Virginia solar panels: local pricing and data

Over 9,400 homeowners in Virginia 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  
Payback period  
Electricity bill offset  

Solar installation costs do not include the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit or local incentives.

Save money by installing solar panels in VA.

Thanks to falling installation costs and strong solar rebates and incentives, going solar is a smarter investment than ever in the Old Dominion.

Solar in Virginia

Simple map of Virginia with a map pin showing a roof with installed solar panels

All across Virginia, homeowners are working to protect the state’s natural beauty by switching to renewable energy resources like solar. The decision to switch to solar in Old Dominion is made easier with strong financial incentives, such as a renewable energy systems tax credit, solar easements and rights, and net metering availability.

How much do solar panels cost in Virginia?

From Virginia data, it is shown that the average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $12,198 to $16,502. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in Virginia ranges in price from $2.44 to $3.30.

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 Virginia, the average solar payback period is 11.28 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.

See the cost of solar in VA cities and towns

$12,198 – $16,502

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What solar panels should I install in Virginia?

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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 Virginia?

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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 Virginia is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. While sunlight is not always plentiful in Virginia, residents should feel fortunate that the state offers strong financial incentives for going solar.

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.

Virginia solar incentives

Virginia 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 Virginia.

Learn about solar incentives in VA

What rebates and incentives are there in Virginia 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, Virginia has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. Of note are the Tennessee Valley Authority green power providers, net metering availability, and residential property tax exemptions. To learn more about Virginia’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

Solar panel installations in Virginia

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True Cost of Solar Guide™ for Virginia

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 Virginia

As of 2018, Virginia has installed 730 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity, ranking the state 17th on SEIA’s national rankings. Old Dominion can largely attribute the solar industry’s surging growth to developments over just the last few years, especially in 2016 and 2017. While declining solar costs have been a crucial factor, Virginia’s various solar policies have significantly influenced the industry’s development as well.

Virginia’s first solar policy dates back to 1977, when the state issued a Residential Property Tax Exemption for Solar. This policy ensured homeowners they would be exempt from the increased property tax value from their solar installations, sol long as their local city or town approved the legislation.

Many years later, Virginia took the next major step towards large-scale solar development when the state implemented a net metering program in 2005 for residential systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW). Throughout the nation, net metering programs have been crucial for the solar energy industry by allowing residents to send surplus net energy to the electric grid and receive compensation for it on their energy bill. In Virginia, policymakers agreed to credit customers’ solar surplus at the full retail rate, providing a much stronger financial incentive than other states who compensate excess solar at the lower wholesale or avoided-cost rates. The state made further strides in making solar more accessible in 2017 by enacting a community solar pilot program through utilities such as Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power. As of the end of 2018, it appeared that a virtual net metering bill will succeed, which would open solar access to residents who cannot install solar on their own property or who are renters.

In 2006, Virginia implemented Solar Easement regulations: although the policy doesn’t focus on financial incentives, it ensures a process for property owners to work with their fellow neighbors to make sure that nothing shades a solar panel system while the sun is shining.

Across the country, state energy requirements have been instrumental to the development of clean energy. In Virginia’s case, policymakers passed a Voluntary Renewable Energy Portfolio Goal in 2007, with a target of 15 percent renewable generation by 2025. However, due to the fact that the RPS is only voluntary, there are no financial incentives for utilities to invest in renewables or to provide rebates and incentives for residents to invest in solar.

Since 2007, the most notable financial incentive to emerge in Virginia came in 2012 and 2013, when the Tennessee Valley Authority and Dominion Energy began offering solar performance payments to their customers. Specifically, the TVA Green Power Providers and Dominion Solar Purchase Program made solar more attractive by providing premium payments for solar generation. As of 2018, however, Dominion Energy has stopped offering this cost-saving incentive.