So you’ve finally decided to install solar panels in Pennsylvania. First of all, congratulations for taking this bold step towards clean, green, and sustainable energy. But how do you proceed from here? What does it cost to install solar panels in Pennsylvania? Who are the best solar installers in the state?
These are some of the questions we’ll be addressing in this article. Think of this article as a tell-all guide to everything you need to know about installing solar panels in Pennsylvania.
Well, let’s get to it!
Solar Panels System Installation Costs in Pennsylvania
Solar panels are expensive; that’s a fact. Sure, the prices have dropped significantly over the last three decades, but it is still costly. Unless you have a few grand burning a hole in your pocket, the cost is one of the things that will pop into your head when considering installing solar panels in the Keystone State.
So, how much does it cost to install solar panels in Pennsylvania?
On average, it costs $2.38 per watt to install solar panels in Pennsylvania. This $2.38-per-watt price tag is after factoring in the 30% federal solar tax credit. More on the federal solar tax credit later.
Factors Affecting Solar Panel Installation Costs in Pennsylvania
Yes, it costs $2.38 per watt on average to install solar panels in Pennsylvania. That is just the average price per watt. The actual price does fluctuate depending on your circumstances.
Below are some of the factors that affect the actual cost of installing solar panels in Pennsylvania:
1. Your Energy Needs
Let me start by saying that solar isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If I ripped an off-grid solar panel system from a random house and installed it in your house, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be self-sufficient.
Different homes have different energy needs. And it all comes down to all the electronic devices you’re running in your house and how long in a single day you run them.
To determine how much solar power you need, you first must calculate how much power you need in a single day. I can’t teach you how to do that right now, but here’s Michael from Understanding Solar Power with a video that will help you out.
Why don’t you apply your newly-learned knowledge and calculate how much power you need in a single day?
2. Size of Your Solar Panel Installation
Now that you know how much power you need in a single day, you can determine an appropriate solar system size for your home or business. Let’s use an example; you worked out your needs and found that you require 1,758 Wh (or 1.758 kWh) in a single day.
With these things, it’s good to round up so you don’t fall short, especially when you’re aiming for an off-grid system. So if your total energy requirements are 1.758 kWh, an appropriate size for you is a 2 kWh solar panel system.
3. Your Solar Equipment Preferences
A functioning solar panel system needs solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, batteries, and cables to connect everything. All these components are made by all sorts of manufacturers, and they come with different price tags.
If you opt for the expensive options, chances are that you’ll end up with a large bill. And the opposite is true when you opt for the cheaper options.
Solar Incentives in Pennsylvania
Another factor that affects the actual price of your solar installation is solar incentives. These are provisions by federal and local governments to help sweeten the deal on your next solar purchase. As a Pennsylvania resident, you’re entitled to the following solar incentives:
1. The Investment Tax Credit (Federal Solar Tax Credit)
To encourage you to embrace solar, the federal government promises to reduce your tax liability by 30%, the value of your latest solar panel system. And the good news is that you can carry forward your tax credits to the following year; amazing stuff.
Of late, the Investment Tax Credit rates have been all over the place. It started at 30% and then dropped to 26% in 2020. In 2022, Congress increased it back to 30%, where it currently stays. But don’t sleep on it because the rate will drop back to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.
2. Pennsylvania Net Metering Program
With Pennsylvania’s net metering program, you can sell the energy your solar panel system produces at the same exact rate your buy power. So you can pump electricity into the grid during the day and use it at night. If you’re curious about who offers the best net metering program in Pennsylvania, that would be PECO Energy.
Note: You need a grid-tied solar system to enjoy net metering programs.
3. Pennsylvania SRECs Program
Did you know that your solar panel system can potentially earn you Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (or SRECs)? You get 1 SREC for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar power you generate. Sweet, right?
Whether you use this power or send it to the grid, you earn SRECs. These SRECs can be sold for cash. At the time of writing, the value of 1 SREC was dancing between $33 and $35. For the latest market prices in Pennsylvania, check out SRECTrade.com.
