Virginia Explained: How can you save on residential solar?

Solar panels being installed on a low-income house in Norfolk.
Solar panels being installed on a low-income house in Norfolk.(Norfolk Solar Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund & Virginia Mercury)
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 10:17 AM EDT
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Scammy internet ads and dubious “qualification” surveys about solar installation in Virginia abound online, but it is difficult to find clear, accurate information on what the state and federal governments are doing to encourage cleaner energy consumption.

With a price tag similar to that of a used car, Virginia homeowners looking to make a financial investment in solar panels are confronted with navigating a tangle of tax exemptions, credits, rights, and utility company programs.

The costs (and benefits) of going solar

The solar marketplace EnergySage estimates the average price for residential solar in Virginia to fall between $12,325 and $16,675 for a 5-kilowatt system, which is on the smaller end of system size. The most common systems are between 8 to 10 kilowatts, but it depends on the size of the roof. For a 9 kilowatt system, the average cost is about $26,100 before federal tax breaks.

EnergySage estimates the average solar system in Virginia pays for itself in about 12 years by lowering or eliminating a household’s power bill and saves customers about $21,000 over 20 years compared with simply buying energy from a traditional electric utility. A solar array typically lasts about 25 years.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)

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