Cost of solar panels in Nevada (2024)

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

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Average solar panel installation costs in Nevada range from $9,046 to $25,846. How much you pay depends on the size of your system, what incentives you’re eligible for, sunlight exposure and other factors. Assuming an upfront purchase, it takes about 8 years to break even (when your savings with solar panels make up for the cost).

Based on feedback from thousands of solar customers nationwide, the general consensus is that solar panel investments pay off over time. Thanks to plenty of sunlight, many solar-friendly policies and relatively cheap installation costs, Nevada is one of the best states for solar.


Key insights

  • The average solar panel installation costs $2.57 per watt in Nevada. “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 when buying solar panels. It is not a rebate or a refund, but goes toward what you owe on federal income taxes.
  • In Nevada, you can lease a system or enter a power purchase agreement with low upfront costs. However, you won’t be eligible for the federal tax credit.

How much do solar panels cost in Nevada?

With professional installation, a typical 6-kilowatt residential solar panel system in Nevada costs $15,507. That price drops to $10,855 after using the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). The size of your solar panel system is a big factor in your total cost. On the high end, we’ve talked to solar customers in the Las Vegas area who paid $42,000 to $50,000 for a system.

The average Nevada household needs a system with 9.44 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 cost by system size in Nevada

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 Nevada?

We’ve talked to hundreds of people who have already gone solar in Nevada. It’s generally worth it if you like the idea of lowering your monthly utility bills, helping the environment and gaining more energy independence. For example, Melissa in North Las Vegas said she likes knowing what her electric bill will be each month, plus “the feeling of doing my part to help the environment by investing into cleaner energy sources.” For others, it’s more about reducing their reliance on local power companies.

Residential electricity rates in Nevada are comparable to the national average. But utility bills tend to be more expensive, since average energy use is much higher than in other states. So, solar panels are especially worth it in the long run. Over 25 years, Nevada homeowners with solar panels avoid $41,459 in utility costs on average.

My bill is only 10 to 15 bucks, and I'm gladly taking that.”
— William in Las Vegas

It’s a common misconception that solar panels completely eliminate your monthly power bill — this is not always the case. Still, you’ll likely be paying much less than you would for traditional utility bills.

For instance, Ann in Pahrump told us her bill went from $300 each month to $100 after going solar. Another solar customer, William in Las Vegas, told us, “My bill is only 10 to 15 bucks, and I'm gladly taking that.”

Not everyone says they’re saving enough to justify the investment, though. “I paid $20,000 and it's not worth it to install solar panels when they're gonna save me $30 a month,” Manuel in West Wendover told us. “And it’s going to be another $20,000 for the batteries.”

If you finance, it’s worth it as long as your loan payment is less than what you would pay for traditional utilities. For Ronald in Las Vegas, the long-term cost benefit makes solar worth it in Nevada. “The amount I'm paying now will stay the same over the next 20 years,” he said. “If I was continuing with the energy company, it would continue to be more expensive over time.”

Investing in solar protects you against future electricity rate increases and contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

» STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

Solar panel installation cost factors in Nevada

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%. Permits and other soft costs generally make up the rest of the total price tag.

Most installers set the price according to the system's wattage, with a typical cost between $2.50 and $5 per watt. In Nevada, the average cost per watt is $2.57 (one of the cheapest in the United States).

Solar equipment costs

Systems contain solar panels, mounting equipment, wiring and other equipment, such as inverters ($1,000 to $3,000), solar batteries ($7,000 to $18,000), and monitoring systems ($80 to $400).

Like most things, high-quality panels come with a more expensive price tag, but they often pay off in the long run with better performance and durability. The more efficient your panels are, the more electricity they produce and the less space they take up on your roof.

Size of your system

The cost difference between a 5-kilowatt system and a 10-kilowatt system is thousands of dollars. You can easily determine what size system you need for your home. First, find out the amount of electricity you used last year in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You can find this information through your electric account dashboard online. Then divide your annual kWh by 1,200 to calculate the system size.

» WATT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Kilowatt vs. kilowatt-hour

Condition of your roof

Your roof's condition is important, so make sure to get an inspection. Quality solar panels can last 25 to 30 years, so you want your roof to last just as long. If not, you'll end up paying extra to remove the panels, fix the roof and reinstall everything.

» SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

Other cost factors

Good solar installation companies will make sure your system is set up for optimal performance, but this expertise comes at a price.

