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.
The Department of Energy expands the SunShot Initiative, Salt Lake City announces a doubling of their municipal solar capacity, and progress on solar window technology in this week’s Solar News Roundup.
Solar in the United States has grown remarkably over the past decade, and Utah is currently ranked 7th in the nation for solar installations. The Beehive State has a growing solar industry supported by investments from companies like IKEA, which recently installed the state’s largest commercial solar system. The state also ranks first in the nation for growth, making cities like Salt Lake City ripe for solar panel system installations. In this article we’ll explain why Salt Lake City can be a top spot for solar power and how Salt Lake City homeowners can maximize their solar savings.
How much do solar panels cost in Salt Lake City?
As of mid-2017, the average price for solar panels in Salt Lake City was $3.36 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 Salt Lake City is $16,800 before any rebates or incentives.
While this price is competitive for the overall state of Utah it is also very competitive in terms of the national average. Prices for solar panel systems have dropped by over 64% in Utah over the past 5 years and homeowners are taking notice. Check out this comparison table of Salt Lake City and U.S. average pricing for various system sizes:
Solar pricing table: Salt Lake City compared to U.S. average costs
|System size||National average cost|
| Salt Lake City|
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 nationwide and in Salt Lake City for solar energy systems. As the data illustrates, typical solar prices in Salt Lake City, Utah are significantly lower than the rest of the country.
When looking at the solar industry as a whole, it’s well known that Utah is an affordable and pragmatic places to install solar. But when you zero in on Salt Lake City’s market and compare it to the rest of the country, the advantage for homeowners is even clearer. The good news for most Utah homeowners is that these low costs do not even incorporate the added benefit of net metering, offered throughout the Beehive State.
Utah’s net metering and other incentives
Like most states, Utah offers a net metering program which allows homeowners to receive credits on their electric bills for excess energy generated by their solar panel system. Net metering uses the grid to store solar energy for free and the credits can cover the cost of electricity in months when solar does not meet all of a homeowner’s electricity needs. This means that installing solar can cover 100% of a homeowners electric needs annually. Without net metering most homeowners opt for another storage option such as a solar battery.
Utah also offers a tax incentive as a rebate for the next year of taxes and the rebate is valued at 25% of total installation costs up to $2,000. However, this state incentive will be phased out starting at the end of 2017. 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.
How Salt Lake City homeowners can save big with solar
Though Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $43,060 on average. Checkout the breakdown of average net savings by solar system size:
Salt Lake City net 20-year savings from solar
|System size||Average solar savings over 20 years|
Three tips for solar shoppers in Salt Lake City
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 Salt Lake City 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.
An unfinished nuclear project switches to solar, Utah reaches a new net energy metering agreement in Utah, and researchers set a new record for PV cell efficiency in this week’s Solar News Roundup.
More than 40 cities committed to 100% renewable energy, a unique colored solar panel breakthrough, and the impact of the coming solar eclipse on U.S. solar power generation are the headlines from this week’s Solar News Report.
In an industry that has continued to grow at an impressive rate nationwide (4.4x over the past 5 years), details on solar hot spots in the U.S. can be elusive. Though there are a few states that are known for having plentiful sunlight (California, Florida, Arizona), there are many states leading the U.S. solar revolution that are flying under the radar. In this article, we’ll break down the top five solar states to date by cumulative solar capacity as well as the states with the fastest growing solar markets in 2017.