Virginia Solar Incentives: Federal Tax Credit, Rebates, Net Metering VA

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

Solar Panels | March 18, 2024

Man collecting money from the state of Virginia solar incentives which lower the cost of solar panels in Virginia with federal tax credits, renewable energy exemptions, net metering and more.

Knowing how to use Virginia solar incentives, including the federal solar investment tax credit, state rebates, and net metering can help you reduce the cost of solar panels in Virginia.

Virginian homeowners and residents are saving a fortune on utility bills using solar panels for home electricity, and if you find the ever-rising energy costs unbearable and would like to join them, this is the guide you need.

Don’t worry if it all seems daunting; if you don’t know where to start when it comes to finding the right solar company, how to select the right product and any other information you need as a prospective solar user in Virginia, you are at the right place.

Thanks to Virginia solar incentives, the cost of solar panels in Virginia is on a downward trend, and you should hop on the boat as soon as possible.

Read on to find out how you can reduce the price tag on your solar installation and what this change could mean to you and, even more importantly, the well-being of future generations.

Solar Power in Virginia

When Solar City Virginia set base, it was a step in the right direction, as it urged the residents to take a closer look at solar power as a viable alternative energy source.

Several other companies followed suit, and now the solar market in the state is going nowhere but forward, attracting more investors and consumers in equal measure.

VA is now in the top ranks when it comes to solar energy, and this is all thanks to the state’s continued focus on renewable energy.

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

The numbers have it that the amount of energy that is coming from the panels in Virginia can power over 470,000 homes; this is approximately 5.5% of the total electricity in VA.

The Virginia Solar Summit and other conferences and events are also clever ways that can be used to sensitize the public about the new technology.

The state is also working day and night to ensure that it achieves its goals of making Virginia a clean energy zone by the year 2050. But has all this worked over the last few years?

Yes, it has. It is exciting to see that the cost of solar panels has dropped by as much as 11% over the last five years, which is welcome news for prospective buyers.5

Being a state with so many sunny days, it only makes sense that the panels are an excellent purchase. The sunny days are right at the same level as the national average of 205, which is not bad at all.

Map of the state of Virginia with each county colored to show the daily peak sun hours in each Virginia county ranging from 3.8 to 4.21 daily hours of sunlight.

In fact, Lynchburg (219), Roanoke (214), Norfolk (213), and Richmond (206) all have plenty of sunny days than the state’s average, as you can tell, which is fantastic for setting up solar power.

Thanks to the friendly climate in Virginia,8 you will never have to complain about it not being sunny enough for your panels.

How Much Are Solar Panels in Virginia? What Is the Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia?

Here comes the big question, what exactly is the cost of solar panels in Virginia?

Solar panels mounted on racking situated on a building rooftop with the Senate building in the background.

(Image: MN Senate DFL19)

Any new buyer wants to know this because the cost is the biggest factor that tells you whether you should go for it or not, whether it is worth it, or not.


You would know that there is a myriad of factors that ultimately determine how much your solar panel should cost in VA.

However, the figures are roughly $22,380 – $30,250. All new installers will find the price tag at any point within this range and it all depends on the individual household.

It is also the right time to state that Virginia has local incentives and tax credits for you as a new buyer to fall back on. By the end of it all, you will realize that the installation costs are way lower than the figures pointed out above.

Later on, you will find out why panels are cheaper to acquire for some and not for everyone. This rate should not startle you; admittedly, it seems a little high at first, but before you say anything, you need to know the reason behind it.

Why Is the Cost To Install Solar Panels So High?

It is needless to say that one of the first questions from virtually any new solar owner is why are solar panels so expensive. It is a warranted question because it is a five-digit investment, not only in Virginia but also in all the other parts of the county, and the world even.

There is a logical explanation behind this though, and it starts by understanding the components of the solar panels.

This product is basically made from very expensive raw materials, for instance, silicon and lithium.

Besides obtaining the raw materials, manufacturers also have to check the panels all through the entire production process, which always proves to be pretty costly, which in turn also affects the marked price of the product.

At that point, you still haven’t accounted for other components, from the wires to the batteries. Also, don’t forget that there are labor costs for the installation.

When all this is said and done, the numbers can be pretty huge. Thankfully, there are rebate programs that can ease some of the burden off your shoulders.

How Does Solar Panel Cost Calculator Virginia Work?

It is understandable that you want to know what to expect before you can make the commitment.

Closeup of a tilted solar panel array installed on the ground with a land form and clear blue sky in the background.

(Image: Ken Acks20)

That is exactly what online cost calculators for Virginia work give you a rough figure of what the installation should cost you. With this knowledge at the back of your mind, it will be easier for you to budget and compare costs.

