Rhode Island Solar Panels
Pricing & Installation Data

Find out if solar panels are right for your home in Rhode Island.

EnergyBot
>
Solar Panels
>
Rhode Island

Solar Panels in Rhode Island

In the Ocean State, the future is looking bright—literally. 

Rhode Island has made significant investments in solar energy, with $1.2 billion poured into the industry. This money has been spread into projects big and small. RI currently has 721 MW of installed solar capacity which is enough power to light up over 134,000 homes. Investments have also been used to help solar businesses as well, creating 1,089 solar jobs and 26 solar companies actively contributing to the industry. 

Rhode Island is emerging as a solar powerhouse. As the state aims for more sustainable energy solutions, residents have compelling reasons to go solar—from saving on electricity bills to increasing property values and reducing carbon footprints. 

But, we know the investment on an individual scale can still be steep. Solar is not an easy decision. We’ll give you everything you need to know to make the decision for yourself. Stick around as we break down the costs, benefits, and everything in between.

Cost of Solar in Rhode Island

The average price for a home solar panel system in Rhode Island is $21,660 on a 6kW system or about $3.61 per watt. Systems will vary depending on the solar installation company the types of solar panels you choose and the size of your system. When shopping for solar panels you should consider getting multiple quotes from various installers.

Average Cost
6 kW System
Average Cost
10 kW System
Estimated
Tax Credit
(10 kW System)
Average
Cost/Watt
U.S.Average$18,771$31,285$9,385.50$3.13
Rhode Island$16,200$27,000$8,100$2.70
U.S.Average$18,771$31,285$9,385.50$3.13
Most Costly State(Michigan)$22,680$37,800$11,340$3.78
Least Costly State(Arizona)$14,640$24,400$7,320$2.44

Costs by Solar System Size in Rhode Island

For most, the ideal solar system size is the sweet spot between price and capacity. The goal is to generate enough electricity to cover your home's demand while keeping overall costs low as possible.

I.E. Get the best bang for your buck.

System SizeSystem CostCost After Federal Tax Credit
5 kW$13,500$8,785
6 kW$16,200$10,542
7 kW$18,900$12,299
8 kW$21,600$14,056
10 kW$27,000$17,570

Pros and Cons of Solar in Rhode Island

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect - including solar. To avoid buyer's remorse, you should think about all the pros and cons associated with installing solar equipment on your home. Then weigh them against each other to decide if it makes sense for you.

Everyone has their own opinion on how to interpret and weigh the pros and cons against each other. Our goal is to present the most common pros and cons and let you make your own choice.

Rhode Island Solar Pros

  • Cost Savings: Reduce or eliminate electric bills
  • Energy Independence: Generate your own electricity to reduce reliance on the grid
  • Sustainability: Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Home Value: Increase home value (4.1% on average)
  • ConnectedSolutions Program: Earn money by allowing the utility to access stored energy during peak demand times.
  • RE Growth Program: An alternative to net metering, offering credits for sending solar production to the grid. The 2021 rate was 28 cents per kWh, about 25% above the utility rate. 
  • Community Solar: If you can't install solar panels, you can still participate in community solar programs to save on your bills.

Rhode Island Solar Cons

  • Compatibility: Not viable for all roofs or homes
  • Upfront Costs: The initial cost of the system, including Installation costs can be steep.
  • Variable Generation: The amount of electricity produce by the panels is of course determined by how much sun you get. Sunnier days get more power.
  • Financial Liability: If you sign into a solar lease contract, make sure you read the fine print. There have been cases of customers being responsible of more than they thought.
  • Limited Buyback Program: The RE Growth Program is limited in capacity and is only open once a year in April until limits are reached.
  • Growth Projection: Rhode Island ranks 44th in growth projection over the next 5 years, indicating slower adoption compared to other states.

EnergyBot's Take

So, if you're in Rhode Island and thinking about going solar, there's a lot to like. First off, you can actually make some cash through programs like Connected Solutions. The utility pays you for tapping into your stored solar energy. Plus, the RE Growth Program gives you credits for sending your solar energy back to the grid, and it's a pretty sweet deal. 

If you can’t put solar on your roof, you can still save money with community solar.

