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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in New Jersey [2024]?

New Jersey is an excellent place for solar energy production. Thanks to its abundant sunshine, the state ranks 8th in the U.S. for solar output. However, installing solar panels can be expensive. If you're considering going solar, you probably want to know how big of a dent it will make in your wallet.

That’s why Solar Me has calculated the average cost of solar panels for Garden State residents. This guide curated by our experts covers prices related to installation and maintenance, as well as the incentives and tax rebates that significantly reduce your electricity bill and installation costs.

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Solar Panel Installation Cost in New Jersey

So, how much does it cost to install solar panels in NJ? In reality, it’s impossible to provide an exact figure as system size, panel efficiency, installation labor, and state and local incentives affect the total cost.

Solar Panel Cost per Watt in NJ

Solar panels are priced according to how many watts (power) they produce. This is calculated by dividing the solar system’s total cost by its total wattage. In New Jersey, most medium-sized homes need a 5-kilowatt system, typically 20 solar panels, costing roughly $2.75 per watt.

  • $2.75 x 5000 = $13,750 (there are 5000 watts in 5 kilowatts).

However, the total cost will be less than $ 13,750 once you apply tax credits. You may also need to install fewer panels depending on your home’s size and power needs.

See the cost range for the most common solar panel system sizes below:

System Size Panels Needed Average Cost
2kW 5-8 $4,460-$5,740
3kW 8-12 $6,690-$8,610
4kW 10-16 $8,920-$11,480
5kW 13-20 $11,150-$14,350
5kW 15-24 $13,380-$17,220

Solar Panel Cost per Square Foot in NJ

Home size is another factor affecting solar panel costs along with installation prices. However, there are ways to offset the cost of large solar panel systems. You can power specific energy-intensive systems like air conditioning with solar and keep the rest of your home on the traditional power grid.

Or, you can install a solar battery storage system to store excess energy during the day and take advantage of the state’s Net Metering Program that allows you to sell extra energy to utility companies.

Below is the average cost of solar panels based on home size, ranging from 1,000 square feet to 2,500 square feet:

House Size Average Cost
1,000 sq.ft. $4,460-$22,960
1,500 sq.ft. $5,740-$26,760
2,000 sq.ft. $8,920-$28,700
2,500 sq.ft. $13,380-$34,440

Average Solar Panel Cost by System Size

The larger your system, the more solar panels and inverters you need, which increases costs. The location of your home also plays a part, as solar panels in sunny areas produce more electricity than those in cloudy areas.

Below, you’ll see average prices of how much solar panels cost in NJ according to size:

System Size Average Cost Number of Panels Panel Size
1kW $14,250 16 300 watts each
8kW $27,500 32 300 watts each
10kW $40,750 48 300 watts each
12kW $54,000 64 300 watts each
14kW $67,250 80 6.1 years
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How Does the Current Cost of Solar Panels in New Jersey Compare to the National Average?

Overall, what solar panels cost in NJ is cheaper than in other states due to government incentives, a competitive solar market, and sunny weather. New Jersey has an average of 200 sunny days per year, meaning it can produce more solar electricity than other parts of the country.

System Size New Jersey National Average
1 kW $14,250 $15,000
2 kW $27,500 $28,000
3 kW $40,750 $41,000
4 kW $54,000 $54,000
5 kW $67,250 $67,000

Other Factors Affecting Solar Panel Installation Costs

Are solar panels worth it in New Jersey? Several factors influence solar panel installation costs - starting from home insurance to solar panel company. Each element impacts the overall investment.

Factor Details
Home Insurance Installing solar panels will likely lead to an increase in your homeowner's insurance premiums. However, this can vary depending on the type of coverage you select. Double-check with your insurance provider to be sure.
Location Your location affects solar system pricing. Remote areas may have higher logistical expenses, leading to increased costs. Counties with complex solar contracting formalities can also add to system expenses. Your choice of installer matters, with local companies often offering more competitive pricing.
Sunlight availability varies by location. New Jersey receives slightly less sunlight than states like Arizona or California, but this doesn't diminish its solar potential. Instead, it promotes the installation of larger systems, reflecting a commitment to renewable energy, although at slightly higher costs.
Owning vs. Renting You receive all available tax credits and rebates if you own solar panels. Leasing them from a company is also an option, which is lower maintenance but doesn't come with any financial perks.

Solar Panel Brands

When choosing a solar panel brand, you’ll want to consider panel efficiency, warranty, and cost. As with most things, you get what you pay for. For example, a more expensive brand may have a better warranty and less degradation.

We recommend researching specifications from top manufacturers to identify the best value or consult with Solar ME - we’re more than happy to offer guidance.

Generally, we work with several highly-rated brands, including:

  • Rec: Our top recommended brand for high quality and efficiency.
  • Silfab: Known for high quality, durability, and 30-year warranties.
  • Panasonic: A premium brand for discerning customers.
  • Qcells: An innovative brand pushing solar technology.
  • Phono: A more affordable option for budget-conscious consumers.

Types of Solar Panels

Along with different brands, there are also different types of solar panels: polycrystalline, thin film, and monocrystalline.

  • Polycrystalline: Made from tiny silicon crystals that give the panels a blue hue, polycrystalline is more affordable but less efficient compared to monocrystalline panels.
  • Film: These solar panels are made from a thin layer of silicon or other semiconductor material. Although they are the cheapest, they are also the least efficient.
  • Monocrystalline: Arguably the best type of solar panel, monocrystalline panels are made from a single silicon crystal, making them thinner and blacker in color. They are the most expensive type but generate the highest energy yields.

