What to know about going solar in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire residents face some of the highest electricity bills in the US. For some, solar panels may be the answer.
The Granite State saw the highest year-over-year increase in electricity costs in October 2022, jumping by more than 40%, according to CNET's sister site SaveOnEnergy. To recoup some of those increasing costs, it's worth exploring whether installing solar panels is the right course of action for you.
"In New Hampshire, the payback period is about seven years for a solar array," Sam Evans-Brown said in a phone call. Evans-Brown is the executive director at Clean Energy New Hampshire, a renewable energy advocacy group. "That's not short, but these are investments that pay for themselves in time."
New Hampshire residents have access to incentives at the state and federal level that make going solar more attractive. In addition to the state's net metering program and municipality-based property tax exemption, the federal Inflation Reduction Act extends key federal tax credits and rebates that lower the upfront cost of solar installation.
However, your potential savings are going to vary depending on several factors -- including your location, the size of your solar system and the pitch of your roof.
Here's a breakdown of what to expect if you're looking to install solar panels in New Hampshire.
The cost of solar panels is measured in dollars per watt. Depending on your energy needs, you may opt for a smaller system to partially offset your electricity or a larger system to cover 100% of your consumption. As the size of your system -- measured in kilowatts -- increases, so will the total cost of your solar system. Nationwide, the average system size is 8.6 kilowatts -- according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In New Hampshire, the average home needs a 6-kilowatt solar system, per FindEnergy.com.
"The cost is going to vary dramatically from location to location," Evans-Brown said. "It's also going to depend on your individual installation -- the size of your house and the pitch of your roof will change what you get for a quote."
Before any tax credits or rebates, the median cost of a 6-kilowatt residential solar system in New Hampshire is $25,020. In as early as six to nine years, though, what you save on energy costs will help you to recoup your initial investment.
Here's a breakdown of New Hampshire solar panel costs, according to FindEnergy.com and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
|System size (kW)||Price per watt||Total cost|
Advertiser Disclosure: SaveOnEnergy, owned by CNET's parent company Red Ventures, can help you find the right energy fit for your home. The SaveOnEnergy marketplace helps you search, compare, sign up and save on the right energy fit for your home -- all for free. If you're interested in solar, answer a few questions to get an exact price quote from our solar advisers.
Going solar is a costly investment, even with the help of incentives and rebates. Whether you choose to pay cash, take out a loan or tap into your home's equity, it's worth researching your options.
Cash: If it fits your budget, you can pay cash upfront to cover the cost of your solar panels and installation. If you aren't ready to buy just yet, you can take advantage of rising interest rates by saving for your future solar system in a high-yield savings account.
Solar loan: Solar loans are available from a variety of sources. Some solar providers partner with a credit union to offer them. While these loans are easy to apply for, they may have higher rates or fees than options from a bank or credit union.
Home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC): Another option is to tap into your home's existing equity with a home equity loan or HELOC. Often used for home improvements, home equity loans and HELOCs allow you to finance such improvements without disturbing the rate on your primary mortgage. However, defaulting on a home equity loan or HELOC could lead to losing your house.
Lease or power purchase agreement: You can enter into a lease or power purchase agreement with a solar provider. In these cases, the solar provider owns the panels and you pay for the equipment (via lease) or the power your system generates (via PPA).
The cost of solar panels has decreased significantly over the past decade, but they can still run tens of thousands of dollars. With the help of federal tax credits and New Hampshire solar incentives and rebates, though, you can lessen the financial burden of going solar.
The Inflation Reduction Act extended the federal residential clean energy credit (formerly known as the solar investment tax credit) until 2034. This credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of your solar system from your federal tax.
Installing solar power will increase the value of your home and thus your property taxes. In certain parts of New Hampshire, you may be eligible for a property tax exemption when you install solar panels.
If you own solar panels, you can also take advantage of net metering with your utility company. By selling excess energy produced by your solar panels back to the grid, you'll receive credits that can be applied to future electric bills.
While you can find a complete list of incentives in the Granite State on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, here are some major ones worth noting.
|Local property tax exemption||Your home's value will increase when you add solar panels to it. Depending on your town or city in New Hampshire, though, you won't see increases to your property taxes from your solar panels. This can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your solar system's lifespan.|
|Net metering||New Hampshire net metering law states that if your utility is Eversource, Liberty Utilities, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative or Unitil, you can sell your excess solar energy back to the power company in exchange for credits. Those credits can be applied to offset the cost of future electricity bills.|
|Residential clean energy credit||The residential clean energy credit, previously known as a solar investment tax credit (ITC), offers up to 30% in tax credits to consumers who purchase solar panels -- no matter how you finance them.|
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are 62 solar companies operating in New Hampshire. With so many options, it's important you take the time to choose the right solar panel company for your home.
