While Wisconsin ranks 23rd in the nation in solar installations,Governor Tony Evers has put forward an ambitious plan to reach 100% carbon-free energy by 2050, with solar energy at the center of that strategy. Solar panels are increasingly popular in the Badger State despite the relatively cheap traditional electricity rates compared to many other states.
SaveOnEnergy, which is owned by CNET's parent company, reports that Wisconsin is among the top ten states with the lowest electricity bills. Coal is one of the main sources of electricity generation in the state. Wisconsin's average November residential electric bill was $113.92, or $1,367.04 per year. However,recent rate hikes by Wisconsin utility regulators will make electricity more expensive in 2023. Going solar could help you save money on electricity bills, protect you from utility price fluctuations, cut residential carbon emissions and boost your home's value.
The cost of solar panels has significantly dropped over the past 12 years, making them more accessible to average Americans. A study by theNational Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the cost of residential solar panels has decreased by 64% since 2010.
Best Solar Companies of 2023
Wisconsin solar panel cost
The quantity and type of panels, your component preferences, installation fees, roof condition, local permitting costs and several other factors determine the cost of a solar system. You can anticipate different pricing in your city due to location-specific charges and incentives. According to data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, residential solar installations in Wisconsin are cheaper than the national average because they're smaller than the national average. Per watt, Wisconsin solar actually costs more.
Wisconsin vs. the US
| ||System size (kW)||Price per watt||Installed cost|
Investing in solar panels isn't cheap. If you can't purchase them outright, you can finance your system with a loan or enter a lease or power purchase agreement. All these options are available in Wisconsin but it's important to note that committing to a solar lease or a PPA will disqualify you for any tax credits, rebates and other incentives because you won't own the system. Typically, the solar installer who leases you the panels will benefit from all financial incentives.
Advertiser Disclosure: SaveOnEnergy, owned by CNET's parent company Red Ventures, can help you find the right energy fit for your home. The SaveOnEnergy marketplace helps you search, compare, sign up and save on the right energy fit for your home -- all for free. If you're interested in solar, answer a few questions to get an exact price quote from our solar advisers.
Wisconsin solar panel incentives and rebates
While solar panel costs have decreased over the last decade, they still cost thousands of dollars to own. Wisconsin residents can take advantage of the federal solar tax credits and state incentives to reduce the initial cost of solar. You can deduct 30% of the cost of a solar system from your federal income taxes through the federal ResidentialClean Energy Credit (previously available under the Investment Tax Credit). This credit applies to systems of all sizes installed between 2022 through 2032. The credit decreases to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034 and ends in 2035.
You can claim the Clean Energy Credit by completing and submitting form 5695 (PDF) to the IRS. Read through the IRS instructions on how to fill out this form. Once the IRS signs off on your paperwork, you will receive your solar savings in credit when you file your federal tax return for the year.
Apart from the Clean Energy Credit, Wisconsin provides several incentives to encourage the development of the residential solar sector.
|Net metering||Net metering lets you send your excess solar generation to the power grid and lower your next utility bill by receiving a credit. The state's Public Service Commission mandates that utilities provide retail rate net metering credits equivalent to a solar customer's monthly power consumption.|
|Focus on Energy rebates||All qualified homeowners in Wisconsin can receive a flat, one-time $500 solar rebate when buying and installing new solar panels on their rooftops, regardless of system size. It's essential to check the Focus on Energy's site to confirm if your utility takes part in this program.|
|State solar sales tax and property tax incentives||Wisconsin provides sales and property tax exemptions on solar equipment. Thanks to these incentives, you won't pay taxes on the added home value from your solar system. You can claim these exemptions when you file your state tax returns.|
Wisconsin solar companies
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 182 solar companies operate in Wisconsin, including 73 solar installers. Below, we'll highlight five of the companies working in the state, including companies that feature on CNET's solar company best list.
All Energy Solar
All Energy Solar provides solar and energy storage services for residential, commercial and utility-scale customers in the Northeast and Midwest, including Wisconsin. The company manages the entire purchasing process in-house, including solar system design, installation, local permitting and post-installation monitoring. All Energy Solar partners with large solar manufacturers like Enphase Energy, Q Cells, Tesla and SolarEdge Technologies. The company provides up to 10 years of quality-of-work warranties in Wisconsin. All Energy Financeoffers direct financing to its solar customers, which means you work directly with the installer to pay for your loan.
Solar Power World magazine, a leading solar publication in the US, ranked Arch Solar as one of the top solar installers in Wisconsin in 2022. With more than 90 employees, Arch Solar handles the installation in-house. The company partners with solar and battery industry manufacturers like Enphase, Generac, SolarEdge and Tesla. While solar panels and inverters come with a 25-year warranty, Arch Solar provides only a five-year quality-of-work warranty for residential customers.