  • Labor costs: Solar equipment costs are going down, but labor costs are higher than ever in some areas. Labor and installation costs are usually included in the initial cost estimate of your system, but be sure to confirm.
  • Pigeon barriers: Multiple Nevada residents have told us about problems with pigeons roosting in their panels and causing damage. Blake in Las Vegas paid $800 for someone to clean the panels and set up a barrier. Rick in Henderson was quoted $1,500 to install critter guards on solar panels.
  • Local permits: Local permits and fees should be considered, especially if you're installing a larger system that might require additional permits or inspections. The permitting process depends on your city. For example, Boulder City is different from Las Vegas.
  • Ongoing costs: Solar panels require minimal maintenance, but there’s still an associated cost there. Think about potential repairs and periodic cleaning, too. These all add to the lifetime cost of your solar panel system.

How to save money on solar panels in Nevada

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

  • Compare quotes: Get quotes from at least three or four different solar installers in your area. 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.
  • Explore payment options: Affordable financing makes upfront costs of solar more manageable. For instance, solar loans and power purchase agreements (PPAs) let you start saving from day one with little or no money down.
  • Use incentives: Nevada has multiple incentives to reduce solar costs, like the Portfolio Energy Credits program, which provides cash payments based on your system's production. There are also property tax abatements for renewable energy systems and the 30% federal tax credit available.

» TIPS: Get the best solar quotes

How can I pay for solar panels in Nevada?

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). With leasing or a PPA, you get the benefits of solar, but you don’t own the system. Each option has pros and cons, and your choice affects your overall cost to go solar.

  • 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 between eight and 20 years and come with interest rates as low as 1% to 2%.
  • Solar leases: Leasing solar panels is a great way to set up a solar 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. The cents/kWh is usually cheaper than the utility’s rate for the same amount of electricity.
  • Home equity: Some suggest using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance a solar installation. This 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 Nevada

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

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

The ITC is a credit, not a deduction, meaning it directly decreases the amount of taxes you owe instead of reducing your taxable income. For example, if you spend $10,000 installing a solar panel system, then ITC is worth $3,000. If in the year your system becomes operational, you owe $15,000 in taxes, then ITC reduces what you owe to $12,000. It only offsets your tax liability; you can't take advantage of the ITC if you don’t owe taxes in the first place. However, the credit rolls over to future tax years if you don’t use the full amount.

Residents may also take advantage of more solar incentives in Nevada, like portfolio energy credits and a property tax abatement. There’s also a statewide net metering, which compensates eligible residents at 75% of the retail rate for electricity they send to their local power grid.

Compare solar installation companies in Nevada

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

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

Can I get free solar panels in Nevada?

We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Nevada. Unfortunately, scams that promise free solar panels can end up costing people quite a bit of money. However, you can lease solar equipment to reduce your upfront costs.

How does net metering work in Nevada?

Net metering lets homeowners with solar panels sell any excess electricity they generate to their local power grid. In Nevada, utility companies compensate through energy credits on future power bills. Despite some challenges and adjustments in rates and fees, recent laws have reinforced its importance. Under the latest rules, small solar systems get credited at 75% of the retail rate, decreasing slightly as more solar is installed.

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.

How much does it cost to pigeon-proof solar panels?

Pigeon-proofing solar panels can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, according to a KNTV article. Rick in Henderson told us he was quoted $1,500 to install critter guards on solar panels. Blake in Las Vegas also had a pigeon problem because they did not put up barriers.

“The birds got under the panels and roosted, causing damage,” he told us. “I had to pay $800 for someone to clean the roof (and) panels and put up a barrier recently.”

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 Nevada?

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

Bottom line

If you’ve been thinking about going solar, you’re not alone. More than 118,000 solar installations already exist in Nevada — enough to power more than a million homes and account for about 26% of the state’s electricity.

Nevada's climate makes it a great location for going solar. The main drawback is the high cost of purchasing and installing the panels and equipment. Many residents we've talked to say the long-term savings outweigh the upfront expense.

The total cost of a residential solar PV system includes hardware costs (panels, inverters, racking, etc.) and soft costs (installation labor, permitting, marketing/sales, overhead). On average, solar panel installation costs range from $9,046 to $25,846 in Nevada. How much you actually pay depends on the size of your system, what incentives you’re eligible for and other factors.

Solar panel costs: Nevada vs. nearby states

*To fully offset energy usage; **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, "Nevada Programs." Accessed March 2, 2024.
  2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in Nevada.” Accessed March 2, 2024.
  3. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Nevada, 2024?” Accessed March 2, 2024.
  4. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), "Nevada Solar." Accessed March 2, 2024.
  5. KTNV, “Solar panels act as perfect nesting spot for pigeons." Accessed March 2, 2024.
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