Should You Go Solar in Delaware? (2023)

Should You Go Solar in Delaware? (1) Why You Can Trust CNET

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Is solar worth it in Delaware? Here's what you should know before buying solar panels.

Should You Go Solar in Delaware? (2)

Sarah Drolet

Should You Go Solar in Delaware? (3)

Sarah Drolet Associate Writer

Sarah Drolet is an associate writer at CNET covering home energy, residential solar power and emerging energy technology. She previously wrote about home and moving-related topics for MYMOVE. Sarah graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in communications.

8 min read

Delaware produces less energy than any other state, but consumes quite a bit of it. Fortunately, your rooftop has the chance to be part of the solution.

The First State is making strides toward renewable energy. The state got 86% of its power from natural gas in 2021, but a recent law says utility companies must get 40% of their energy from renewable sources by 2035, with 10% coming from solar.

There are plenty of incentives for homeowners to go solar in Delaware. About 5% of the state's electricity generation came from solar power in 2021, but that number is steadily increasing. This is likely mainly due to the state's renewable portfolio standards policy and incentives and rebates administered by utility companies through the state's Green Energy Program – a grant funding program backed by the state Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy.

However, it's important to know that solar might not cover all of your electricity costs, according to Andrew Slater, executive director of Energize Delaware, a renewable energy nonprofit.

"When I was the public advocate for the state, sometimes customers would call and say that their solar was not working because it was not netting out 100% of their usage. So just understand that solar can go up to 110% of your usage, but it may not cover the entirety of your bill," Slater told CNET.

Your expected savings from solar is mainly dependent on your home's energy usage, geographic location, condition of your roof and other factors.

Here's what you need to know if you're thinking about going solar in Delaware.

Best Solar Companies of 2023 See at Cnet

Delaware solar panel costs

The cost of going solar varies since there are so many different factors that play into solar pricing. The main factors affecting the price of solar panels are system size and home energy use, type of solar panels, location and the condition of your roof. If you don't plan on going solar right away, experts recommend that you invest in home efficiency measures before going solar.

"As a homeowner looking to go solar, the first thing I'm looking at is energy efficiency in my house to see if I can make my home more efficient before I put renewables on. This is so that I can size my system appropriately and make sure I take out the right solar loan for my array," Slater said.

Currently, the only national data available for state-level solar prices in Delaware is from 2021. The nationwide average of solar is more recent, from 2022. The average price before incentives for a 12.6-kilowatt system in 2021 was $32,290, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. However, it's important to note that a 12.6-kilowatt system is quite large, making the cost of the system higher. Slater also pointed out that this number seems very high, and homeowners shouldn't expect to pay this much in 2023.

Delaware vs. the whole US

System size (kW)Price per wattInstalled cost
Delaware 12.6$2.55$32,290
Nationwide 8.6$3.67$31,558

How to pay for solar panels in Delaware

There are various ways you can go about paying for your panels. Some are more difficult than others, but what really matters is picking the best option for your personal situation.

Cash: If you can fit the cost of solar panels into your budget, paying for your panels in cash is your best option. There are no fees or interest rates. And you won't have to worry about your credit score. If you have solar as part of your plan for the future, consider putting money aside into a high-yield savings account to earn more money toward your panels over time.

Solar loan: Many solar installers will offer you a solar loan through themselves or another third-party financial institution. A solar loan might have higher fees and interest rates than other loan options, so weigh all your options before settling.

Other types of loans: Other loan options to consider are personal loans, home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Home equity loans and HELOCs can help you finance your solar panels at lower interest rates, but it's important to know the risks involved. You could lose your home if you default on payments.

Lease or power purchase agreement: Some solar companies allow you to lease your system or enter a power purchase agreement. If you choose to lease, you won't own the solar system, you'll just pay for use of the equipment. Entering a power purchase agreement means you'll buy solar energy generated from the solar company to power your home. The price you'll pay is usually lower than the retail rate from your local utility company. Note that not all incentives are available with a lease or power purchase agreement.

