Lower Cost of Solar Panels In Kansas: Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, Rebates

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Solar Panels | March 15, 2024

Man holding a solar panels collects cash from Kansas solar incentives after learning how to reduce the cost of solar panels in Kansas using the solar tax credit (ITC), net metering, and Kansas solar energy PPAs.

Thanks to Kansas solar incentives that lower the cost of solar panels in Kansas, many residents and businesses are beginning to take advantage of the technology in order to lower their energy costs and footprint.

For years, people around the world and the United States have been reaping the benefits of solar power.

Although residential solar panels (when placed on existing structures) reduce the amount of environmental pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, by converting sunlight into usable electricity, solar panels do come with their own share of environmental detriments, to be discussed below.

Additional benefits include lower cost of utilities and non-dependence on grid issued power.

By using Kansas solar incentives, residents and businesses can lower the cost of solar panels in Kansas and take advantage of the ‘free’ power that comes from the sun.

Solar Systems: Kansas Daily Peak Sun Hours

The solar systems of today are,6 highly efficient and relatively affordable. They basically consist of the solar panes.

The racking needed to mount them on the roof or the ground, an inverter to convert the DC electricity produced by the panels to AC electricity used in houses and by the electrical grid, and associated wiring, control panels, etc.

The biggest cost is usually from the panels themselves.

Map of the state of Kansas with each county colored to show the daily peak sun hours in each Kansas county ranging from 4.36 to 5.2 daily hours of sunlight.

They are made by layering sheets of silicon that have been chemically treated to a charge difference. When sunlight hits them, photons initiate a transfer of energy which emits electrons into electrical current.

It is considered a highly efficient and sustainable form of energy.

There are many options for deciding on a home solar system. One common one overseas is a solar water heater system.7

It basically uses sunlight to directly heat a tank of water that is then pumped into a residence when required. This is less common in North America where gas utilities dominate.

The most common residential solar system type is a grid-tied system. With this, the solar system is tied into your home electrical system, which in turn is tied into a utility power grid.

This means that the solar system can automatically switch between supplying your house with electricity and, when there is a surplus generation, supplying the larger power grid. This means that you will benefit from the practice of net metering (discussed below) by which, when you send electricity to the grid, you receive credits for electricity received.

The third type of system is an off-grid system. Solar water heaters are technically off-grid systems, but more commonly this refers to a PV system that, instead of sending surplus energy to an electrical grid, sends it to local battery storage.

This means that it can be doled out when needed. This type of system is obviously most common in off-grid homes.

Off-grid system users can still take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, however, since they do not sell electricity back into the electrical grid, they will not benefit from net metering credits.1

Solar Kansas: Existing Solar Farms

Some people wonder how suitable solar power in Kansas is compared to other areas. Well, this basically comes down to measures of solar irradiance, which is a measure of energy received from the sun for a specific unit of surface area in watts per square meter.

Usually, it is also specified over a specific time period and can instead be measured in joules. The biggest factors in determining the value of this score are distance from and exposure to the sun.

Another large factor is the tilt of the surface. This is why rooftop solar panels will often be mounted on racks, depending on the existing tilt.

It’s also why advanced solar farm can have automatically tilting panels. It allows them to track the sun and capture maximum energy.

Map showing locations of solar plants in Kansas using yellow markers and Kansas solar panels with a US cut out showing the location of the state of Kansas.

There are several measured types of solar irradiance the most common being Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI).8

In Kansas City, each month records an averaged f 4.24 (kWh/m2/day), meaning that the state is a great candidate for the benefits of solar power.

Solar Panels for Home in Kansas

The lower cost of solar panels in Kansas unfortunately is not helped by state-level rebates. This just means that there are no special benefits at the state level for using solar power.

However, Kansas residents are able to take advantage of the two great financial incentives, which are the Federal Tax Credit and Net Metering.

Does Solar Increase Home Value?

Does solar increase home value? Absolutely.

How much it increases depends on various factors, such as the size and age of the system and electricity rates in the area. Remember, a solar system can offset all of a property’s energy bill, this will absolutely be a factor when estimating home value.

Solar Kansas City (Solar Panels Kansas City)

Some might be wondering if solar opportunities are different in Kansas City versus the rest of the state. From available information, it seems like the opportunities in Kansas City are no different than those in the rest of the state.

This means the primary Kansas solar incentives are the Federal Tax Credit and net metering practices which can reduce electricity costs.

Cost of Solar Panels in Kansas: Are Solar Panels Worth It in Kansas?

Many people wonder, “Are solar panels worth it in Kansas?” Solar panels are a strong investment for the state of Kansas.

