Cost of solar panels in Connecticut (2024)

How much is it to go solar in the Constitution State?

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Big house with solar panels on a hill in on a bright sunny day

Average solar panel installation costs range from $11,104 to $31,726 in Connecticut. How much you pay depends on the size of your system, what incentives you’re eligible for, your home’s sunlight exposure and other factors.

Based on feedback from hundreds of solar customers in Connecticut, the general consensus is that solar panel investments pay off over time. Assuming an upfront purchase, it takes about 6 years to break even (when your savings with solar panels make up for the cost).


Key insights

The average solar panel installation costs $3.20 per watt in Connecticut. “Cost per watt” is similar to the price per square foot when you buy a house. It helps you compare the value of solar energy systems in different sizes.

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The federal solar investment tax credit is usually the most significant financial incentive for homeowners buying solar panels. It is not a rebate or a refund but goes toward what you owe on federal income taxes.

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In Connecticut, you can lease a system or enter a power purchase agreement with lower upfront costs. However, you won’t be eligible for the federal tax credit if you do.

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How much do solar panels cost in Connecticut?

With professional installation, a typical 6-kilowatt residential solar panel system in Connecticut costs $19,036. That price drops to $13,325 after the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).

The size of your solar panel system is a big factor in your overall solar costs. A typical Connecticut household needs a system with a capacity of 9.01 kW to offset enough energy costs to make solar viable. Depending on your household energy usage, you might need a smaller or larger system.

Average solar panel installation cost by system size in Connecticut

This doesn’t include the cost of a solar storage battery, which sometimes costs as much as the panels. Solar batteries are a must if you want real energy independence and essential if you go off-grid. Permitting, utility fees and maintenance also add to the cost of going solar.

Are solar panels worth it in Connecticut?

Installing solar panels leads to big long-term savings on electricity bills for Connecticut homeowners. Many solar customers we spoke to have seen their monthly costs drop dramatically since going solar.

“We decided to go solar to save money and for the environment,” Neal in East Haven, Connecticut, told us. “It was one of the best decisions of our life.” Another resident, Michael in Somers, Connecticut, was especially thrilled to see his summer air conditioning bill decrease from $800 to $19 in the first year with solar power. He told us he lives in a 5,000-square-foot home, and his annual electric bill dropped from $4,000 to around just $100 after installing solar panels.

For some, like Brian in Hampton, Connecticut, solar panels are worth it for a combination of reasons: “I decided I wanted to install solar to help manage my energy cost; reduce my reliance on the grid and contribute (to) the environmental benefits of solar,” he told us.

Homeowners with solar panels typically save $20,000 to $90,000 over 25 years.

But it doesn't work out for everyone. Cara in East Haven, Connecticut, had issues with roof leaks after the panels were installed. She also still has high electric bills some months — combined with solar panel payments, it ends up more expensive than what she was paying for just electricity before.

We suggest using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's PVWatts Calculator to estimate how much electricity a solar panel can produce over a year on your house — just type in your address. Project Sunroof is a free solar savings estimator powered by Google Earth imagery.

If your house is a good candidate for solar, it’s worth it if you like the idea of lower monthly utility bills and more energy independence. Particularly, many Connecticutians seem happy with solar. In fact, it ranks among the best states for solar. Over 25 years, homeowners with solar panels avoid $83,759 in utility costs on average.

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

It was one of the best decisions of our life.”
— Neal in East Haven, Connecticut

Solar panel installation cost factors in Connecticut

The equipment — solar panels, inverters, mounting hardware and other electrical accessories — is typically the largest portion of your overall total costs (approximately 25% to 50%). Labor, which includes planning, preparing and connecting your system to the grid, accounts for 10% to 30%. Local permits and fees are a small part of your overall costs.

Most installers set the price according to the system's wattage, with a typical cost between $2.50 and $5 per watt. In Connecticut, the average cost per watt is $3.20.

Solar panels

Most of your solar equipment costs come down to how much you pay for solar panels. Monocrystalline panels are considered the best bang for your buck. Cheaper solar panels are typically polycrystalline. The difference comes down to efficiency and materials: Monocrystalline panels are made from pure, single silicon crystals; various silicon fragments melted together are used to make polycrystalline panels.

Solar panel efficiency is a measure of how well a panel makes electricity. The more efficient the solar panels you buy are, the fewer panels you need. While more efficient panels cost a little more, you save by buying fewer panels.

