How much does it cost to install solar panels in New Jersey?
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Solar Panel Installation in New Jersey Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
If you are a New Jersey resident, you have many benefits and incentives to install solar panels on your home. New Jersey ranks 8th in the nation in solar adoption, and with more sunny days than the national average, plus hot summers and cold winters driving up energy costs, solar makes sense for New Jersey residents. New Jersey’s energy costs are also higher than the national average, meaning residents who install solar panel systems can save money.
The state average cost to install solar panels in New Jersey is $12,780 to $16,980, with most homeowners paying $14,880 for a 6kW system using monocrystalline panels installed on a roof. This project’s low cost is $4,260 for a 2kW system using polycrystalline panels installed on a roof. The high cost is $48,000 for a 10kW system using monocrystalline panels with battery backup installed on a ground-mounted array.
Cost to Install Solar Panels in New Jersey
|Cost of Solar Panels in New Jersey|
|National average cost||$14,880|
Cost to Install Solar Panels in NJ by Type
Most solar panel installations in New Jersey are grid-tied. This means you are still connected to the power grid and can use it at night or if your solar panels are not producing enough energy.
While uncommon in New Jersey, you can also go off-grid, disconnecting from the local power grid. You need a much larger system for this than a grid-tied solar system. You also need battery backup for the panels to give you energy at night or when your panels are not producing enough energy. It is also recommended to have another backup energy system, such as a generator or wind power. Because the system needs to be larger and includes batteries, off-grid systems are more costly than grid-tied systems. Below are the average costs to install a grid-tied and off-grid solar panel system in New Jersey.
|Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Grid-Tied||$12,780 - $16,980|
|Off-Grid||$40,000 - $60,000|
Solar Panel Cost per Watt in New Jersey
Solar panels are sold and installed by the watt. Each panel has between 250 and 400 watts, depending on its type and size. The cost per watt in New Jersey is $2.13 to $2.83, making a 6kW system cost between $12,780 and $16,980 installed.
Several factors impact the cost per watt of the system you install, including the region, panel type, and inverters. For example, costs for labor in urban areas are often higher, and ground-mounted installations are typically more expensive. Below are the average costs for different sizes of solar panel installations and the average number of panels needed for those systems.
|System Size||Panels Needed||Average Cost (Installed)|
|2 kW||5 - 8||$4,260 - $5,660|
|3 kW||8 - 12||$6,390 - $8,490|
|4 kW||10 - 16||$8,520 - $11,320|
|5 kW||13 - 20||$10,650 - $14,150|
|6 kW||15 - 24||$12,780 - $16,980|
|7 kW||18 - 28||$14,910 - $19,810|
|8 kW||20 - 32||$17,040 - $22,640|
|10 kW||25 - 40||$21,300 - $28,300|
|12 kW||30 - 48||$25,560 - $33,960|
|15 kW||38 - 60||$31,950 - $42,450|
|18 kW||45 - 72||$38,340 - $50,940|
Average Cost of Solar Panels in NJ per Square Foot
While your home size does not directly influence the size of your solar panel system, these two can be loosely correlated. Energy needs vary, but larger homes tend to have higher energy needs than smaller homes. For that reason, larger homes tend to have higher costs for installing a solar panel system than smaller homes. However, a smaller home can have higher-than-average energy needs. And, larger homes may have lower-than-average energy needs. For this reason, there can be an overlap between home sizes and a wide range of costs for each home size. Below are the average costs of installing a solar panel system in homes of varying sizes in New Jersey.
|House Size||Average Cost (Installed)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$4,260 - $22,640|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$5,660 - $25,560|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$8,520 - $28,300|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$12,780 - $33,960|
Cost of Solar Panels in NJ by Cell Type
Solar panels come in monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. Monocrystalline is the most common and most expensive. Monocrystalline panels are made using whole silicon crystals. They are the most efficient and work best in bright, direct sunlight. They also have a sleek black finish.
Polycrystalline panels are less common and less expensive. They are made using fragments of silicon crystals and are less efficient than monocrystalline. They are also a brighter blue and stand out more on the roof.
Thin film panels are also slightly less expensive than monocrystalline. They have a slimmer profile and work best in lower-light situations. However, they are not as efficient and are less commonly used. Below are the average costs to install a 6kW system in New Jersey using each panel type.
|Cell Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Polycrystalline||$11,000 - $15,000|
|Thin-Film||$11,000 - $15,000|
|Monocrystalline||$12,000 - $17,000|
Labor Cost to Install Solar Panels in New Jersey
Labor costs to install solar panels in New Jersey vary depending on several factors, including the panel type, location, installation method, and region. The average cost per watt for installation is $0.43 to $0.65. This makes the average labor for installing a 6kW system in New Jersey between $2,580 and $3,900. Labor costs are often higher in urban areas than in surrounding suburbs. Installing your solar panels on the ground typically costs more than installing them on the roof because of the extra labor. Below are the average labor costs to install solar panel systems of varying sizes in New Jersey.
|System Size||Average Labor Costs|
|2 kW||$860 - $1,300|
|3 kW||$1,290 - $1,950|
|4 kW||$1,720 - $2,600|
|5 kW||$2,150 - $3,250|
|6 kW||$2,580 - $3,900|
|7 kW||$3,010 - $4,550|
|8 kW||$3,440 - $5,200|
|10 kW||$4,300 - $6,500|
Which Direction Should Solar Panels Face in New Jersey?
