Guide to Residential Solar Panels in Richmond, VA (2021)

It’s no secret that Richmond, VA, is a popular destination for those who have a taste for history. As a resident, you know that this city is more than landmarks of the past, but a place full of opportunity for the future as well, with Forbes listing Richmond, VA, as a top city for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Perhaps what you didn’t know is that this city is also a great place for transitioning to solar energy.

Before we start, here is a quick solar report card for the situation in Richmond:

richmond va solar report card

You’ve probably heard the words “solar energy”, and now you want to know if transitioning would be the right fit for you. This guide will walk through some of the most common questions you may have, and explain how solar could be perfect for you. 

  • How big of an investment is solar energy?
  • What’s to gain from switching to a solar system?
  • Do solar panels really help the environment?
  • Is Richmond, VA, a good city for solar panels?
  • What’s the process of residential solar panel installation?
  • How do I get the best deal when it comes to solar installers in Richmond, VA?

Let’s address these, one by one!

The Cost of Solar Energy

Before you’re sold on the switch to solar, you want to know how much this whole process will cost you. We understand that solar energy is new for a lot of people, and so we’ll walk through an average price breakdown, which you can see simplified on this graphic below:

richmond solar panel cost

The average solar system used across the United States, as well as in Richmond, VA, is going to be the 5kW (kilowatt) system. This is the proper size when looking at a home between 1,250 – 2,000 square feet. While your system might alter from this, depending on your home, for the sake of our examples we will focus on the pricing surrounding this specific size. 

For the 5kW system in Richmond, VA, the market price is going to average at $14,700. This is going to be the cost of supplies and installation before any incentives are applied. Now that we know our starting point, let’s look at the potential savings.

The first and largest incentive is going to be the Federal Tax Credit. In 2021 this credit is set at 26% off your entire solar purchase and installation. Using our cost above, we are looking at $3,822 of savings through the Federal Tax Credit program. Keep in mind that this program is set to stay at 26% through 2023. 

richmond va federal solar tax credit rebate incentive

Subtracting this credit, we are now looking at a total cost of $10,878. Already, you’ve been able to cut out a quarter of your cost, and we promise that things only get better from here. 

Now, this amount can be paid fully upfront. But we also know that not everyone has thousands of dollars lying around. That’s why there are many options for reasonable financing, including options for $0 down and free installation. This is done through partnerships with local contractors, so if you’re interested in getting in touch with them, simply enter your zip code below and we will connect you with the most reputable solar companies in Richmond, VA. 

Why Switch to Solar Energy? A Financial Breakdown

Above, we broke down the cost to $10,878 after incentives. This isn’t a small investment, and you may be asking if it’s worth it. While we will look at other reasons in the next section, for now, let’s focus on the reduction that solar energy will have on your average energy bills.

For this breakdown, we’ll begin with the cost of electricity in Virginia, which averages at 11.08 cents per kiloWatt hour (kWh). The average system, 5 kW, will produce approximately 6,800 kWh per year. When calculating the savings, we assume you are reducing the energy that you would purchase from a local utility company by the amount of kWh that this new solar system will produce for you. 

So we take the 6,800 kWh per year that you will now be producing with your solar panels and multiply that by the price of utility energy, 11.08 cents per kWh, to give us our total savings of about $750 (6800 x $0.1108 = $753.44). Now we know that you will be saving $750 year over year!

With these savings alone, you would be looking at paying off the total cost of $10,878 in less than 15 years. Keep in mind that this doesn’t even factor in the ever-increasing and fluctuating cost of energy that you pay for from utility companies. 

It’s estimated, and conservatively, that the life of your solar panels is 25 years. All the savings after it’s paid off are yours to keep. So, as electricity prices go up, you’ll be pocketing your growing profit, year after year. Over 10 years, these savings will come to a minimum of $7500!

Now, remember that Richmond, VA, allows homeowners who increase their home value with a solar installation, to claim an exemption on that additional value. This means while you’re growing your home’s value, you’re not going to be paying extra taxes as you would with other additions! 

What does this value mean for you? Well, the average listing price of a home in Richmond, VA, is $280K. We also know that the addition of a solar panel raises that home’s value by an average of 4%. This means that you could be adding an additional $11,200 to your home’s resale value. 