Endries Solar and Electric
Endries Solar and Electric provides full-service solar and battery installations for residential and commercial customers. The company customizes each solar system for client needs and is also a certified installer of Generac solar batteries. If you need solar financing, Endries Solar and Electric consultants can walk you through your loan options and payment strategies. The company provides afive-year quality-of-work warranty.
Home Team Energy
Home Team Energy specializes exclusively in residential solar panels, battery storage and EV charger installations. It's a certified installer of Enphase products. As a small solar company, Home Team Energy manages all solar customers in-house. The installer encourages all customers to contact the company with any solar system problems for quick troubleshooting and repairs. The company provides a 25-year quality-of-work warranty; most of the installed equipment also comes with a 25-year warranty.
Operating in half of the US,Palmetto Solar is one of the leading American solar panel and battery installers. The company installs Q Cells monocrystalline solar panels. You can also opt into Palmetto's extra solar services, like Palmetto Protect Plan, which will provide solar system monitoring and discounts on panel cleaning, pest abatement, battery installation and other perks for $8 a month. You get a 25-year performance warranty, a 25-year quality-of-work warranty and a minimum 12-year product warranty with Palmetto. If you can't purchase a solar system, Palmetto gives you the option to take out a solar loan or enter a lease or a PPA.
Important installation factors
|Condition and angle of your roof||Your roof's pitch can add to how much a solar project will cost. Find out if your roof has the right angle to make the most of solar generation. According to the US Department of Energy's estimates, an angle between 15 and 40 degrees is optimal for solar panel efficiency. It's also essential to hire an experienced solar installer who can advise you on your roof's condition and whether it needs replacing before installing solar panels.|
|Investment vs. time||Think about the length of time you will live in your home before taking on a solar loan or entering a long-term PPA or leasing. All these options are long-term commitments. If you move several years after getting solar panels, a solar investment may not be worth the effort and expense. The average payback period for solar ranges between six to nine years.|
|Insurance coverage||Including a solar system in your homeowner's insurance policy is a good idea as it can offer more protection for your solar equipment. Consult with your insurance company about your policy's coverage of a solar system.|
|HOA and neighborhood rules||Wisconsin's solar access rights allow homeowners unlimited access to the sun. It means that homeowners' associations and neighbors won't prevent you from installing solar panels on your property in Wisconsin.|
Wisconsin solar power FAQs
Will I lose power with my solar panels if there is an outage in my area?
Yes, for most solar systems. After your solar system is installed, your home remains tied to the main electric grid to use it as a backup when the sun isn't shining and powering your solar panels. You could have electricity during a power outage if you also install a solar battery.
Does Wisconsin provide a solar tax credit?
Wisconsin doesn't provide a solar tax credit if you acquire solar panels. You can use the 30% federal tax credit and state and local incentives to reduce the initial cost of solar panels.Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency offers an exhaustive list of solar incentive programs in Wisconsin, which can help you find more cost-saving opportunities.
Is it worth getting solar panels in cold states like Wisconsin?
Yes, it's often worth going solar in Wisconsin. It's possible to produce solar energy even inAntarctica. Solar panels need sunlight, not heat, to generate power. Cold weather provides optimal efficiency and operation for solar panels because their highest efficiency internal temperature is between 59 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, certain types of solar panels are more efficient than others. Your solar installer can help you decide which panels make sense for your rooftop.
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The average Wisconsin homeowner uses around 694 kWh monthly, which means solar will be a good investment for most homeowners in the area. The state's energy needs are lower than the national average, however, meaning solar will give you the opportunity to save less than residents in most other states.What are the 2 major drawbacks to solar power? ›
- The high initial costs of installing panels. The most commonly cited solar energy disadvantage, cost, is declining as the industry expands. ...
- Solar energy storage is expensive. ...
- Solar doesn't work for every roof type. ...
- Solar panels are dependent on sunlight.
- Does your roof need repairs? ...
- What is the shape of your roof? ...
- Which direction do the slopes of your roof face? ...
- How much weight can your roof handle? ...
- Where will the water go? ...
- What about nature's other surprises? ...
- How do you connect to the grid?
Based on the price of electricity in Wisconsin, with an average of 14¢ per Kwh and the average amount of sun exposure, solar power is 3% more cost-effective in Wisconsin than in the rest of the nation.What is the biggest downside to solar electricity? ›
- Cost. The initial cost of purchasing a solar system is fairly high. ...
- Weather-Dependent. Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops. ...
- Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive. ...
- Uses a Lot of Space. ...
- Associated with Pollution.
Is It Harder To Sell Your House With Solar Panels? It's possible to sell your house with solar panels. Rocket HomesSM data for the full year 2021 showed that homes with solar panels spent 13.3% less time on the market and were 24.7% more likely to receive an offer over asking.