The only thing that the online software requires from you is the correct details about your household and the system that you need.9 Each is designed differently, and you can follow the prompts to enter the required information.

You should expect to be asked about where you live, your utility bills for the previous month, how much energy you really need, and a few other questions.

It is these details that are going to generate the estimated cost of your solar panels, a number that you can use as a guide when you get started.

Solar Panels Cost: Factors Affecting the Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia

As previously pointed out, you can pay less for a system while your neighbor pays more. Why? Each household is different, and so is the individual preference and budget. If you are a first-timer and don’t know how much do solar panels cost, these are the factors to watch out for that could potentially mean spending more or less on your installation.

Your Utility Costs

Your solar panel installation has to match your energy needs, that is why your average utility cost matters. It will determine how many panels you actually need to satisfy all your requirements.

When you keenly look at it, this also determines your installation cost, because the more power you need, the more panels you need, and the more elaborate the setup will be, which means that you will have to dig deeper into your pockets.

Type and Quality of the Panels

One thing you notice when going shopping for solar panels is that each comes with its own price tag. They vary in terms of brand, quality, and material.

Let’s say you want to go for a crystalline panel, you will immediately realize that it costs way more than a thin film solar, and the reason is simple.

Panel prices are determined by their durability and performance, and the thin film types are not quite as effective.7

But this shouldn’t rope you into buying the cheap ones because you don’t want to get stuck with a system that keeps breaking down and doesn’t last nearly half of the recommended panel lifespan of 25 years.

Ease of Installation

This is probably self-explanatory but the easier the system is to install, the lower the installation costs.

Here is the breakdown, if you have a simple properly-angled roof, the installers will take a short time setting up because they won’t need specialized equipment and will simply rack the panels.

However, the case is different for those with flat roofs or insufficient room for the panels at the top. This would mean that you will have to budget for special equipment that would help angle the panels.

And if your roof is too old or too small, you will have to go for ground mounting, which can be quite expensive.

The Solar Company

Perhaps one of the biggest decisions you are going to make is finding the right solar panel installer.10 What you need is a reputable brand that has been in the business for a while and understands all the ins and outs.

They will know which types of solar panels will best handle all your needs and will basically offer you the best that the market has to offer.

The only problem is that some can be too expensive and still be providing the same products that another company would offer for a lower price.

You should always take your time when looking for the right company for the job, otherwise, you will only end up unnecessarily spending more.

Why Go Solar in Virginia?

You can ask anyone that has gone solar in your area, and you bet that they will tell you that they don’t regret it.

As you can tell, governments are strongly pushing for the agenda, it makes you wonder what is so special about solar power, and there is a huge list to answer that. But these are the main reasons why you should reconsider.

Reduced Energy Costs

Electricity boards in the country confirmed that utility bills increased in almost all the states over the previous year. Sadly, they will keep increasing in the future unless you do something about it, install solar power.

You no longer have to worry about huge electric bills at the end of the month and you will end up actually saving quite a lot of money, especially if you have high energy needs. It is even better when the system pays itself off and you can literally enjoy free power.

Power Independence

A lot of people in the country, and in fact, the world over, rely on non-renewable energy and grid power. The excessive pressure explains why there can be outages, and it is also possible for the weather to cause interferences.

You can break out of overreliance and generate your own energy thanks to solar power.

You can say bye to blackouts and utility bills and hello to reliable power that comes from the sun. To make it even better, you can buy a battery backup system for use at night and on cloudy or snowy days.

Related Reading: Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days, at Night, in Rain? Yes & No (Here’s How)

Government Incentives

One of the main reasons why the number of panel owners is increasing is due to solar rebates from the government. Virginia solar incentives have been instrumental tools in the reduction of the cost of solar panels in Virginia, and experts state that the solar market is only likely to improve.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the best time to hop onto the bandwagon is now when the government is offering such exciting incentives.

Increased Home Value

Another exciting reason why you would want your Virginia home to go solar is that doing so helps increase your home value.

If you are wondering just how much does solar increase home value, you will be shocked to know that your house can go up by as much as 4.1%.1

This backs up the fact that solar panel installation is a great investment, even in the real estate sector. You can see how lucrative it is even for solar farmers.

Green Energy

It is obvious by now that solar power is cleaner than any other traditional electricity. It emits less GHG, comes from a purely renewable source, and the carbon footprint solar panel produces is not that high.

Besides, there are solar panel recycling plants in various cities in Virginia that can help you dispose of your system when it has reached its maximum service life.11

Virginia Solar Incentives

Like in many other states, it is easy to see that the solar market in Virginia is slowly shaping up nicely, thanks to the government’s involvement.