A residential system can cost about $15,000 upfront. A third of that should be saved thanks to the federal solar tax credit.

Once your system is installed, net metering benefits begin. As you sell electricity back to the grid, you receive credits against your own electrical bill.

Most systems in Kansas will pay for themselves in under a decade and save their owner an estimated $20,000 over a 20-25 year lifetime.

Kansas Solar Panel Installation

The specifics of solar installation are largely due to the installation company you choose to hire. From contacting them, to actually generating electricity for your own home can take a couple of months.

Typically the installer will visit and inspect the site for an appraisal. Different employees may come back to actually plan the specifics of the installation, and what goes where.

During all this time of course you will be paying the installation company, and filling out paperwork that entitles you to rebates and likely also net metering compensation. There may also be building permits involved depending on your living situation.

Often an installer will take care of some of the paperwork for you when they can. After they come and physically install the solar panels and equipment (this may take less than a day up to a couple, for a typical home) they will perform a final inspection.

Close up view of solar panel installation on rooftop by two workers.

(Image: Lucas Braun14)

Then your local utility company will come to inspect the system and finally engage its connection to the grid. From there you will start receiving the lucrative credits toward your energy bill.

The costs of installation will vary based on factors like the type of system, your specific requirements, and the installer you choose to work with.

Cost of Solar Panels in Kansas Breakdown: Solar Panel Installation Cost Kansas

In the State of Kansas, the average cost of a residential PV system is estimated at around $2.59 per watt. A standard 7.9-kW system will power the average home in Kansas City.

By these numbers, the average residential solar system in Kansas will be around $15,000 – $20,000. Of course, this price will vary based on the exact wattage required, the installer you choose, equipment specs, permits, etc.

The Federal Tax Credit is designed to reduce costs by a full 30%. Next comes net metering for grid-tied systems.

This is when the solar system starts paying back by selling electricity to the grid.

The average Kansas residential solar system will likely pay for itself in under 10 years and can save the owner around $20,000 over a conservative 20-year lifetime.2 This makes the current cost of solar panels in Kansas a great opportunity.

Cost of Solar Panels in Kansas: How Much Are Solar Panels in Kansas?

A standard residential PV solar system in Kansas costs around $15,000. This price can be higher or lower depending on a range of factors including your installer, system size, etc.

The price should be offset by the federal solar tax credit. A grid-tied system will also be offset by net metering and should pay for itself in less than a decade, generating around $20,000 in profit over its lifetime.

Why Are Solar Panels So Expensive?

Solar panels are complex electrical technology. They use rare metals and are required to survive outdoors for decades.

Most panel systems are designed to profit their owners’ tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes. This helps explain why are solar panels so expensive.

Solar Panel Cost Calculator Kansas

The price of your system will be largely dependent on the size and type of panels you need. Various online calculators exist for this purpose.

All numbers however should be taken as estimates. For a quote, contact a reputable solar supplier in your area.

DIY Solar Panel Installation

The lower cost of solar panels in Kansas can be helped by DIY installation. Of the total cost of solar panel installation, a good estimate for the installer’s cut is around 10%.

This means that DIY installation could potentially save you money.

DIY solar kits are available from some hardware stores and online dealers. However, keep in mind that you will need a licensed electrician to perform the hook up process.

However, all in all, these kits are more likely to cost you money in the long run.

First, it’s important to consider the opportunity costs of time and money. Solar panel installation is not a small job, and paying for it upfront may in fact be the most cost-effective.

If you are untrained you are probably more likely to make mistakes which could cost you later on. Most professional installers offer warranties on their work.

Another factor is the federal solar tax credit which effectively means that you will be able to save 30% of installation cost. Overall, paying for professional installation is probably the best approach when arranging solar power for your residence.

Choosing a Solar Installer

Obviously, the cost will be an important factor. Other factors include quality of installation and general customer service.

For this, reviews will likely be your best bet. If you know anyone who has had solar panels installed in their residence, asking them about their experience and for a potential recommendation would be a great approach.

Another huge consideration is the environmental consciousness of the solar installer. The most important considerations here are the sourcing and disposal of solar panels.

Many solar installers have robust recycling programs and it is important to choose one of these. If solar panels are improperly disposed of, or in some cases even ‘properly’ disposed of they can cause severe environmental damage which is also likely to harm humans.

Recycling also reduces the amount of new material that needs to be sourced, so in that way, it is a double benefit for the planet and for humanity. Solar and battery recycling infrastructure are still in relatively early stages of development, but they are among the most important projects for the long-term sustainability of solar power.

Choosing an installer with a strong recycling program contributes to this growing infrastructure.

