Cost of solar panels in Maryland

How much is it to go solar in the Old Line State?

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technician adjusting angle of a solar panel on the rooftop of a home

Average solar panel installation costs range from $10,280 to $29,371 in Maryland. 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 Maryland, the general consensus is that solar panel investments pay off over time. Assuming an upfront purchase, it takes about 9 years to break even (when your savings with solar panels make up for the cost).

Key insights

  • The average solar panel installation costs $3.01 per watt in Maryland. “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.
  • 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; it goes toward what you owe on federal income taxes.
  • In Maryland, 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.

How much do solar panels cost in Maryland?

With professional installation, a typical 6-kilowatt residential solar panel system in Maryland costs $17,623. That price drops to $12,336 after the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).

On the high end, Valerie in Baltimore, Maryland, was quoted $40,000 for a system (she decided to lease the panels instead). Yvonne in Marriottsville, Maryland, paid $50,000 for solar panels and necessary roof and window improvements.

The size of your solar panel system is a big factor in your overall solar costs. A typical Maryland household needs a system with a capacity of 10.18 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 Maryland

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 Maryland?

We’ve talked to dozens of homeowners who went solar in Maryland. Many told us about significant savings on their electricity bills after installing panels. For some, the environmental benefits alone make switching to solar worth it.

Over 25 years, homeowners with solar panels avoid $64,703 in utility costs on average. Charles in Forest Hill, Maryland, said their gas and electric bills went from $358 to $158 a month each month. In the best-case scenario, you can almost completely eliminate your utility bills, like Laurel in Columbia, Maryland. “So far, it feels good to be paying only an $8 connection fee to the electricity company,” Laurel told us.

Seasonality can affect your system’s output, according to Frank in Columbia, Maryland. “I've seen the benefits of switching to solar in the summertime, but in the wintertime, I don’t,” Frank told us.

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

But it doesn't work out for everyone. 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 considering if you like the idea of lower monthly utility bills and more energy independence. Many Marylanders seem happy with solar. In fact, it ranks among the best states for solar.

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

Solar panel installation cost factors in Maryland

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. 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.

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.


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.

One resident we talked to, Michael in Gambrills, Maryland, said it cost $5,000 to remove and reinstall their panels to get a new roof installed. This is a frustrating and expensive process. Avoid it if you can by getting your roof inspected before installing your solar.

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 DIY route. If not installed correctly, solar panels pose safety risks, causing roof leaks and other problems.

How to save money on solar panels in Maryland

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

  • 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.
  • 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, residents may take advantage of local tax breaks, rebate programs and solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs).
  • Compare quotes: Get quotes from at least three or four different solar installers in Maryland. 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.

» TIPS: Get the best solar quotes

How can I pay for solar panels in Maryland?

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).

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Home equity: Using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance a solar installation can be a financially beneficial option — 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 Maryland

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the best financial incentive for going solar in Maryland. 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.

Maryland also offers other tax incentives and rebates. For example, homes with solar can get property tax credits and exemptions for the value the solar equipment adds to their homes.

» EXPLORE: Maryland solar incentives, tax credits and rebates

Compare solar installation companies in Maryland

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

Do you own or rent?


Can I get free solar panels in Maryland?

We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Maryland. You can also 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 are solar costs trending in Maryland?

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

How much can I save with solar panels?

On average, Maryland homeowners with solar panels avoid $64,703 in total utility costs over 25 years.

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 does net metering work in Maryland?

When your solar system produces more energy than you can use, you can sell it to your local electric company through a process called net metering. In Maryland, power companies are required to purchase a portion of their electricity from solar panels.

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 that 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.

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. Maryland 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 Maryland and other states.

Solar costs and savings: Maryland 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, "Maryland Programs." Accessed March 29, 2024.
  2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in Maryland.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, "Maryland Solar." Accessed March 29, 2024.
  4. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Maryland?” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  5. Solar United Neighbors, “Net metering in Maryland.” Accessed April 10, 2024.
  6. Environment Maryland, “Bill to streamline rooftop solar permitting heads to governor’s desk.” Accessed April 11, 2024.
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