Delaware solar panel incentives and rebates

Many of Delaware's solar incentives come from grants and rebates offered by Delaware utility companies through the government-regulated Green Energy Program. Each utility company has its own requirements and application forms for any grants or rebates offered through this program. On the federal level, homeowners can also take advantage of the residential clean energy credit, which gives you 30% of the total cost of your solar system back in tax credits.

Another incentive available (that can be a little tricky to understand) are solar renewable energy certificates. Essentially, an SREC is a credit that gets created when a solar generator produces 1 megawatt-hour (1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity. SRECs exist due to Delaware's renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, which requires power companies to provide a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources.

To meet these requirements, utility companies will purchase renewable energy from generators to earn renewable energy certificates. Power companies will use these RECs as proof that they are meeting the state RPS requirements. In simpler terms, local utility companies will buy excess solar energy from you and translate that energy into SRECs, counting your solar energy as their green energy contribution. Note that SRECs are separate from net metering (the process of selling excess solar energy to the power grid), and some homeowners can qualify for participation in both.

Participating in the Delaware SREC program can even earn you a grant toward the upfront cost of your solar system. "There are incentives, and part of it has to do with the SREC auction process. Through that process, you get a green energy funding grant, and the grant is dependent on the size of your system. But for a residential customer, it can be an upfront grant," Slater said.

Here's a breakdown of some of the solar incentives offered in Delaware. More state solar incentives can be found on the DSIRE database.

Delaware solar incentives

Program Description
Net metering Delaware does allow net metering. By staying connected to the power grid, homeowners can sell excess solar energy to the grid.
Solar renewable energy certificates (SREC) SRECs are another way you can earn money from solar generation. Homeowners earn one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity generated.
Delmarva Power grants Customers of Delmarva Power can receive grants to offset the cost of their solar system. Applications for this grant are submitted through the Green Grant Delaware application system.
Delaware Electric Cooperative Customers of the Delaware Electric Cooperative can receive grants to offset the cost of their solar system. Requirements and application instructions can be found on the Delaware Electric Cooperative website.
Low to Moderate-Income Solar Pilot Program This program assists eligible low to moderate-income homeowners with the cost of solar. Qualified low-income homes receive cost-free solar installation up to 4 kW in size.
Residential clean energy credit This is a federal tax credit allowing you to claim 30% of the total cost of your solar system back in federal taxes.

Delaware solar panel companies

Delaware may be small, but you'll have quite a few solar installers to choose from. There are 44 solar companies in Delaware, with 23 of those companies being installers or developers, according to data from theSEIA.

Going solar is an expensive decision, so grab quotes from several installers in your area to get the best price you can. You should also take panel warranties, maintenance fees and customer reviews into consideration during your search.

Here are a few solar companies to consider based on our rankings of the best national solar companies, and research on local installer options.

Green Street Solar

Green Street Solar is a local solar company operating in Delaware and Maryland. The company offers a 10-year workmanship warranty and a 25-year solar panel warranty. Their installers are certified by theNorth American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP, and they'll do a free site inspection to see if your home is a good fit for solar. You can pay cash or finance your solar panels with Green Street Solar.

SunPower Solar

SunPower Solar is a solar company operating in all 50 states. They offer some of the most efficient solar panels on the market, with a 22.8% efficiency rating, and a 25-year complete system warranty. You can buy, finance, lease or enter a power purchase agreement for your panels. Note that SunPower Solar is more expensive than many competitors and does not do price matching.

TerraSol Energies

TerraSol Energies is a solar installer operating in four states. The company installs SunPower solar panels and offers a 25-year system warranty. Their installers are NABCEP-certified and install solar panels and inverters. You can either pay cash or finance your solar panels with TerraSol Energies.