Solar Panel Financing

There are basically three ways to finance solar panels. The first is to pay upfront.

This can be expensive but is often more lucrative in the long run. You are eligible for all credits and don’t have to pay anything further.

Another option is basic financing. Most often the best option is to do this with the solar installer.

Basically, they will install your system and you will sign a plan committing to pay off the panels over an agreed-upon time period and at an agreed-upon rate. This is a good way to avoid the high up-front costs of solar installation, but like all financing plans, is usually more expensive in the long run.

A third option is called a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). It is also done with the solar installer.

In this arrangement, the installer will put solar panels on your house free of charge, they will also incorporate a meter and you will pay the installer company per unit of electricity generated. While this arrangement also allows the solar customer to avoid up-front costs, compared to buying a system, it becomes more expensive over time.

Even more so because it is not eligible for the federal tax credit. The credit is only eligible for PV system owners and covers around %30 of the total system cost.

That means that those who opt for PPA will not benefit. Upfront purchase is the recommended option.

It will most likely be most profitable in the long run.

Can I Get Free Solar Panels Kansas?

There are no free solar panels available from the state or federal government in Kansas. Almost always ads for ‘free’ solar panels are really ads for PPA programs such as those explained above.

An installer will set up solar panels on your property and charge you for units of electricity generated.

This arrangement should not be preferred by the customer because it is ineligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit and, notwithstanding, will still almost certainly be more expensive in the long run.

Is There a Way To Learn How To Get Solar Panels for Free?

Most solar installers advertising free solar panels are in fact marketing a type of PPA agreement. With this, they will install panels on your property and charge you per unit of electricity generated.

In the long run, it almost always turns out to be more expensive than buying upfront and does not make the resident eligible for the federal solar tax credit.

Kansas Solar Incentives: Kansas Solar Rebates (Kansas Solar Program)

Some states offer various rebates for solar systems such as sales tax exemptions. Unfortunately at this time, Kansas solar incentives are not robust, making it one of the worst states for solar energy.

Hopefully, this will change in the future, but even without it, solar panels are an excellent financial choice. As it stands, Kansas residents are still able to take advantage of the Federal Tax Credit and net metering (discussed below).

Kansas Solar Incentives: Will Solar Incentives Increase?

Will solar incentives increase? Solar incentives in Kansas are not set to increase in the immediate future.

However, in the past decade, incentives and investments in renewable energy like solar have only increased. So it is likely that various state and federal programs will appear to further incentives solar.

Federal Solar Tax Credit (Kansas Solar Tax Credit)

The biggest solar tax credit available in Kansas and the best of the solar rebates from the government is the federal solar tax credit.9 This credit is not exclusive to Kansas or Kansas solar incentives; it is available to all US residents.

The basic structure is that you can deduct 30% of the cost of a residential solar system from your annual taxes. The costs include equipment costs, installation costs, permits, inspections, etc.

Close up view of form 1040 from IRS.

(Image: techieguy15)

So it is very inclusive. There is a natural question “What if 30% of the cost of my solar system exceeds my taxes owed for the year?”

This is often the case for retirees for example. Unfortunately, the federal energy credits only serve to reduce taxes owed for the year installation was completed.

This means that you will not receive money if applying the tax credit brings you into a negative tax debt for the year. The good news is that any unused portion of the tax credit can be applied toward tax for the following year.

This federal incentive is set to decrease in coming years and even expire eventually pending congressional renewal. It is an excellent incentive to install solar power in your home.

It should be noted that the credit only applies to panels you have purchased, either outright or often through financing.

The credit will not apply for example to PPA agreements. If you are renting and investing in a collective solar project for your building or a community solar project for your neighborhood, for example, you may still be eligible.

The panels do not have to be mounted on your roof, they just need to be on your property and generate power for residential use. They do not even have to be connected to a utility grid; the solar tax credit applies even for off-grid systems.

To take the ITC in Kansas, complete IRS Form 5695 with your standard Form 1040.10

Net Metering

A residential PV solar system generates electricity whenever there is sun, and supplies it to the local residence. But this means that it will sometimes be generating electricity when it is unneeded, and might not be generating electricity when there is need.

In other words, the sun might not always accommodate electricity needs. So how is this issue resolved?

Well in an off-grid system, usually with batteries. These store surplus energy and distribute it during a deficit.

However in a grid-tied system, surplus electricity is not sent to be stored in batteries, it is effectively sent to the utility company (“the grid”). In exchange you receive credits.

These credits offset the electricity you take from the grid during a deficit. The process is called net metering.

It is the primary means by which residential solar systems make their owners money.

Pie chart showing Kansas renewable energy consumption including Kansas wind energy, biomass energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectric energy and solar energy in the state of Kansas for 2022.

