Pennsylvania solar panels: local pricing and data

Over 12,000 homeowners in Pennsylvania 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 PA.

Going solar in the Keystone State is easier than ever, and Pennsylvanians are saving hundreds on their electricity bills with solar.

Solar in Pennsylvania

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With its long history of producing electricity from coal and nuclear energy, as well as its recent expansion into fracking natural gas, Pennsylvania may not immediately seem like an ideal solar state. However, with state incentives for solar from net metering to solar renewable energy certificates, going solar in the Keystone State is beocming a better and better idea every day.

How much do solar panels cost in Pennsylvania?

From Pennsylvania data, it is shown that the average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $13,260 to $17,940. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in Pennsylvania ranges in price from $2.65 to $3.59.

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 Pennsylvania, the average solar payback period is 10.28 years.

Regardless of the exact cost of installation, there are many affordable financing options for solar panel systems. 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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$13,260 – $17,940

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What solar panels should I install in Pennsylvania?

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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 Pennsylvania?

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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 Pennsylvania is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. Although Pennsylvania ranks low nationally in terms of both sunny days per year and hours of peak sunlight per day, the state’s solar policies continue to make going solar in state a viable option.

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.

Pennsylvania solar incentives

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania.

Learn about solar incentives in PA

What rebates and incentives are there in Pennsylvania 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, Pennsylvania has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. Of note are Pennsylvania’s strong net metering program and solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). To learn more about Pennsylvania’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

Solar panel installations in Pennsylvania

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True Cost of Solar Guide™ for Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania

Over the past decade, the solar industry in the Quaker State has experienced its fair share of highs in lows. As of 2018, SEIA reports that the state ranks a modest 22nd amongst its peers with about 420 megawatts (MW) of installed solar energy capacity statewide. Luckily, Pennsylvania has recently seen an uptick in its solar production, however there is still much room to continue to make solar more accessible to everyone in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania’s first major solar law came in 1996 through the approval of the state’s electricity restructuring law. Among the many changes implemented in this legislation, one of the provisions was the establishment of clean energy public benefits programs, which created four separate funds with the purpose of promoting sustainable and renewable energy development. Funded by small surcharges on ratepayers’ utility bills, the Sustainable Energy Fund has provided more than $20 million in loans and $1.8 million in grants to over 100 projects. At present, thes tate is transitioning these four funds toward a revolving loan and investment fund model to better allocate capital.

Pennsylvania adopted one of its most influential solar policies almost a decade later in 2004, with the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) program. Across the country, state energy requirements have been instrumental to the development of clean energy. In the Quaker State, the AEPS requires electric utilities to supply 18 percent of their energy from alternative energy by 2021; however, only 8 percent has to be from Tier 1 renewables, such as solar, while the rest can come from less environmentally friendly resources labeled as Tier 2. The AEPS does promote the solar industry with a solar carve-out of 0.5 percent of the goal.

One of the better financial incentives available to Pennsylvania residents is the Solar Alternative Energy Credit (SRECs) system, which began with the creation of the AEPS program. For residents, SREC payments are a solid financial incentive to go solar: as of early 2016 the going rate for these credits in the state was about $15 per megawatt hour (MWh) of solar.

No discussion of solar policies in Pennsylvania would be complete without a review of the state’s net metering program, originally enacted in 2006. Net metering is an energy billing system that provides homeowners credit based on how much net surplus generation is sent back to the electric grid. In the Keystone State, policymakers have maintained a very strong program by compensating excess solar energy at the higher retail rate month to month. Additionally, the program is very inclusive by allowing system capacities of up to 50 kW to be eligible for compensation. Finally, if a surplus is run for a full year, the registered utility will cut a check to the homeowner, at a slightly lower “price-to-comparison” rate, providing an additional perk for going solar.

The last notable statewide solar incentive in Pennsylvania is the PA Sunshine Solar Rebate Program that was created in 2009, but expired soon after in 2013. Prepared with a budget of $100 million, the PA Department of Environmental Protection administered these funds to slash the cost of solar through rebates as high as $0.75/W for residential solar installations, a generous rebate for solar. Solar development jumped as residents flooded the market to take advantage of this opportunity, which quickly resulted in the program running out of funds.