The drawbacks come when you begin to compare Rhode Island to other states throughout the country. First of all, the startup costs are one of the highest. Then, Rhode Island is not really known as the sunniest state. The state's not exactly leading the charge in solar growth, ranking 44th for the next five years. The RE Growth Program has its limits too; it's only open once a year and fills up fast. 

While solar is never really a bad idea, Rhode Island is not the best state to get solar when you compare. The average payback is about 12 years. The average linespace of panels is about 20 years. With those averages, it is still a great investment, but you have to make sure your home makes the cut. Roof construction, size, and angle. 

Make sure to read the fine print if you're thinking about a solar lease, so you don't get any nasty surprises. So yeah, solar's got its perks, but make sure you're cool with the trade-offs.

If you are on the fence you can use this tool to get an accurate cost breakdown for your home based on your historical energy usage.

Leasing vs Buying Solar Panels in Rhode Island

There are several ways you can purchase and/or finance your solar panel installation in Rhode Island. Your goals and financial situation will dictate which option is best for you.

Cash Purchase

The most straightforward option. You pay upfront for the entire cost of the rooftop solar system. No interest, and fewer headaches, but many people are hesitant about spending several tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Solar Loan

The most common method for buying solar systems. Like many other types of large purchases, you can finance your solar system through a bank or solar loan provider.

This sounds great, and many other solar loan salespeople will leverage the low payment to justify the costs. You will likely hear something like "You pay $250 a month on your electric bill, with a solar loan you will pay $200 and have free electricity."

Do your due diligence before you sign on the dotted line. There are many horror stories of variable loan terms, ballooning interest rates, and harsh missed payment penalties.

Solar Lease

Leasing solar panels generally involves less money out of pocket upfront. But, it's important to note - you do not own your solar energy system. You essentially renting the solar system. A solar provider will install the equipment and charge you a fixed monthly fee.

Most solar lease contracts last for a couple of decades, during which time the provider will keep an eye on the system's hardware and performance. At the end of your lease, you can choose to:

  • Renew your lease agreement
  • Purchase the system
  • End your lease agreement

Solar leases can be complicated. Not all are bad, but in many cases the lease terms in not in favor of the buyer. Before you decide on a solar lease make sure to read your contract thoroughly. If you don't understand something, ask an expert.

Power Purchase Agreements

A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a solar company will design and install a solar system on your home or business with little or no cost upfront. Instead of paying a monthly fee like a lease, the agreement includes a fixed price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated.

For example, you agree to pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity generated for the next 20 years. The solar company will install and maintain your system and sell the power back to you that you use. They may also collect payment for any additional energy they put back into the grid.

Just like a lease, you do not own the panels. When the contract is up, they will either be removed or your contract may have other terms for you to buy or renew your power purchase agreement.

Power purchase agreements can be complicated. Before you sign make sure you review the contract and if possible have an expert in power purchase agreements review the details.

Rhode Island Solar Incentives

Don’t forget about Solar Incentives! While there is the Federal 30% Tax Credit that came from the Inflation Reduction Act, there may be others that are statewide or local.

Check to see if you are eligible for solar incentives, they could significantly reduce the cost of solar panel installation. While some incentives are statewide, others are more local. Your city, utility, or other local company could offer hundreds or thousands of dollars in incentives to install solar systems.

This table shows the available incentives in Rhode Island. But hey, this isn't the end-all-be-all list. Check with your local utility for other potential incentives.

