The cost of solar power systems has dropped by 80% over the past 10 years. In fact, photovoltaic cells cost anywhere between $0.40 and $1.10 per watt. With most individual solar panels selling at $80 to $400 – with some of the higher-quality solar panels costing even more – you can set up a decent-size solar power system for your home.
However, a variety of additional cost elements, such as permits, installations, inverters, and so on, increase the solar power installation costs to $2.5 to $3.6 per watt capacity. To overcome the barrier created by these unavoidable costs, the Rhode Island government and the federal government are offering several incentives to residential customers.
So, how big of a solar power installation do you need in Rhode Island, and how much will you end up paying for it? Let’s find out.
Solar Power Requirement of an Average Rhode Island Household
An average household in Rhode Island consumes roughly 602kWh of power per month. This is less than 50% of the electricity consumed by the most power-hungry state in the US, Louisiana, where the average household power consumption is a whopping 1,273kWh per month. That adds up to 7,224kWh per year.
It’s good news that power consumption is low in Rhode Island, and even better that solar works so well in Rhode Island. You may not think that New England is great for solar compared to more southern states, but in fact, the majority of Rhode Island homeowners will be able to offset their energy usage with no problem.\In general, 1kW of installed solar power supplies 1,168kWh of power over the year. So, we can calculate the solar installation capacity for households as follows:
|Ideal Solar Power Capacity for an Average RI Household||=||Average Annual Energy Consumption|
|Solar Power Generation Per 1kW capacity|
|Ideal Solar Power Capacity for an Average RI Household||=||7,224kWh|
This comes to roughly 6kW capacity for an average RI household.
Actual Cost of Solar Installation
At the rate of $3.6 per watt installation capacity, the cost of installing a 6kW solar power system can be $21,600.
However, incentives like 26% federal tax credit, and solar grant programs reduce your upfront investment by several thousand dollars. When you add up the tax breaks, REG incentives, and net energy metering incentives, the actual cost of ownership for a solar power installation can be remarkably low, often as low as $15,000 or lower.