Here's Everything You Need to Know About Going Solar in Wisconsin (2023)

While Wisconsin ranks 23rd in the nation in solar installations,Governor Tony Evers has put forward an ambitious plan to reach 100% carbon-free energy by 2050, with solar energy at the center of that strategy. Solar panels are increasingly popular in the Badger State despite the relatively cheap traditional electricity rates compared to many other states.

SaveOnEnergy, which is owned by CNET's parent company, reports that Wisconsin is among the top ten states with the lowest electricity bills. Coal is one of the main sources of electricity generation in the state. Wisconsin's average November residential electric bill was $113.92, or $1,367.04 per year. However,recent rate hikes by Wisconsin utility regulators will make electricity more expensive in 2023. Going solar could help you save money on electricity bills, protect you from utility price fluctuations, cut residential carbon emissions and boost your home's value.

The cost of solar panels has significantly dropped over the past 12 years, making them more accessible to average Americans. A study by theNational Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the cost of residential solar panels has decreased by 64% since 2010.

Best Solar Companies of 2023

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Wisconsin solar panel cost

The quantity and type of panels, your component preferences, installation fees, roof condition, local permitting costs and several other factors determine the cost of a solar system. You can anticipate different pricing in your city due to location-specific charges and incentives. According to data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, residential solar installations in Wisconsin are cheaper than the national average because they're smaller than the national average. Per watt, Wisconsin solar actually costs more.

Wisconsin vs. the US

System size (kW) Price per watt Installed cost
Wisconsin 6 $3.78 $22,915
US 8.6 $3.67 $31,558

Investing in solar panels isn't cheap. If you can't purchase them outright, you can finance your system with a loan or enter a lease or power purchase agreement. All these options are available in Wisconsin but it's important to note that committing to a solar lease or a PPA will disqualify you for any tax credits, rebates and other incentives because you won't own the system. Typically, the solar installer who leases you the panels will benefit from all financial incentives.

Advertiser Disclosure: SaveOnEnergy, owned by CNET's parent company Red Ventures, can help you find the right energy fit for your home. The SaveOnEnergy marketplace helps you search, compare, sign up and save on the right energy fit for your home -- all for free. If you're interested in solar, answer a few questions to get an exact price quote from our solar advisers.

Wisconsin solar panel incentives and rebates

While solar panel costs have decreased over the last decade, they still cost thousands of dollars to own. Wisconsin residents can take advantage of the federal solar tax credits and state incentives to reduce the initial cost of solar. You can deduct 30% of the cost of a solar system from your federal income taxes through the federal ResidentialClean Energy Credit (previously available under the Investment Tax Credit). This credit applies to systems of all sizes installed between 2022 through 2032. The credit decreases to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034 and ends in 2035.

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You can claim the Clean Energy Credit by completing and submitting form 5695 (PDF) to the IRS. Read through the IRS instructions on how to fill out this form. Once the IRS signs off on your paperwork, you will receive your solar savings in credit when you file your federal tax return for the year.

Apart from the Clean Energy Credit, Wisconsin provides several incentives to encourage the development of the residential solar sector.

Program Description
Net metering Net metering lets you send your excess solar generation to the power grid and lower your next utility bill by receiving a credit. The state's Public Service Commission mandates that utilities provide retail rate net metering credits equivalent to a solar customer's monthly power consumption.
Focus on Energy rebates All qualified homeowners in Wisconsin can receive a flat, one-time $500 solar rebate when buying and installing new solar panels on their rooftops, regardless of system size. It's essential to check the Focus on Energy's site to confirm if your utility takes part in this program.
State solar sales tax and property tax incentives Wisconsin provides sales and property tax exemptions on solar equipment. Thanks to these incentives, you won't pay taxes on the added home value from your solar system. You can claim these exemptions when you file your state tax returns.

Wisconsin solar companies

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 182 solar companies operate in Wisconsin, including 73 solar installers. Below, we'll highlight five of the companies working in the state, including companies that feature on CNET's solar company best list.

All Energy Solar

All Energy Solar provides solar and energy storage services for residential, commercial and utility-scale customers in the Northeast and Midwest, including Wisconsin. The company manages the entire purchasing process in-house, including solar system design, installation, local permitting and post-installation monitoring. All Energy Solar partners with large solar manufacturers like Enphase Energy, Q Cells, Tesla and SolarEdge Technologies. The company provides up to 10 years of quality-of-work warranties in Wisconsin. All Energy Financeoffers direct financing to its solar customers, which means you work directly with the installer to pay for your loan.

