of your needs. You can learn more about green energy and its suppliers with SaveOnEnergy.