Cost of Solar Panels in Michigan
How Much do Solar Panels Cost in the state of Michigan?
The cost of solar panels in Michigan are marginally higher than the average cost in many other places- Somewhere between $3.05 and $3.15 per watt. With an average solar system being somewhere between 5 KW and 6 KW, your cost will end up being somewhere between $15,000 and $19,000, on average. Though this cost looks like a lot, and it is, it can be deceptive. There are numerous tax credits, rebates and incentive programs that could reduce this cost by thousands upon thousands of dollars.
What are the benefits of going solar?
- State Net Metering Laws- Net metering laws are the way in which your solar system is going to pay for itself! By feeding electricity back into the grid, you earn credits toward future bills. More explanation on net metering further on in this article.
- Michigan Portfolio Standards- Michigan’s goals are to get 40% of their energy via renewable or green energy sources by 2025, which is ambitious. The standards are voluntary so utilities do not have to be overly zealous about reaching those levels, but nevertheless many utilities are encouraging the use of solar and other renewable energy sources through incentive programs.
- Statewide Interconnection Standards- Basically, interconnection standards make it easier, faster and (most importantly) cheaper to connect any kind of renewable energy system (such as solar panels) to the grid. Michigan has statewide standards so you shouldn’t encounter any issues.
- Performance Based Incentives- Depending on how much power your system generates, you could be eligible to receive incentive payments. This energy is credited on your bill as SRECs (solar renewable energy credits).
- Michigan Electricity Prices- Michigan is among the more expensive states in the US in terms of electricity. Ranked 12th highest, Michigan residents can benefit tremendously from reduced (or even non-existent) electric bills.
- 26% Federal Tax Credit- You are eligible to claim up to 26% of the total cost of your solar energy system as a deduction to your federal income tax liability, which comes out to a potential savings of thousands of dollars.
How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?
The resale value of your home will generally go up by something in the neighborhood of $10,000 with the addition of solar panels, though some sources say you should estimate closer to 4%. The average cost of a single family home in Michigan is $214,231, so a 4% increase of this value would raise the value of that home by approximately $8500. The size of your solar system can also affect this value increase, and of course the preference of a potential buyer plays a key factor as well.
What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in the state of Michigan?
The “payback” period for solar panels is the estimate on how long it will take for your solar power system to pay for itself, whether that’s through net metering and solar energy credits, savings on energy bills, rebates, etc. In Michigan, you can expect your “payback” period to be something around 10 years. That sounds like a long time of course, but keep in mind the average lifespan of your average commercial solar panels is something like 25 years, so after your panels have “paid” for themselves, you’re looking at another 15ish years or “free” electricity, which could result in a lifetime savings of $25-32,000 dollars. All of a sudden, solar panels aren’t that expensive.
How do I get solar panels installed in Michigan?
The good news is that no matter where you’re located in Michigan (even in the UP!), you are probably not too far from a company that specializes in installation of solar energy systems. Predictably, most companies seem to be clustered around your bigger cities, like Grand Rapids, Lansing, and especially Detroit, but there also seems to be several companies located around the rest of the state. For the purposes of this review, we are going to try to spread it out geographically and try to name a few companies from different parts of the state.
Company Name: Strawberry Solar
Address: 4444 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Years in Business: 11
Reviews: 4 / 5 Facebook (19 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Better Business Bureau (2 reviews), 5 / 5 Yelp (2 reviews), 5 / 5 EnergySage (24 reviews)
The Good: Generally good reviews across several platforms, 11 years in business, no complaints filed on BBB website
The Bad: Not a ton of reviews, website feels a little hard to navigate
Summary: Located in the heart of Detroit, Strawberry makes a big deal about putting the customer first in their process, and based on their reviews and lack of complaints, it seems like they mean what they say. With 11 years in business, one would expect a few complaints to be out there by now, but if they are, I can’t find them. If you are in the area of Detroit and looking to get solar work done, Strawberry solar looks like a good bet.