4. Philadelphia Solar Rebate Program
If you’re a Philly resident, you should know that the Philadelphia City Council has been running a solar rebate program since 2019. With this rebate program, you can recoup some of your solar power investment. At the time of writing, the Philadelphia City Council was paying $0.2 per watt for residential installations and $0.1 per watt for commercial systems.
Top 7 Solar Panel Installers in Pennsylvania
Whatever solar panel system you choose, you’ll need someone to install it for you. Below are some of the best solar panel installers in Pennsylvania.
Just north of the Delaware border, you’ll find TerraSol Energies, a family-run company established in 2009. Residential or commercial, TerraSol Energies has got you covered. And they are a big powerhouse in the industry, too, serving Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and of course, Pennsylvania. No wonder they have won SunPower’s regional dealer awards for 2016 and 2021.
- Location: 64 Watkin Avenue, Chadds Ford, PA 19317
- Phone: +1 888-873-9995
Another solar installer who is making noise in the state is Elysium Solar Energy. It is also one of the few solar companies in the industry that is completely owned by a woman. They use certified installers and are even recognized by the Better Business Bureau. On top of that, they are active in the community, donating 1% of their sales back to the community.
- Location: 192 Railroad Street, McDonald, PA 15057
- Phone: +1 412-510-3492
From Pittsburgh, we head over to northern Philly to meet up with Arsenal Solar. On top of the solar installation, removal, and reinstallation for residential and commercial units, Arsenal Solar also helps you manage those sweet SRECs we discussed. And if you’re an Arsenal FC fan, I’m sure you’ll find their company logo quite familiar.
- Location: 516 Lindenhurst Street, Philadelphia, PA 19116
- Phone: +1 215-677-0873
Upstream the Susquehanna River in Bloomsburg, you’ll find SunPulse Solar. They install roof-mounted solar systems as well as ground-mounted solutions. And if you have a non-related roof problem, SunPulse Solar will help you out. They have some experience working with agricultural clients, so they should be able to help you around the farm.
- Location: 1113 Old Berwick Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
- Phone: +1 570-616-3131
5. Exact Solar
If you’re living around Newtown, then you’ll want to know about Exact Solar. Open since 2005, Exact Solar has been helping Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents keep their pools warm. Apart from that, this family-owned business also helps with solar panel installation on homes and commercial buildings.
- Location: 82 Walker Lane, Newtown, PA 18940
- Phone: +1 215-621-8353
We head back to Pitsburg for our sixth entry; Energy Independent Solutions. Whether you’re a homeowner, a business, a farmer, a government entity, or a non-profit, EIS Solar has a tailor-made solution for you. With their NABCEP-certified installers and support team, they will hold your hand as you march toward green energy.
- Location: 51 Arch Street, Carnegie, PA 15106
- Phone: +1 412-294-1741
For our seventh pick, we go with Paradise Energy Solutions. With every sunrise, Paradise Energy Solutions is helping businesses, farms, and homes embrace solar. They also have a helpful website with useful tools and calculators. With their blog, they are educating people on all solar matters; one click at a time.
- Location: 3105 Lincoln Highway E, Paradise, PA 17562
- Phone: +1 877-851-9269
Factors to Consider When Installing Solar Panels in Pennsylvania
And just before we wrap up, there are a few factors that you have to consider when installing solar panels in Pennsylvania:
- Local Climate: Pennsylvania may not have the coldest winters, but it gets quite harsh in the Coal State. Solar panels can lose efficiency in cold conditions.
- Peak Sunlight Hours: Pennsylvania enjoys most of its sunlight in the summer, where you can expect an average of 4.44 hours a day. In the winter, peak sunlight hours drop to a daily average of 2.78 hours. As for year-round sunlight hours, that peaks at about 3.91 hours per day.
And that, folks, is everything you need to know about installing solar panels in Pennsylvania. It may have had a history of coal and oil, but Pennsylvania is making quick strides toward solar energy. Currently, Pennsylvania has set its sights on generating 10% of its power generation from solar by 2030. Sometimes the old has to die to give way to the new.