Large solar panel arrays mounted on solar panel rackings situated on the ground showing the distance and angle solar panel arrays should be arranged.

(Image: Jason Blackeye21)

It is no wonder Virginia is in the top ten in terms of the number of solar systems installed. And the following incentives will probably take the credit for this.

The Federal Solar Tax Credit (Solar Investment Tax Credit) ITC

Federal energy credits are in full use throughout all the states in the country, including Virginia.

It is more commonly known as the ITC and comes from the government, and it is exciting to realize that it is the best incentive you can ever apply for in Virginia; how? Simply put, there is no other rebate program that will give you 30% off your solar panels installation cost.

If you apply for one in Virginia, it could mean a tax credit of up to $9,000, considering the total cost of installation. The 30% rate is in effect until 2032, but then it will drop to 26% after that and drop even lower in 2034 to 22%.3

If you were waiting for the right time to get a move on it, it is best to do it now before it expires in 2035, that is, unless it is renewed by Congress.

All you have to do to claim it is apply for it with Form 5695 from the IRS the next time you file your taxes.18 This may seem a bit complex at first, but it is quite simple.

Besides, if you don’t want to risk it, you can always seek help from tax experts. It is important to demystify some myths about the ITC to help you avoid some mistakes.

For starters, please note that this is not a cashback program where you will get a check at the end of the year to offset your cost of installation.

It is but a tax credit, money that is exempted from the amount of taxes that you owe. Which brings us to one common question, how does the solar tax credit work if I don’t owe taxes?

It doesn’t work. The federal tax credit is for tax-paying citizens who have a tax liability.

In an ironic twist, it will be a good thing to be owing the government money. The ITC is credited to your tax liability, and unfortunately, you cannot qualify for it unless you owe money to the government.

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC)

Unfortunately, Virginia doesn’t have a state tax credit, and the best that you can get from the state is the SREC, which is also quite an attractive Virginia solar incentive.

How does it work? It offers energy credits for all solar power producers in VA in terms of kWh.

To put it more in perspective, the SREC market offers you one credit for every 1,000 kWh you generate.12

You can accumulate these points and sell them on the market or get cash backs that you can use to offset your loans, say if you took one to pay for your system.

Note that Virginia has a cap on how much you can get for every credit at a maximum of $75. A more accurate example is that if you have an 11KW system, you can generate more than 10 SREC every year, which gets you more than $400.

Net Metering Virginia

Net metering is a billing method that has proven to come in handy for Virginians and a lot of solar owners all around the country. When you come to think of it, sometimes you cannot fully rely on your panels, especially if you don’t have a battery as a backup.

You may end up asking yourself, what about at night or on cloudy and rainy days?

Net metering Virginia is the only solution at that point. If you cannot rely on the panels to be efficient, you can pull power from the grid instead.

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

In exchange, the grid can obtain surplus power from you when your panels are generating way more electricity than you require. When you do this, your utility provider offers you credits that you can use to pay for the power you obtain from them.

This is a great deal if you think about it that helps you save a lot of money, but still, you can also go off-grid if you want. You can buy a battery to help store the excess energy for night-time or during weather interferences.

Besides, not connecting to the grid is the last resort for Virginians who use municipal utilities because they don’t offer net metering, unlike the large utility companies that are required to do so by law.

Residential Property Tax Exemption

As of the start of the year, Virginia started offering property tax incentives to its residents, which have also been of great advantage in helping boost the solar market. But how does this work, and how is it a solar incentive?

Wide shot of solar panels arrays installed on the grounds of Fort Hunter Liggett in California.

(Image: John Prettyman22)

Tax and energy credits make a lot more sense as incentives, and you may wonder what this has to do with it.

Well, for one, you know that property taxes increase when your home value increases, right? That is exactly what installing solar panels does to your home.

It increases your house’s value by about 4.1%, which means that your property taxes are expected to rise too. But that is not the case, all thanks to the tax exemption.

Installing panels does not increase your taxes, which helps you save a lot of money when you think of it.4

How Do Virginia Solar Incentives Reduce Solar Panel Cost?

Virginia solar incentives have come at the right time when the state is striving to reach its renewable energy goals by 2050.13

You can also take full advantage of them before it’s too late because regulations tend to change, and they are currently quite favorable. You may ask, how exactly do they reduce the cost of solar panels in Virginia?

Let’s start with a look at the ITC, which is a nationwide program and the most lucrative at that. You know that you must pay your taxes, right?

This means that if you receive a tax credit, it is more or less the same as you getting cash back. If you look at it like that, it means that you will get 30% off of the cost of your panel installation, which is quite a lot of money.