You might also have to spend more if aesthetics are important to you. For example, Angela in Branford, Connecticut, assumed that her panels would be black, but they weren’t. “Black would be an additional charge. We decided it wasn't worth the additional charge to get it,” she said.

Additional solar equipment costs

Systems also contain mounting equipment, wiring and other devices, such as inverters, batteries or a monitoring system.

  • Solar batteries: A battery stores energy for later use. It’s a must if you want real energy independence, and they sometimes cost as much as the panels. Prices often depend on the battery’s storage capacity, life span, brand and other factors. Expect to pay between $7,000 and $18,000, though some cost $30,000 or more.
  • Solar inverter: Inverters convert the electricity generated by your solar panels from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Inverter costs usually range from $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Monitoring system: Some companies include a solar monitoring system to track how much energy your system produces and if there are any problems. If not, you can get one for $80 to $400.

Size of your system

The cost difference between a 6-kilowatt system and a 7-kilowatt system is thousands of dollars. To estimate what size system you need, first look up how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you used last year on your electricity bill. Divide that number by 1,200. This will be roughly the system size you need. For example, if your home used 30,000 kWh last year, you would need a 25-kW system.

» WATT’S THE DIFFERENCE? kW vs. kWh

Condition of your roof

Quality solar panels should last 25 to 30 years, so you need your roof to last just as long. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay to remove the panels, fix your roof and reinstall them again. This is a frustrating and expensive process you should avoid if you can. If you’ve been thinking about replacing your roof, it’s a good idea to do that before getting solar panels.

ConsumerAffairs hears often from disgruntled solar customers who felt blindsided by expensive roof repairs needed after their solar panel installation was complete. It's important for your roof to match the system’s longevity if you want to ensure a seamless and cost-effective solar journey. Get your roof inspected, fixed or replaced before you get a solar energy system.

Labor costs

The cost of hiring professionals to install your solar system varies based on project size and complexity. Labor costs are usually included in your system's initial price estimate, but be sure to confirm before committing to a contract.

Solar equipment costs are going down, but labor costs are higher than ever in some areas. Installing solar panels yourself might initially seem cheaper because you'll save on labor costs. However, it's crucial to consider several factors for safety before going the do-it-yourself route. If not installed correctly, solar panels pose safety risks, causing roof leaks and other problems.

Local permits and fees

Permit fees can vary quite a bit. Each Connecticut town has different permits and zoning processes. For instance, all Southbury permits are online, but in Derby, you have to call an electrical inspector on the phone. In Middlebury, there’s an online permit for rooftop solar, but ground-mounted systems require a separate zoning permit. The fees also vary from town to town.

Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) has some information about local requirements. However, it’s best to directly contact your municipality for the most up-to-date information about solar permits and fees. Installation may require additional approvals if your home is in a designated historic district.

How to save money on solar panels in Connecticut

There’s no way around it — solar panel installations are expensive. Here are some tips to maximize your savings on solar panels in Connecticut:

  • Compare quotes: Get quotes from at least three or four different solar installers in Connecticut. This lets you compare different proposed equipment, pricing, financing terms and estimated energy production to find the best overall value. Don't just go with the cheapest option without vetting quality and services.
  • Lower your electrical load: It’s smart to upgrade any old appliances before going solar. For example, replacing an old refrigerator with a more eco-friendly one reduces your electric load, which also helps lower your utility bill. You need fewer solar panels if you use less electricity, making the whole system cheaper.
  • Explore payment options: Affordable financing makes the upfront costs of solar more manageable. For instance, leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) can let you start saving from day one with little or no money down.
  • Use incentives: In addition to the federal solar tax credit, Connecticut has multiple local incentives and programs to make solar more affordable. Low-income residents may even qualify for zero-interest solar loans.

» TIPS: Get the best solar quotes

How can I pay for solar panels in Connecticut?

You have options when it comes to paying for your solar system. You can pay cash upfront, take out a solar loan, lease your system or get a power purchase agreement (PPA).

  • Solar loans: A solar loan works like any other type of home improvement loan — there’s an application and approval process, and you pay it back over time (with interest) each month. In an ideal financing scenario, your system generates enough extra power to pay off the loan. Solar loan terms typically last eight to 20 years.
  • Solar leases: Leasing solar panels is a great way to set up a system without the high upfront costs. A potential downside is that you are not eligible for the same tax incentives.
  • Power purchase agreements: A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is similar to leasing. A solar developer buys, installs and maintains solar panels on your property. You buy the power generated by the system on a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) basis. It’s a fixed price, and the cents/kWh is usually cheaper than the utility’s rate for the same amount of electricity.
  • Home equity: Using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance a solar installation can be a financially beneficial option — home equity interest rates are relatively low, and homeowners can still take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit.

