Michigan solar panels: local pricing and data

Over 6,600 homeowners in Michigan have used EnergySage to receive & compare solar panel installation quotes!

Updated 6/8/2019

Solar Data Explorer:

Out-of-pocket cost  
Net 20-year savings  
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Solar installation costs do not include the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit or local incentives.

Save money by installing solar panels in MI.

Solar energy systems are more popular than ever in the Great Lakes State, proving that solar power isn't just for the Southwest.

Solar in Michigan

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Michigan is home to more than 11,000 inland lakes, earning its tile as the Great Lake State. Maintaining the natural beauty of the state is one of Michigan’s goals, and excellent solar innovation has helped uphold this goal. The progressive government of Michigan has allowed the state to maintain its place as a leader in solar energy despite its standing as a cold and snowy state. Michigan has been able to sustain this reputation through programs like solar investment tax credit and home energy loan programs. Michigan should continue to be a beacon of light for solar energy for years to come.

How much do solar panels cost in Michigan?

The average cost of a solar panel installation in Michigan ranges from $13,515 to $18,285. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in Michigan ranges in price from $2.70 to $3.66.

How long does it take to earn back your initial investment in solar panels? A solar payback period is the amount of time it takes for property owners who install solar panels to recover their initial investment through electricity savings. In Michigan, the average solar payback period is 9.39 years.

Fortunately, there are many financial options available to ensure solar shoppers can afford installations. Cash purchases are one common method to pay for solar and often lead to the most long-term value for your money. If an upfront purchase isn’t right for you, solar loans and solar lease/PPAs are available to help finance a solar energy system.

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$13,515 – $18,285

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What solar panels should I install in Michigan?

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For property owners, you now can customize your solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries, as well as the general aesthetic of the installation. This customizability has made it important for solar consumers to understand these various factors. For example, the best solar panels available may have premium efficiencies and warranties, but will typically be more costly. However, depending on the size of the installation, you’ll need to determine whether high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more electricity are worthwhile. Also, your appetite for risk can help determine which solar warranties best fit your needs. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when selecting solar panel equipment.

How much energy can I get from solar in Michigan?

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Aside from the power output of the solar equipment you choose to install, the amount of energy you generate with solar panels in Michigan is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. The Great Lakes State receives an average of 4 peak sun hours per day, though improving solar technology and beneficial tax credits continue to make solar a viable option for homeowners in state.

There are additional factors that determine how much solar electricity you can produce. These include shading, panel orientation, and panel angle, which are all used to calculate your total production estimate. a prediction of how much energy your solar installation will produce over time. This evaluation offers a clear estimate of how much energy your solar installation will produce. You can see how much solar panels can save you based on factors like geographic location and shading by using the EnergySage Solar Calculator.

Michigan solar incentives

Michigan is becoming known for its great solar incentives and programs, which are considered some of the best in the country. Learn more about why solar panels are such a great investment in Michigan.

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What rebates and incentives are there in Michigan for solar?

The federal Investment Tax Credit has been one of the most reliable and impactful incentives for solar across the U.S. This solar incentive allows you to deduct 30 percent of the total system cost from your federal taxes. For example, a solar energy system installation that costs $15,000 out of pocket will qualify for a tax deduction of $4,500. This advantageous incentive lasts until the end of 2019 - the tax credit amount steps down to 26 percent for 2020 before falling to 22 percent for 2021. The federal ITC is eliminated for residential solar installations after 2021, but commercial solar energy system owners can still deduct 10 percent of a commercial solar system cost from their taxes in 2022 and beyond.

Besides the federal ITC, Michigan has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. With Michigan’s liberal solar investment tax credit and home energy loan program, it has never been a better time to go solar. To learn more about Michigan’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

Solar panel installations in Michigan

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True Cost of Solar Guide™ for Michigan

Download EnergySage’s DIY worksheet to better understand what solar should cost in your state

Don’t get sold on the hype! Find out what solar should actually cost before you talk to your first sales rep. This PDF worksheet will walk you through the simple calculations you can make to determine what size solar PV system you need, and approximately how much it should cost.

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History of solar policy in Michigan

As of 2019, Michigan had installed nearly 150 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity, placing the state 30th on SEIA’s national ranking. The Great Lake State can largely attribute their current position to growth in the industry over just the past few years. While decreasing solar costs and steadily high in-state electricity prices have contributed to this growth in solar, Michigan’s solar policies have also played an important role in influencing the industry’s recent development.

Much of Michigan’s policy history exists in 2008 alone, when policymakers established both the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and net metering program. These two regulatory policies have been particularly successful in advancing the growth of renewable and solar energy throughout the country: roughly half of all growth in U.S. renewable electricity generation and capacity since 2000 has been associated with state RPS requirements.

Michigan’s RPS originally specified that utilities were required to generate 10 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2015. In 2015 lawmakers revised the legislation upwards, mandating that utilities must source 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2021. While utilities can choose from a variety of eligible sources under the state’s RPS, the solar industry’s projected growth over the next several years indicates that solar has an important role to play in meeting the state’s RPS target.

Michigan’s net metering program previously required utilities in the state to offer retail rate prices to compensate property owners’ net excess generation. However, a 2018 ammendment altered the original net metering program to an “inflow/outflow” system, which only compensates excess energy sold back to the grid at the much lower wholesale or avoided cost rate. Solar advocates have pushed back against this legislation for some time now and will continue to fight to ensure that homeowners receive a fair value for their excess energy sold back to the grid.

Beyond the seminal solar legislation enacted in 2008, the state has experimented with other unique methods to encourage further solar growth. For instance, in 2009, the state’s Public Service Commission created and funded a non-profit organization known as Michigan Saves, which became independent and operational in 2011. The program functions as a green bank that relies on public grants to appropriately leverage private investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems throughout Michigan. One of its trademark offers for residents is the affordable Home Energy Loan Program for installing solar systems: these loans finance up to $30,000 in solar costs with an annual rate as low as 4.99 percent.

Most recently, the state’s utilities have approved more utility-scale solar farms, which helps ensure more residents in Michigan have access to solar power. In January 2019, the Shiawassee County Planning Commission approved the largest proposed solar farm in Michigan that is projected to generate up to 239 MW of solar power, or enough to power 35,000 Michigan homes.