You can visit the Kansas Corporation Commission website for more information.11

But in general, to be eligible, your PV system should be located on a property you own or control, be in compliance with all utility safety standards, be intended to offset your electricity needs, and have a mechanism that disables the flow of electricity to the grid in case service is disrupted.

It should be noted, net metering is not exclusive to solar energy, it is available to producers of various kinds of clean energy, such as wind and hydro as well.

Kansas Solar Incentives: Kansas Net Metering

The State of Kansas established net metering first in early 2009 with the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act (see K.S.A. 66-1263 through 66-1271). In July 2010, the Kansas Corporation Commission passed a set of standards (K.A.R. 82-17-1 through 82-17-5) regarding the implementation of net metering.

Among them are additional protections for the utility company. Net metering is probably the best of the Kansas solar incentives.

Kansas only has two investor-owned utilities (IOUs): Evergy and Empire District, so it would be impossible to rely on market forces to compel them to offer the service of net metering. In fact, they are required to provide it.

They are also required to supply customers with a free bi-directional meter. However, this happens on a first-come, first-served basis only until the point when the generation capacity of the net-metered systems is equal to 1% of the utility company’s peak demand for the previous year.

This of course is an extremely low percentage number,12, and displays just how little the Kansas Corporation Commission and its utilities care about solar customers and renewable energy.

The statutes mentioned above do not require electric cooperatives or municipal providers to offer net metering. But some have elected to do so in various ways under their leadership.

To obtain specific information regarding net metering for these organizations, they should be contacted directly.3

Environmental Impact of Solar Panels

Solar energy is considered an environmentally friendly alternative to energy from fossil fuels. The main reason for this is that the burning of fossil fuels for energy produces carbon and other greenhouse gasses as by-products.

Fossil fuels also have to be sourced and extracted and are available on Earth only in limited quantities. Solar panels, by contrast, can generate energy from the sun, a practically inexhaustible resource, without any such by-products.

However, the production and disposal of solar panels themselves do cause serious damage to the environment. Comparing the damage of solar energy to that of fossil fuels is a bit of apples to oranges, however, it is important for solar consumers to understand their particular detriments and how to mitigate them.

First, there is a carbon footprint solar panels. A lot of this is from the pure logistics of sourcing and transporting all the necessary raw materials necessary.

This of course is done by various machines, planes, and boats. Energy is also required in order to melt down the silicon.

However, this collective carbon footprint is not a serious factor when compared to that of fossil fuel energy. The real issue with solar panels is their toxicity and the mining practices required to get the materials for both panels and batteries.

Solar cells are made primarily of silicon and glass. Both of these resources are considered non-toxic and fairly abundant.

Depending on where and how they are sourced, they may be more or less damaging to the environment, but in general, are not big issues. It is the other metals in the panels that raise concern.

Metals like silver, cadmium, lithium (for batteries), cobalt, and tellurium to name a few can be extremely toxic for the environment. Even extracting them can cause air, soil, and water pollution, damaging people and the planet, especially local ecosystems and communities.

These toxic metals are often extracted in countries with little to no human or environmental safety standards.

There are several different types of solar panels, and each has its own exact profile of risks and benefits.

One of the most contested types of panels is thin film solar panels. They can actually be manufactured from a variety of materials, however, all kinds include an array of extremely toxic metals, including cadmium telluride.

These are all extremely damaging to source and manufacture with. They undoubtedly cause serious human and environmental harm.

Once the solar panels have been built, however, the story isn’t over. The same metals which posed so many risks at the beginning of a panel’s life pose risks after the end.

If solar panels are disposed of in landfills the toxic metals are able to leak into the environment, causing damage to air, earth, and water in local environments. This is one of the reasons why solar recycling has been garnering increased attention as a first-world industry.

It is probably the best way to deal with end-of-life environmental concerns from solar panels. And, since recycling theoretically reduces the need for sourcing new materials, it is one of the best ways to address those issues as well.5

Panel Degradation

So if solar panels are renewable energy, why and how do they wear out? Firstly, they can be affected by weather conditions.

Hail or other debris can damage the panels. So can heat waves or heavy snow.

Remember, the panels are complex electronics left out and exposed to nature for decades.

The panels can also be damaged by light itself. This so-called Light Induced Degradation (LID) can take a few forms.

Firstly, while the panels are set up, light-generated heat can actually warp the electronics. In addition, the silicon cells can interact with the outside environment, lowering efficiency.

Photo of two solar panel modules installed using pole-mounted racking system in the middle of a forest.

