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Pennsylvania Solar Power Facts in 2022

PA Solar program

The Coal State or the Oil State is about to get a huge makeover. As the prices of solar panels plummet and the renewed interest in green energy rises, Pennsylvania is on a sure way to significantly increase its solar power production, decreasing its carbon footprint and increasing its energy independence from fossil fuels. With the average solar payback period of less than a decade, your solar installation is sure to provide you with at least 15 years of free power. 

The State of (Energy) Independence can be proud of its 179 sunny days a year. This is close to the US average sunny days, and the best indicator that installing solar panels pays off. An average solar panel installation in Pennsylvania costs a fraction of what it used to cost only ten years ago. 

The solar panels’ cost is further decreased by the significant solar investment tax credit and other solar incentives. Thanks to these, utility-scale and rooftop solar panels are now more affordable than ever, and the average cost is becoming accessible to almost everybody. Solar panel systems keep springing up on rooftops all over the state. If you want to join the proud solar Pennsylvania homeowners, read on. 

Pennsylvania Solar Energy Data

Solar panels in PA currently rank 22nd in the USA. The total solar energy capacity is equal to 805.7 MW. This much solar power can supply almost 100,000 Pennsylvania households with renewable electricity. Residential solar installations make up a bulk of this capacity, as there are over 39,800 solar installations in the state. 

805.7 MW represents around 0.37% of electricity production in the state. Not all is black, though, as the state makes almost a third of its electricity from nuclear and over 50% from natural gas. Although these are not the ideal power sources, the increasing interest in renewable energy means the government will install more solar and wind capacity. You can compare wind power in PA to the Windmill Farms in Texas

The solar industry employs 4,300 people in Pennsylvania. A total of 484 solar companies employ these people. One hundred twenty of these are solar manufacturers, while over 240 are solar installers and solar developers. There are also 123 other companies working in the sector. 

The average cost of a solar panel installation in PA has dropped significantly over the past decade. The price was reduced by a total of 80% in that period so that an average 5 kW solar system costs between $13,500 – $18,500. Significant incentives for solar installation also renewed the interest in solar in the state. 

Pennsylvania residents can expect to save significant amounts of money if they decide to install solar panels. Every solar panel installation can save between $21,900 – $29,700 for its owner in the first 20 years of its installation. The average solar array lasts for around 25 years and the payback period is around ten years. 

Besides solar incentives offered by the state and the federal government, the biggest pros of opting for solar panels in PA are: 

  • Reducing your carbon footprint
  • Helping mitigate climate change, 
  • Significantly reducing your electric bills, 
  • Gaining energy-independence, 
  • Saving significant amounts of money. 

The average ROI on solar installations is 10% – 20% per year. This is way more than any bank or stock exchange could ever offer, especially with such a low (almost non-existent) risk. To understand how quickly solar panels in PA pay off, compare them to Solar Panels in Hawaii and Solar Panels in California

Pennsylvania Solar Statistics

DescriptionStatus
Pennsylvania National Ranking22nd
Solar Panels Installed(MW)805.7 MW
Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)+96,200
% of State's Electricity from Solar0.37 %
Solar Companies in the State484 (120 Manufacturers, 241 Installers/Developers, 123 Others)
Solar Jobs Created4,310 
Total Solar Investment in the State$2.3 Billion
Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system$13,500 – $18,500
Net 20-year savings$21,900 – $29,700
Average Payback Period9-11 years
Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system+ 75%
Number of Solar Installations+ 39,800 

Source: SEIA.org 

Notable Solar Installations in Pennsylvania

Currently, most solar electricity in Pennsylvania comes from residential solar. There are two utility-scale solar farms in Independence state: 

  1. Keystone Solar Project – the 6 MW of solar capacity can generate enough power for almost 700 Pennsylvania homes, and 
  2. Lincoln Financial Field – the 2 MW solar PV farm has enough solar panels installed to provide electricity for more than 350 households. 

This is all about to change, as the state mandates that 100% of electricity produced in this state comes from renewable energy by 2050. PA has its form of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard called Alternative Energy portfolio Standards. This comprehensive set of regulations mandates percentages of alternative source energy that each power plant in the state must output every year, until 100% in 2050. 

Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems

Renewable energy systems in PA cost less than five years ago. The cost of solar has dropped 45% in the past five years, so many Pennsylvania residents enjoy the benefits of clean power as they save money on their electric bills. The federal tax credit, also known as solar tax credits, significantly reduces the upfront costs and makes the panels more accessible. 

The cost of solar today is around $2.97 per Watt of DC installed. This price is before the federal tax credit, and other solar incentives offered in the state. Furthermore, with solar renewable energy certificates that you can sell, you get one more source of income that you can use to pay off your solar panels faster. 

If you decide on installing solar panels, you can expect significant rebates. Solar power in Pennsylvania is currently at its historical minimum, and the financial incentives can reduce the price by more than 30%. A solar system can even be seen on the rooftops of the Amish community in PA. Although smaller, these solar systems are still eligible for all the price reductions. 

Is it Worth it to Buy Solar Panels in Pennsylvania?

An average 5 kW solar system produces just enough energy to offset over 75% of your electric bills, so some choose to save the money and invest it into a good solar battery. Luckily, this expensive endeavor is not always necessary, as PA offers a net metering program among other solar incentives. Add the advances in technology and high competition among solar companies, and you’ve got yourself a very low price. 

Pennsylvania Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

Your initial investment into solar panels is subject to significant financial incentives that drive down the average price of every solar system in the state. Installing solar panels is incentivized on both the state and the federal level. As always, the more energy your panels produce, the more savings you can make. 

