Over the past decade the US has witnessed a remarkable growth in solar, and Georgia was the fastest growing solar market in the country in 2013. There are more than 197 solar companies at work in Georgia, investing $79 million to install solar on homes and businesses. Atlanta, like much of Georgia, has been a large part of the state’s solar boom in addition to below state average prices for solar panel installation. In this article we’ll explain why Atlanta, Georgia is a great spot for solar power and how Atlanta homeowners can maximize their solar savings.
How much do solar panels cost in Atlanta?
As of mid-2017, the average price for solar panels in Atlanta was $3.42 per watt. Thus, since the typical system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), the average cost of a solar panel system in Atlanta is $17,100 before any rebates or incentives.
While this price is low, it is also very competitive for the overall state of Georgia. Prices for solar panel systems have dropped by over 64% in Georgia over the past 5 years and homeowners are taking notice. Check out this comparison table of Atlanta and state pricing for various system sizes:
Solar pricing table: Atlanta compared to Georgia
|System size||Georgia average cost
|Atlanta average cost
The above table, which uses pricing data from solar quotes received by homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace over the last 12 months, offers a comparison of prices in Georgia and Atlanta for solar energy systems. As the data illustrates, typical solar prices in Atlanta, Georgia are significantly lower than the rest of the state.
Georgia is an affordable and pragmatic places to install solar. But when you zero in on Atlanta’s market and compare it to the rest of the state, the advantage for homeowners is even clearer. The good news for Atlanta homeowners is that these low costs do not even incorporate the added benefit of net metering, offered throughout the Peach State.
Georgia’s net metering incentive
Under Georgia’s net metering policy, participating utilities measure the amount of excess solar electricity generated by a homeowner’s system and pay homeowners at a rate determined by Georgia’s Public Service Commission.
The Georgia net metering rate is set at the utilities’ avoided cost, which refers to the rate that the utility would otherwise pay to power generators has they not bought the power from a homeowner’s solar panel system. In 2016, for example, the utilities would pay between $40 and $60 for each megawatt hour (MWh) generated; if homeowners install a 5-kilowatt (kW) system that generates 5 MWh per year, they could sell the electricity for $200 to $300.
How Atlanta homeowners can save big with solar
Though Atlanta residents are already seeing low solar prices with continued cost declines expected over the next five years, low prices aren’t necessarily the biggest selling point. When it comes to going solar, the long term ROI and savings from avoided bill payments is often the biggest deciding factor – and the figures can be staggering even in states where utility rates are reasonable.
In 2017, solar quotes received by Atlanta homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $54,715 on average. Checkout the breakdown of average net savings by solar system size:
Atlanta net 20-year savings from solar
|System size||Average solar savings over 20 years|
Three tips for solar shoppers in Atlanta
Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can save thousands on their solar panel installation.
The biggest installers typically don’t offer the best price
The bigger isn’t always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.
Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
National-scale installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.
There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.
For any Atlanta homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.