Trinity Solar

Trinity Solar operates in nine states along the East Coast, offering solar panels and batteries. You'll receive a 5-year workmanship warranty and a 12-year warranty with the purchase of an inverter. You can pay cash, lease or enter a power purchase agreement. Trinity Solar's lease and power purchase agreements are fully covered by warranty.

Installation factors to keep in mind

  • The condition of your roof: Your roof will need to be in good condition before installing solar panels. A reputable solar company will conduct a roof inspection before solar installation. A few things your solar installer will be looking at on your roof are damage, pitch and angle, age and amount of tree cover. The angle of your roof plays a part in determining the efficiency of your solar system. A south-facing roof angled between 15 and 40 degrees is the ideal roof for solar panels, according to the US Department of Energy.

  • Homeowners association regulations: If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, check with them before installing solar panels. Delaware HOAs can't ban solar panels, but can impose reasonable restrictions on your system not affecting cost or overall performance.

  • Insurance coverage: Your homeowner's insurance company might cover solar panels. If they do, consider adding your solar panels to your insurance policy.

  • Your location: The more peak sunlight hours you receive, the more efficient your solar panels will be. Delaware is one of the cloudier states in the US, receiving an average of 4.23 hours peak sunlight hours per day.

  • Rentals: Since renters can't make permanent changes to the property they are renting, solar options for renters are limited. You can't install solar panels, but joining a community solar program could be an option. Community solar allows you to power your home using electricity generated from solar farms or companies.

Delaware solar power FAQs

Does Delaware offer solar incentives?

Yes. Delaware does offer solar incentives. Most of these incentives are grants and rebates offered by the state's power companies through the government-regulated Green Energy Program. Delaware also offers incentives for low-income homes to go solar through the Low to Moderate-Income Solar Pilot Program.

"Something that our Natural Resources and Environmental Control agency did was create a low-income solar program, which could pay for 70-plus percent of the cost of solar for a low-income customer. But there is a size limitation," said Slater.

Delaware has an SREC market and net metering. These are performance-based incentives that can earn you additional income based on extra power generated by your solar panels.

How much is electricity in Delaware?

Electricity rates in Delaware are on the higher side. Delaware has the 18th highest electricity rate in the US (14.61 cents per kilowatt hour), with the average electricity bill settling at around $138 per month, according to data from CNET's sister publication, SaveOnEnergy.

Is Delaware a sunny state?

Not particularly. Delaware ranks 34th (out of 50) for the average amount of peak sunlight hours per day. On average, Delaware receives 4.23 hours of peak sunlight in a day.


Is solar energy worth it in Delaware? ›

Delaware Solar Incentives

An instant 4% - 7% savings compared to neighboring states. Federal Solar Tax Credit: The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) also known as the Green Energy Tax Credit is one of the largest tax advantages of solar panels and is available in Delaware.

Is it really worth going solar? ›

Yes, getting a solar panel system is worth it for the excellent financial benefits and cost savings. However, solar panels aren't suitable for everyone. Residents with low energy needs, low electricity rates, or year-round inclement weather may not save money from a solar system.

Which state would be the best for solar energy? ›

The Best State for Solar Energy

California tops the list when it comes to solar energy friendliness. With nearly 150 sunny days per year along with an already robust solar system, job market and investments into the solar space, California is an ideal state for installing solar panels.

How do I know if solar is worth it for me? ›

If you experience higher electricity rates, switching to solar will likely be a good investment. However, if your home does not require a lot of energy consumption to operate day-to-day, you may not save enough to balance the installation cost.

What is the main downside of solar energy? ›

Solar energy systems can generate electricity in any climate. One of the disadvantages of solar energy is that it's subject to temporary weather disruption. Cloudy days reduce the amount of electricity you produce. Cold, however, doesn't affect productivity.

Does Delaware have a solar tax credit? ›

State property and sales tax exemptions in Delaware

There is no state property tax exemption for solar in Delaware. This means you may have to pay additional property taxes based on any value added to your home by going solar.