The same applies to the SRECs. Their policies mean that you can sell your credits that can help you offset your solar loans or reduce the amount of time it takes for the panels to pay for themselves.

Net metering does the same thing since it helps you save a lot of money that you would have otherwise used to pay for utilities.

Factors To Consider Before Applying for Virginia Solar Incentives

Applying for the incentives is the easiest part, but getting them, well, that’s a whole new discussion.

Like any other program, there are chances that you may not get them, and as a keen new solar owner, here is what you should know before applying for Virginia solar incentives.

Find Out the Rules

Every program has a unique set of rules, and incentives are no different. You want to always make sure that you have all the guidelines at your fingertips; this way, it will be easy to apply for them because you will know exactly what they expect.

Take, for instance, the solar tax credit. It may be open for all applicants throughout the country, but there is a catch, you must be a tax-paying citizen to access it.

If you don’t owe taxes, sad news. You can’t receive the incentive, let alone apply for it.

Determine the Requirements

The process will be much simpler if you know the requirements and know that you meet them. You don’t want to keep your hopes up only to find out that you are missing something.

An excellent example is the federal ITC, which requires that you be the owner of the solar panels and that it should be a brand-new system.

Unfortunately, you will be out of the selection if you are in a solar lease, where the panels don’t belong to you but the solar company. Second-hand solar systems are also not allowed because the goal is to get people to convert to renewable energy, which will be quite tasking to determine if people sold panels to each other.

Know How To Apply

Obviously, you cannot receive an incentive that you have not applied for, and this applies to all forms of programs. No one will walk to your door and ask whether you are interested in rebate programs, and it is entirely up to you to actively seek these services.

Luckily, everything you need is online, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Besides, if it seems too complicated, you can always hire experts to help.

What To Look for in a Solar Contractor in Virginia

A solar contractor is one of the most crucial factors in the entire process.14 One wrong move could mean shoddy work, dealing with damages, and other costly mishaps.

Eye-level shot of the front of a residential house showing solar panel installation on the roof with the clear sky in the background.

(Image: Patriot Energy Solution23)

Of course, you need to know what to look for as a first-timer, and here are some tips that may come in handy.

Make Sure That They Are Licensed

You can look up Virginia’s requirements for solar contractors and check whether whoever you are dealing with has the relevant license and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certification (NABCEP).6

Check Reviews

Since they are people you will be working with for the first time, and not only that, on one of the biggest projects you will ever do in your home, you want everything to go right.

The best you can do at this point is to seek referrals from neighbors, friends, and family. You don’t want to compromise on the level of experience.

Ensure That They Use High-Quality Products

The best contracts know better than to use low-quality materials. With experience, they should know which brands are known to produce the best panels, inverters, cables, and other required materials.

It won’t be guesswork, and any job they do should be worth the price of installation.

Should You Buy or Lease Solar Panels in Virginia?

While everyone will advise you to buy solar panels, there are cases where leasing will be the right call because, regardless, you will still be converting to clean renewable energy.

The two have a fair share of ups and downs, and it is upon you to consider which one works best for you.

Leasing solar panels is when you enter an agreement with a solar company allowing them to set up the system for you at little or no cost, and all you have to do is to pay a monthly rate.

This rate depends on the agreement because some companies offer fixed costs, while others go a step further to let you pay only for how much power you use.

This option usually works best for those on a tight budget and who cannot afford to foot the entire cost of the installation process. If this is the go-to for you, and you don’t want the burden of going for solar loans, the best you can do is to carefully read through the contract and see what the agreement requires of you.

However, note that such contracts automatically make you ineligible for Virginia solar incentives.

The bottom line is that you are not the rightful owner of the system; therefore, you cannot claim it enough to receive any rebates.

It may be very cheap, but there are more advantages to owning all of it instead.

Related Reading: The True Cost of Leasing Solar Panels (Pros & Cons of Solar Leasing vs. Buying)

Is There a Statewide Solar Panel Tax Credit Virginia?

Sadly, Virginia is not the best place if you are looking for an additional tax credit besides the federal solar ITC.15

Unlike in other states where there are up to 25% tax credits, Virginia is yet to implement that, and there are currently no plans underway to change this. It is quite a bummer if you are relocating from a state that offers that and more incentives.

For now, you have to make do with the government’s rebates, net metering, SREC, and other local incentives.

But still, it doesn’t mean that it is not a great place for solar ownership; you can always make good use of the available incentives and end up saving a lot of money in the process.

Virginia Solar Incentives: What Is the Best Virginia Solar Program?

Since there is no stateside solar incentive, the best that you can get from Virginia is probably the federal solar tax credit.

