Below you’ll find the top solar companies in Delaware as ranked by us and reviewed by verified solar customers. To learn more about what goes into our “Best Rank” score for each company, visit our How We Rank page. For our full Delaware Solar Overview, keep reading:
Though not widely known for solar energy, Delaware has made recent strides to reduce its carbon footprint and promote clean, renewable energy sources in the state. The Diamond State has set an ambitious goal to attribute at least a quarter of its total energy output to alternative energy by 2025. At around 11 percent currently, the state certainly has some ground to cover. Thankfully, Delaware has made going solar easier than ever.
Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of going solar in Delaware.
Here's an at-a-glance description of the current benefits and drawbacks of switching to solar in Delaware:
Although the cost of solar in Delaware is relatively low (between $11,000 and $14,000 for solar panels alone on average), at 10 to 14 years, the payback period in Delaware is higher than in comparable states. This disparity is likely due to the low sunlight levels in the state; Delaware only gets about 200 sunny days each year, just below 55 percent. Although solar panels can still operate efficiently in low sunlight, this nevertheless affects the total output over the life of the system.
Consequently, Delaware residents may have to pony up more money to achieve the same level of energy efficiency enjoyed by sunnier states like California. The average size of a solar PV system in Delaware is around 10 kilowatts — almost twice the capacity of other states. Before the federal tax credit and state-level rebates, a whole system can cost upwards of $27,000, but will have saved homeowners more than that amount over the system’s 25-year lifespan.
Purchase, solar loan, solar lease, and power purchase agreement (PPA) are all available options for Delaware residents interested in going solar:
Purchasing a solar system with cash not only qualifies buyers for the federal solar tax credit (30 percent), but also ensures a relatively fast payback period when compared with other financing options. Delaware awards solar owners up to $3,000 in solar rebates, and when the federal tax credit is applied post-rebate, the cost of a 9.8 kilowatt system will be reduced from about $27,000 to a much more manageable $18,900. Less the first year of energy savings, and that figure drops by another $1,500.
Assuming the system pays for itself in about 12 years, customers will see a net profit of about $30,000 over the next 13 years, with the home value increasing by up to $19,000.
For solar customers interested in owning their system, but don’t have $27,000 just laying around, the solar loan is an effective solution. Qualified homeowners could conceivable receive a home-equity line of credit (HELOC) worth up to $27,000, at a 4.5 percent interest rate and 15-year repayment term.
Accounting for the federal solar tax credit and Delaware’s GreenGrant rebate program (worth up to $3,000), loan payments will still be higher than monthly energy payments — but that difference will decrease as utility costs increase. Once the loan has been paid off after the first 15 years, homeowners will see savings amount to more than $21,000 over the next 10 years.
Since 2014, Solar leases in Delaware have been swiftly rising in popularity. Increased competition in the state among solar installers, along with favorable policies, have made solar leases an effective way to invest in solar without a huge upfront cost. Lease terms in Delaware are typically set for 20 years and come with predictable monthly rates for the life of the contract — sometimes with the option to purchase the system for the fair market value.
PPAs allow solar companies to take advantage of solar rebates and tax incentives, and pass those savings onto the customer. Solar customers who opt for a PPA will only pay for the energy their systems produce for a lower rate than the typical electricity bill. In Delaware, PPA customers will effectively pay about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is only slightly lower than the average utility cost of 13 cents. That difference might seem small at first, but over the course of a month, it translates to about $20 off the monthly bill, or $9,000 over the 25-year term of the PPA contract.
In addition to the federal tax credit, which credits solar customers in Delaware 30 percent of their total system costs back after the first year, Delaware has a few solar incentives that can maximize savings even further:
As one of the few states to offer competitive solar rebates in the nation, Delaware’s Green Energy Grant will credit customers at a rate of $500 per kilowatt on systems up to 6 kilowatts in capacity — a credit worth up to $3,000!
Despite having no state-level tax credit or property tax exemption, Delaware will not tax solar panel owners on their solar energy system, which can result in hundreds of dollars’ worth of savings.
Solar policies in Delaware are fairly competitive when compared with the rest of the country. The state’s emphasis on clean energy use has made going solar in Delaware all the easier:
The state’s renewable portfolio standard (a policy mandating clean energy account for a set percentage of the state’s total energy output by a predetermined date) is lofty at 25 percent by 2025. If utility companies do not meet this standard in the allotted time (the current figure is between 11 and 12 percent), they can expect to swallow some significant fines from the state.
As part of the state’s RPS, Delaware has set aside 3.5 percent exclusively for solar energy. Along with this carve-out, Delaware is awarding solar customers $32 per solar renewable energy credit (SCREC) — or one megawatt of energy — which can amount to about $500 per year.
Delaware’s net metering policy is as straightforward as they come: if a home solar system contributes more than its fair share to the power grid, utility companies are required to credit system owners for that energy. This comes in the form of a credit to the next month’s electric bill.
Interconnection rules describe requirements set by utility companies before solar energy systems can be “plugged in” to the power grid. Delaware has decent interconnection rules, though they still leave something to be desired. Rules are fairly standardized across systems up to 10 kilowatts, but fees between $60 and $75 apply to larger systems.
Delaware has installed over 145 megawatts of solar energy in the state — enough to power more than 17,000 homes. Currently, 29 separate solar companies and installers operate within the state, employing nearly 500 people.
Interested in a solar quote? Check out the top-ranked solar companies in Delaware and read reviews from verified solar customers.