District of Columbia ranks #1 in America for savings from installing solar panels on your home

Solar power in District of Columbia

Last fact checked on August 01, 2019 by Catherine Lane

Washington D.C. is one of the best places in the country to make the switch to solar. The combination of the 30% federal tax credit, net metering, and a booming solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market makes the average payback time for a 5 kilowatt solar system in D.C. between 7 and 8 years.

The nation’s capital also has an ambitious renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The district’s RPS dictates that 100% of the retail energy supplied by electric suppliers must come from renewable sources by 2032, and 10% of energy supplied must come from solar by 2041. Together, these targets created the foundation for a profitable SREC market.  

Washington D.C. previously had other grant and incentive programs that have since expired. So the best time to go solar is now, while the remaining incentives are still available. 


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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 2020
Price shown before incentives

2 Years 7 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 District of Columbia

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

How much do solar panels cost in District of Columbia

$2.78 per watt

Cash purchased solar system
Before 26% solar tax credit

$3.66 per watt

Financed solar system
Before 26% 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 D.C. are the successful SREC market and the net metering offered by Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), the only investor-owned utility in the district. 

SolarPowerRocks provides a great breakdown of solar incentives and policy for each state within the US.

SolarPowerRocks provides a great breakdown of solar incentives and policy for each state within the US.

The disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Washington D.C. is that there are no utility-based rebates. However, this is outweighed by the available incentives.

Homeowners in Washington D.C. will be kicking themselves in a few years if they don’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 while 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.


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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 D.C.?

The renewable portfolio standard and Washington D.C.’s SREC market

Washington D.C. has an impressive RPS that requires 100% of the retail energy provided by electric suppliers to come from renewable energy sources by 2032. The RPS also contains a solar carve out, which mandates electric suppliers to derive 10% of their energy from solar energy sources by 2041. Solar carve outs often create a market for SRECs to be sold. 

SRECs represent the environmental benefits of generating 1 megawatt hour (MWh) of energy from a solar resource. When a system is registered to create SRECs, the owner of the system retains the rights to the SRECs. Most of the time, utilities will not buy SRECs from individual customers, and instead the credits are sold to an SREC aggregator. Because of the ambitious goals set out in the RPS, SRECs can currently be purchased at a price of about $400. A 6 kW system will produce about 7 SRECs per year, which means an owner of a system of that size would receive about $2,800 per year. 

However, recent legislation has dictated that the price of SRECs is set to decrease until 2032. At that time, SRECs will only be able to reach a maximum price of $50. That means that the best time to go solar is now, while the prices of SRECs are still high.



Net metering in Washington D.C.

Solar, by its nature, generates the 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. The net metering policy for PEPCO, the state’s only investor-owned utility, mandates that for every surplus kilowatt hour (kWh) generated by solar (like the excess energy your system creates during the day) PEPCO must provide a credit equal to the retail price of energy per kWh. 

So, for all of the kWh of energy your system produces, you will receive a credit equal to the retail price of that kWh. If your system produces more energy than your home uses, you will receive kWh credits that can be applied to your next bill. If you use more energy than your system produces, you will be billed for the energy you use from the grid. 



Property tax exemption

Washington D.C. homeowners save big on their property taxes when they install residential solar panels. Installing a solar system on one’s property would typically cause an increase in property taxes, however, the property tax exemption eliminates 100% of the assessed costs associated with the solar system from the homeowner’s property taxes.

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.



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 District of Columbia 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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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- Currently trade at $400 per SREC. ($0.40 per kWh) State Solar Renewable Energy Credit Program
PEPCO Net Metering Utility Net Metering
Solar Energy System and Cogeneration System Personal Property Tax Credit State Property Tax Incentive
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.