What Should You Pay For Solar In District of Columbia?

Find Out For Your Home Based On Recent Installations In Your ZIP

Solar power in District of Columbia

Washington DC happens to be the place to be if you are looking to reduce your power costs by going solar.

Ok seriously folks DC is a solar friendly city.

The combination of the 30% federal tax credit, Net Metering and a healthy SRECS market the average payback time on a 5kW Solar System around 7-8 years.

Thats a great incentive to get people installing solar power and despite the fact that DC has lower power prices than much of the rest of the North East

Washington DC has a great RPS (renewables portfolio standard) that includes a solar specific carve out. This requires utilities to use renewable energy and that a specific portion of power must be derived from solar PV panels

This solar carve out has created solar carve out (Solar Renewable Energy Credits), that are awarded for each MWh of electricity production from your panels.

The alternative compliance payment that sets the maximum value of SRECS was set to reduce to $350 in 2017 but the Mayor Bowser enacted Bill 21-0560 in 2016 that significantly increased the target for the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) for the District and increased the alternative compliance payment to $500.

Council member Cheh introduced the bill earlier in 2016, and the Council unanimously passed the bill in late June.

The increased demand will incentivize the continued growth of D.C.'s solar industry, which has grown by 170% over the last year.

In Washington DC the REC's program is currently worth around $480 MW or $ 0.48 kWh there is more info about it here.

So a 6kw solar system at $3.30 per watt that costs $19,800 before the 30% solar tax credit and $13,860 after the tax credit and will produce 7,616 kWh of solar power and attract 7.6 solar carve out per year.

This means that all in (at an SREC price of $450 and a power price of 14 cents the total value of the power from your solar power system is $4,493.44.

This is a massive return of 32% per annum for a payback period of less than 4 years.

You should be able to buy good quality solar power systems from reputable installers in the range of $3.20 to $3.50 per watt for a cash purchased system and $3.60-$3.80 for a financed system (before incentives and fully installed).

At this sort of price level you are talking about a payback period of 5 years or less and an internal rate of return on investment of over 20%.


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Solar power in District of Columbia

District of Columbia solar power facts


Average cost of a 5kw solar power system in 2019
Price shown before incentives

2 Years 10 Months

Average payback time


Average lifetime savings
Price shown after repayments of capital


levelized cost of solar energy


If you don't get solar
The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years


Annual power production

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 9.84kW system

This 9.84kW system would offset 100% of your energy usage if your typical monthly bill in District of Columbia is $150, however your situation may vary so try our solar calculator to get a result tailored to you.

Solar companies in District of Columbia that provide pricing through the Solar-Estimate marketplace


Best solar offers currently available in your city

Solar calculator and quote comparison tool

Compare solar quotes from the top solar companies in District of Columbia

How much do solar panels cost in District of Columbia

$3.85 per watt

Cash purchased solar system
Before 30% solar tax credit

$4.29 per watt

Financed solar system
Before 30% solar tax credit

15.7¢ cents/kWh

Av. 15 year term, 2.5% price escalator

What are the pros and cons of buying solar panels for your home in District of Columbia

The advantages of installing solar panels in Washington DC is that there is amazing state based incentives and the federal tax credit.

The disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Wshington DC, well there isn't really one, no real down side, power is about average cost, panels annual production is down a fraction on a few sunnier states but with payback time on systems around 6 years why not go solar. If you own a home in Washington DC you will be kicking yourself in a few years if you didn't install solar panels while these great incentives are still around.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

Best brands of solar panels

To find the best brands of solar panels you can use America's most trusted solar panel comparison and reviews website, SolarReviews.

However, reviews of solar panels can be a bit meaningless because most consumer owners have not had any issues and so whilst solar company reviews are very important when choosing solar installers they are of less use when choosing solar panels.

For more information to help you make an informed decision about this topic, I would recommend this article about buying solar panels.


Unlock live pricing on the best solar panel brands!


How much electricity will solar panels produce in District of Columbia

Solar panels produce different amounts of energy in different locations.

Around the Washington area solar panels installed on a south facing 28 degree pitch roof will typically produce:

1,269kWh per year per 1kw of peak DC (direct current) capacity

For more information about how your location, roof direction and roof tilt affects solar power production use the solar panels calculator and enter your zipcode below.


See how much electricity your solar panels could produce

I want to buy a solar panel kit and install it myself

What rebates, solar tax credits and other solar incentives are available in Washington DC

The solar carve out and Washington DC SREC's

Washington DC has a renewable energy targetthat is has mandated in legislation that requires utilities operating in the state to source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

The legislature has further mandated that part of this renewable energy must come from solar, this is known as the solar carve out.

The way they enact this program is that the liable entities (the utilities) do not have to build this solar capacity themselves is to attach a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) to each MWH of solar electricity generation in the state.

You (or your installer) registers your installation and you can then create and trade these SREC certificates.

You get 1 SREC for each MWh (Megawatt hour) of solar electricity production.

solar carve out have traded in the range of $450-$480 during 2016 and is scheduled to reduce in value over time until 2023.

In 2017 the SRECS will have a maximum value of $350, a typical 5kW solar system will generate about 6 SRECS per year.

This system is awsome but a bit complicated your local solar pro's will generally be able to handle the paperwork and explain how it works.

Use the solar calculator or the compare solar quotes tool to see the current market value of Washington DC solar carve out and the effect this has on your solar investment return.



Net Metering in Washington DC

Many people don't understand the importance of net metering policy to the residential solar industry.

Solar by its nature generates most power during the middle of the day when most people are at work or school and little power is being used in the home.

Net metering means that for every unit of surplus solar generation generated during the day you effectively get a credit for a kilowatt hour of power purchased from the grid at another time.

This gives you as an owner of a residential solar system the full retail value of every kWh (kilowatt hour) of power your solar system generates.

Washington DC has recently extended its net metering and you can find out more about it here.



Is it better to lease or purchase solar panels in Washington DC?

Whilst third party ownership of solar panels has made various zero down solar lease and solar PPA products popular in DC generally speaking you will make far greater savings over the life of a system if you purchase your solar panels (whether with cash you have available or through a HELOC loan) rather than enter into a third party owned solar lease or Solar PPA agreement.

You can use the solar savings calculator to see the difference in the overall savings over the life of a system.

See also:





Simplified Washington DC Interconnection guidelines

Connecting to the grid in DC is a standardised process for residential systems up to 10kW in size.

Most household system will be below that and if you do require a larger system this is still possible but may require additional plans/permits/ paperwork of some description that your local solar pro will know all about.

District of Columbia Solar Calculator

Regardless of what you want to know about the economics of installing solar panels for your home or business in District of Columbia we have a solar calculator that can show you exactly the information your require.


You can either use our full monthly solar calculator that shows you everything you could possibly want to know or you can use one of our range of smaller calculators for specific solar calculations that focus on providing you only with the specific information you require.



What you can find out about installing solar panels in District of Columbia using our full monthly solar calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - It tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.


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Solar calculator

Going solar in District of Columbia

Check out all of the ways energy providers of District of Columbia can help you be more energy efficient and save money.

The following programs are available:
Incentive Name Eligibility Type
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit Federal Personal Tax Credit
Solar Renewable Energy Credits- ( you get 1 SREc for 1 MwH. Currently trade at $480 per SREC. ($0.48 per kwh) State Solar Renewable Energy Credit Program
Find your local rebates and incentives

Your city may have further incentives to offer. Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.