Cost of solar panels in Michigan

How much is it to go solar in 2024?

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The average cost to install residential solar panels in Michigan is $19,670 before the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). The price drops to $13,769 after the full ITC.

Going solar in the Wolverine State is about 18% cheaper than the national average. The out-of-pocket investment is lower than in some other states, and state and federal incentives can save you even more money.


Key insights

  • The average cost per watt is $3.37 in Michigan.
  • Solar panels typically take about 10 years to pay for themselves in Michigan (if you pay for the system upfront).
  • Michigan homeowners with solar panels save an estimated $23,652 over 25 years.

How much do solar panels cost in Michigan?

Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or more. On average, Michigan residents pay $19,670 for their system before tax credits or incentives. On the high end, we’ve talked to a solar customer in Michigan who paid $52,000 for a system.

Not surprisingly, the smaller your system, the less you pay. The average size of a solar energy system in Michigan is 7 kW.

Average cost by system size in Michigan

Source: EcoWatch

Are solar panels worth it in Michigan?

Despite the state's cloudy days and snowy northern climate, solar panels can be worth it in Michigan. The biggest financial benefit of going solar in Michigan is that it helps offset traditional energy costs.

But it's important to note the cost-effectiveness of solar panels depends on several factors, including your household energy needs, the condition of your roof and where you live in Michigan. Some feel that systems are priced too high for the savings they get.

For instance, George in Port Huron told us the value wasn't what he expected. “I thought I could save more or it would not be as expensive. It will take years to recoup my cost into what I have paid,” he said.

Going solar is really a long-term investment. Not only are you paying less for energy now, but you’re protecting yourself from future hikes in electricity rates. It typically takes about 10 years for solar panels to pay for themselves in Michigan. On average, homeowners with solar panels in the state see estimated net savings of $23,652 over 25 years.

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar pros and cons

Cost factors of going solar in Michigan

Before jumping into solar, you need to understand the full cost of installing a solar energy system. It isn’t just the cost of panels. You also have to pay for any roof repairs, permits and more.

Size of your system

The size of your system plays a big factor in how much you pay overall. You can easily determine what size system you need. First, find out the amount of electricity you used in the last year in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You’ll find this information through your electric company’s online account dashboard.

Then divide your annual kWh by 1,200 to find the system size you need. For example, the typical Michigan household uses 8,040 kWh per year. Using this formula, the typical household would need a 7-kW system.

» WATT’S THE DIFFERENCE? kW vs. kWh

Solar equipment costs

Equipment prices vary based on the quality of the equipment and the company you buy it from. Solar panels are typically priced around $3.37 per watt in Michigan. Here are some average costs you can expect for panels and other equipment:

» COMPARE: Most efficient solar panels

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. Avoid it by getting your roof inspected and repaired before you go solar.

» SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

Other cost factors

Beyond equipment and roof repairs, there are various other costs to watch out for:

  • Maintenance: Though solar panels require minimal maintenance, you may run into some added costs for potential repair or replacement of components and periodic cleaning.
  • Permits: Most towns also require solar permits, which can add to your system's overall cost.
  • Installation and labor: Most companies fold the cost of solar installation and labor into the solar system price, but be sure to check before signing a contract.

Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Michigan

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor reducing the cost of going solar in Michigan. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you can get a tax credit of 30% of the system's total cost — including equipment, labor and permits. The credit drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

Michigan also offers loans and rebates to help lessen the cost of solar.

» EXPLORE: Michigan solar incentives

Compare solar installation companies in Michigan

Compare popular solar companies available in Michigan below. Read our guide about finding the best solar companies for more.

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

Can I get free solar panels in Michigan?

There are no programs we could find for free solar panels in Michigan. You can lease solar panels with little to no upfront costs, but it’s not free. Solar leases generally require a flat monthly fee.

» FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

How are solar costs trending in Michigan?

The cost to go solar in Michigan has fallen 42% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

How can I pay for solar panels?

You can pay cash, but most people finance solar panels. A solar loan works a lot like any other type of loan — there’s an application and approval process, and you pay it back over time (with interest).

If you are considering a solar loan or lease, always ask:

  • Is there a down payment?
  • How much will I pay per month?
  • Will monthly payments increase, and by how much?
  • Do you put a lien on my house?

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

How much can I save with solar panels?

When you pay cash, the average 25-year savings with solar is $23,652 in Michigan. It’s a common misconception that solar panels always completely eliminate your monthly power bill — this is not always the case.

On the bright side, people who still have a bill after going solar pay significantly less than before. According to EnergySage, you can expect to offset your electricity bill by 70% to 95%.

» EXPLORE: Where solar savings go the furthest

How does net metering work in Michigan?

Net metering is a fantastic option if your solar system creates more energy than your home uses. Rather than storing this extra energy in a solar battery, you can sell it to your local electric company.

If your system is 20 kW or smaller in Michigan, you're all set to participate in net metering. The payment you receive for your surplus electricity will be credited toward your electricity bill for the following month.

Bottom line

Michigan is a great place to go solar. The cost of your average residential solar panel system is lower than in other states, plus your average estimated net savings are over $23,000.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team conducted an in-depth analysis to determine how much it costs to go solar in Michigan and the average solar costs in nearby states.

Solar panel costs: Michigan vs. nearby states

*Before the federal investment tax credit (ITC); **When you pay in full upfront

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. EcoWatch, “How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Michigan?” Accessed Dec. 13, 2023.
  2. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Dec. 13, 2023.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Michigan Solar.” Accessed Dec. 13, 2023.
  4. DSIRE, “Michigan Programs.” Accessed Dec. 13, 2023.
  5. EnergySage, “Michigan solar panels: local pricing and installation data.” Accessed Dec. 13, 2023.
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