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Solar Panel Cost New Jersey: How Much Should You Pay?

Average National Cost
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RSMeans construction materials database.
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$2.77 per watt

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Updated On

February 9, 2024

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Solar panel costs in New Jersey fall between $7,756 and $19,390 after the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), with an average post-tax-credit- cost of $13,573. New Jersey also offers its residents some opportunities for further savings through state-level solar incentive programs.

In this article, I cover all of the costs associated with purchasing solar panels in New Jersey, including the cost of solar panels and solar equipment, permitting and admin fees, solar installation costs, and more. I’ll also discuss how you can save money when converting to solar in NJ.

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4.3

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in New Jersey?

The average cost per watt of solar panels in New Jersey is $2.77, which is $0.11 per watt more than the national average of $2.66. You might think that the total cost of switching to solar would also be higher, but that’s not the case. New Jersey households consume less energy on average than a typical household in other states, reducing the size and cost of the solar system needed to offset their energy needs.

The typical New Jersey home uses 683 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month, while the national average consumption is 893 kWh. That makes the total cost for solar panels in New Jersey $19,390 before the federal solar tax credit and $13,573 after the tax credit.

The table below shows how the cost of solar panels in New Jersey depends on your house size, system size, and monthly energy consumption.

Solar System SizeEnergy Use (monthly)House Size (square feet)Total Cost (before incentives)Cost After the Federal ITC Energy Savings
4 kW400 kWh1,100$11,080$7,756$11,864
5 kW500 kWh1,300$13,850$9,695$14,830
6 kW600 kWh1,500$16,620$11,634$17,796
7 kW700 kWh1,700$19,390$13,573$20,762
8 kW800 kWh1,900$22,160$15,512$23,728
9 kW900 kWh2,100$24,930$17,451$26,694
10 kW1,000 kWh2,300$27,700$19,390$29,660

What Affects New Jersey Solar System Costs?

Multiple factors influence the price of solar panels in New Jersey, including the following:

  • The brand of panels you choose
  • The size of the system you need
  • The solar installation company you use

These factors make up most of the total cost you’ll pay for a solar installation, so they’re worth discussing in more detail.

Equipment Brand

What brand of panels you choose is the most important factor in determining how much you’ll have to pay for your solar system. The photovoltaic (PV) panels are the most important solar system component since they convert sunlight into electricity. I recommend only considering monocrystalline panels since they’re more efficient and higher quality than polycrystalline panels.

However, even among top monocrystalline panel brands, there is a lot of variation in cost and quality. Maxeon makes the highest efficiency panels available to residential customers in the entire solar industry. These panels are generally considered the best, and they’re great for New Jersey homeowners who want a high-efficiency system, but they’re very expensive at $3.30 per watt.

Other tier-one panel brands like QCells, REC, and Canadian Solar offer slightly lower efficiency in exchange for greater affordability. These panels aren’t inefficient by any stretch of the imagination, and their reduced price makes them good choices for homeowners with limited budgets.

You can save between $0.30 and $0.50 per watt by going with a less efficient brand. Your total savings will depend on the size of the system you need.

System Size

Larger solar energy systems cost more than smaller ones, so it’s in your best interest to purchase a system that produces enough energy to offset your energy bills without generating too much excess. Your solar installation company will usually ask for a record of your past utility bills to help you choose an appropriately-sized system.

Some people choose to include a solar battery in their solar panel system, which lets them store excess energy for later use. That comes in handy overnight and on cloudy days when your panels aren’t producing as much energy.

The average size for a solar power system in New Jersey is 7 kW, which costs around $13,573 after the solar tax credit. A larger 10-kW system will run you about $19,390 after the tax credit, and a smaller 5-kW system costs just $9,659, on average.

The Solar Installation Company You Choose

The company you choose to perform your solar panel installation plays a major role in determining the total cost of your system. Purchasing identical systems with the same brand of equipment and the same system size from two different companies will cost different amounts depending on each company’s upcharges and discounts.