Add this home value profit with the savings from before and you’re looking at $18,700! This means you’re looking at a reliable and relatively risk-free return on investment of almost 172%

As if this weren’t enough, Virginia also offers a program through solar companies allowing you to gain credit for any energy (per kW) you don’t use. So, if you end up producing more energy than you need, you know that it won’t be going to waste!

Now that we’ve discussed the incredible financial gain, let’s look at some of the other ways that you could benefit from a switch to solar energy. 

Other Benefits of Solar Energy

You’ve been able to see the financial benefit that comes with investing in solar energy, but here are few benefits beyond that:

  • With solar energy, you’re helping the environment. Over the life of your solar panels, you’ll be creating clean energy equivalent to keeping an average passenger vehicle off the road for 25 years! 
  • Furthermore, by seeing you make the leap, you can encourage others to upgrade. As more people switch, neighborhood value and environmental cleanliness rise. 
  • You regain power over your power. Everyone has experienced outages, whether it was due to an old tree branch, inclement weather, or annoying unplanned maintenance. With solar, you are free from the grid, capable of creating reliable power for your household. 

Solar Energy in Richmond, VA

At the beginning of this article, we touched on how Richmond, VA, is the perfect city for you to get into solar energy. It’s important to reiterate this concept because many people can often think solar energy is only for lavish millionaire homes somewhere off in the Caribbean. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

A shift towards solar energy has been a prime consideration of the government in Richmond, VA over the past few years. You may have even begun to notice neighbors who have had solar panels installed on the roof of their own homes. To help you understand why Richmond, VA, is a prime area for solar, check out these quick factors:

  • Ideal solar energy production climate with an average of 205 sunny days per year.
  • A Net Metering program that allows you to receive credits for unused solar energy.
  • Property tax exemption for any home value that comes from the installation of solar panels.
  • A 26% rebate is offered on your solar panel installation by the Federal Solar Tax Credit program.

Richmond, VA, has an excellent climate to provide reliable solar energy to your home. This means you will be more than capable of producing the energy, and therefore savings, that you need in order to pay off your solar panels and see your investment flourish. 

Due to the rise of solar in Richmond, VA, there are great quality solar installers available. This means that you will be able to receive and weigh multiple options, gather quotes, and find a service that can meet everyone of your needs. If you’re interested in getting a completely free quote from 1 or 2 local providers, simply enter your zip code below and we will personally connect you with them:

The Process of a Solar Install

Here we have broken down the simple and straightforward process it takes to get your solar installed:

  1. Decide if solar is right for you and your home (and we hope that this guide has helped show you that).
  2. Gather information determining the size of the system that is best suited for your home.
  3. Connect with solar companies that service Richmond, and review quotes and a system estimate. 
  4. Determine solar power financial options to help you get the lowest interest rate that maximizes your investment potential. 
  5. Begin the installation! Most solar contractors can complete your residential install in 1 day!
  6. Sit back and enjoy the financial and environmental benefits of solar energy. 

How to Get the Best Deal From Solar Companies in Richmond, VA? 

Our prime recommendation is that you begin to talk to as many installers as you can. It may not be the most fun part of this whole process, but gathering multiple quotes will help you find a company that best fits your needs. You want to make sure you find a company you are happy to work with, that provides the best customer service, so you feel safe with your solar investment. 

You also might want to get approved for a solar loan through your installer, since these contractors will often have relationships with manufacturers who offer loans through their network. This can provide you with continued benefits. 

Here at Solar Action Alliance, we pride ourselves on these guides that help homeowners like you decide whether solar panel installations are a good choice. But we also review and form relationships with solar pros across the United States. We thoroughly vet their services and recommend only contractors that meet our high expectations for price and quality. If you’re interested in gaining access to this network of professional solar installers, simply enter your zip code below to get started:

To Wrap it Up

Richmond, VA is an amazing city to make the switch to solar. Not only because of the climate that will allow you to optimize your return on investment but because it’s your city. More than that, it’s your home

You are in a prime position to truly benefit from all solar energy can offer you, so make sure you don’t pass up this opportunity to take advantage of it. Research, talk to installers, ask questions, read reviews, be an involved solar customer, and last-but-not-least, get excited about the future of your solar energy in Richmond, VA. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Interested in Going Solar? 

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We connect you with the best, lowest cost installers in your area.

$0 down financing available in many cases.