If you live in Michigan, you have likely seen a big increase in the number of residences who have opted for solar power. Michigan ranks 26th in solar energy within the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing solar industries. While Michigan sees an average of 170 sunny days per year, the state sees enough sunlight to make solar energy viable for residents, particularly since its electricity rate is well above the national average. Many residents need ways to reduce their energy bills with extremely cold winters and warm summers, making solar an attractive option.
The state average cost to install solar panels in Michigan is $15,540 to $20,580, with most residents paying around $18,060 for a 6 kW system using monocrystalline panels installed on the roof. This project’s low cost is $5,180 for a 2 kW system using thin film panels installed on the roof. The high cost is $52,000 for a 10 kW system with battery backup using monocrystalline panels mounted on a ground-mounted array.
|Cost of Solar Panels in Michigan|
|National average cost||$18,060|
There are two different ways you can install solar panels in Michigan. The first method is a grid-tied system and the most common way to install solar panels in the state. This means you remain connected to the state’s power grid and only use it at night or during times when the sun’s power is not strong enough to run your home.
The second method is known as an off-grid system. In this system, you disconnect fully from the state’s power grid, and rely on your own power. Going off-grid is legal in Michigan but may be subject to local laws and zoning, so check with your local municipality to find out if you need to take additional steps before installing this system.
Off-grid systems are much larger than grid-tied systems and use a full complement of batteries to power your home at night and during inclement weather. It is also recommended that with an off-grid system, you have another backup energy source like a generator or windmill to generate electricity in times of prolonged inclement weather when the sun may not be as strong.
Off-grid systems are more costly because they are typically larger than grid-tied systems. Below are the average costs to install both systems in Michigan.
|Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Grid-Tied||$15,540 - $20,580|
|Off-Grid||$45,000 - $75,000|
Solar panels in Michigan are typically sold and installed by the watt, with each panel typically having between 250 and 400 watts each. The cost of solar panels in Michigan ranges from $2.59 to $3.43 per watt, depending on the type of panel and system. Several things can impact this cost, from how the panels are mounted to the panel type. For example, roof mounting your panels generally has lower costs than mounting your panels on an array. The cost of labor in your area may also dictate the final cost, with urban areas usually having higher costs than more rural areas. Below are the average costs associated with differently sized installations and the average number of panels you need for a project of that size.
|System Size||Panels Needed||Average Cost (Installed)|
|2 kW||5 - 8||$5,180 - $6,860|
|3 kW||8 - 12||$7,770 - $10,290|
|4 kW||10 - 16||$10,360 - $13,720|
|5 kW||13 - 20||$12,950 - $17,150|
|6 kW||15 - 24||$15,540 - $20,580|
|7 kW||18 - 28||$18,130 - $24,010|
|8 kW||20 - 32||$20,720 - $27,440|
|10 kW||25 - 40||$25,900 - $34,300|
|12 kW||30 - 48||$31,080 - $41,160|
|15 kW||38 - 60||$38,850 - $51,450|
|18 kW||45 - 72||$46,620 - $61,740|
Your home size can impact the cost of your solar panel installation. Typically, larger homes have higher energy needs, meaning they likely need a larger system than smaller homes. However, there can be some overlap between different home sizes. You can have a smaller home with higher-than-average energy needs or a larger home with lower-than-average energy needs.
You may also install a system to offset a portion of your energy costs, such as a solar panel system that only runs your HVAC system. You can also get an oversized system that runs your entire home plus room to expand in the future. This can lead to a wide range of costs regardless of the home size. Below are the average costs to install solar panel systems based on the average home size.
|House Size||Average Cost (Installed)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$5,180 - $27,440|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$6,860 - $31,080|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$10,360 - $34,300|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$15,540 - $41,160|
Solar panels are available in three basic cell types - monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film. Of the three, monocrystalline and thin film are the most common in Michigan. Monocrystalline panels are made with whole silicone crystals. These panels are the most efficient and generate the most energy. They have a sleek black finish and a mid profile. They do best in direct sunlight and are typically the most costly.
Polycrystalline panels are made of small pieces of silicone crystals. This makes them less expensive than monocrystalline panels but also less efficient. They have a higher profile and a bright blue finish, so they tend to be less subtle than the other types. They also work best in direct sunlight.
