New Jersey has best payback on residential solar in U.S.

September 16, 2009

California may be the Golden State, but it’s New Jersey where U.S. residents get the best deal on their solar power systems, new research shows.

A survey by Global Solar Centertried to give an “apples to apples” comparison for the cost of solar power in all 50 states, the center’s chairman Jack Hidary told Reuters.

The common denominator turned out to be the cash payback, or how many years it would take a residential or commercial customer to recoup their investment and start seeing real savings, Hidary said.
“That takes into account the cost of the system, the sun at that spot, the incentives of that region, utility rates. It blends in everything all together,” Hidary said.

The center analyzed the date using new software and found that New Jersey had the fastest payback — 1.5 years — for residential systems, followed by New York and Delaware with paybacks of three and six years, respectively. California tied for fourth place with Maryland, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, all with payback hitting seven years.

Rankings changed when the center looked at commercial solar power systems.

For commercial projects, Colorado, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Ohio and Oregon all share the top spot, with a 1.5 year payback time, according to the survey.

The center also found that solar hot water systems have a one-year payback in sourthern Texas and Florida.

“To put this all in context, five years ago you couldn’t find a state with less than a 10 or 15 year payback,” said Hidary, who also is a board member of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He said the steep fall in solar panel prices and more government incentives have helped speed up the return on investing in a solar power system.

Government incentives turned out to be the biggest factor driving the cost of solar systems for  customers, Hidary said. Utility rates were the second biggest factor. In states where power is very cheap, it’s harder for solar power to compete, he added.
Hidary believes one of the biggest uptakes of the study was for the investment community to reassess smaller-scale or distributed solar power systems.

(Photo: A home under construction uses new solar technology that allows thinner solar wafers to be designed into the shingles in Temecula, California. Photo credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake)


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I’m into geothermal, but solar is great as well. More and more people are not only recgonizing the environmental benefits of alternative energy, but the monetary ones as well. Thanks for the info.

Posted by Minnie | Report as abusive

It is good to know that New Jersey had invented this residential solar because its is really environmental friendly.

Posted by Kristy | Report as abusive

The last paragraph tells us why. New Jersey residents must be hard hit for utility prices and have big incentives. The state is not ideally placed for solar compared to some southern states.

Posted by Barry Solar | Report as abusive

[…] Environment » Blog Archive » New Jersey has best payback on … […]

Posted by Global Warming – Are We to Blame? | Solar Power In Montana | Report as abusive

There will be time when all of our homes will be shining bright taking in solar energy. There’s no doubt that building solar panels will be the mainstream in short time as grid cost gets higher and higher. As technology advances, production of solar power materials are more competitive than ever.

Posted by William | Report as abusive

I am so excited to finally see this industry take off – mostly so we can start building electric cars that run off of home-created electricity and stop purchasing foreign oil. The idea of a renewable-energy economy where electricity is abundant will be amazing!

Posted by Clean Family Energy | Report as abusive

what a scam…where do people think this money comes from? Poor people living in apartments have the rates raised to pay the rich home owner to put solar panels on their home which the state sunsidies. So the rate payers and taxpayer fund solar panels for those with big rooks. The kickbacks are so large they are making money after the first 1 1/2 years? I guess if Google one of the world’s rich companies…can get kickbacks from middle class ratepayers and taxpayer…what the heck…the middle class gets poorer by the day!

Posted by Talkvent | Report as abusive