Do the pros outweigh the cons of solar panels? ›

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
Advantages of Solar EnergyDisadvantages of Solar Energy
Decreases use of non-renewable resourcesHigh upfront costs
Reduces power billSunlight dependent
Energy independenceSpace constraints
Long-term savingsEnvironmental impact of manufacturing
5 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

Do you really save money with solar panels? ›

Most Californians pay around $116.94 each month for power, so you'll save just over $1,400 annually if you can eliminate your energy bill. The average lifetime savings enjoyed by California solar customers is around $29,734, and that's after the upfront expenses of going solar are recuperated.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves? ›

The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years. This is a pretty wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years it can take to pay off your panels and the monthly savings you can expect.

How long do solar panels last? ›

The industry standard for most solar panels' lifespans is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more. The average break even point for solar panel energy savings occurs six to 10 years after installation.

What is typical ROI on solar? ›

What Is The Average Solar Panel ROI? The average ROI for solar panels in the U.S. is about 10%, but this varies depending on the location of your solar panels, your home and other factors. You can use a ROI calculator to determine the ROI for your specific solar panel setup.

What land is best for solar panels? ›

Land Condition. As with a traditional agricultural farm, the quality of the terrain will play a significant role in determining the viability and success of the project. Solar developers are seeking clear, flat land, with little to no wetlands, and minimal incline (5 degrees maximum).

Do solar panels void roof warranty? ›

In most cases, solar panels will not void a roof warranty. However, you have to be cautious of some companies that may install solar panels without considering the consequences of some actions, such as drilling holes in your roof.

How many solar panels are needed to run a home? ›

An average home needs between 17 and 21 solar panels to fully offset utility bills with solar. The number of solar panels you need depends on a few key factors, including your geographic location and individual panel specifications.

What is the payback on solar panels? ›

What Is The Average Payback Period For Solar Panels? The average residential solar power system payback is about 8.7 years, but it varies by location and property. So, the typical payback period is about 6 – 10 years.

Do solar panels affect home insurance? ›

Most rooftop solar energy systems are covered by standard homeowners policies, which doesn't change your insurance plan. However, you may need to increase the amount of coverage on your home to account for the cost of the system which can then raise your premium.

What are 5 bad things about solar energy? ›

The Top 5 Disadvantages of Solar Energy
  • Solar Panel Installations Can Be Expensive. ...
  • Solar Energy Doesn't Work at Night. ...
  • Solar Energy Storage is Expensive. ...
  • Solar Panels are Difficult to Move Once Installed. ...
  • Some Solar Panels Use Rare Earth Metals.

What are the solar incentives for Delaware 2023? ›

The Delaware Electric Cooperative (DEC) offers $0.50 for the first 5kW and $0.20 after 5kW. The DEC also offers a 20% rebate on solar thermal and fuel cell installation costs.

What is the Delaware solar incentive? ›

Delaware solar rebates

The grant pays out $700 per kilowatt (kW), up to a maximum amount of $6,000 for your home solar installation! For example, on an average sized 6kW system, you can expect a rebate of $3,600. The DEMEC green energy program rebate pays out $1,000 per kW, up to a maximum of $3,500.

Can you get free solar in Delaware? ›

Delaware has a variety of ways to get free solar panels. Programs from Delmarva Power and Light, Delaware Electric Cooperative, and the Delaware Municipal Electrical Corporation (DEMEC) offer rebates to cover some if not all of the cost of installation.

Why do people oppose solar panels? ›

Many people are against them because they think they take up too much space, they can be an eyesore, and they can impact property values. In addition, solar farms can interfere with farming and other land uses, be a danger to wildlife, and create a lot of heat – both in the daytime and at night.

Do solar panels charge in cloudy weather? ›

Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt.

Why don t more people use solar panels? ›

Why Doesn't Everyone Have Home Solar? Once solar technology became efficient enough to reliably generate enough power for the average homeowner to consumer, the adoption of solar exploded in 2008. This rapid growth is the primary reason most homeowners in California have not gone solar.