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Arch Solar

Solar Power World magazine, a leading solar publication in the US, ranked Arch Solar as one of the top solar installers in Wisconsin in 2022. With more than 90 employees, Arch Solar handles the installation in-house. The company partners with solar and battery industry manufacturers like Enphase, Generac, SolarEdge and Tesla. While solar panels and inverters come with a 25-year warranty, Arch Solar provides only a five-year quality-of-work warranty for residential customers.

Endries Solar and Electric

Endries Solar and Electric provides full-service solar and battery installations for residential and commercial customers. The company customizes each solar system for client needs and is also a certified installer of Generac solar batteries. If you need solar financing, Endries Solar and Electric consultants can walk you through your loan options and payment strategies. The company provides afive-year quality-of-work warranty.

Home Team Energy

Home Team Energy specializes exclusively in residential solar panels, battery storage and EV charger installations. It's a certified installer of Enphase products. As a small solar company, Home Team Energy manages all solar customers in-house. The installer encourages all customers to contact the company with any solar system problems for quick troubleshooting and repairs. The company provides a 25-year quality-of-work warranty; most of the installed equipment also comes with a 25-year warranty.


Operating in half of the US,Palmetto Solar is one of the leading American solar panel and battery installers. The company installs Q Cells monocrystalline solar panels. You can also opt into Palmetto's extra solar services, like Palmetto Protect Plan, which will provide solar system monitoring and discounts on panel cleaning, pest abatement, battery installation and other perks for $8 a month. You get a 25-year performance warranty, a 25-year quality-of-work warranty and a minimum 12-year product warranty with Palmetto. If you can't purchase a solar system, Palmetto gives you the option to take out a solar loan or enter a lease or a PPA.

Important installation factors

Condition and angle of your roof Your roof's pitch can add to how much a solar project will cost. Find out if your roof has the right angle to make the most of solar generation. According to the US Department of Energy's estimates, an angle between 15 and 40 degrees is optimal for solar panel efficiency. It's also essential to hire an experienced solar installer who can advise you on your roof's condition and whether it needs replacing before installing solar panels.
Investment vs. time Think about the length of time you will live in your home before taking on a solar loan or entering a long-term PPA or leasing. All these options are long-term commitments. If you move several years after getting solar panels, a solar investment may not be worth the effort and expense. The average payback period for solar ranges between six to nine years.
Insurance coverage Including a solar system in your homeowner's insurance policy is a good idea as it can offer more protection for your solar equipment. Consult with your insurance company about your policy's coverage of a solar system.
HOA and neighborhood rules Wisconsin's solar access rights allow homeowners unlimited access to the sun. It means that homeowners' associations and neighbors won't prevent you from installing solar panels on your property in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin solar power FAQs

(Video) How a typical Wisconsin residential solar install works from Arch Solar

Will I lose power with my solar panels if there is an outage in my area?

Yes, for most solar systems. After your solar system is installed, your home remains tied to the main electric grid to use it as a backup when the sun isn't shining and powering your solar panels. You could have electricity during a power outage if you also install a solar battery.

Does Wisconsin provide a solar tax credit?

Wisconsin doesn't provide a solar tax credit if you acquire solar panels. You can use the 30% federal tax credit and state and local incentives to reduce the initial cost of solar panels.Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency offers an exhaustive list of solar incentive programs in Wisconsin, which can help you find more cost-saving opportunities.

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Is it worth getting solar panels in cold states like Wisconsin?

Yes, it's often worth going solar in Wisconsin. It's possible to produce solar energy even inAntarctica. Solar panels need sunlight, not heat, to generate power. Cold weather provides optimal efficiency and operation for solar panels because their highest efficiency internal temperature is between 59 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, certain types of solar panels are more efficient than others. Your solar installer can help you decide which panels make sense for your rooftop.

Read more

  • Do Solar Panels Make Sense in the Midwest? What You Need to Know
  • Why Solar Power Actually Pays Off, Even in Regions With Cheap Electricity
  • Solar Cheat Sheet: Your Complete Guide to Getting Solar Panels at Home
  • Do Solar Panels Save Money? Yes. Here's How


Is it worth going solar in Wisconsin? ›

Yes, solar is worth it in Wisconsin! In fact, solar panels are worth it in most areas, though certain factors – including the cost of electricity, available incentives, the climate, and sun angle – will all impact how quickly you break even on your investment relative to other areas.