Consider a solar company's customer service ratings, whether they offer long warranties on their service and the typical cost of maintenance for solar panels. Here is a list of solar companies you might consider, based on our own independent research, expert input and CNET's review of the Best Solar Companies.
Granite State Solar, founded in 2008, is a small New Hampshire business that offers solar panels and solar batteries. It provides a limited workmanship warranty of 12 years and its panels carry a 25-year warranty. It also partners with Vermont State Employees Credit Union for financing options.
Boasting more than 14,000 completed projects, ReVision Energy is a major solar installation company in New England. It also installs heat pumps, solar battery backups and electric vehicle charging. ReVision Energy offers five years of full coverage of labor and honors manufacturer warranties up to 25 years. Customers can pay for their home solar system either with an upfront cash payment or a solar loan.
SunPower Solar operates in all 50 states and offers some of the most efficient solar panels for residential installations. SunPower Solar's warranty states its panels will produce at 92% or more of their original capacity after 25 years. You can choose to buy, lease, or enter into a power purchase agreement for your panels. However, its panels can be pricey and SunPower Solar does not offer price matching.
Sunrun is the biggest solar company in the US. Sunrun offers quality panels as well as a variety of batteries and inverters. Most of Sunrun's business is in leases or power purchase agreements, but you can also purchase your system. Those who enter into a lease or PPA with Sunrun will receive "bumper-to-bumper" coverage, which includes monitoring, maintenance and insurance for up to 25 years. People who buy their panels from Sunrun will rely on the manufacturer's warranties, which can vary in length and coverage. Sunrun also offers a quality warranty, which protects your roof from leaks and holes for 10 years.
One of the largest solar installers in the US, Tesla Solar is known for its price match guarantee and strong warranty policy. Tesla installations have a discreet design and you could save thousands of dollars with Tesla Solar, without sacrificing your equipment's quality. However, what you might lose out on is customer service. Many customers reported issues ranging from delays to price changes, slow responses and system malfunctions. Tesla Solar offers a 25-year panel performance warranty and a 10-year comprehensive warranty. You can also use Tesla financing to purchase your solar energy system with lower upfront costs.
603 Solar is a solar energy service based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It specializes in grid-tied and hybrid solar systems as well as energy monitoring. 603 Solar's online monitoring system allows you to track exactly what your system is producing on any given day and will alert you if any issues arise. 603 Solar offers warranties up to 25 years and solar financing through the VSECU.
Solar panels have many benefits. However, they might not be the best fit for your home. Here's what to consider.
Your roof's condition and pitch: Before installing solar panels on your roof, make sure it's in good condition. A reputable company will inspect your roof's condition and pitch prior to installation. Keep in mind, the pitch of your roof will impact the productivity of your solar panels as well as the cost of installation. The steeper your roof, the more likely you'll see some upcharges. According to the Department of Energy, your solar array will work most efficiently at an angle of 15 and 40 degrees.
Homeowners Associations (HOA) and neighborhood rules: If you live in a community with a homeowner's association, it's always a good idea to check for any rules or covenants regarding solar panels, as some HOAs require prior permission to installation. Solar access laws in New Hampshire allow neighbors to negotiate solar easements in order to receive optimal sun exposure for their arrays. New Hampshire HOAs are allowed to bar or restrict solar panel installations.
Insurance coverage: It's a good idea to include your solar panels in your homeowner's insurance policy. Check with your insurance provider to see if they cover rooftop solar panels.
Geographic location: While New Hampshire is known for its snowy winters, solar panels can be even more effective in cold temperatures. Your solar panels will convert sunlight photons into electricity as long as sunlight reaches the surface of the panels. New Hampshire averages 198 days of sun per year -- slightly below the national average of 205 days of sun per year.
Cost: Choosing to go solar is a big financial decision. Consider how long you plan to live in your house before committing to a solar loan, lease or power purchase agreement. Consider financing options to ensure you're making the financial move that fits your budget and priorities.
Before tax credits and rebates, the average cost of a residential solar system in New Hampshire is $25,020 -- based on a system size of 6 kW. Your cost will vary depending on the size, pitch and orientation of your roof, as well as your monthly energy consumption and the installer you choose.
On average, New Hampshire gets 198 days of sun per year -- slightly below the national average of 205 days of sun per year.
The average lifespan of a solar panel is between 15 to 30 years. Your panels won't quit on you once they turn 30. However, the system's performance may decrease as it gets older. Your solar array's longevity will depend on the panels' quality, your climate, ongoing maintenance and other installation factors.