West Virginia solar incentives, tax credits & rebates

Financial resources for West Virginians in 2024

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

Do you own or rent?

two story house built on uneven ground with solar panels on the roof

There’s no way around it: Installing solar panels is expensive. On the bright side, West Virginia residents can take advantage of a federal tax break and statewide incentives that help make it more affordable. Here’s everything you need to know about how state and federal solar incentives can make installing panels more affordable in the Mountain State.


Key insights

In West Virginia, a typical residential solar panel system costs $10,238 to $29,250, depending on the size of your system and what financial incentives you qualify for.

Jump to insight

The 30% federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant solar incentive for most homeowners buying solar panels in West Virginia.

Jump to insight

Leasing or entering a power purchase agreement (PPA) is often cheaper upfront, but you won’t be eligible for the federal solar tax credit and other financial incentives.

Jump to insight

Residential solar panel incentives in West Virginia

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the best way to save money when going solar in West Virginia. It reduces your federal tax liability by 30% of how much it costs to install solar panels. This is different from a deduction, which lowers your taxable income. ITC is a credit, meaning it directly decreases the amount of taxes you owe.

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

For example, if you spend $10,000 installing a solar panel system, the ITC is worth $3,000. If in the year your system becomes operational you owe $15,000 in taxes, the ITC reduces what you owe to $12,000.

Tax credits offset your tax liability, so it’s only useful if you owe federal income taxes in the first place. However, the credit rolls over to the next tax year if you don’t use the full amount. You don’t get these benefits automatically, though. You must claim your solar equipment, labor and permits on your federal taxes for the same year you started using your system on Form 5695.

Solar corporate tax exemption

West Virginia offers a property tax exemption for businesses that install solar panels or wind turbines. This program reduces your tax burden and encourages the use of clean energy sources, with specific reductions to business and occupation (B&O) taxes. Contact your local tax office for eligibility details and how to apply.

New EPA funding in West Virginia

The EPA awarded West Virginia more than $106 million in April 2024 to boost residential solar projects statewide. This program has the potential to significantly reduce the upfront cost of installing solar panels for homeowners. Eligibility details and the application process will be announced soon.

Solar power is experiencing growth in West Virginia, with a significant increase in solar energy jobs across the state. The new EPA funding and potential community solar legislation are signs of big investment in West Virginia’s clean energy future. Check DSIRE for the most comprehensive source of information about solar incentives and policies in West Virginia.

What to know about net metering in West Virginia

Net metering is a system of give-and-take between you and your utility company. It lets you access power from the grid when your panels don’t generate enough electricity. Net metering also lets you earn credits for sending any excess solar energy to the grid. These credits can offset the cost of electricity consumed at other times.

In West Virginia, remaining credits can roll over to future months, and apply to the energy portion of your bill. Contact your local utility for details and to participate in the program.

A new net metering settlement in West Virginia was reached in February 2024. This will impact homeowners and businesses using solar panels, allowing them to sell excess electricity back to the grid. Solar advocates support the settlement, and it must now be approved by the Public Service Commission. This agreement could make investing in solar energy more attractive in the state.

Any grid-connected systems can still tap into the local power grid when needed. The alternative is to store it in a battery. That way, you can still turn your lights on when panels aren’t generating electricity, like at night or on especially cloudy days. The biggest downside is that solar storage battery costs can be almost as high as the panels — $7,000 to $18,000. 

» GREENEST STATES: West Virginia ranked No. 49 in 2024

How much are solar panels in West Virginia?

After the federal solar tax credit, solar panel costs in West Virginia typically range from $10,238 to $20,475. Your system size greatly affects how much you pay overall. The typical system size for solar systems in West Virginia is 9.3 kW (kilowatts).

How do you know if the average size system is enough for your home or if you need a bigger one? Check the amount of electricity you used last year in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You’ll find this information in your electric company account dashboard online. Then, divide your annual kWh by 1,200 to find the system size you need. For example, if your home used 15,000 kWh last year, you would need a 13-kW system.

Average solar cost by system size in West Virginia

Solar resources in West Virginia

Below are some additional resources for going solar in West Virginia.

Find solar companies in West Virginia

A good solar company helps you navigate local incentives, permitting and net metering policies. Compare our picks for West Virginia’s top solar companies to learn more.

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

Can I get free solar panels in West Virginia?

There are no programs for free solar panels in West Virginia, but you can lease solar equipment or enter a power purchase agreement (PPA) with minimal or no upfront costs. Still, neither is totally free. Solar leases generally require a flat monthly fee; PPAs make you pay per unit of electricity.

» FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

How can I pay for solar panels?

You can pay cash, but most people finance solar panels with a solar loan. It 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). You also have the option of getting a lease or power purchase agreement.

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

How much can I save with solar panels in West Virginia?

On average, West Virginia homeowners with solar panels avoid $63,114 in utility costs over 25 years. Your current electric bill is the starting point for assessing the financial benefits of transitioning to solar energy.

Knowing your average energy consumption helps determine the size and capacity of the solar system you need. Once you know this, you can figure out potential savings and how long it should take for your solar installation to pay for itself. West Virginia might not be the best state for solar, but it’s still worth considering if your house is a good candidate for panels.

How do I know if my house is a good candidate for solar?

It’s best to have plenty of unshaded roof space that faces south or west for optimal sun exposure. It’s also smart to upgrade any old, inefficient appliances first. Reducing your electrical loads now means you can get a smaller system, which will be cheaper.

The condition of your roof matters too — if it needs replacement soon, do that before installing solar panels. Installing solar panels on an old roof might mean you have to remove the panels, replace your roof and then reinstall the panels. This will cost around $5,000 for a 19-panel setup.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, more commonly known as solar panels, absorb sunlight and convert it into usable electricity. If you have a lot of shading around your house, they might not get enough sun to power your home.

Is my HOA allowed to restrict solar panels?

West Virginia Code 36-4-19 states that homeowners associations (HOAs) can implement reasonable restrictions but can’t stop solar installation. HOA regulations also must not keep the system from functioning well.

What has West Virginia’s investment in solar been so far?

Total solar investments in the state amount to $114 million, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Bottom line

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team conducted an in-depth analysis to determine the average costs of going solar. Turns out, it’s worth it for many homeowners, particularly in West Virginia.

Solar costs vs. savings: West Virginia 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, "West Virginia Programs." Accessed March 29, 2024.
  2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in West Virginia.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  3. Solar Energy Industries Association, "West Virginia Solar." Accessed March 29, 2024.
  4. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in West Virginia?” Accessed March 29, 2024.
  5. West Virginia Metro News Network, “Net Metering proposed settlement welcomed by solar advocates.” Accessed April 29, 2024.
Did you find this article helpful? |
Share this article