It is recommended that solar panels face south in New Jersey whenever possible. If your home faces southeast or southwest, you can also install your panels in these directions without a serious efficiency drop. You can install it facing toward the west in some cases but speak to your installer about the right direction for your system. In some instances, you may find a ground-mounted system makes more sense, or you may find a larger system is needed to make up for an energy drop if the panels face a less-than-ideal direction.
Cost to Install Solar Panels in NJ by Location
Most solar panel systems in New Jersey are on the roof. However, you can install them on the ground if your roof cannot hold the weight, you have a system too large for your roof, or you need the panels to face an impossible direction.
Ground-mounted solar panel systems are typically more expensive to install than roof-mounted systems. Part of this is the cost of the rack that holds the panels, while another part is the labor. The cables running the energy to your home must be buried underground, increasing labor costs. You need space for the panels to be mounted on the ground, meaning they are more common in rural spaces where homes have more land available. Below are the average costs to install a 6kW system on the roof and ground.
|System Location||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Roof||$12,780 - $16,980|
|Ground||$15,850 - $20,800|
New Jersey 2022 Tax Incentives in Solar Energy
New Jersey offers several incentives to its residents to invest in solar energy. These include no sales tax on the purchase of the panels and an exemption from property tax increases due to the solar panels’ added value. While there is no no-cost solar program in NJ, residents can take advantage of the federal tax credit of 30% in 2022. For a 6 kW installation, this credit equals $3,834 to $5,094 for the average installation. Residents can also take advantage of net metering and a successor to the solar renewable energy program - SuSi. With these incentives, the panels can pay for themselves relatively quickly in a few years.
Solar Inverter Cost by Type
Your system also requires at least one solar inverter. Solar inverters convert energy produced by your panels into energy your home can use. They come in a few types.
String inverters are one of the most common systems. Several solar panels are grouped into a string, and each string inverter can handle several strings, so you may only need a single inverter. The drawback to this system is that if one panel drops output, the entire string drops output, lowering the system’s efficiency.
Power optimizers can be used with string inverters to help this issue. These are installed on each panel, so you need one per panel. If one panel is in the shade or drops energy output, the power optimizers keep the other panels’ output at regular levels, so you do not get as big a performance drop.
Another method for avoiding this issue is to use microinverters. Microinverters are installed on each solar panel, and you need one per panel. While they are less expensive than string inverters, you need more, increasing costs.
You also need battery inverters if you have batteries for your system to convert the stored energy into something your home can use. You need one battery inverter per battery. Below are the average costs for each inverter type.
|Inverter Type||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Power Optimizer||$125 - $150|
|Microinverter||$150 - $215|
|String Inverter||$1,000 - $2,000|
|Battery-Based||$2,000 - $2,300|
Cost to Run and Maintain Solar Panels in NJ
Solar panels in New Jersey do not require much maintenance. They should be cleaned and inspected at least twice yearly. During this cleaning and inspection, your technician can check for loose wires or other issues to repair them before they begin to impact system efficiency.
Cleaning and inspecting your solar panels costs roughly $300 to $700 per year in New Jersey, depending on how many panels you have and how much cleaning must be done.
Tesla Solar Roof Installation in NJ
You may want to consider a Tesla solar roof if you have an older roof that must be replaced before installing solar panels or if you do not like how the panels look. Tesla solar roofs use a combination of inactive and photovoltaic roof tiles. They cover the entire roof, giving it a more seamless and cohesive look than installing solar panels over a portion. You can also use one of Tesla’s Powerwall batteries with the system to further reduce your grid dependency. Costs vary depending on your roof’s complexity and size and average between $40,000 and $60,000 in New Jersey.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Solar Water Heater in NJ
When installing solar panels, you may want to consider a solar water heater. Solar water heaters heat the water you use in your home each day. Most systems in New Jersey include an 80-gallon holding tank, the panels, and setup. Costs are between $8,000 and $10,000. However, some residents may be eligible for a rebate that can partially cover costs through the state’s clean energy program. Speak to your local municipality to find out if you are eligible.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. Permits and inspections are required to install solar panels in New Jersey. Speak to your local municipality to find out what may be involved.
- Licenses. Ensure your installer is licensed and insured by the state. Speak to your local municipality to find out what licensing may be required.
- Warranties. Solar panel warranties vary by brand and panel type. Speak to your installer to find out what warranties may be available.
- HOAs. Some homeowner’s associations may restrict the panel type or placement. Speak to your local HOA to determine what restrictions may be in your area.
- Environmental zoning. Some areas may be considered environmentally sensitive. If this is the case where you live, you may have additional regulations. Speak to your local municipality for more information.
- Home value. Solar panels can generally increase your home value by roughly 4%.
- SRECs. Solar renewable energy certificates have been supplanted in New Jersey by their Successor Solar Incentive Program. Under this program, you can receive one certificate for each megawatt produced by your solar panels. You can sell these certificates for roughly $90 each to supplement your income.
- Is it worth getting solar panels in New Jersey?
Yes, there are many benefits to getting solar panels in New Jersey, including net metering, lowered energy costs, and their SuSi program.
- What is the average cost of solar panels in NJ?
The average cost to install solar panels in New Jersey is $12,780 to $16,980 for a 6kW system fully installed.
- How can I get free solar panels in NJ?
There are currently no programs in New Jersey with no upfront costs for solar panels. However, many incentives allow the panels to pay for themselves in a few years.
- Can you sell electricity back to the grid in NJ?
Yes, New Jersey allows net metering, which gives you credit on your electric bill for additional energy your panels produce.
- Can I install my own solar panels in New Jersey?
There are no regulations against installing your own panels in New Jersey, but it is not recommended. You may also need to hire someone to connect your panels to the grid.