Cost of solar panels in Georgia (2024)

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

Author pictureAuthor picture
Author picture
By:
Author picture
Edited by:

Do you own or rent?

house in georgia with solar panels on the roof

Average solar panel installation costs range from $10,110 to $28,887 in Georgia. How much you actually spend depends on the size of your system, what incentives you’re eligible for and other factors.

Based on feedback from several solar customers in Georgia, the general consensus is that solar panel investments pay off over time. Assuming an upfront purchase, it takes about 10 years to break even (when your savings with solar panels make up for the cost).


Key insights

The average solar panel installation costs $2.95 per watt in Georgia. “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.

Jump to insight

On average, Georgia homeowners with solar panels avoid $57,429 in total utility costs over 25 years.

Jump to insight

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.

Jump to insight

In Georgia, 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.

Jump to insight

How much do solar panels cost in Georgia?

With professional installation, a typical 6-kilowatt residential solar panel system in Georgia costs $17,332. That price drops to $12,132 after the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).

Individual costs vary significantly. On the high end, Brad in Bogart, Georgia, said he was quoted $40,000 to go solar, including battery backup.

The size of your solar panel system is a big factor in your overall solar costs. A typical Georgia household needs a system with a capacity of 11.17 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 Georgia

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 Georgia?

Solar panels end up being worth it for many homeowners in GeorgiaOn average, you’ll spend $10,110 to $28,887 for panels that last about 25 years. Over that same time period, you’d avoid approximately $57,429 in total utility costs.

Happy solar customerd like Brenda in Crawford, Georgia, have told us their electricity bills have gone down tremendously.

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

But it doesn’t work out for everybody. Cory in Grovetown, Georgia, is “completely dissatisfied” because sales reps exaggerated how much he would save. “Between my electric bill now and my solar panel payment, I am losing $80 a month,” Cory said.

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 another free solar savings estimator powered by Google Earth imagery.

For Noah in Kings Bay, Georgia, the environmental benefits alone are enough to make solar worth it. He said he was “proud to go green” and “more than happy to make the change in a positive direction.

If your house is a good candidate for solar, it’s at least worth considering if you like the idea of lower monthly utility bills and more energy independence. In Georgia, solar panels usually pay for themselves within 10 years.

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

Solar panel installation cost factors in Georgia

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.

Solar panels

Most of your solar equipment costs come down to how much you pay for solar panels. You’ll hear installers talk about how “efficient” their panels are. 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.

In general, 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.

Additional solar equipment costs

Solar arrays 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, lifespan, 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: These handy gadgets can give you a heads-up if something's off with your panels, keep tabs on your net metering and more. They'll set you back anywhere from $80 to $400, but some installers may include a monitoring system with your system for no charge.

Condition of your roof

Quality solar panels should last 25 to 30 years, and your roof needs 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.

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

Labor costs

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, there are several considerations to make before going the DIY route. If not installed correctly, solar panels pose safety risks, causing roof leaks and other problems.

Local permits and fees

Permits and interconnection fees, though relatively cheap, are worth mentioning. The process differs across Georgia due to local regulations, historic preservation requirements and specific administrative procedures.

Atlanta has implemented a streamlined solar permitting process aimed at expediting approvals and reducing costs. This includes standardized templates and online checklists to simplify the application process.

In Savannah, homeowners must navigate the eTRAC system to apply for electrical and building permits. Properties in historic districts like the Landmark Historic District may require additional design reviews and approvals to ensure that solar installations meet historical preservation standards.

» GREENEST STATES: Georgia ranked 23rd in 2024

How to save money on solar panels in Georgia

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

  • Compare quotes: Get quotes from at least three or four different solar companies in Georgia. 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: Before going solar, it’s smart to upgrade any old appliances. For example, replacing an old refrigerator with a more eco-friendly one reduces your electric load, which also helps lower your utility bill. If you use less electricity, you need fewer solar panels, making the whole system cheaper.
  • Use incentives: In addition to the federal solar tax credit, Georgia has multiple local incentives and programs. In fact, a new program backed by a national nonprofit and funded by federal funding aims to help low-income homeowners install solar panels on their roofs. It’s a pilot effort, and the nonprofit says it wants to expand across the country.

» MORE: Why are solar panels so expensive?

Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Georgia

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the best financial incentive for going solar in Georgia. 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. Residents may take advantage of additional solar incentives in Georgia, including the PowerUp lending program and net metering.

» BEST STATES FOR SOLAR: Georgia ranked 28th in 2024

How can I pay for solar panels in Georgia?

Affordable financing makes the upfront costs of solar more manageable. For instance, most leases let you start saving from day one with little or no money down.

  • Loan: 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.
  • Lease: 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.
  • 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.
  • Power purchase agreement: 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.

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

Compare solar installation companies in Georgia

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

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

How are solar costs trending in Georgia?

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

Can I get free solar panels in Georgia?

We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Georgia. 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.

Is it cheaper if I install solar panels myself?

It’s potentially cheaper to install your solar energy system yourself, but it’s difficult and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, especially for a large residential project.

» DIY SOLAR PANELS: Pros and cons

How much can I save with solar panels?

On average, Georgia homeowners with solar panels avoid $57,429 in total utility costs over 25 years.

» EXPLORE: Where solar savings go the furthest

How does net metering work in Georgia?

Net metering in Georgia allows residents to earn credits on their electric bill for any solar energy they send to the grid. The specific value is at a lower “avoided cost” or wholesale rate rather than the full retail rate.

As of publishing, the state has a cap on the program, limiting participation to 5,000 customers or 32 megawatts of capacity, which has already been reached. Recent regulatory changes introduced a $100 interconnection fee for new solar users.

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?

It comes down to how much you want to be involved in the process. A broker is helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, it’s best to work directly with a solar installer.

Bottom line

Residential solar panel system costs typically fall between $10,000 and $30,000 or higher, depending on factors like the system's size, local labor rates and available incentives. Georgia 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 Georgia and other states.

Solar costs vs. savings: Georgia 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, "Georgia Solar Programs." Accessed March 29, 2024.
  2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in Georgia.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, "Georgia Solar." Accessed March 29, 2024.
  4. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Georgia, 2024?” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  5. Fast Company, “A new Georgia program could slash the cost of rooftop solar—and it’s likely to expand.” Accessed June 25, 2024.
  6. Solar Power World, “Georgia net-metering program reaches cap, jeopardizing rooftop solar growth.” Accessed June 25, 2024.
Did you find this article helpful? |
Share this article