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Your Guide to Virginia Solar Panel Costs, Incentives and Installers

Learn about the incentives and benefits of solar panels in the Old Dominion to steer clear of rising electricity rates.

Orange and purple sunrise over the Richmond, Virginia skyline.
Sunrise over Richmond could mean clean energy if you go solar in Virginia.
Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson/Getty Images

Solar panels in Virginia are a worthy investment for homeowners seeking to use renewable solar energy and steer clear of high electricity bills. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, sunny Virginia already generates more solar energy than 39 other states, thanks to solar investments of over $4 billion and nearly 5,000 jobs in the Virginia solar industry.

The average electricity rate in Virginia increased by 18% in the last year, according to CNET's sister publication SaveOnEnergy. Installing solar panels can lower your annual energy costs, and available financing options and incentives help make solar panels more affordable. Let's break down Virginia solar panel costs and incentives and explore trusted solar companies.

Virginia solar panel costs

Your home's energy consumption will determine the size of your solar array, which will affect the total cost. FindEnergy.com highlights potential solar energy savings in Virginia. For example, the average payback period for an 8-kilowatt solar system is 22 years, not factoring incentives, with a monthly savings of $122. 

A reputable solar installer can give you a detailed quote, and you should get multiple quotes before making a decision. Based on data from Find Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the cost of solar in Virginia is a bit higher than the US average.

Virginia vs. the US

System size (US average in kW) Price per watt Total cost
Virginia 8.6 $3.95 $33,970
US 8.6 $3.67 $31,558

Solar financing options for Virginia residents

Multiple payment options are available for Virginians interested in solar panels. You can qualify for incentives and rebates with some financing options. 

Now playing: Watch this: Easy Ways to Lower Your Utility Bills and Save Money

Paying in cash is not only interest-free but also allows you to take advantage of solar incentives. If you pay in cash, be ready for substantial upfront costs. You can also get incentives with a solar loan. Loan terms and rates can vary, so shop around for low-interest rates and get multiple quotes before signing on the dotted line.

Solar leases and power-purchase agreements, where you don't own the solar panels but pay a fee for them or buy the power they produce, help reduce upfront costs. However, the terms of these agreements -- especially any rate escalators -- are very important to the return on investment. People with solar leases or PPAs typically save less than those who own the panels outright and typically aren't eligible for tax rebates.

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.

Virginia solar panel incentives and rebates

The state of Virginia has incentives for solar, such as property tax exemptions, but the most notable is the federal Residential Clean Energy Credit. This 30% solar tax credit applies to solar panel systems purchased from the beginning of 2022 through 2032. Explore additional solar incentives in Virginia in the following table.

Program Description
Net Metering Energy companies give credits in exchange for excess energy generated by your solar system. In Virginia, net metering applies to systems generating up to 20kW. Check with your local utility for specific details.
Property Tax Exemption State law exempts homeowners from property taxes on solar panel systems or other solar equipment.
Residential Clean Energy Credit This federal tax incentive allows homeowners to claim a 30% tax credit for systems installed before 2032. The credit decreases to 26% in 2033 then to 22% in 2034. The credit may expire in 2035 unless it is renewed.

Virginia solar panel companies

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, about 60 solar installers operate in Virginia. Here's a rundown of some solar companies operating in the state, including some national companies that appear on CNET's best solar companies list.

ADT Solar

Headquartered in Florida, ADT Solar provides solar services to Virginia, Washington, D.C. and 22 other US states. The company will provide you with a free quote to see the cost of getting solar power for their homes. ADT Solar's monocrystalline solar panels are equipped with a 25-year warranty for panel production and quality of work. Solar battery options compatible with ADT include name brands like the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase IQ batteries. If you want a nationwide solar company that handles the permit, inspection and installation processes, ADT Solar may be a good choice. 

Ipsun Solar

As a local solar installer, Ipsun Solar serves Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Its team handles the installation process, starting with an online solar proposal and guiding you from purchase to power. Ipsun Solar uses name-brand products like SolarEdge Inverters, Tesla Powerwall and Enphase. In addition to the 25-year manufacturer warranty on solar panels and inverters, Ipsun Solar offers a 12-year quality-of-work warranty for installation. If you're interested in a longer warranty, the company offers a 30-year extended warranty through Solar Insure. Financing options include cash purchase and solar loans or leases. The company does not offer PPAs. 

Nova Solar

For over 15 years, Nova Solar has provided solar services to residents of Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. The company handles the process from design to installation with its licensed in-house team. Nova Solar installs REC Alpha solar panels with an extended warranty lasting a total of 25 years. The company offers other installation options like Q Cells solar panels, Enphase microinverters and SolarEdge inverters and power optimizers. Nova Solar includes a 20-year quality of work warranty in addition to manufacturer warranties on installed products.  

Palmetto Solar

Since 2010, Palmetto Solar has operated in the solar industry and now offers installation in 26 states. You can receive a free quote and guidance from its support team throughout their solar installation experience. Palmetto installs Q Cells and REC Alpha solar panels with 25-year performance warranties. Palmetto Protect is a subscription service to monitor your solar system's performance and any needed maintenance

SunPower Solar

SunPower Solar is a national solar company headquartered in California. The company produces its own high-quality branded products, such as the Maxeon solar panels and SunValut solar batteries. While these products may be pricier than competitors', the warranty guarantees solar panel production at 92% capacity after 25 years. Many competitors only guarantee up to 85% production after 25 years. 

Other factors about installing solar panels

Are solar panels right for your home? Consider the following five things about solar installation before making a final decision.

Homeowners insurance Contact your home insurance company to ensure your policy can cover a solar system.
Home location Solar panels work best in direct sunlight. Obstructions like neighboring buildings or trees will hamper production.
Neighborhood HOA rules Check with your home owners association or other neighborhood association to see if there are any rules regarding solar panel installation and placement. HOAs in Virginia cannot prohibit solar panels, but may be able to impose restrictions.
Roof condition Certified installers should provide roof maintenance recommendations prior to installation. Include potential repairs in your budget.
Own or rent Homeowners receive more benefits from tax credits and incentives. Renters interested in solar can check out community solar programs, such as Arcadia.

Virginia solar power FAQs

Are solar panels in Virginia worth it?

Yes. Solar panels are often a worthwhile investment for residents of Virginia looking to lower their energy bills and power their homes with clean energy. Reliable solar installers should provide you with an exact price quote and a potential return on investment. Getting at least four or five quotes from various solar companies can ensure you get the best price for your home.

How much do solar panels cost in Virginia?

Average costs for solar panels in Virginia range from $19,750 to $39,500, depending on the size of your system. The average cost of an 8.6kW system in Virginia is slightly higher than the national average. Consider all financing options to determine what's best for your budget.

Are solar panels good for the environment?

Yes. Though solar panel manufacturing has an impact on the environment, it is a more sustainable source than fossil fuels like coal and gas. Fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide, which is a main contributor to climate change.