Virginia solar panels: The complete guide in 2024

Data updated Jul 9, 2024

Written by: Emily Walker

Interested in going solar? You'll need to install a 12.7 kW solar panel system to cover the average electric bill in Virginia, which will cost you about $26,170 after the federal tax credit.

Cost for an average system in Virginia


Out of pocket cost, cash
$37,385
Federal tax credit (30%)
- $11,216
Price post tax credit
$26,170

20-year savings $35,846
Payback period 9 Years
Electricity offset 94%
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As long as your federal tax bill is high enough, you can take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

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Going solar in Virginia

Old Dominion’s above-average natural gas prices, great incentives, and mild winters make it a natural fit for solar panels. 

Factor in the federal solar tax credit, and Virginians can cut the cost of solar by thousands of dollars, speeding up your payback period and increasing the value of your investment.

Here's our guide to going solar in Old Dominion.

Cost

How much do solar panels cost in Virginia?

Solar panels will save you a lot of money over time, but the upfront costs aren't cheap. The average Virginia homeowner needs a 12.7 kW solar panel system to cover their electricity needs, which comes out to $37,385 before incentives. Prices range from $31,777 to $42,993, but after the federal tax credit, that drops by 30%, and Virginia has some local incentives as well.

While this may sound high, it will pay off in Virginia. That's why over 34,000 Virginia homeowners have used EnergySage to receive and compare quotes for solar installations. You can expect to earn back your initial solar investment through electricity savings in about 8.96 years, while most systems last at least 25 years. You'll often see this number referenced as your solar payback period.

There are a few ways to finance your solar panel system so you don't have to provide all that money upfront. 

  • Cash purchase: You'll own the system and pay for it upfront. This provides the best long-term savings. 

  • Solar loan: Allows you to retain ownership of your system, while owing little to no money upfront. Solar loans aren't all created equal: If you have access to subsidized clean energy loans through local incentive programs, that's usually your best bet. A home equity loan or a personal loan are often your next best options – private solar loans typically come with higher interest rates or upfront fees.

  • Solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA): A third-party company owns your system and either leases you the solar panels (solar lease) or allows you to purchase the electricity they generate (PPA). These generally provide the lowest savings and generate the most negative press about solar. If you choose this financing option, read the fine print: You can get trapped in them for longer than you'd like.

Solar panels on a house

Incentives

What are the best solar rebates and incentives in Virginia?

Incentives help bring solar's price tag down considerably in Virginia. Here are the major ones to know about:

Incentive
Average savings in Virginia
Description

Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

$11,216

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

Solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs)

$300-$750

Allows you to generate and sell SRECs to utilities

Virginia solar property tax exemption

0.8% of your system’s cost, annually on average

If you use solar energy as a source of power, you can receive a full or partial tax exemption on the value your solar panels add to your property. 

Is net metering available in Virginia?

In some states, you'll earn bill credits from your utility company when your solar panel system generates excess electricity and sends it to the grid. This incentive is known as net metering—basically a solar buyback program—and makes it so you will owe very little, or even nothing, on your electric bills with solar panels. 

Virginia’s net metering policy is great for homeowners. Residential systems under 25 kW are compensated at the retail rate of electricity for any excess energy sent back to the grid. The catch is that it’s a first-come, first-serve program that is capped once the aggregate capacity limit is met. 

Learn more about net metering in Virginia or see details on programs below:

A house with rooftop solar panels connected to the grid

Equipment

Equipment quality

Each year, solar panels get more and more efficient—that is, they produce more power per square foot. As of 2024, the most popular solar panels can produce about 400 watts of electricity when they’re in full sunlight. If you want to make the most of your roof’s solar potential, get panels with at least that much power output.  

You should also make sure to select a solar inverter setup that makes sense for your roof’s layout. 

And if you want or need a solar battery, be sure to pick one that can integrate cleanly with that inverter. 

Premium equipment can come with a high price tag, but it will often save you more money in the long run. The best equipment tends to have the best warranty terms, often guaranteed to 25 years (sometimes even 40!), so you’re covered in case you need repairs or replacements. The highest-quality panels also degrade more slowly, so they’ll maintain more of their power output further into the future. 

See our list of the best solar panels

Companies

Who are the best solar installers in Virginia?

We pre-screen all of the solar companies on EnergySage to ensure they'll provide you with a high-quality installation. We then rate them based on their results, reputation, and responsiveness. Here are the highest-rated EnergySage installers in Virginia:

resources

Top solar resources for Virginia

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