Why are my solar panels not saving me money? ›

Many homeowners use more power after going solar

If you start using more power after going solar than you were before going solar, you may not be saving money on electricity. Keep in mind that your solar system is designed to produce the amount of electricity your household was using before you went solar.

How much money do you save a month with solar panels? ›

The average 5 kW residential solar system can save $100 to $150 monthly on electric bills. The actual savings depends on various factors, including solar array size, energy usage, and electricity costs in your area.

How much will a 5kW solar system save me? ›

Using this number and multiplying the estimated system output by how much you pay for your power, you can see that with an investment of around $6,000-$8,000 for a 5kW solar system you can save up to & over $500 a quarter, and an impressive profit of $54,300 over 25 years on your power bills!

How long do solar panels take to install? ›

Solar Panel Installation (1-5 days)

The installation process itself usually takes only one to three days and is completed by a highly skilled team of in-house installers.

How long does it take for a solar panel to become carbon neutral? ›

Solar panels must be carbon neutral before they can be carbon positive and offset their carbon footprint. This process takes between 1 to 3 years on average, depending on the quality and condition of your solar system, as well as the amount of electricity generated.

Does hail damage solar panels? ›

Solar panels are designed to withstand different weather conditions, including hail and thunderstorms. However, just like your car windscreen can sometimes get damaged by extreme hail, the same can happen to your panels.

What happens after 25 years of solar panels? ›

The industry standard for the lifespan of solar panels is 25-30 years. However, a solar panel won't die after 25-30 years – rather, its power output will decrease a significant amount below what the manufacturer projected.

Do solar panels work all day? ›

Solar panels work hard all day producing electricity from the sun. They also support sustainable solar energy solutions at night. You can continue benefiting from their energy production after sunset through net metering and solar battery storage.

What is the 200% rule for solar? ›

However, grid-tied solar systems cannot exceed 200% of the owner's annual electricity usage. That means if you use 10,000 kWh annually, your solar system's annual production capacity can't exceed 20,000 kWh.

What is the 20% rule for solar? ›

For example, if the home's electrical meter enclosure safety label rating was 200 amps, then this rule allows an extra 20% of wiggle room, or 40 additional amps for solar power. Unfortunately, this additional 40 amps is not sufficient for many solar PV or battery energy storage systems.

How do solar panels work when covered with snow? ›

A dusting of snow has little impact on solar panels because the wind can easily blow it off. Light is able to forward scatter through a sparse coating, reaching the panel to produce electricity.

Is 2 acres enough for a solar farm? ›

There are no particular requirements when it comes to how much land you need for your solar farm. The land should be enough to grab the attention of solar developers. Thirty acres is a good number to start with. However, there are no strict requirements where you can't list land that is less than 30 acres.

Is south or west better for solar panels? ›

Solar panels don't need to be south facing but you will get the most output from a south facing system. It's better for solar panels to face south in the northern hemisphere rather than east or west. North-facing rooftops are the least optimal location for panels.

What state has the most homes with solar panels? ›

California has by far the greatest installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) power of any U.S. state.

Are roof leaks common with solar panels? ›

Roof leaks after solar panels are extremely rare. When roof leaking after the solar panels are fitted does occur, however, it usually becomes evident very quickly after the installation process is finished. Almost always, homeowners will notice the leak within the first year, when it begins to rain or snow.

Do solar panels tear up your roof? ›

Solar panels can cause roofing materials to deteriorate faster due to the extra weight, and they can also create an extra load on your home's cooling system. However, if installed and maintained properly, solar panels should not damage your roof.

Do solar panels increase the risk of roof leaks? ›

Roof Leaks

Solar panels, by nature, disrupt the flow of water along your roof, which can create leakage issues over time. If panels are installed incorrectly, leakage can also occur around the areas where the panels were bolted in and attached to the roof.