Name State Category Type
Rhode Island Solar Easement Laws RI Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Residential Solar Energy Property Tax Reduction RI Financial Incentive Property Tax Incentive
Renewable Energy Sales Tax Refund RI Financial Incentive Sales Tax Incentive
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Personal) RI Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Net Metering RI Regulatory Policy Net Metering
Renewable Energy Professional Certificate RI Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing
Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF) RI Regulatory Policy Public Benefits Fund
People's Power & Light - Renewable Energy Certificate Incentive RI Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Small Customer Incentive Program for Green Power Marketers RI Financial Incentive Industry Recruitment/Support
Renewable Generation Supply Incentive RI Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
National Grid (Narragansett) - Interconnection Guidelines RI Regulatory Policy Interconnection
Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Solar Electric Program RI Financial Incentive Grant Program
Renewable Energy Standard RI Regulatory Policy Renewables Portfolio Standard
Renewable Energy Products Sales and Use Tax Exemption RI Financial Incentive Sales Tax Incentive
Fuel Mix and Emissions Disclosure RI Regulatory Policy Generation Disclosure
National Grid (New England Gas Company) - High-Efficiency Heating System Rebate Program RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
National Grid - Energy Wise Program RI Financial Incentive Loan Program
National Grid (Electric) - Large Business Program RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Rhode Island Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Standards RI Regulatory Policy Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Building Energy Code RI Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Green Building Standards for State Facilities RI Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Corporate) RI Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Rhode Island Energy (Gas) - Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Rhode Island Energy (Electric) - Small Business Energy Efficiency Program RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
National Grid (Gas) - Residential Gas Heating Rebate Programs RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
National Grid (Electric) - Residential Energy Efficiency Incentive Program RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Renewable Energy Fund Grant Programs RI Financial Incentive Grant Program
Renewable Energy Fund Loan Programs RI Financial Incentive Loan Program
Rhode Island - Residential Energy-Efficient Appliance Rebates RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard RI Regulatory Policy Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Interconnection Guidelines RI Regulatory Policy Interconnection
Distributed Generation Standard Contracts RI Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Small Scale Solar Grants (Commerce RI) RI Financial Incentive Grant Program
Commercial Scale Renewable Energy Grants (Commerce RI) RI Financial Incentive Grant Program
Rhode Island C-PACE program RI Financial Incentive PACE Financing
Renewable Energy Growth Program RI Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Renewable Energy Professional Certification RI Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing
Residential Renewable Energy System Tax Credit RI Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Energy Revolving Loan Fund RI Financial Incentive Loan Program
Rhode Island Energy (Electric) Commercial and Industrial Rebate Program RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
National Grid EnergyWise Financing program RI Financial Incentive Loan Program
Public Benefit Fund for Renewables and Efficiency RI Regulatory Policy Public Benefits Fund
Energy Conservation Grants for the Elderly RI Financial Incentive Grant Program
Energy Efficiency Standard for State Buildings RI Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Equipment RI Financial Incentive Property Tax Incentive
Farm Energy Program RI Financial Incentive Grant Program
Electrify Rhode Island Program RI Financial Incentive Rebate Program
National Grid - EV Charging Station program RI Financial Incentive Other Incentive
Community Remote Net Metering Program RI Regulatory Policy Community Solar Rules
Offshore Wind Energy Target RI Regulatory Policy Offshore Wind Energy Target
Tax-Exempt Financing for Green Buildings, Renewable Energy & Brownfield Redevelopment US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Conservation Security Program (CSP) Production Incentive US Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Federal Excise Tax Exemption for Gasohol US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Exemption
Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) US Financial Incentive Corporate Depreciation
Energy Star Financing and Mortgages US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA Rural Housing Service Loans US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Corporate) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Exemption
Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) US Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Small Business Administration Loan Programs US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Energy-Efficient Mortgages US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs - Funding Opportunities US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Green Power Purchasing Goal for Federal Government US Regulatory Policy Green Power Purchasing
Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Deduction
Energy-Efficient New Homes Tax Credit for Home Builders US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Energy-Efficient Appliance Manufacturing Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Industry Recruitment/Support
Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Veterans Housing Guaranteed and Insured Loans US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Federal Appliance Standards US Regulatory Policy Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Energy Goals and Standards for Federal Agencies US Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) US Financial Incentive Loan Program
U.S. Department of Treasury - Renewable Energy Grants US Financial Incentive Grant Program
USDA - High Energy Cost Grant Program US Financial Incentive Grant Program
USDA - Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA - Repowering Assistance Biorefinery Program US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Title I Property Improvement Loans US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance (EA/REDA) Program US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Fannie Mae Green Financing – Loan Program US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicle Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit (Corporate) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit (Personal) US Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Previously-Owned Clean Vehicle Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit

Rhode Island Solar Companies

There are hundreds of solar companies in Rhode Island. From solar installers to solar loan providers, and manufacturers. Each is a piece of the puzzle to help you get outfitted with solar panels.

To make things simple, EnergyBot works directly with 3 of the largest solar companies to give you a comprehensive view of the market.