Does Wisconsin offer a solar tax credit? ›

Solar Tax Credits, Rebates, and Tax Exemptions in Wisconsin*

Qualified homeowners with home solar could be eligible for a tax credit of up to 30% against the cost of the system. Property tax exemption on the added home value from a Wisconsin solar installation. 5% home solar system state sales tax exemption.

What are the solar incentives for Wisconsin 2023? ›

Homeowners throughout Wisconsin can get rebates of up to $500 for qualified solar installations. Rural residential customers can receive an additional $500 per solar project from the program.

How much does it cost to go solar in Wisconsin? ›

How much do solar panels cost in Wisconsin? From Wisconsin data, it is shown that the average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $14,195 to $19,205. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in Wisconsin ranges in price from $2.84 to $3.84.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves in Wisconsin? ›

4044 • SOLAR PAYBACK TIME With cost savings of over $700 per year, most Wisconsin solar systems for homes pay for themselves after 7-11 years. With 20+ years of reducd electric bills, total savings can be well over $20,000.

Are there cons for going solar? ›

Disadvantages of solar energy include a high initial cost, an inability to work on every roof type, and sometimes difficulty in finding a reputable and local installer (depending on where you live).

Can you sell power back to the grid in Wisconsin? ›

Thanks to net metering in Wisconsin, you can send your extra solar energy back to the grid in exchange for credits on your utility bill. When you need more electricity than your panels are generating, those credits can make up the difference for you.

Can you write off solar on your taxes? ›

Solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032.

What can you write off for solar tax credit? ›

What Does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Cover?
  • Solar panels cost.
  • Solar equipment costs like inverters, wiring and mounting hardware.
  • Labor costs for solar panel installation, including fees related to permitting and inspections.
  • Solar power storage equipment costs like solar batteries.
Apr 13, 2023

Will solar get cheaper in 2023? ›

Solar costs are very likely to decrease in 2023, making rooftop renewables affordable for more homeowners. In November 2022, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published its analysis of the cost of solar and energy storage (battery) system installations for the first quarter of 2022.

Is the solar tax credit going down in 2023? ›

The tax credit for solar was originally scheduled to decrease to 22% in 2023. With the recent signing of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, not only will the credit still be available, but it will also increase to a 30% credit effective until at least 2032.

What is the solar tax credit for 2023 and 2024? ›

Residential solar installations were eligible for a tax credit claim against the project expenditures and subject to a phase-out, with maximum credit of 26% in 2020-2022, which dropped to 22% in 2023, and then 0% in 2024 and thereafter.

What is the most cost effective way to go solar? ›

In general, a purchased solar system can be installed at a lower total cost than system installed using a solar loan, lease, or power purchase agreement (PPA). If you prefer to buy your solar energy system, solar loans can lower the up-front costs of the system.

How long do solar panels last? ›

The industry standard for most solar panels' lifespans is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more. The average break even point for solar panel energy savings occurs six to 10 years after installation.

Do solar panels increase home value in Wisconsin? ›

Home Resale Value Increase

Another massive benefit of going solar in Wisconsin is the bump in home value you'll experience. According to research conducted by Zillow, the average home will increase by around 4.1% in value when a solar energy system is added.

What happens after I pay off my solar panels? ›

Once you pay off your loan or buy your system outright you will essentially be getting energy for free. When it comes to payment, those who are using solar energy will still get a monthly utility bill. This will show how much energy you produced versus how much energy you used for the month.

How quickly does solar pay for itself? ›

The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years. This is a pretty wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years it can take to pay off your panels and the monthly savings you can expect.

Do solar panels ever pay for themselves? ›

A well-designed and properly installed solar panel system will usually pay for itself, though it will take several years to reach this point. Beyond the break-even point, every month that you operate your solar system can be considered financial gain.

What is 1 bad thing about solar power? ›

The one environmental downside to solar technology is that it contains many of the same hazardous materials as electronics. As solar becomes a more popular energy source, the problem of disposing the hazardous waste becomes an additional challenge.

What happens to unused electricity in grid? ›

Any excess electricity you produce is fed back into the grid. When renewable resources are unavailable, electricity from the grid supplies your needs, eliminating the expense of electricity storage devices like batteries.

Can I disconnect my house from the power grid? ›

First, disconnecting your home may be illegal and may invalidate the certificate of occupancy for your home. Even if you can legally disconnect, you'd miss out on the convenience that utility power offers. Being off grid essentially means that you are your own electricity provider for better and for worse.