Some companies charge more for administration services like handling the interconnection process that gets your system hooked up to the New Jersey power grid. Other companies charge more for certain brands based on manufacturing deals they have with different providers.

I encourage you to get as many free quotes as you can from different local solar companies so that you get a feel for the local costs in your area. Once you have an idea of the going rate for solar near you, you can choose the company that offers the best combination of price, service, and products.


Featured Video: Learn What New Jersey’s TREC Program Is And How They Differ From SRECs


Will You Be On the Hook for Any Other Solar Costs in New Jersey?

Equipment and labor costs dominate the total price you’ll pay for a new solar system, but there are a few additional costs that you might not be aware of. These include the following:

  • Permit Fees: New Jersey requires all homeowners to acquire permission from the state in the form of a building permit before they can legally install solar panels. The cost of a building permit varies by location, but you can expect to pay between $50 and $250 for one in New Jersey.
  • Administration Fees: New Jersey utility companies charge you for connecting your system to the grid and most solar installers include this cost in the initial estimate they provide during your consultation. Some installers also charge a fee for enrolling you in net metering programs and other administration services. All of these fees should be clearly delineated on your invoice, but don’t be afraid to ask if there are any extra fees before you sign your contract.
  • Additional solar equipment: If you want to add a solar battery or electric vehicle (EV) charger to your solar system, be prepared to pay between 50% and 100% more than you would for panels alone. Installing a Tesla Powerwall battery will cost you between $10,000 and $15,000, on average, while most tier-2 EV charging stations cost around $10,000–$12,500. Wiring, conduit, and inverters might also add to your total, but, in my experience, most companies include these in their initial estimates.

Your cost estimate will almost always include the price of incidental components like inverters and rack mounts, so you shouldn’t have to worry about mentally adding that cost yourself. If you have any doubt about what’s included in the solar quote you receive, don’t be afraid to ask.

Highest Quality Panels

4.4

Installs high-quality Maxeon panels

Outstanding customer support

Best-in-class warranty lasts 40 years

GET QUOTE
Best Damage Protection

3.7

Affordable prices

Excellent selection of panels and services

Locations in 22 states

GET QUOTE
Best Solar Financing
blue raven logo

4.3

No payments needed for 18 months

Provides in-house financing

Offers top brands like LG and Trina

GET QUOTE
Best Customer Service

3.9

Highly rated customer service

Provides  24/7 panel monitoring

Solid A+ rating with the BBB

GET QUOTE

What Should New Jersey Homeowners Expect to Pay for Routine Solar Panel Maintenance?

New Jersey homeowners don’t have to worry about regular maintenance costs since solar panels don’t really require ongoing maintenance. New Jersey gets enough frequent rainfall to keep your panels free from dirt and dust, so you don’t even need to worry about cleaning them yourself.

If something breaks in your solar system, it will most likely be covered under your solar warranty. The best solar companies in New Jersey have competitive solar warranties that cover equipment malfunctions and other issues, so there’s no need for a routine maintenance regimen.

Some less reputable solar installers will try to convince you to sign up for a yearly maintenance program, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I won’t call regular maintenance visits a common solar scam, but it’s certainly not something most solar customers should pay for.


Is New Jersey a Good State for Solar Panel Costs?

New Jersey’s cost per watt for solar equipment is $2.77, which is quite a bit higher than the national average of $2.66 per watt. However, the cost per watt doesn’t tell the whole story.

Total system prices wind up being lower in New Jersey than in most other states because New Jersey households tend to use less energy on average than households in other parts of the country. The average cost of solar panels in New Jersey after the federal ITC is $13,573 compared to the U.S. average of $16,758.

Overall, this makes New Jersey a good state for solar panel costs. Even so, $13,573 is still a sizable investment for most homeowners, so it’s important to plan how you want to finance your solar system early in the process.