The solar companies we partner with:

  • Project Solar - A nationwide provider of solar panel systems that has a non-sales-oriented approach to building your system. They build your system from their central office and send a local company to complete the solar panel installation.
  • EnergySage - The largest online solar installation network. They work with thousands of installers to help you find the perfect solar system for your home. With thousands of successful solar installations, they can give you a range of bids and pricing options.
  • Tesla - Brains behind some of the most cutting-edge technology in the automotive industry, Tesla also offers sleek and powerful solar systems and battery systems.

We believe comparing these three names in the solar industry will give you the info you need to decide if solar panels are right for you.

Before You Install Solar Panels

Just because solar is a popular discussion right now, doesn’t mean it makes sense for everyone. It is still a large and expensive decision. Installing solar has great financial and environmental benefits but it won’t feel beneficial if you run into issues. Along with studying a 20-year cost comparison for your home, read some more tips to keep in mind when mulling over your decision on your installer, system design, and financial plan.

  • What are the long-term savings and payback period for installing a solar panel system?
  • How will installing solar panels impact my home's value?
  • What is the system’s Return on Investment (ROI)?
  • Are there any specific design or aesthetic considerations for solar panel installation?
  • How do I weigh the environmental benefits against the costs of installation?
  • What are the specific terms and conditions for the installer?

Potential New Construction Solar Requirement

Rhode Island Representative, Jennifer Boylan, is pushing for a new law that would make solar panels a requirement for new construction. This would apply to single-family homes, multi-family residences, commercial buildings up to 10 stories, and new parking lots over 16,000 square feet would need solar carports. As of October 2023, we don’t have a resolution on this proposal. 

The goal of the law would be to try to fulfill at least 80% of a building's yearly electricity consumption with solar. There are exemptions for impractical designs and affordable housing. Of course, if you can’t fit enough panels on your roof then you won’t be required to install them.

We have seen this type of regulation in California and Massachusetts before. 

But there are pros and cons to this type of enforcement. Here is what some are saying:

The first argument is the added cost to a new home. Saying it could add $8,000 to $10,000 to the total. The average price for a 6kW solar system in Rhode Island is about $21,660, so these estimated costs could be low. 

The counterpoint is the long-term investment. While no one likes higher upfront costs, the energy savings and payback look good. On average, the payback could be 8 years. Most panels sustain a good efficiency for 20 years, and could continue to produce electricity long after. 

Also, what happened to choice? Shouldn’t home owners have the option to have solar or not?

So, it's a hot topic, and Boylan sees this as just the start of a longer conversation.

Why Trust EnergyBot

We have helped thousands of customers find electricity plans for their home or business. And we are pretty darn good at it, with over 1,000 5-Star reviews we know how to help you stay powered up.

Now using the same one-of-kind technology and platform we are helping consumers in Rhode Island decide if solar is right for them. You will notice that sometimes our numbers make solar look less attractive. That's not by accident. We believe you should have full transparency during the solar purchasing process.

We aren't here to sell you something. We are here to help you make the best energy decision for your home or business.

Rhode Island Solar FAQs

The cost of solar panel installation in Rhode Island can vary significantly based on a number of factors, including the size and type of the system, the complexity of the installation, your solar installer, and the specific location. However, the average cost of solar panels in the U.S. was about $3.13 per watt, before any incentives or tax credits.

A typical residential solar system is usually around 8 kilowatts (8,000 watts), but varies based on energy use and the size of the house. The US average cost for a 6 kW system is $18,771 and the US average cost for a 10 kW system is $31,285, before incentives. The average price for a home solar panel system in Rhode Island is $21,660 for a 6kW system or about or about $3.61 per watt.

The number of solar panels you would need depends on a variety of factors such as:

  1. Your home's energy consumption: The first step is to calculate your household's energy use. You can do this by looking at your electricity bills to see how much electricity you use in a year, usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The average U.S. home uses around 10,400 kWh per year, but this can vary widely based on the size of your home, the efficiency of your appliances, and your personal habits.
  2. The amount of sunlight your location receives: This can vary depending on where you live. For example, if you live in a place that has many sunny days like Arizona, you might require fewer solar panels compared to someone living in a place with less sunlight like Seattle.
  3. The efficiency of the solar panels: Not all solar panels are created equal. Some panels can convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently than others. On average, residential solar panels have an efficiency rating between 15-20%. The higher the efficiency, the fewer panels you would likely need to meet your energy needs.
  4. The size of the solar panels: Solar panels also come in different sizes. A common size for residential use is roughly 65 inches by 39 inches. Each panel typically produces around 250 to 400 watts of power, but this can vary.

