Solar energy is taking off in the US. In 2019, the solar industry will likely surpass 2 million residential rooftops with solar panels installed nationwide. Some states and cities are further along in the adoption of solar energy than others, while others are new markets poised to become leaders in future years. To breakdown the best cities and states for solar in 2019, we leveraged our own data as well as the recently released Shining Cities 2019 report from Environment America.
Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Growth (RE Growth) Program is a performance-based incentive (PBI) that offers financial benefits to National Grid customers who install solar on their home. PBIs pay owners of solar energy systems for the electricity produced by their system. PBIs help system owners recover the costs of installing a solar energy system and earn an attractive return.
The United States has witnessed remarkable solar growth over the past decade, and even the nation’s smallest state has been making big gains. Currently ranked 42nd in the nation for installed solar capacity, Rhode Island is home to 32 solar companies and plans on adding 119 megawatts (MW) of capacity over the next five years. Warwick, Rhode Island has much to gain from solar and homeowners can benefit from a number of state and federal subsidies for solar panel installation. In this article we’ll explain why Warwick, Rhode Island is a great spot for solar power and how Warwick homeowners can maximize their solar savings.
How much do solar panels cost in Warwick?
As of mid-2017, the average price for solar panels in Warwick was $3.65 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 Warwick is $18,250 before any rebates or incentives.
Though this price may already look attractive, it’s missing a major incentive that bolsters the economics of solar in the U.S.: the federal tax credit for solar energy systems. The solar ITC signifies a huge price reduction thanks to a hefty 30 percent rebate offered to both residential and commercial markets. Check out this data table that shows the cost of solar at different system sizes with the ITC factored in:
Warwick solar pricing table: average system cost and net savings
|System size||warwick Average solar system cost|
The above table shows the discounted price for a solar panel system in Warwick after the solar ITC is included. The data draws from real quotes submitted to homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace over the past year. Keeping in mind the typical system size for a U.S. homeowner is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), a solar panel system will cost just over $13,000 in 2017.
Rhode Island’s net metering and other incentives
Like most states, Rhode Island has a net metering program. Under this program, homeowners can sell their excess solar electricity back to the grid for credit. In return, these credits can be applied to bills in months when homeowners draw power from the grid.
Other programs in the state include the Small-Scale Solar Grant Program which gives new solar owners a rebate of $1.00/watt, up to $8,000. This means an average 5-kilowatt system gets homeowners $5,000 in cash right then and there.
The Residential Solar Energy Property Tax Exemption in Rhode Island means a homeowner’s property taxes will not increase as a result of the value new solar panels add to their home. In addition, the Renewable Energy Products Sales and Use Tax Exemption means homeowners will not have to pay any tax on their purchase of a solar panel system.
One of the most exciting developments in the state is the SolarWise Rhode Island program. The utility National Grid is partnering with EnergySage to provide an online solar marketplace for its customers. This program has the benefits of helping homeowners identify the best solar installers at the lowest cost, and participants in the program receive 33.45 cents/kWh sold to the grid (as opposed to the retail rate of 19 cents).
How Warwick homeowners can save big with solar
Though Warwick residents will see solar prices in the country continue to decline 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 Warwick homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $50,867 on average. Checkout the breakdown of average net savings by solar system size:
Warwick net 20-year savings from solar
|System size||Average solar savings over 20 years|
Three tips for solar shoppers in Warwick, RI
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 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.
Even if you’ve been hearing about Solarize programs lately (like Solarize RI, Solarize CT, or Solarize NY), you might not know what “solarizing” your home or neighborhood actually entails. Solarize is sometimes confused with community solar, but in reality the two terms refer to completely different solar options. So what does this trendy verb mean, and who does it apply to?