Roof Condition

When considering solar panel installation, asphalt shingle roofs in good condition, ten years old or younger, are usually the most suitable choice. Other roof materials like tar and gravel do not make good foundations for solar arrays.

Additionally, it's essential to have your roof inspected and repaired by an experienced professional if it is older than ten years, as age can affect its suitability. Doing any necessary roof repair before installing solar panels will save you the hassle of dealing with unexpected issues down the line.

An experienced solar installer will help you determine if your specific roof type is compatible and what next steps you should take if it isn’t.

Choosing a Solar Company

Choosing the right solar installation company is critical to getting the most value from your solar panels. Local, smaller companies may cost more for installation but offer personalized options, discounts, better customer service, and faster responses to any issues that arise after installation.

They are also much more invested in your satisfaction, as their business relies heavily on word-of-mouth. Ultimately, the company's size affects the cost of the solar panels the most, making it essential to do your research.

The Operational Cost to Run and Maintain Solar Panels in NJ

Solar panels should be cleaned at least twice yearly to maintain peak performance. A quick visual inspection should also be conducted during these cleanings to check for any issues. More thorough inspections should be done every few years to check for component replacements or repairs.

On average, solar panel cleaning costs about $465. This may seem significant, but it is well worth the investment. Regular maintenance not only preserves the output and lifespan of your solar panels but identifies minor issues before they become larger expenses.

How to Save on Solar Panels in New Jersey?

Not only does investing in solar energy in NJ significantly reduce your electricity bill, but it also plays a role in environmental conservation. Additionally, New Jersey has attractive incentives and policies that make going solar even more affordable.

The Federal Tax Credit

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, also known as ITC or Residential Clean Energy Credit, offers an excellent benefit for those beginning their journey with solar energy. This tax credit gives a 30% reduction on the cost of solar panels and battery storage and is guaranteed to remain that way till 2032, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.

New Jersey State Incentives

In addition to the Federal Tax Credit, the state of New Jersey offers a number of incentives and rebates:

How to Apply for Net Metering and Other Incentives

If you are interested in net metering and other solar incentives, you must reach out to your local utility company to learn about their application process. Every utility company has different requirements and procedures for applying.

New Jersey Tax Exemptions

If you are considering installing solar panels, be sure to take advantage of the tax exemptions for solar energy in NJ.

  • Property Tax Exemption: These exemptions are worth up to $3,000 per year for homeowners and $10,000 per year for businesses. To qualify for the solar property tax exemption:
    • You must own the solar panels.
    • The solar panels must be installed on your primary residence or place of business.
    • The solar panels must be connected to the electric grid.
    • The solar panels must be generating electricity.
  • Sales Tax Exemption: You can save about 6% on your home solar system since it is 100% exempt from any sales tax thanks to the PV energy sales tax exemption.

How to Apply for the New Jersey Tax Exemptions

You can apply for either tax exemption by filing an application with the appropriate authority. The application process for the property tax exemption is handled by your local tax assessor, while the application process for the sales tax exemption is dealt with by the New Jersey Department of Taxation.

How to Pay for Solar Panels

Solar Panels Cost NJ

Exploring options for financing solar panels can be an important step in transitioning to renewable energy. Understanding the various payment methods available, from loans to leases, can help you make an informed decision. Join Solar Me as we delve into the intricacies of financing solar panels and the benefits of each option.

Solar Loan

The Solar Loan program is the best option for home and business owners, offering a range of advantageous features. It provides diverse payment options, including cash payments or specialized solar loans from reputable banks such as FiBank, catering to various financial circumstances. The application process is efficient, often yielding decisions within 30 seconds.

Another bonus is that loan terms are adjustable, spanning from 7 to 25 years, accommodating individual needs. Interest rates vary based on the chosen term and potential contractor fees, ensuring competitive rates. Despite financing, full ownership of the solar system is retained, allowing for eligibility for government incentives, rebates, and tax credits. Plus, the installation enhances home value, akin to outright purchases, which offers added benefits for future resale.

Ownership / Cash Purchase

A cash purchase involves a significant upfront investment for getting a solar system, with additional responsibility for maintenance and repairs falling upon the owner. Unlike financed purchases, there are no monthly payments once the system is fully paid for, although any loan payments must be accounted for separately.

Ownership provides access to government incentives, rebates, and tax credits, along with the potential to enhance your home's value. In addition, all energy savings directly benefit you which can help gradually offset the initial investment. Finally, a solar system can serve as a notable selling point and potentially increase the value of your property when selling your home.

Solar Lease / Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)

Solar lease or PPA offers several advantages. It has minimal upfront costs, making it more accessible to a wider demographic. The leasing company typically handles maintenance and repairs, alleviating potential concerns. Fixed monthly lease payments also provide predictability, though ownership remains with the leasing company, potentially impacting eligibility for government incentives. When selling your home, settling or transferring the lease is necessary. Additionally, leasing often entails locking in a consistent energy rate to protect against local energy price fluctuations.

Hire a Trusted Solar Panel Installer

Looking to save energy and money while reducing your carbon footprint? Consider Solar ME for all your solar needs in New Jersey. With over ten years of experience in solar installation and 144 five-star ratings from customers, Solar ME is your trusted source for solar panel installation.

Our solar experts are available to answer questions and provide a free, no-obligation proposal to help you make the best decision for your family and budget. Contact us today at (844) 976-5276 or fill out a Contact Us form to chat with an experienced solar installer.