Wisconsin solar incentives, tax credits and rebates

Financial resources for going solar in 2024

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two-story house with solar panels

After the full federal solar investment tax credit, the average cost to install a solar power system is $12,740 in Wisconsin, which is cheaper than in most states. The national average is $16,715. To make your new solar system even more affordable, you can get local solar incentives, including tax breaks and rebates, and there are low-interest loan programs.


Key insights

  • You can take advantage of solar tax breaks, rebates and loan programs in Wisconsin.
  • The average federal tax credit value is $5,460 in Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin residents who install solar panels see an estimated savings of $21,005 over 25 years.

Solar incentives in Wisconsin

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Wisconsin. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you will receive a federal income tax credit equal to 30% of your system's total cost, including equipment, labor and permits.

The federal solar investment tax credit drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

For example, the average system in Wisconsin costs $18,200. At that price, you can get a $5,460 credit when you file your taxes.

The solar tax credit is not a rebate or refund — you must claim it when you file federal taxes in the year that your solar panel system becomes operational. To do this, you have to complete Form 5695. The credit is also nonrefundable, which means any unused portion rolls over into the next tax year.

Residential solar incentives in Wisconsin

Wisconsin doesn’t have as many solar incentives as other states, but it does have a few ways to save you some money when going solar:

  • Sales tax exemption: Eligible purchases of solar panels and other equipment are 100% exempt from sales and use tax.
  • Property tax incentive: This is an exemption for the value added to your home by a renewable energy system (solar, wind or synthetic gas).
  • Focus on Energy rebate program: Residents who invest in solar panels can get a rebate of up to $1,000. You can get $500 per solar energy system, with a bonus of $500 if you live in a rural area.
  • Milwaukee Shines loans: City of Milwaukee residents can sign up for a solar loan with a low interest rate through the Milwaukee Shines Solar Program. These loans are up to $20,000 with an interest rate of prime plus 1.5% to 2.25%.

What to know about net metering in Wisconsin

At times, your solar system can produce more energy than you need. You can store this extra energy with solar batteries or sell it to your local power company. Selling your power to electric companies is called net metering.

In Wisconsin, compensation for net metering is a credit on your next month’s electricity bill. If your net excess generation (NEG) exceeds $25, the company must write you a check.

» GREENEST STATES: Wisconsin ranks No. 27

Solar resources in Wisconsin

Below are some additional resources that can guide you through transitioning to solar in Wisconsin.

» GUIDE: Solar panel installation

Find solar companies in Wisconsin

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

Do you own or rent?

FAQ

Can I get solar panels for free in Wisconsin?

There are no free solar programs in Wisconsin at the moment. You can lease solar equipment or enter a power purchase agreement (PPA) with little to 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. 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 taking out a solar loan or entering a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA), always ask:

  • Is there a down payment?
  • How much will I pay per month?
  • Will monthly payments increase, and by how much?

» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

How much can I save with solar panels in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the average savings is $21,005 over 25 years. Even if you don’t generate 100% of your energy needs, you can still save a lot of money versus paying traditional utility bills.

Are there any commercial solar incentives in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin has commercial solar tax, grant, recruitment and rebate incentives.

» MORE: Commercial solar panels

Are there any disadvantages to going solar in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin only gets three to four average peak sun hours each day, so you may be unable to replace your energy needs entirely with solar.

» MORE: Solar energy pros and cons

Is my HOA allowed to restrict solar panels?

According to Wisconsin statute 236.292, no one can restrict the construction and operation of solar systems, including homeowners associations.

Bottom line: How much are solar panels in Wisconsin?

With an average of just $18,200 for a solar system, Wisconsin has some of the cheapest solar in the United States. To make your system even more affordable, don’t forget to take advantage of the state’s solar incentives, net metering and the federal solar investment tax credit.

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

Solar costs: Wisconsin 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. DSIRE, “Wisconsin Solar Programs.” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
  2. DSIRE, “Net Metering in Wisconsin.” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
  3. EcoWatch, “How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Wisconsin?” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
  4. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Summary of Inflation Reduction Act provisions related to renewable energy.” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
  5. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Wisconsin Solar.” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
  6. Wisconsin State Legislature, “236.292.” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
  7. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, “Renewable Energy Systems: Biogas, Solar & Wind – Property Tax Exemption.” Accessed Nov. 8, 2023.
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