Company Name: CBS Solar
Address: 16880 Front St, Copemish, MI 49625
Years in Business: 29 (Their website says “nearly 40”)
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Facebook (14 reviews), 4.1 / 5 Solar Reviews (8 reviews), 3.8 / 5 Google (12 reviews)
The Good: Long time in business, no complaints on BBB website, no majorly bad reviews out there that I could find
The Bad: Not a huge web presence; Website is a little hard to navigate; Not a ton of reviews out there to be found
Summary: Any company that has been in business as long as CBS (whether that’s 29 years or “nearly 40”) is worth a look. Longevity usually equals experience, and experience usually means they’re going to know what they’re doing. CBS does not seem to have a lot of reviews out there, but from what I’ve seen, a lot of the companies that have been around for a long time don’t. Located near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, CBS would be a good one to look into for folks in the northwestern part of Lower Michigan.
Company Name: Michigan Solar Solutions
Address: 848 West River Center Suite B Comstock Park, MI 49321
Years in Business: 14
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (5 reviews), 5 / 5 Better Business Bureau (3 reviews), 4.6 / 5 Solar Reviews (26 reviews), 4.9 / 5 Birdseye (101 reviews)
The Good: Two offices in the greater Detroit Metro area, a relatively long time in business, lots of good reviews out there about them
The Bad: Both their offices are relatively near each other, so their service area probably isn’t especially broad.
Summary: Michigan Solar Solutions has two offices as near as I can tell, both of which look to be just a little west of Detroit, so I’m guessing their service area is fairly concentrated. Their website does a good job of selling their service, offering several financing options and touting their experience, factory certified installers, as well as offering a number of customer testimonials. Overall they look to be a perfectly sound company to do business with, and no major red flags show up with a cursory search.
Company Name: Peninsula Solar
Address: 102 W. Washington St. 220
Marquette MI, 49855
Years in Business: 10
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Whodoyou (3 reviews), 4.6 / 5 SolarQuotes (2 reviews)
The Good: Hard to say.
The Bad: Website doesn’t seem to provide a whole ton of information. Not many reviews out there about them. In fact, there is very little evidence on the internet that this company actually exists.
Summary: Peninsula Solar describes itself as “a small, close-knit team of environmentally conscious individuals aiming to have a big impact as we provide sustainable energy to Michigan, statewide.” Peninsula’s website is a strange one- if I didn’t know anything about solar energy, I think this one might scare me off frankly. Peninsula might be a very reputable and good company, but there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of information out there about them right now. I would in no way advise you to steer clear of Peninsula- but would say I’m afraid I can’t give you much to go on with them. But there just isn’t much out there to go on, other than that this is apparently a company that exists on the UP and does solar installation.
Company Name: Great Lakes Renewable Energy
Address: 414 S Henry St, Bay City, MI 48706
Years in Business: 26
Reviews: 2.3 / 5 Indeed (4 reviews- this only covers working conditions, not the quality of their solar installations or business practices)
The Good: No complaints on the BBB website, and an A+ rating
The Bad: Virtually no evidence to suggest this company even exists outside of a fairly out-of-date website.
Summary: Let me state for the record that I know very little about this company outside of what it is on their own website. This is because there isn’t much else out there. For a company that, according to the BBB, has been in business for 26 years, they have very little out there on the internet to show for it. It could be that this is a “word of mouth” company that gets a lot of business because of their reputable work and not through advertising, and if so, more power to them. Their facebook page shows only about 180ish “likes”, and the only reviews I could find out there for them were on “indeed”, and focus pretty much on the working conditions within the company. Words like “Unethical” were used, so there you have that. Then there was this page: http://greatlakesbayrenewableenergy.com/home/just-for-fun/ , which was just… kind of weird. It’s hard to describe, so just go see it for yourself. Trigger warning: Ex-tenant Tracy’s photo may not be safe for work.
Michigan is a funny place, and it’s a place you may not normally associate with solar power. But, just like most places habitable by humans, solar power is a perfectly feasible option whether you’re just a small town boy born and raised in south Detroit or a small town girl livin in a lonely world (presumably that’s the UP). No matter what part of MIchigan you’re from, there are companies available to handle your needs, you just have to do your research to find the one that’s right for you. So when it comes to solar power, don’t stop believin.