Solar Energy in District of Columbia: Facts, Statistics, Companies

Solar Energy in District of Columbia

Solar Rates, Incentives, Plans & Statistics

Going solar in District of Columbia

In District of Columbia, an average home needs a 6kW solar system in order cover most of their electricity needs. Given the average residential price-per-watt of $3.99 in District of Columbia, a 6kW system can cost around $23,940 depending on applicable rebates and other factors.

Select your county by clicking on the map and see the potential generated solar power and panel pricing. See how it compares with the US state average.

Average out-of-pocket cost for a 5 kW system The upfront amount spent to buy and install solar.
District of Columbia: $19,950US Average: $18,171
Average Payback Period The number of years until you break even on the solar investment.
District of Columbia: 16 yearsUS Average: 11 years
Average Net 20-year savings The total amount of money saved over 20 years minus the out-of-pocket cost.
District of Columbia: $4,664US Average: $14,946

Solar Potential in District of Columbia

Estimated system size and solar electricity production per median viable roof in
District of Columbia.

Roof size 393sq. ft.
Capacity 5.5kW DC
Electricity 6.8kkWh AC per yr.

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Compare solar panels by system size in District of Columbia

Get the most value out of your roof by comparing the different benefits a given system size has.

System Size 2kW
Roof Size Min. space required
143 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $468 a year
Est. Price
$7,980
Savings from a 2kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 2,900 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $39
  • Full payback in 17 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 2.03 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 93 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 5,024 mi less a year
System Size 3kW
Roof Size Min. space required
215 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $702 a year
Est. Price
$11,970
Savings from a 3kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 4,350 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $59
  • Full payback in 17 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 3.04 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 140 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 7,537 mi less a year
System Size 4kW
Roof Size Min. space required
286 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $936 a year
Est. Price
$15,960
Savings from a 4kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 5,800 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $78
  • Full payback in 17 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 4.06 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 186 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 10,049 mi less a year
System Size 5kW
Roof Size Min. space required
358 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,171 a year
Est. Price
$19,950
Savings from a 5kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 7,250 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $98
  • Full payback in 17 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 5.07 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 233 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 12,561 mi less a year
System Size 6kW
Roof Size Min. space required
429 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,405 a year
Est. Price
$23,940
Savings from a 6kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 8,700 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $103
  • Full payback in 19 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 5.36 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 246 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 13,263 mi less a year

District of Columbia solar incentives, tax credit, and rebates

District of Columbia has 6 rebates and tax credits that you may be eligable for. Visit the official links for more details to see if you apply.

Solar incentives in DC

Renewable Portfolio Standard

Value:Varies

Beginning in 2005, the District of Columbia has been required to meet certain investment quotas under renewable portfolio standard laws. The District must derive 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2032, with intermediate investment targets increasing annually. Sources qualifying to meet the standard were divided into two tiers based on efficiency and emissions; as of 2019, energy from the less efficient tier no longer counts toward the standard. Compliance is measured through credits pegged to a dollar value. Retail customers "generate" these components through their use of renewable energy and "sell" them to utilities through net metering arrangements. Once "in the custody" of the utilities, credits will then go to meet the standard. Additional information on the District RPS can be found on the DCPSC website.

Green Building Requirement

Value:Varies

Beginning in 2006, the District of Columbia has required certain new construction to meet green building requirements. Unique to the District, new municipal buildings amd private buildings over 50,000 square feet are subject to the requirements. Any new city building should meet at least the Silver level of the appropriate LEED standard. New public schools are subject to the LEED for Schools Gold standard, while new public housing projects must meet different Green Communities standards. Beginning in 2009, new and renovated non-residential private buildings over 50,000 square feet should meet at least the Certified level of the appropriate LEED standard. Private schools should meet the LEED for Schools Gold standard. To incentivize compliance with the green building requirements, new private projects pursuing LEED Gold certification may have permit reviews expedited. Additional information is available from the DC environment department website.