Where does unused electricity in the grid go? ›

If it cannot be put to use, excess electricity might have to be dissipated in a dump load, which is usually a simple resistive heater or a bank of light bulbs. In some cases, excess energy can be curtailed rather than dissipated.

How do I get a $10000 tax refund 2023? ›

Individuals who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) may be able to receive a refund of more than $10,000. “If you are low-to-moderate income and worked, you may be eligible for the Federal and State of California Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC).

How many times can you claim solar tax credit? ›

You can only claim the federal solar tax credit once. If the taxes you owe are less than the value of the credit, the remainder will roll over for a maximum of five years. For example, if you install a solar energy system worth $19,000, you'll owe 30% ($5,700) less on your federal tax return.

What states have a solar tax credit? ›

Solar incentives by state
  • Arizona.
  • California.
  • Colorado.
  • Connecticut.
  • Florida.
  • Hawaii.
  • Illinois.
  • Massachusetts.

How do I claim my 7500 EV tax credit? ›

How to Claim the Credit. To claim the credit, file Form 8936, Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit (Including Qualified Two-Wheeled Plug-in Electric Vehicles) with your tax return.

How much solar do I need? ›

You can calculate how many solar panels you need by multiplying your household's hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for your area and dividing that by a panel's wattage. Use a low-wattage (150 W) and high-wattage (370 W) example to establish a range (ex: 17-42 panels to generate 11,000 kWh/year).

Why is my Edison bill so high when I have solar panels? ›

If you received a high utility bill, chances are, you're consuming more energy than the amount used to design your solar system. This can occur during the day or at night. Keep in mind that once the sun goes down, your solar panels are no longer producing power.

Is it better to get solar now or wait? ›

Waiting on installing solar panels means missing on savings

In summary, purchasing solar panels for your home sooner rather than later is in your best interest as a homeowner. You can begin saving on electricity immediately and secure flat energy costs, rather than paying for ever increasing rates.

How much does Tesla solar panels cost? ›

A Tesla solar system (including equipment and installation) can vary in cost from $11,840 for 8.2 kW of standard solar panels to $22,200 for 16.3 kW (both after tax incentives). A Tesla Solar Roof will have a higher price tag, typically in the ballpark of $30,000 to $90,000.

How does the 30 solar tax credit work? ›

How does the solar tax credit work? The solar tax credit is a non-refundable credit worth 30% of the gross system cost of your solar project. That means that if the gross system cost is $20,000, your tax credit would be $6,000 ($20,000 x 30%= $6,000).

Is solar a good investment 2023? ›

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in 2022 has also extended tax incentives for solar installation. While inflation and supply chain challenges have increased the price of solar recently, the reality is that 2023 is one of the best years in recent memory for homeowners to consider investing in solar.

What is the Inflation Reduction Act for homeowners? ›

The Inflation Reduction Act offers homeowners up to 30% in tax credits for making energy efficiency improvements to their homes — up to $1,200 per year! Eligible new clean vehicle owners can also receive a tax credit up to $7,500, and up to $4,000 for used.

How does the solar tax credit work if I don't owe taxes? ›

Individuals who do not have any form of income, or who have a very low income, may not have any tax liability. Therefore, if they qualify for a tax credit, they do not have any tax liability to receive the credit against.

How long will the 30 solar tax credit last? ›

Those who install a PV system between 2022 and 2032 will receive a 30% tax credit. That will decrease to 26% for systems installed in 2033 and to 22% for systems installed in 2034. If you've already installed a system in 2022, your tax credit has increased from 22% to 30% if you haven't already claimed it.

What qualifies for energy tax credit in 2023? ›

Beginning January 1, 2023, the amount of the credit is equal to 30% of the sum of amounts paid by the taxpayer for certain qualified expenditures, including (1) qualified energy efficiency improvements installed during the year, (2) residential energy property expenditures during the year, and (3) home energy audits ...

Is solar really cheaper than electricity? ›

Although solar energy requires an initial investment to purchase and set up, people find that solar energy is a lot less expensive than electric power in the long run due to the rising price of electricity.

Is solar worth it financially? ›

Electricity Bill Savings

Most Californians pay around $116.94 each month for power, so you'll save just over $1,400 annually if you can eliminate your energy bill. The average lifetime savings enjoyed by California solar customers is around $29,734, and that's after the upfront expenses of going solar are recuperated.

How do I get out of a solar loan? ›

The three typical ways to get out of a solar lease are to:
  1. Solar lease buyout – Buy out the remaining part of the solar lease or keep making monthly payments.
  2. Purchase the solar PV system in its entirety at market price.
  3. Transfer your solar lease agreement.

