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The Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia

Solar Financing | 4 min read
The cost of installing solar energy in Virginia

From Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay regions to Southern Virginia, to Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, solar energy is proving itself to be a great investment. Farmers, businesses, and homeowners alike are all saving money with their own free energy source.

That said, solar energy costs money to install. While that cost changes based on a variety of factors, we understand how helpful it is to have a general idea of what solar costs. Below, we’ll take a look at what the average cost for solar panels is in Virginia, and how much money the average system will save you. But first, we'll take a look at what incentives are available. 

Solar Incentives Available in Virginia

Both federal and local governments want businesses, homes, and farms to install clean, renewable energy. To help encourage this, they offer several incentives that cut the cost of installing solar, making solar paybacks even better. 

One of the most robust incentives is the 26% federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). This incentive is available to all those who pay federal taxes, whether you’re installing on a home or business. With it, you’ll get back 26% of what you spend on your solar system through a tax credit.

In addition to this tax credit, businesses can take advantage of 100% bonus depreciation. With this, you can push all the tax savings from the depreciation of the solar system to the year the system is placed into service. Not only does this knockdown installation costs, but it can also significantly reduce your tax burden.

On a state level, Virginia makes it easier for homes to go solar. Because installing solar can increase the value of your home, that can mean an increase in your property taxes. However, Virginia offers a property tax exemption for solar, meaning your taxes won’t go up due to the increased value. 

That said, local municipalities have the option to forgo this exemption, so it may not be available everywhere.

Virginia also requires their utility companies to offer net metering. This is a great solar-friendly program that helps you maximize your solar investment. 

The free solar electricity produced by your solar panels will be used to power any electric devices you have running at the time it’s produced. However, there are times where your system will be producing more electricity than you’re using. There will also be times where your system isn’t producing electricity at all (like at night) but you still need electricity.

With net metering, you’ll upload that extra electricity to the utility grid. In exchange, you’ll get a “credit” for each kilowatt-hour of electricity. That credit can be exchanged for a kilowatt-hour from the utility at any time.

This gives you the ability to more easily offset your entire electricity production with solar energy, as you can generate enough of these credits to fulfill your energy needs. Net metering essentially allows you to utilize the electricity grid for a free storage system.

The Cost of Installing Roof-Mounted Solar Panels in Virginia

Solar roof mounts are a great way to turn an under-utilized space into a money-saving machine. Whether you’re looking to install solar on the roof of your home or business, it can be a great investment.  

One of the best ways to get an idea of how much solar will cost you is to relate it to your energy bill. That will give you a rough idea of what size system you need in order to produce enough free electricity to cover your electric bill. 

Below, we’ve broken this information down into costs for homes and for businesses. But for a general rule of thumb, a homeowner can expect to pay between $20,000 and $45,000 before incentives for a roof-mounted solar system. Businesses and farmers can expect to pay $100,000 to $500,000+ for a roof-mounted solar system in Virginia. 

Roof-Mounted Solar Costs for VA Homeowners

This chart shows what solar costs, on average, for Virginia homeowners, taking into account the 26% solar tax credit.

Average Monthly
Electric Bill
Solar System Size Total Installed Cost
(Before Incentives)
Cost After Incentives
$60 5 kW  $23,940 $17,716
$120 10 kW  $30,380 $22,481
$180 15 kW $42,155 $31,195

Roof-Mounted Solar Costs for VA Businesses & Farms

Below are the average costs for roof-top solar systems for businesses and farms. These costs include the 26% tax credit and the savings from 100% bonus depreciation.

Average Monthly
Electric Bill
Solar System Size Total Installed Cost
(Before Incentives)
Cost After Incentives 
$600 50 kW  $123,800 $58,492
$1,200 100 kW  $224,200 $105,929
$2,400 200 kW  $392,600 $185,494

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The Cost of Installing Ground-Mounted Solar Panels in Virginia

Ground-mounted solar panels are free from the constraints of your roof, making them a great choice if you need a larger system for a smaller building, or if your roof is too shaded for optimal solar placement.

Virginia homeowners can expect to pay $24,000 to $45,000 before incentives for a ground-mounted solar system. Businesses and farmers in Virginia should expect to pay $125,000 to $500,000+ for a ground-mounted solar system. Below is a more detailed breakdown of the average costs for installing a ground-mounted solar system in Virginia for both homeowners and businesses and farms. 

Like the roof-mounted systems, the costs are broken down by system size, which correlates to how much electricity you use each month, or the cost of your electric bill.

Ground-Mounted Solar Costs for VA Homes

Here’s a look at what the average Virginian home would spend to install a ground-mounted solar system. The net cost takes into account the widely available solar tax credit.

Average Monthly
Electric Bill
Solar System Size Total Installed Cost
(Before Incentives)
Cost After Tax Incentives 
$60 5 kW  $24,940 $18,455
$120 10 kW $32,180 $23,814
$180 15 kW  $44,755 $33,119

Ground-Mounted Solar Costs for VA Businesses & Farms

In addition to the 26% tax credit, businesses and farms can also take advantage of 100% bonus depreciation on their solar system. This further reduces the upfront costs required to go solar and increases the amount of money a system can add to your bottom line. 

Average Monthly
Electric Bill
Solar System Size Total Installed Cost
(Before Incentives)
Cost After Incentives 
$600 50 kW  $128,800 $68,225
$1,200 100 kW  $232,200 $109,250
$2,400 200 kW  $404,600 $190,283

 

Is Solar Energy A Good Investment in Virginia?

The federal tax credit, accelerated depreciation, and net metering help to keep the payback period short, so you can save more with solar energy. And in addition to the money you’re saving, you’re also helping to reduce air pollution and your carbon footprint, which can go a long way in keeping Virginia beautiful. 

So while solar installation costs may be high, the return on that investment is much higher. With a lifespan of at least 25 to 30 years (the term most quality solar panels are guaranteed for), your system will produce tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of free electricity.

If you're ready to take advantage of those savings, the next step is to get a custom quote.  Use the button to get started. 

Request Pricing for Your Solar System

If you want to do a little more research before getting your custom quote, we have you covered! Download our solar buying guide to get answers to many of the common questions we're asked by other Virginians that are investigating a solar investment. You can also browse our collection of educational blog posts

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