Thin-film panels are the lowest profile solar panel. They are lower in cost than monocrystalline panels and work best in cloudy or overcast areas rather than direct sunlight. Because Michigan sees fewer sunny days than the national average, homeowners who are on a very tight budget may want to consider them, but monocrystalline systems are more efficient overall. Below is the average cost to install a 6 kW system in Michigan using the different types.
|Cell Type||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Polycrystalline||$14,000 - $18,000|
|Thin-Film||$14,000 - $18,000|
|Monocrystalline||$16,000 - $21,000|
Part of the cost to install your solar panels is in the panels themselves. Another part is the labor to install them. Labor rates vary within one state depending on the location, solar panel type, and where you install them. For example, roof installations are easier and less costly than ground-mounted arrays. Labor in highly populated and urban areas tends to be higher than in less-populated areas. The average cost of labor for solar panel installation in Michigan ranges from $0.88 to $1.04 per watt, depending on the location and system type. This includes mounting the system, balancing, and hooking up to your home’s electrical panel. Below are the average costs for labor, depending on the system size.
|System Size||Average Labor Costs|
|2 kW||$1,760 - $2,080|
|3 kW||$2,640 - $3,120|
|4 kW||$3,520 - $4,160|
|5 kW||$4,400 - $5,200|
|6 kW||$5,280 - $6,240|
|7 kW||$6,160 - $7,280|
|8 kW||$7,040 - $8,320|
|10 kW||$8,800 - $10,400|
Your solar panels should be installed facing south whenever possible. This gives the best energy production over the day. However, you still get good energy production from the southwest and southeast if your home does not face south and from the east and west in some cases. Speak to your installer about the angle of your roof and how to maximize the most amount of sunlight and energy production for your Michigan home.
Solar panels can be installed in two general areas on your property. The most common is to install the panels on your roof. This takes up the least amount of space on your property and is easy for the installers to hook up to your electrical system.
However, you may want to consider mounting the panels on the ground if your roof is older and cannot hold the solar panels or you have a system that is too large for your roof to hold. In this setup, the panels are installed on an array or a large bracket designed to hold the panels at the correct angle. This has higher costs for the array and labor. The cables must run to your home underground from the array, increasing installation costs. Below are the average costs to install a 6 kW system in Michigan on the rooftop and ground.
|System Location||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Roof||$15,540 - $20,580|
|Ground||$18,750 - $24,580|
The state of Michigan does not have a tax credit for solar panels. However, residents can take advantage of the Federal tax credit of 30% for 2022. This tax credit allows you to claim 30% of the total cost of your solar panel installation when you file your 2022 taxes. You receive this money back regardless if you owe taxes or not. For a 6 kW installation, this credit equals $4,662 to $6,174 for the average installation.
Your solar system also requires inverters to work. Inverters convert the energy from the panel into energy your home can use. The number of inverters you need will vary depending on the type that you choose. For example, string inverters may only require one, while microinverters require you to have one per panel.
String inverters are one of the most common and least expensive types. These inverters connect panels in a string, giving them their name. The drawback to this system is that if panel goes out, the entire stringstops working. This can lower the output of the whole string, even if only one panel is compromised.
Microinverters can solve this problem because the panels are not connected in strings. These systems are more costly than string inverters, because while they cost less per inverter, you need more of them for the system to work.
In addition to these, you can also use power optimizers with string inverters. Power optimizers connect to each panel like microinverters - you will need one for each panel. They work by optimizing the output from panels in a string if one has a lowered output. For example, if a panel is in shade, the power optimizers will make sure the other panels are still producing at normal output.
If you have a battery for your solar panels, you also need a battery inverter for each. Battery inverters convert the energy into something the battery can store for later. Below are the average costs you can expect to pay per inverter.
|Inverter Type||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Power Optimizer||$125 - $150|
|Micro Inverter||$150 - $215|
|String Inverter||$1,000 - $2,000|
|Battery-Based||$2,000 - $2,300|
Solar panels do not require much maintenance beyond occasional cleaning and inspections. You may want to invest in snow guards because Michigan sees harsh winters.
Inspections and cleaning should take place at least one a year. During this, your panels are checked to ensure they are functioning normally, and loose wires or other issues are dealt with before they become a problem. This costs $200 to $400 per year in Michigan for a single visit. If you need additional visits, costs reach $400 to $1,200 a year. Installing snow guards on your panels costs around $2 to $3 a linear foot.
If you have an older roof that needs replacement before you can install solar panels, you may want to consider a Tesla solar roof. This is also a good investment for those who want a more subtle appearance for their roofs because Tesla roofs cover the entire rooftop with standard and photovoltaic tiles.
The cost of a Tesla roof varies tremendously based on the roof’s complexity, percentage of solar tiles versus the standard tiles, and overall size. Tesla roofs also have the option of using one of their Powerwall batteries, which cost $10,000 per battery installed. This makes the average costs for a Tesla roof in Michigan between $48,000 and $68,000 for a 6 kW system on a 2,000 sq.ft home fully installed.
You can also offset energy costs with a solar water heater. Solar water heaters use the sun’s energy to heat the water you use each day. They have an average cost of $8,000 to $10,000 installed.
Absolutely! Michigan sees about 170 sunny days a year and has higher-than-average electricity costs, making solar a great investment.
This varies depending on the home size and electrical needs. The average 6kW installation can use between 15 and 24 panels.
Yes, you need a permit to install solar panels in Michigan. Speak to your local municipality for more information.
They do, but you may want to invest in snow guards and consider panels like thin film that do not require very much direct sunlight.
Yes, Michigan sees about 170 sunny days a year, which is enough for solar panel installation.