Hello Fellow Vermonter – Let‘s Go Solar!

Have you considered installing solar panels to slash your electricity bills while doing something good for the environment? As a fellow Green Mountain State resident, I‘ve put together this comprehensive guide examining whether home solar in Vermont makes sense in 2023. I‘ll provide everything you need – costs, available incentives, returns on investment, reputable local installers, etc. – to decide if now is the solar time!

Many Vermont families worry our northern climate limits solar viability, especially given New England‘s higher solar equipment pricing. And it‘s true, weaker average sunlight does lead some states to offer stronger financial incentives improving affordability.

But as the 6th smallest U.S. state already generating enough solar to supply over 75,000 households, Vermont demonstrates favorable conditions exist across much of the state. In fact, residential solar arrays produce most Green Mountain solar energy. This means savvy Vermont homeowners absolutely can tap affordable, sustainable solar power through rooftop or ground mount systems.

This guide will walk through everything needed to evaluate pursuing solar in VT. We‘ll break down:

  • Current solar costs and key factors determining system pricing
  • Steps to properly size your household solar array
  • Forecasts for long term utility savings by system size
  • Top regional and local installer options
  • All available rebates, tax credits and solar incentives

Let‘s dive in to see if now is your time to embrace solar!

Solar Equipment Costs in Vermont

With most U.S. states falling between $2.50-$3.00 per watt for solar panels and installation, Vermont hits the high end at approximately $2.85 per watt as of 2023.

For a roughly average 6 kilowatt or 6kW system, that equals around $17,100 before incentives. Compared to the $12,000 – $14,000 range found across many southern solar states, Vermont‘s northern climate and weaker sun exposure contributes to elevated rates.

However, a few important factors influence Vermont solar costs to understand when budgeting:

System Size – Right-sizing your household solar array keeps project costs affordable. Because Vermont families use the 3rd least electricity nationally, most homes need smaller, lower cost systems than southern states.

Location – Peak sun hours fluctuate significantly across Vermont. Solar shoppers in the east can leverage more sun for savings, with some towns seeing upwards of 4.9 daily hours of ideal conditions. Western Vermont averages closer to 3.5 sunlight hours.

Vermont Solar Hours Map

Equipment Selection – With Vermonters requiring high productivity from limited sunlight, most systems feature premium monocrystalline solar panels. But less expensive polycrystalline solar may produce enough energy in sunnier eastern locales.

Installer – Choosing the right solar company brings tailored system design, quality installations, reliable equipment, and reasonable pricing. Never be afraid to solicit multiple installation bids.

Now let‘s examine proper solar array sizing to maximize your household‘s savings.

Calculate Your Perfect Solar System Size

With below average electricity consumption, most Vermont solar systems need smaller capacities than nationwide benchmarks. But how much smaller?

An ideal residential solar system matches your home‘s total annual power needs through renewable production. By dividing your household‘s average daily electricity usage by Vermont‘s average peak sunlight hours, you can correctly size a solar array covering your demands.

For example, let‘s say your family uses 30 kWh daily based on your utility bills. Per EIA data, Vermont averages around 4-4.5 peak sun hours statewide during sunniest months. Dividing 30 kWh by 4.5 sun hours tells us a 6.7 kW system should fully offset your home‘s electricity.

Consult your utility statements to determine your own home‘s average daily electricity consumption. Then reference the Vermont solar map earlier in this guide to identify your county‘s peak sun hours. An easy formula:

Your kWh Daily Usage ÷ Local Peak Sun Hours = Optimal Solar System Size (kW)

Properly sizing your household solar array keeps project costs affordable while maximizing production. Undersizing risks unmet power demand, while oversizing adds unnecessary expenses.

System SizeAvg Peak HoursAvg Daily kWh Use
4 kW416
5 kW420
6 kW4.527
7 kW4.531
8 kW532

This table displays common Vermont system configurations with associated electricity offsets. Match your situation for proper sizing!

Solar Power Financial Return on Investment

At first glance, solar may appear too expensive for Vermont‘s climate…but the numbers tell a different story!

With America‘s 4th most expensive average retail electricity rates at nearly 18 cents per kWh, Vermont families spend over $1,330 a year powering homes. When we factor in properly designed solar systems offsetting these massive utility bills for decades, you may be surprised how quickly solar pays for itself.

For a household requiring a 6kW solar system at $2.85 per watt, the roughly $17,100 equipment and installation costs would take just under 13 years to recoup from $1,330 annual electricity savings. Across this solar array‘s 25+ year lifespan, cumulative utility bill reductions can save you between $10,500 – $18,900 depending on your system specs and power consumption.

And that‘s before accounting for strong solar incentives Vermont offers!

Vermont Solar Incentives and Rebates

Vermont solar policies including net metering, tax exemptions, and renewable standards help homeowners afford systems:

Federal Solar Tax Credit – The 26% federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar installation costs continues through 2032. For a $17,100 solar array, it cuts $4,446 off your IRS tax bill immediately.

Net Metering – Vermont‘s net metering policy pays you the full residential utility rate for any excess solar electricity fed back into the grid. Monthly bill credits let you "bank" unused production season-to-season.

100% Sales Tax Exemption – Solar purchases in Vermont incur no state sales tax. At 6%, you save $500+ upfront on the average home installation.

Green Mountain Power (GMP) Support – GMP provides special rates as low as 5 cents per kWh for grid-connected solar households. Plus added incentives like free home batteries expand savings.

Between federal, state, and utility solar programs – including additional grants not listed here – savvy Vermont homeowners can access over $9,000 in incentives slashing system costs by 35% or more.

Choosing Your Vermont Solar Installer

Understanding solar costs and incentives clears the first affordability hurdle…but making the most of your investment requires choosing the right installation company.

While Vermont hosts over 35 solar contractors spanning national chains to local shops, homeowners benefit from guidance narrowing options. Key evaluation criteria include:

  • Years of local/regional industry experience
  • Quality of equipment & warranties provided
  • Install workmanship reputation via reviews/certifications
  • Pricing transparency & customization

Based on these metrics, our current top Vermont solar installer recommendations include:

PlugPV – Operating across the Northeast for 5+ years, PlugPV brings specialized expertise for New England‘s climate. Their strong warranties and equipment gain credibility from independent installation inspections.

HG Energy Solutions – A leading Vermont-only solar provider for over 25 years, HG Energy excels at custom designing systems maximizing Green Mountain power incentives.

[See our exclusive comparison of all Vermont‘s top-rated solar installers.]

Reputable local & regional solar firms best help Vermont homeowners overcome weather challenges for grid independence through solar!

Let‘s Go Solar, Vermont!

Even with cold winters and fluctuating equipment costs, Vermont solar energy empowers homeowners seeking energy independence and environmental action.

Proper system sizing, leveraging financial incentives, and selecting installation partners attuned to Vermont‘s climate helps you successfully embrace solar power. Across a 25+ year lifespan, Roosevelt County families can save upwards of $15,000.

[Ready to explore solar options for your Vermont home? Use our tool get custom solar estimates from top local installers free.]

Going solar allows us to take control, save money, and leave a cleaner Vermont for future generations. With the state already supporting 75,000 homes through renewable energy, I encourage you to join in chip away at that mountain of potential.

Let me know if you have any other solar questions!

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