Does house insurance increase with solar panels? ›

You may not see an increase in your homeowners insurance premium after installing solar panels on your roof. However, you'll likely need to raise your coverage limits to account for the replacement cost of your solar panels, which will likely result in some increase to your premium.

Does hail damage solar panels? ›

Solar panels are designed to withstand different weather conditions, including hail and thunderstorms. However, just like your car windscreen can sometimes get damaged by extreme hail, the same can happen to your panels.

How often do solar panels need to be cleaned? ›

It is generally recommended to clean solar panels every 6 months to a year in order to maintain the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the panels. However, based on where you live and the level of dirt and pollution, the need for cleaning may be more frequent.

Does Wisconsin have a solar tax credit? ›

Solar Tax Credits, Rebates, and Tax Exemptions in Wisconsin*

Qualified homeowners with home solar could be eligible for a tax credit of up to 30% against the cost of the system. Property tax exemption on the added home value from a Wisconsin solar installation. 5% home solar system state sales tax exemption.

Does solar increase home value in Wisconsin? ›

Home Resale Value Increase

Another massive benefit of going solar in Wisconsin is the bump in home value you'll experience. According to research conducted by Zillow, the average home will increase by around 4.1% in value when a solar energy system is added.

How much does it cost to install solar panels on a house in Wisconsin? ›

FAQs: Solar Panel Cost Wisconsin

The average cost of installing solar panels in Wisconsin is $2.60 per watt, which is below the national average of $2.66 per watt. Using this figure, a typical 7-kilowatt solar system in Wisconsin would cost $13,468 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit.

Is solar really worth the money? ›

Yes, getting a solar panel system is worth it for the excellent financial benefits and cost savings. However, solar panels aren't suitable for everyone. Residents with low energy needs, low electricity rates, or year-round inclement weather may not save money from a solar system.

Is solar exempt from sales tax in Wisconsin? ›

Alternative energy producing products are exempt from sales and use tax if they convert wind, solar radiation, or gas produced from the digestion of animal manure and other agricultural wastes into alternating current electricity or heat.

Does solar increase home equity? ›

Yes, solar panels will raise your home's property value. Although the added value can vary by location, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that home value increases by $20 for every $1 saved on your utility bills. This translates to a higher market value when selling your home.

How much is a solar system for a 2000 sq ft house? ›

How much does it cost to put solar panels on a 2,000-square-foot home? Although the amount of energy a household uses will influence how many solar panels it needs, it will likely cost around $20,000 to install solar panels on a 2,000-square-foot home.

How many solar panels does a 2000 sq ft home need? ›

Thankfully, we've got the answer for you! A 2000 square foot house will need 28- 34 solar panels, which comes out to an average cost of \$3.50 per watt. Not only will installing solar panels save homeowners money on their electric bill, but they can also increase the value of their home.

How many solar panels are needed for a ft house? ›

Home square footage compared to the number of solar panels needed
Home sizeEstimated annual electricity neededNumber of solar panels needed
1,000 sq. feet4,710 kWh8
2,000 sq. feet9,420 kWh15
2,500 sq. feet11,775 kWh19
3,000 sq. feet14,130 kWh23
Apr 10, 2023

How long do solar panels take to pay for themselves? ›

The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years. This is a pretty wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years it can take to pay off your panels and the monthly savings you can expect.

Are solar panels tax deductible? ›

Installing solar panels earns you a federal tax credit. That means you'll get a credit for your income taxes that actually lowers your tax bill. You can qualify for the ITC for the tax year that you installed your solar panels as long as the system generates electricity for a home in the United States.

Is going solar better than electric? ›

Although solar equipment can be more expensive initially, the main reason that people choose solar power instead of electricity is the cost savings. Solar energy is very efficient and able to pay back the cost of installation over a number of years.

Do solar panels work on cloudy days? ›

Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt.

What are the pros and cons of solar panels? ›

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels
Pros of Solar PowerCons of Solar Power
Reduce or eliminate electric billsSolar panels are expensive
Reduce your carbon footprintLong payback period
Improve your home valueNot viable for all roofs or homes
Energy independent from the gridFewer savings when electricity costs are low
2 more rows

What is the payback on solar panels? ›

What Is The Average Payback Period For Solar Panels? The average residential solar power system payback is about 8.7 years, but it varies by location and property. So, the typical payback period is about 6 – 10 years.


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