Pennsylvania Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits: 

  1. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, 
  2. Net metering in Pennsylvania, 
  3. Solar Alternative Energy Credits, and 
  4. City of Philadelphia – Solar Rebate Program. 
DescriptionEquivalent Cost
The Cost of PV - 10kWh at the average of $2.97 per watt of DC installed$29,700
The Federal Solar Tax Credit @26% by the end of 2022$7,722
SAECs @11SAECs per year @$40.00$440
City of Philadelphia - Solar Rebate Program @$0.20 per Watt of DC$2,000
Pennsylvania Net Metering @100% bill offset @$0.0896 @10,402 kWh per year$932.02
TOTAL cost for a 10kWh home solar system at the end of year 1$18,605
Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all Pennsylvania solar incentives are taken 5.5 years

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit

The Federal Tax Credit or the Federal ITC is one of many financial incentives for solar panels and other components of a solar system that you can get in Pennsylvania. The Tax Credit is applied on top of the total solar panel price, and by the end of 2022, it will be applied at the rate of 26%. 

Any Federal Tax Credits that you cannot use in one year are automatically rolled over to the next year for up to ten years. In 2023, this rate drops to 22% and is unavailable for private properties starting with 2024. This solar incentive can be combined with other incentives for clean energy

Net metering in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania net metering enables you to save money you would otherwise invest in battery storage. The net metering program enables you to use the electric grid as your solar storage. This program can augment your electricity savings, as your utility company will only deduct a small percentage of the energy you send to them from your total energy credit. 

Net metering is a simple system that enables you to send excess electricity to the grid. Your utility company then sends the excess clean energy your solar panels produce to other users during the day and gives it back to you at night and during cloudy days when your solar panels cannot produce any electricity

The prerequisite to go for net metering is to have a smart meter. If you’re unsure whether you have one or not, contact your Pennsylvania power company and check with them. A smart meter enables you to use every kilowatt-hour your solar panels generate and make your solar system pay off much faster than usual. 

Solar Alternative Energy Credits

SAECs are the Pennsylvania equivalent of SRECs – Solar Renewable Energy Certificates. Under this policy, for every MWh of electricity you produce, you get one SREC equivalent. An average solar system is designed to produce 11 MWh of clean electricity per year, so you can expect to get 11 SRECs or 11 SAECs, which you can further sell. 

SRECs market value in Pennsylvania is $40 per SREC, which is $440 per year. And all that while doing nothing. Over 20 years, with stable SREC prices, you can expect to make $8,800 for your electricity generation. Pay attention that you get SRECs for all energy you produce, not just excess generation. Sometimes, SRECs can also be called Solar Renewable Energy Credits. 

City of Philadelphia – Solar Rebate Program

The city of Philadelphia introduced a solar rebate program to reduce pollution and help people navigate their way to a greener future. Solar panels in Pennsylvania are not cheap, so the city of Philadelphia introduced this incentive which is supposed to reduce the initial investment cost by $0.20 per Watt of DC power installed. 

This brings the solar panel price down to $2.77 on average instead of the $2.97. This incentive can reduce your solar panel system’s average cost by around $1,000 for a 5 kW system or $2,000 for a 10 kW system. The energy your panels generate is automatically cheaper, and you can for a slightly bigger system to produce more electricity and offset your energy bill by 100%. 

Top Solar Companies in Pennsylvania

When deciding on the best solar installer in Pennsylvania, finding your way around the 480 solar companies working in the state can be difficult. Pennsylvania homeowners have to choose between 240 solar installers alone to cover their energy needs in a green and sustainable way. Here are top solar installers in Pennsylvania: 

  1. Public Service Solar, LLC, operates multi-state, 
  2. PowerStream Solar & Electric LLC, Narvon, 
  3. Green Way Solar, Jonestown, 
  4. BrightEye Solar LLC, Lancaster, 
  5. KC Green Energy, Lancaster. 
  6. Pennsylvania Solar Energy, Washington PA, 
  7. Green Power Energy, LLC, operates multi-state, 
  8. Solar Bear Energy LLC, Milford, and
  9. Sumitra, Philadelphia. 

FAQs

Does Pennsylvania have a solar rebate?

Yes, Pennsylvania has a solar rebate. If you want to install a solar panel system in Philadelphia, PA, you are eligible for a $0.20 rebate per watt of installed DC power. The average cost of your solar panel system is also reduced by 26% by Federal ITC by the end of 2022. There is no state-wide solar rebate in this state. 

How much do utilities pay for solar power?

When utilities buy solar power, they do so in a wholesale solar market. The average price per MWh of solar power in 2019 was $83, meaning that utilities paid 1 kWh of energy at $0.083. The prices that they sell it at in the retail market are somewhat higher but bear in mind that they have to cover line losses, operation costs, and equipment maintenance. 

Why do Realtors hate solar?

Some realtors hate solar because the regulation imposes them or do not fully understand how a solar panel system works. In any case, solar panels are a great investment and a great asset to have on your rooftop: solar power is free, it helps reduce pollution, and it is here to stay!

How many years can you claim the solar tax credit?

If you install solar panels, you will be eligible for a 26% Federal ITC – Investment Tax Credit. This tax credit is deducted from the federal taxes owed. In case that you cannot use all the tax credits that you got in a single year, you can roll them over for up to 10 years. 

Conclusion

In case you want to go solar, Pennsylvania is the place to be. Great solar rebates and financial incentives, a relatively low cost of solar, and increasing electricity prices make PA one of the best solar states. Watch as your electric bills go down and your solar panels save money for you. You will be able to enjoy renewable energy for years to come as your solar panel system pays itself off. 

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