Washington DC solar power facts
Average cost of a 5kw solar power system in 2016
Price shown before incentives
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
(per kW of peak DC solar panels)
Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 5kw system
Solar companies in Washington DC that provide pricing through the Solar-Estimate marketplace
Solar power in Washington DC
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
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%.
Estimate your solar savings
Compare solar quotes from the top solar companies in Washington DC
Best brands of solar panels
To find the best brands of solar panels you can use America's most trusterd 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.
Compare solar quotes from the top solar companies in Washington DC
How much electricity will solar panels produce in Washington DC
Solar panels produce different amounts of energy in different locations.
Around the Washington DC area solar panels installed on a south facing 28 degree pitch roof will typically produce:
1,269 kWh 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 address below.
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.
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.
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.
Regardless of what you want to know about the economics of installing solar panels for your home or business in Washington DC we have a solar calculator that can show you exactly the information your require.
You can either use our full monty 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 Washington DC using our full monty solar calculator
This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - It tells you:
- What size solar system do you need?
Answers the question of How many solar panels do I need?
- How many square feet of roof space you need for solar panels
- Solar electricity production in annual kWh (kilowatt hours) you can expect from your solar system in Washington DC
- The value of solar tax credits and other incentives you are entitled to based on the estimated size of system you need, your location and your utility provider.
- Likely cost based on an average of prices charged for solar systems of that size in the last year in Washington DC or Washington DC;
- The likely payback period on your solar panels and your investment return.
- Your total lifetime solar savings based on each of the major solar finance options, a cash purchase, a cash purchase funded with a HELOC sol (home equity line of credit) and a zero down PPA or third party lease product.
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.
How much do solar panels cost in Washington DC
$3.10 per watt
Cash purchased solar system
Before 30% solar tax credit
$3.50 per watt
Financed solar system
Before 30% solar tax credit
Av. 15 year term, 2.5% price escalator
What are the pros and cons of buying solar panels for your home in Washington DC
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.