The Financing Option You Choose Will Impact Your Solar Savings in New Jersey

How you choose to finance your solar energy system has a major impact on how much money you’ll save over the course of your system’s lifespan. Here’s a breakdown of how each of the four primary financing methods affects your total lifetime savings:

  • Cash Purchase: Paying for your panels in full upfront gives you the best total savings since you start saving money on reduced electricity bills immediately. In New Jersey, paying in cash gives you an average lifetime savings of around $23,806. Cash purchases also qualify for the federal ITC, which effectively saves you 30% of your system’s total cost in the form of a federal income tax credit. Of course, cash purchases require significant capital to afford, so they’re not feasible for everyone.
  • Solar Loan: The next best option is to finance your solar panels with a solar loan. Most solar installers offer solar loans through a financing partner. These loans are specifically for renewable energy systems like solar panels and almost always come with a zero-money-down option. Terms and rates vary, but most solar loans have rates between 5% and 10% and terms from five to 20 years. Solar loans lead to panel ownership, so they’re also eligible for the federal solar tax credit.
  • Solar Lease: I don’t recommend leases but they’re the only option for some people. Leasing panels doesn’t lead to ownership, so you can’t take advantage of the federal ITC. You also won’t save nearly as much on energy costs with a solar lease, less than a quarter of what you’d save if you purchased your panels in cash.
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): PPAs are a lot like leases in that they won’t save you as much money long-term as a cash purchase or solar loan. Unlike a solar lease, you purchase the energy produced by your rooftop panels instead of leasing the system itself. I also don’t recommend PPAs to most people unless it’s the only way you can afford to go solar.

The following table summarizes the key differences between cash, solar loans, solar leases, and PPAs as solar financing options.

Financing MethodTotal 25 Year SavingsUpfront CostsMonthly PaymentsPayback Period
Cash$23,806$13,573$010 years
Loan$19,000$0$55 – $22515 years
Lease$5,000$0$95N/A
PPA$4,000$0$95N/A

How Else Can New Jersey Homeowners Save Money When Going Solar?

Even though solar panels are more affordable in New Jersey than in most other states, it is still a challenge for many homeowners to find room in their budgets to invest in a rooftop solar system. The following sections outline several ways for New Jersey homeowners to save a little extra cash when they make the switch to solar energy.

Solar Incentives

The federal ITC is the biggest solar incentive available to New Jersey residents, offering 30% of your system’s total cost as a tax credit for the year when you have your panels installed. It’s important to realize that this tax credit will only benefit you if you owe taxes since it’s a credit and not a rebate. You can roll over any credit you don’t use to subsequent years.

New Jersey offers its own solar tax incentives, the largest of which is the Successor Solar Incentive (SuSI) program. This state-sponsored program is the follow-up to the previous solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) program and gives you one credit for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours — one megawatt-hour — your system produces. You can sell your solar renewable energy credits later for money, with the average profit being $10,800 over the course of 15 years.

New Jersey also offers both a sales tax exemption and a property tax exemption for new solar systems. The sales tax exemption makes solar purchases immune to the state’s 6.625% sales tax, saving you an average of around $1,000.

How much you’ll save thanks to the property tax exemption depends on your local property tax rate and the total value your system adds to your home’s value.

Forgo the Solar Batteries

New Jersey has a homeowner-friendly net metering program that credits solar customers for every kWh their system generates at the full retail electricity rate. That means that you can sell excess energy your solar panels produce back to the grid for the same price you pay for electricity. The money you generate through net metering helps offset the energy you use when your panels aren’t producing as much power, for example, during the winter months.

Solar batteries are most helpful in states that don’t compensate you for your excess energy at the retail rate since you can save more money by storing the energy yourself. New Jersey’s laws mandating that utility companies pay you the full retail rate make solar batteries less beneficial overall.

However, solar batteries are still helpful during power outages since they let you continue to use electricity even when the grid isn’t supplying power to your home. New Jersey isn’t a state known for blackouts, but it still might be worth the additional cost if you want to use your solar system as an emergency backup power source.

