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How much does it cost to install rooftop solar panels in Mountain West states?

A man installing solar panels on the rooftop of a home.
Elena Elisseeva
Flickr Creative Commons
In 2022, a record 700,000 homeowners installed solar systems nationwide, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

More and more Americans are turning to rooftop solar panels to lower their energy bills. But having them installed can be expensive – and the cost varies widely across the Mountain West.

According to ConsumerAffairs, the average price to install a home solar system in the U.S. is about $16,700. That’s after using the new federal tax credit, which comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and covers 30% of the cost, including panels, permits and installation.

Four states in the Mountain West rank below the national rate. New Mexico’s average cost is the eighth-cheapest in the nation and lowest in the region at $13,132, followed by Colorado ($14,123), Utah ($15,008) and Wyoming ($16,191).

In Nevada and Idaho, the average installation cost is around $18,000.

ConsumerAffairs’ Justin Martino says switching to solar could reduce a homeowner’s energy bill by 75%. But the savings depend on many factors, like: “How big is your roof? What do you need? How big is your house in general? What are your power needs?”

He added, “It’s almost more like buying a car in some ways. You should know, basically, what you should pay. And then if it comes up high or low, find out why.”

Martino said it typically takes homeowners from 7 to 15 years to break even on installation costs.

In 2022, a record 700,000 homeowners installed solar systems nationwide, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association. That’s more than double the installations in 2018.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.
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