Sustainable Energy Trust Fund

Value:Varies

The Sustainable Energy Trust Fund and Energy Assistance Trust Fund provide low-income energy assistance, efficiency improvements, and renewable adoption to D.C. residents. Currently, the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility holds custodianship. The District obtains funds for the trust via a mandatory surcharge on consumer electric and gas bills. Surcharges go toward assisting low-income families in installing energy-efficient appliances, insulation, lighting, and distributed energy devices (such as solar PV/thermal systems), as well as educational and public outreach initiatives. Currently, the Fund has invested $1.2 billion in total energy improvements and prevented 6.2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Additional information is available from the DC SEU website.

Net Metering

Value:Varies

Distributed-energy customers in the District of Columbia who source power from solar, wind, fuel cells, or other sustainable means are compensated through a net metering arrangement. Upon installation of a distributed energy device, the utility will place a bidirectional meter measuring net excess energy (NEG) generated on-site that is returned to the grid. The utility will credit the customer for the cycle's NEG at a fixed kilowatt-hour rate. Should generation exceed consumption for a cycle, extra credits will carry over to the following month. "Virtual net metering" is available for customers who choose to source their energy from a community solar farm or other renewable "microgrid" within the district limits. These customers will be credited at a proportional "CREF rate" based on the overall net metering credits for the entire microgrid. Additional information is available from the DC PSC website.

Solar Renewable Energy Credits

Value:Varies

A portion of the District of Columbia's renewable portfolio standard must be invested in solar energy through carve-out provisions. By 2023, the District must derive 2.5% of retail energy from on-site solar PV and thermal systems. Compliance with the carve-out is measured through special renewable energy credits earmarked for solar investment (SRECs). Currently, one SREC is equal to one megawatt hour of generated solar energy. Utilities will acquire SRECs under net metering arrangements with their customers that may last for three years before expiration. Should a utility fall short of the yearly RPS solar goal, it will pay an additional compliance fee to the District. Additional information is available from the DC PSC website.

Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing

Value:Varies

Through the PACE program, commercial property owners in the District of Columbia may utilize an "open marketplace" to acquire offers and financing on energy efficiency improvement projects. Under the program, owners may communicate directly with the participating lenders and contractors of their choice and arrange a specialized energy efficiency loan. Effectively, PACE loans come from the District government. Payments are not collected by conventional means; rather, local property tax assessors will service the loan by placing a non-accelerated lien (senior to mortgages) on the property. This means that should the owner sell or transfer their property, payments will become the responsibility of the new owner. Certain safeguards are in place per FHFA directives, including loss reserve funds and disclosures. Residential property is ineligible in most cases due to these new directives. Additional information is available through the District of Columbia website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • As a general rule, unless there are local limitations, the main limitations to the amount of solar panels you can put on your roof are the available space on your roof, your electricity usage, your providers net metering rules, and the limitations of your house hold electrical system.
  • Based on our research the average price per installed watt is $3.99 in District of Columbia. This means for a 10kW system you can expect to pay $39,900 though pricing can vary significantly between installers based on the projects requirements.
  • Based on a Zillow research study from 2019, home with solar panels sell for roughly 4.1% more.
  • To generate the most power, solar panels in the United States should face true south as this generally results in the solar panels receiving the most light each day throughout the course of the year. That said, given that energy prices are often variable throughout the day, your installer may recommend you rotate your panels slightly so that the panels will receive more light at the end of the day when energy prices can be more expensive. That said, for most consumers the positioning of solar panels is highly dependent on your home's roof.
  • Based on our continuously updated database of solar installers, we have found 2 verified solar install companies in District of Columbia

Solar installers in District of Columbia (2)

New Columbia Solar

Washington, DC(202) 810-1661

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
  • Consulting on all things solar related.
Alex Zdanov
Last Reviewed By: Alex Zdanov
Published: 2024-02-01