June 24, 2024

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost? (2024)

Although the upfront cost of solar panels can be intimidating, there are several steps you can take to help reduce the total cost as well as maximize the amount of money that solar panels save you in the long run. In general, we recommend leveraging federal, state and local incentives as well as purchasing more efficient solar panels to save money.

Use the Federal Solar Tax Credit

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a tax incentive worth 30% of the total cost of your solar panel system. All U.S. homeowners who install solar panels are eligible for this credit, and it reduces what you owe in federal income taxes. For most solar systems, this credit is worth several thousand dollars, which is significant savings.

However, if you choose to lease your panels, you will not be eligible for this tax credit. You can only claim this tax credit if you own your panels.

The credit is currently set to decrease to 26% in 2033, then to 22% in 2034 before expiring entirely in 2035.

Look Into State Solar Incentives

In addition to federal incentives, many states offer other incentives to go solar, including tax breaks, credits and rebates. If you’re interested in the solar incentives available in your state, you can browse the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) or visit your local government website to learn more.

Additionally, net metering is a program that allows you to sell the excess electricity your solar panels generate to your utility company for billing credits. Forty-one states and Washington D.C. have a state-mandated net metering policy, though some policies are better than others. States without a mandated net metering policy, like Texas and Idaho, may have utility companies that offer the program.

Many states also offer solar rebate programs for low- and moderate-income households or community solar programs that aim to make clean energy more accessible.