The cost of solar panels has been driven down considerably in the past 5 years, but the cost of the panels themselves is just one factor of the price that goes into adopting solar solutions for your home.
Among other things to consider are federal tax credits, state-based incentives, property tax incentives, and the incentives given by the respective power companies in the area.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 cities where going solar is the most worthwhile.
10. Reno, Nevada
After Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation (Assembly Bill 405) that let homeowners get 95% of their retailers’ electricity rate for the energy consumers send back to the grid, the cost of solar panels in Reno has markedly declined.
This is especially true when considering Nevada’s previous legislation, which made residential solar a not-so-viable option despite its clean energy generation.
Although Las Vegas is a saturated market and provides the same incentives as Reno, the Reno market is yet to make a spectacle of solar in the same fashion that Las Vegas has.
And, let’s face it: Las Vegas is just better at creating spectacles than any other city in America, let alone any other city in the state of Nevada (the world’s largest convention center solar array exists in Mandalay Bay).
9. San Antonio, Texas
Texas produces and uses more energy than any other U.S. state. In fact, Texas uses nearly twice the industrial energy of the state ranked at number two in industrial energy consumption—Louisiana.
One might think that a state that made its riches off oil and coal wouldn’t be such a promising hub for rooftop solar, but even the most hardheaded cowboys can’t deny the financial opportunities solar panels provide not just for their city, but for their homes as well.
Recently ranked as the 6th best city in the country in terms of solar potential, San Antonio is the Lone Star State’s soon-to-be residential solar hub.
Although utility scale solar is the predominant reason behind San Antonio making it to this list, the residential rooftop solar market is an equally profound reason as San Antonio’s solar prices are projected to decline with steepened competition and greater options available to homeowners.
8. Salt Lake City, Utah
The Utah solar panels market, although undergoing changes in net metering and financial incentivization, is still one of the best places in the world to go Solar.
The Utah net metering changes will not stop the state’s solar companies from selling or consumers from buying, but they do create extra complexities for the market.
These complexities present an opportunity for solar companies to diversify, and therefore grow within the state. Power company changes needn’t curb innovation if solar companies in the area rise to the occasion and find a way to diverse their product offerings.
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
The absurd electrical costs in Hawaii (given its remote location) are what make this beautiful island state, and its capital city a truly great place for solar. Honolulu also provides a reasonable time-frame for return on investment with rooftop solar, as most residents see payoff slightly over 5 years into their usage of solar.
Additionally, the 30-year savings a resident of Honolulu stands to make with the average solar solution is over $70,000. That’s enough to buy a new corvette to cruise the state’s beautiful highways!
6. Washington D.C.
One can argue that residential solar was born when President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed atop the roof of the white house.
Although our current president may not consider solar power as the beacon of hope that President Carter did, the citizens of Washington D.C. have followed Carter’s lead as the cost of solar panels in Washington D.C. has markedly declined.
The tax credits for rooftop solar in Washington D.C. also make a solar-powered home viable for residents.
The solar loans given for a 5-kw system provide the best return at a 16-25-year profit margin that’s difficult to beat (with a 9.5k value, and the solar purchase of a 5-kw system is almost as effective with a net value slightly under 6.5k).
5. Indianapolis, Indiana
The per capita solar PV capacity has exploded in Indianapolis at 127 DC-watts per person. What’s more, the total solar capacity rank is in the top 5 of the nation’s cities. As one of the foremost cities in the nation for solar, Indianapolis ranks fourth in the United States for per capita solar capacity.
4. San Diego, California
Although San Diego is part of the California sunbelt and has already installed a significant amount of solar power, its population density makes the city have plenty of room for solar panel growth.
With under 20% of the city’s technical potential for solar reached, San Diego is a great potential hub for solar despite its relative solar saturation.
3. Albany, New York
If there is one city responsible for all of New York’s great solar incentives, it’s Albany.
Despite harboring lower electricity prices than the rest of the city, those responsible for shaping the policies that affect the state have remained privy to the rest of the state’s needs in the solar department.
All it takes to receive the tax credit in Albany for rooftop solar is filling out the tax form IT-255.
2. Newark, New Jersey
The cost of solar is becoming increasingly affordable in Newark, and the city is spearheading many of New Jersey’s clean energy efforts.
Additionally, New Jersey is one of the states in most dire need of a clean energy overhaul. Some of New Jersey’s poorer neighborhoods have pollution rates among the worst in the nation.
In addition to the affordability of solar, solar programs for public housing and low-income neighborhoods can also take off in Newark, setting a standard for clean energy production in government housing programs.
1. Boston, Massachusetts
When you couple extremely expensive electrical bills with a generous solar incentive, you have a hefty uptick in the demand for rooftop solar.
Aside from the great solar incentives for residences, the cost of solar panels in Boston is more than enough to offset the long winters and cloudy days as it takes much less time to recover your initial investment (5 years).
Additionally, the state’s personal tax credit proffers 15%, and Boston homeowners can receive ample credit from their utility companies on a per megawatt hour basis.
The best part of that is that homeowners can resell the power to industrial-scale buildings striving to meet state-based clean energy production standards.