Choose a More Affordable Brand

I discussed how panel efficiency affects the price of panels earlier, but it’s worth reiterating now. Buying a high-efficiency panel like the ones made by Maxeon will cost you significantly more than purchasing less efficient panels. The tradeoff is that your system won’t produce quite as much energy in similar sunlight conditions, but that shouldn’t be a major concern to most New Jersey homeowners.

Conventional wisdom dictates that northern states require higher-efficiency panels to make going solar worth it, but New Jersey’s middling latitude makes it less important to choose high-efficiency panels. Choosing a more affordable solar panel brand like REC over a premium brand like Maxeon can save you 25%–35% on total system costs.


How Much Do New Jersey’s Solar Installers Charge?

Choosing a solar installer is a daunting task. Different companies charge different prices for identical systems since they offer different warranties and additional services. That makes it hard to tell which companies are offering a good deal and which are trying to take advantage of uninformed consumers.

To help you get your search off on the right foot, I’ve put together this table summarizing the best solar installers in New Jersey. In it, you’ll find a rough estimate of each company’s cost, along with my take on what makes the company one of the best in the Garden State.

Solar Company SuperlativeTH RatingBBB RatingAverage Cost
SunPowerBest National Company5.0 / 5.0A+$$$$
ADT SolarBest Warranty Coverage4.8 / 5.0A-$$$
TeslaBest Technology4.6 / 5.0B$$
Momentum SolarBest Customer Service4.6 / 5.0A+$$$
Trinity SolarBest Financing Options4.5 / 5.0N/A$$$
New Jersey Solar PowerBest Local Installer4.5 / 5.0N/A$$$
Impact Solar, LLCMost Budget Friendly4.0 / 5.0A+$$

How Are Solar Costs and Regulations Trending In New Jersey?

The cost of solar panels has been steadily dropping for over a decade, with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reporting that the price of solar in New Jersey has fallen 54% in the last ten years. I expect that trend to continue as manufacturers continue to innovate and find new ways to make solar technology more affordable to produce.

Even though prices are dropping, it’s still worth purchasing a solar system now rather than waiting for prices to fall even lower. The sooner you install solar panels, the sooner you start saving money on electricity bills, which means you’ll pay off your system sooner. What’s more, many states are passing laws that make solar incentives like net metering less beneficial, which could hamstring your total savings potential if you wait to purchase a system.

The bottom line is that now is the best time to buy solar panels in New Jersey. Prices have never been lower, and buying now gets you grandfathered into the state’s net metering program should it decide to roll back to a less beneficial net billing system in the future. New Jersey has a renewable portfolio standard in place, which means that it’s committed to the future of solar energy in the state, which should give homeowners the confidence to make the switch to solar power.

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FAQs About New Jersey Solar Panel Costs

Are solar panels in New Jersey worth it?

Solar panels are absolutely worth it in New Jersey. The average New Jersey household stands to save $23,806 over the course of 25 years for an initial investment of just $13,573 after the federal tax credit. Solar panels also increase the value of your home, so it’s easy to recover your initial investment if you decide to sell your home down the road. New Jersey solar incentives also make it more affordable to make the switch to a clean energy system than it is in many other states.


How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves in New Jersey?

The average payback period for solar panels in New Jersey is 10 years. This assumes that you purchase a seven-kilowatt system and pay for it in full upfront. Taking out a solar loan extends the payback period to 15 years, on average.


How much can solar panels save in New Jersey?

The average New Jersey home saves more than $23,000 over the course of the average 25-year lifespan of a solar installation. This estimate assumes that you pay for your system in cash upfront. If you take out a solar loan instead, your savings come down to just over $16,000. I don’t recommend solar leases or PPAs, which reduce your total lifetime solar savings to $5,000 and $4,000, respectively.


Editorial Contributors
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Dan Simms

Contributor

Dan Simms worked in real estate management for five years before using his experience to help property owners maintain their own homes. He got his master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, and he now enjoys sharing his knowledge about homeownership and DIY projects with others on Today’s Homeowner. When he’s not writing, he’s usually outdoors with his wife and his dog, enjoying mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.

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Lora Novak

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Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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