Eye-level shot of an open field showing rows of solar panel arrays mounted on solar panel rackings.

(Image: Mark Stebnicki24)

It is not dedicated to the state but is the most lucrative and likely the first incentive that Virginians apply for first. Why is that?

Well, 30% is quite a lot of money if you think about it.

It is the one that gives you the most savings, unlike other programs, and should always be at the top of your list when considering the best solar incentives, regardless of where you are in the country.

What Does the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority Do?

Anything you know about the solar market in Virginia must pass through the Virginia solar energy development authority.16 It is mandated fully by the state to ensure that there are favorable policies that promote the increased use of solar power among the residents and other entities in the state.

They are the ones that massive corporations go to when they want to set up solar projects anywhere in the state. They make this a success and provide a conducive environment all in the interest of the growth of solar power.

Are There Free Solar Panels Virginia?

One thought must have crossed your mind throughout this discussion, how to get solar panels for free in Virginia.

It is an exciting thing if you think about it. Imagine bypassing all the expensive things and not having to pay a dime for them. Sadly, that doesn’t happen in the state, no, in the country.

There is nowhere that you can go and find free residential solar panels. There is always a catch.

If you hear anyone talking about free solar panels, best believe that they are talking about solar leases.

These are the Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) where the company installs the system at little or virtually no cost, but you have to pay for the service at the end of the month, the same thing you do with utility bills.

Let nobody hoodwink you into believing that you can get panels for free. It is either a solar lease or a solar loan, both of which you will have to pay for.

How To Pay for Solar Panels Virginia

You will find very many payment options when buying solar panels in Virginia.17 But what about solar incentives and rebate programs, you ask.

Well, remember that you have to fully finance the project before you can start thinking about the incentives. They are usually aimed at increasing conversion rates, and this is only achievable if they are sure that you have successfully installed the system.

Cash is obviously the first way to pay, but only if you have the total amount of money in question. You won’t have to think about high-interest rates or wait for a long time before you can start anything.

The upfront cost, however, will be quite high, and if on a budget, you will have to save for a while.

Alternatively, if you don’t have that much money in your account, you can always opt for a more convenient way, which is solar loans. By doing so, you will have to adhere to the interest rates of the financier,2 which can be quite a challenge because you will still end up paying more.

Solar leases and PPAs also work for a lot of people because there are no pricey upfront costs; you only have to pay something at the end of every month.

What Are Some of the Virginia Solar Incentives?

Virginia boasts of some really lucrative incentives, but the most popular one that many homeowners go for is the federal solar tax credit which offers a whopping 30% tax credit. Besides that, the state also has SREC programs where the solar power producers receive a credit for every one kWh they generate.

There is also the net metering policy that helps save a lot of money, and lastly, the property tax exemption that deters your taxes from increasing after your house’s value does the same.

Is the Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia Worth It?

If you are struggling with the thought that installing solar panels in your home in Virginia may not be worth it, rest assured that it could be one of the best decisions you will ever make for your home. It is simple.

Aerial shot of a grassy field showing the sun and sky's reflection on the surface of the solar panel arrays.

(Image: Tom Fisk25)

Everyone is looking for a way out of paying hefty monthly utilities that seem to only go up every instance. Therefore, the question, are solar panels worth it in Virginia, is a definite yes.

What better alternative than your very own solar power? It is your ultimate ticket out of the grid, and you don’t have to suffer during blackouts and weather interference.

You can buy a battery that keeps the power on even at night and stay completely independent of punishing electricity costs.

If you are a proud Virginian and are looking for how to escape the escalating electric utilities, the solution is solar power. It is what every government is proposing, and you want to hop onto it as soon as possible when there are attractive incentives to reward you as a new panel owner.

Apart from the 30% tax credit from the government, you can also enjoy SRECs, net metering, and property tax exemptions.

Therefore, the high upfront cost should not startle you because there are incentives to help reduce the burden.

Virginia solar incentives are doing a great job of keeping the cost of solar panels in Virginia in check, and if you are waiting for a sign to install solar power, this is it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Solar Incentives

What Is the Cost of Solar Panels in Virginia?

Buying solar panels in Virginia will set you back between $22,380 – $30,250 however, remember that the cost can go high or up depending on the particular household in question and its energy needs. You may end up paying much more or less for the installation, depending on various factors.

How Does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Work in Virginia?

Like in virtually every other state in the country, the solar tax credit works only for those with a tax liability. If you owe the government money in the form of taxes, you will be exempted from paying as much as 30% of what it costs you to install the solar panels in the same tax year.

Read More About Virginia Solar Incentives


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