Can a house run on solar power alone? ›

Can a House Run Completely on Solar Power? The short answer: Yes, you can use solar energy to power your entire house. In fact, some people have used expansive solar panel systems to go off the grid completely, turning their homes into self-sustaining ecosystems (at least as far as energy is concerned).

How many solar panels do I need for a 2000 square foot house? ›

Thankfully, we've got the answer for you! A 2000 square foot house will need 28- 34 solar panels, which comes out to an average cost of \$3.50 per watt. Not only will installing solar panels save homeowners money on their electric bill, but they can also increase the value of their home.

How big of a solar system do I need for a 2000 square foot house? ›

So, a 2,000 square foot home would be allowed a solar array of 4,000 watts. Depending on the type of panel that you choose, a system of this size would be anywhere from 12-18 solar panels. Keep in mind, this formula to estimate consumption varies depending on who provides your electricity.

Does Delaware have a solar program? ›

The Delaware Electric Cooperative offers grants to offset the installed cost of photovoltaic, solar water heating, wind, and geothermal renewable energy systems.

Is solar exempt from sales tax in Delaware? ›

Delaware Solar Energy Tax Credit

Delaware does not have a solar energy tax credit or rebate. Some states have an additional savings program that can be very beneficial and help save, but Delaware only keeps their rebate or tax credit to the federal level.

How much does it cost to install solar panels on a house Delaware? ›

FAQs about Delaware solar panels

As of May 2023, the average solar panel cost in Delaware is $2.57/W. Given a solar panel system size of 5 kilowatts (kW), an average solar installation in Delaware ranges in cost from $10,922 to $14,778, with the average gross price for solar in Delaware coming in at $12,850.

What is the Delaware rebate for solar? ›

Delaware solar rebates

The grant pays out $700 per kilowatt (kW), up to a maximum amount of $6,000 for your home solar installation! For example, on an average sized 6kW system, you can expect a rebate of $3,600. The DEMEC green energy program rebate pays out $1,000 per kW, up to a maximum of $3,500.

Is installing solar a tax write off? ›

Installing solar panels earns you a federal tax credit. That means you'll get a credit for your income taxes that actually lowers your tax bill. You can qualify for the ITC for the tax year that you installed your solar panels as long as the system generates electricity for a home in the United States.

How much can you write off solar panels on taxes? ›

Value Of The Solar Tax Credit

In 2023, the Residential Clean Energy Credit covers up to 30% of the cost of your solar power system. However, you may be surprised to learn that there is no maximum dollar amount that can be claimed as a tax credit for your solar installation!

Is solar income taxable? ›

You earn a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) for every 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) or 1 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity your system produces. Companies purchase these credits at market price. The money exchanged is taxable and goes toward your income.

Will Delaware give free solar panels to low income residents? ›

Low-Income Qualifying Applications

Low-income qualified homes will receive a cost-free solar installation of up to 4.0 kW.

What is the Delaware payback program? ›

The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment assistance for healthcare professionals who agree to practice in a medically underserved area of Delaware. Applicants must agree to practice for a minimum of 2 years, and are eligible for up to 4 years of funding.

How does net metering work in Delaware? ›

When you have a solar system and are being billed for net metering, you are charged only for the net amount of energy you use during each billing period. In other words, this is the amount of energy we deliver to you minus the excess amount you send back to the smart grid.

How much is a solar system for a 2000 sq ft house? ›

How much does it cost to put solar panels on a 2,000-square-foot home? Although the amount of energy a household uses will influence how many solar panels it needs, it will likely cost around $20,000 to install solar panels on a 2,000-square-foot home.

How much solar panels do you need for a 2000 square foot house? ›

A 2000 square foot house will need 28- 34 solar panels, which comes out to an average cost of \$3.50 per watt. Not only will installing solar panels save homeowners money on their electric bill, but they can also increase the value of their home.


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