(Image: Tiia Monto16)

Probably the most common form of Light Induced Degradation is from UV radiation. This can cause the crystalline silicon oxide on the panel to turn to boron dioxide, which makes the panel less efficient.

Another type of degradation is called “potential-induced” (PID). It happens when different components of the solar system operate at slightly different voltages, causing voltage leaks that reduce the flow of electricity.

Most estimates report that solar panels lose around .5% of their efficiency every year. This means that over a typical thirty-year life span, they will be generating around 15% less power than at the beginning.

How To Preserve Your Panels

Firstly, buy from a quality manufacturer. Now, for most residential buyers, in practice means buying from a quality installer.

Do not be afraid to ask your installer for the specifics of solar panels, how theirs compare to those of competitors, and if they have different options. Many solar panels with low upfront costs in fact have proportionally lower lifetime value because of a higher failure rate.

Panels should be assembled from high-quality materials in a high-quality way, stored and shipped safely, checked for damage, and properly installed.

Solar Recycling

Some estimates predict that in the next decade, there will be enough recoverable valuable material from end-of-life solar panels to produce about 60 million brand-new panels. The total value of this recoverable material would be around half a billion dollars.

In addition to this financial incentive, solar recycling would save space in landfills and preserve human and ecological health. It would also create jobs in the local communities.

However, those jobs would likely be displacing jobs in underdeveloped countries where the resources are extracted. These countries usually have little to no safety standards, so job displacement is a difficult ethical question.

Some newer panel models have a polymer seal designed for weather resistance. However, this seal impedes disassembly and therefore recycling.

Usually, they take an enormous amount of heat to remove.

By weight, solar panels are mostly glass. Fortunately, there already exists a robust glass recycling industry in most countries.

The metal framing can almost always be reused. And usually over 80% of the silicon in the panels can be extracted for reuse.

Plastics can also be recovered albeit with solvents in a way hazardous to workers and the environment.

However, this leaves out most of the rare and highly toxic metals such as cadmium discussed earlier. The unfortunate truth is that, while many of these have potential as recyclables, far too often they end up in landfills, endangering people and the planet.

Solar Panel Recycling Process

There are a couple of different recycling processes. The panel can be shredded and crushed to expose materials, then spun with solvents and passed through screens to isolate them.

Alternatively, they can be heated to remove plastic components and etched to remove all but the glass metal, and silicon. There are several other processes, however, none is the consensus best.

Close up view of burnt out isolator of a solar panel system on the roof.

(Image: h08017)

As solar panels continue to gain popularity and phase into end-of-life, solar panel recycling will likely develop into a more efficient, accessible, and profitable industry.4,5

How To Recycle Solar Panels

The best way to recycle your panels at the end of life is to reach out to your installer. The manufacturer they sourced from should have a recycling plan.

You can also search the website of the US Department of Energy of Environmental Protection Energy.13

Solar Panel Reuse

Arguably the best thing to do with your solar panels when they are no longer suitable for a residential PV system is simply to find ways to reuse them. There are many options here.

Panels still operate when they slightly degrade past their maximum generation capacity. So they can simply be used for less demanding functions that do not require the same high current output.

They can be used as battery chargers for residential use, or attached to lamps, E-bikes, etc.

A statewide program for solar panel reuse and reapplication would also contribute to the lower cost of solar panels in Kansas.

By using Kansas solar incentives, both residents and businesses can reduce the up front cost of solar panels in Kansas, and over time, achieve years of free energy.

Frequently Asked Question About Kansas Solar Incentives

How Does the Solar Tax Credit Work if I Don’t Owe Taxes?

The federal solar tax credit cannot be applied if you don’t owe taxes to achieve something like a negative tax balance.3 However, any unused portion of the credit can be rolled over to the next year’s taxes.

Read More About Kansas Solar Incentives


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3Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (2023). Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics. Department of Energy. Retrieved July 5, 2023, from <https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/homeowners-guide-federal-tax-credit-solar-photovoltaics>

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10IRS. (2023, February 17). About Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits | Internal Revenue Service. IRS. Retrieved July 15, 2023, from <https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-5695>

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14[14] Rooftop Photovoltaic Array Photo by Lucas Braun. (2010, December 10) / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rooftop_Photovoltaic_Array.jpg>

15Tax form, Irs, Tax Photo by techieguy. (2019, March 25) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from <https://pixabay.com/photos/tax-form-irs-tax-taxes-finance-4080693/>

16Panels in forest Photo by Tiia Monto. (2016, June 6) / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved July 12, 2023, from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panels_in_forest.jpg>

17Solar panel failure Photo by h080. (2019, September 10) / CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Resized. Flickr. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/7718908@N04/48712454378/>