While it has been evident that solar power has been taking off across the U.S. in the past decade, it’s been less clear where the majority of the growth is occurring. Though certain states (California, Arizona) are known to be major states for rooftop solar, others like Utah have stayed somewhat under the radar. Regardless of how aware the general public may be, the Beehive State has one of the fastest growing solar markets in the U.S. This reality was illustrated in our hottest solar markets state ranking for 2017, where Utah was ranked first in the nation for solar growth. In this article we’ll explain why Utah’s solar market is taking off and what you should expect solar to cost in the Beehive State.
How much do solar panels cost in Utah in 2018?
As of the first half of 2017, the average price for solar panels in the state of Utah was $3.26 per watt. Thus, since the average system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), the cost of a solar panel system in Utah is $16,300 before any rebates or incentives.
Though this price is certainly a good one (well below the national average of $3.39 per watt), the most enticing aspect of solar economics in Utah is the state tax credit that hugely subsidizes the cost of installation when paired with the Federal ITC reduction.
Check out the cost of solar panels in Utah compared to the overall United States, based on real quotes submitted to homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace:
Solar pricing table: Utah costs compare to national average
|System size||National cost of solar panels (with federal tax credit)||Utah cost of solar panels (with federal and state tax credit)|
*Note – prices in this table have the 30% Federal solar subsidy already included
The data in the above table, which reflects real quotes submitted to homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, clearly illustrates strong pricing favorability in the state of Utah when compared to the rest of the country. Looking at Utah’s dollar-per-watt average ($3.26) and the overall U.S. average ($3.39), there is a slight disparity. However, Utah’s state solar rebate is what is largely responsible for the state’s major price advantage and the resulting boom that its solar market has experienced in recent years.
The Utah state tax incentive is offered as a rebate for your next year’s state taxes, and it’s valued at 25 percent of total installation costs up to $2,000. Depending on the size of the system you are installing, this state tax credit when paired with the federal ITC credit could lead to as much as a 40 percent deduction of your overall cost of going solar. Something important to note: this state incentive expires at the end of 2017, leaving many homeowners scrambling to cash in on this deal before it ends. Until the end of 2017, Utah will continue to have the best solar economics in the U.S. and its fast-growing market will continue to reflect that reality.
What other solar incentives are offered in Utah?
A major financial reason for the popularity of home solar power in Utah is centered around the great incentive of net-metering – a major “make or break” factor for the economics of solar.
Net metering allows homeowners to receive credits on their electric bills for surplus energy produced by their solar panel system. In a sense, net metering allows you to use the grid to store your energy for free. This is what makes solar a truly efficient and pragmatic option, because you can then cover 100 percent of your energy needs throughout the course of a year. Without net metering, most homeowners have to opt for another storage option like a solar battery.
How can Utah homeowners save big on solar?
Though Utah residents are seeing some of the lowest solar prices in the country, low prices aren’t the biggest selling point. When it comes to installing solar, the long term savings from avoided bill payments is often the biggest deciding factor for homeowners – and the figures can be staggering even in states where utility rates are reasonable like Utah. In the past year, solar quotes received by Utah residents yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $48,000 on average.
And even though this savings figure is impressive, what isn’t captured is the control you have as a solar shopper on the eventual quote you’ll receive for your solar panel system – bringing us to our…
Three Tips for Solar Shoppers
1. 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 expect to save $5,000 to $10,000 on their solar panel installation.
2. 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.
3. 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 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 upfront 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.