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Connecticut

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the best financial incentive for going solar in Connecticut. The ITC credits 30% of the system’s total cost — including equipment, labor and permits — toward what you owe on federal income taxes.

Don’t get confused: The ITC is not a rebate or a refund. It is a credit that goes toward what you owe on federal income taxes the year your system becomes operational. Any unused portion of the credit rolls over into future tax years.

The ITC drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

For example, if you spend $10,000 installing a solar panel system, the ITC is worth $3,000. If you owe $15,000 in taxes, the credit reduces your debt to $12,000. The ITC only offsets your tax liability; you can't take advantage of it if you don’t owe taxes in the first place.

Connecticut has additional tax exemptions: Most residents can qualify for a property tax exemption for the value a solar system adds to their house, and there’s a 100% sales tax exemption on solar equipment.

» EXPLORE: Connecticut solar incentives, tax credits & rebates

Compare solar installation companies in Connecticut

We compared ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors to pick the top solar companies in Connecticut.

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

Can I get free solar panels in Connecticut?

We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Connecticut. You can lease or enter a PPA with little to no upfront costs, though neither is totally free. Solar leases usually come with a flat monthly fee, and PPAs make you pay per unit of electricity. In general, beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Solar scams that promise free solar panels often, unfortunately, end up costing people quite a bit of money.

» FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

How does net metering work in Connecticut?

In 2022, Connecticut replaced net metering with the Residential Renewable Energy Solutions Program. Essentially, the utility acts as a virtual battery bank, storing your excess solar for you to use later at no extra cost beyond your regular monthly fees. In Connecticut, your options are:

  • Buy-all tariff: Your utility company (Eversource or United Illuminating (UI)) agrees to purchase every kilowatt-hour your solar panels produce at a fixed rate. This locked-in buy rate provides guaranteed compensation for 20 years. Your payments can be applied directly to reduce your monthly electric bills or received as quarterly/annual cash payouts. Additionally, the utilities will compensate you for each renewable energy credit (REC) your system generates, which represents the environmental benefits of your solar power.
  • Netting tariff: Instead of a fixed rate, this lets you sell any excess solar energy you don't use at the full retail electricity rate. So, you essentially "net" out your solar production against your home's usage on your utility bill. Any excess solar credits roll over indefinitely until terminating electric service. Eversource also pays netting customers per REC, but UI does not.

» COMPARE: Best solar monitoring systems

Can I live off-grid with solar panels in Connecticut?

Some areas might have restrictions on off-grid systems, so make sure you're in the clear before making any plans.

You also need a way to store all that solar energy for days when it’s less than sunny, which is typical in Connecticut. This usually means investing in a high-quality battery system, which can be pricey.

» LEARN: What are grid-tied solar systems?

Will solar panels increase the value of my home?

Installing solar panels can significantly increase a home's value. According to a Zillow study, homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% more on average. The exact increase in value varies by location, with homes in active solar markets seeing higher boosts.

What’s the difference between a solar broker and a solar installer?

A solar broker is a middleman or intermediary who helps connect homeowners with solar installation companies. A solar installer specializes in designing, procuring and installing solar panels and related components.

Ultimately, deciding between a solar broker and a solar installer depends on how much you want to be involved in the process. A broker can be helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, it’s best to work directly with a solar installer.

How are solar costs trending in Connecticut?

The cost to go solar in Connecticut has fallen 47% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Bottom line

Residential solar panel system costs typically fall between $10,000 to $30,000 or higher, depending on factors like the system's size, local labor rates and available incentives. Connecticut homeowners with solar panels can typically save more than that in total avoided energy costs over the lifetime of a system.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team has conducted extensive research to compare the costs of going solar in Connecticut and other states.

Solar costs and savings: Connecticut and nearby states

*For 100% usage offset; **Over 25 years

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. DSIRE, “Connecticut Programs.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in Connecticut.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Connecticut Solar.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  4. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Connecticut?” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  5. CT Post, “Going Solar in CT: Everything You Need To Know.” Accessed May 9, 2024.
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