To give you a rough estimate, let's say you live in a location that receives about 5 hours of peak sunlight per day, your solar panels have an efficiency of 20%, and each panel has a power rating of 300 watts. If your home uses about 10,400 kWh per year, you would divide this by 365 to get your daily energy use (about 28.5 kWh). You would then divide this by the hours of peak sunlight (5 hours), to get your required power output per hour (about 5.7 kW). If each solar panel produces 300 watts (or 0.3 kW), you would divide 5.7 kW by 0.3 to get the number of solar panels you need, which would be about 19 panels.

  • Lower Electricity Bills:
    Once your solar panels are installed, you can generate your own electricity and reduce your reliance on the grid, which can lower your monthly bills.
  • Environmental Benefits:
    Solar energy is clean and renewable, so using it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants.
  • Increased Home Value:
    Installing solar panels can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Long-Term Savings:
    While the upfront cost of installing solar energy systems can be high, they can pay for themselves over time through lower energy bills and other savings.
  • Location:
    Homes in areas with lots of sunlight are generally better candidates for solar panels. If your home is shaded or doesn't receive much sunlight, it may not be the best choice.
  • Roof Orientation:
    Ideally, your roof should be facing south to get the most sunlight throughout the day.
  • Roof Condition:
    Your roof should be in good condition and able to support the weight of the solar panels. If your roof needs repairs or replacement, it's best to take care of that before your solar installation.

The installation process for solar panels can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of the system and the complexity of the installation.

Your installer should be able to give you an estimated timeline based on your specific project.

One of the great perks of solar panels is their low maintenance. However, to ensure they keep producing clean, green power, a few key maintenance steps are recommended.

  • Inspections: have your panels inspected every few years by a professional. This ensures they are operating at their peak performance.
  • Regular Cleaning: Dust, debris, and dirt can accumulate on your panels over time, affecting their efficiency. Consider giving them a gentle clean once a year to keep them in tip-top shape. 
  • Maintenance Services: Many solar panel installers offer maintenance services for an additional fee, saving you the hassle of DIY upkeep.

Another benefit of solar panels is their longevity. Most come with a 25 to 30-year performance warranty which spans their Effected Useful Life (EUL). While the EUL is supposed to give you an estimate of how long the equipment will last, solar panels often continue to produce power long past this timeframe, just not as effectively as they used to. However, with anything, it's crucial to delve into the fine print to understand precisely what's covered.

The inverter is a critical component that converts direct current (DC) from your panels into alternating current (AC) for your home. Inside the inverter are electro-magnetic parts that move quickly and often. Because they have these moving parts, inverters have a shorter lifespan than the panels themselves. Know ahead of time that you will have to replace the inverters at least once during the lifespan of your panels. This should be factored into your long-term cost considerations.

Great question! Some homeowner's insurance policies may cover solar panels, but it's wise to double-check. You might need to add a separate rider or explore different insurance providers to ensure everything is adequately protected.

While solar panels seem straightforward with no moving parts, taking on a DIY installation might not be the best choice for most homeowners. The primary challenges lie in the intricate electrical work. Mistakes can not only damage the expensive system but also pose safety risks, especially if you're not an electrician. Before attempting a DIY project, consider getting a professional quote. You might be surprised to discover that labor costs are a relatively small part of the overall expense.

When it comes to selecting the right solar panels for your home, you'll typically encounter two main types: Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. Each has its pros and cons, making the choice a bit of a balancing act.

  • Monocrystalline panels are more efficient but come with a higher price tag.
  • Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient but are more budget-friendly.

Keep in mind that due to the efficiency difference, you may need a few more poly-panels to match the output of mono-panels. Additionally, various factors such as your roof's weight capacity, area, angle, orientation, and budget should influence your decision. To make an informed choice, it's best to consult a professional solar installer who can assess these factors and provide a tailored recommendation for your specific situation.

Instead of making a blind choice, consult with a solar installer who can assess various factors like your budget, location, and energy requirements. They can provide a tailored recommendation, ensuring you get the most efficient panels for your specific situation.