Wyoming Solar Power: Check Your Savings, Costs, Tax Breaks, Incentives and Rebates
Wyoming is a very sunny state, getting between five and six peak sun-hours per day on average, depending on your exact location within the state.
For example, the capital city of Cheyenne averages at about 5.4 peak sun-hours throughout the year and reaches up to seven peak sun-hours during the hottest months of summer. That is a lot of sunshine that can potentially be converted to electricity and savings with a residential PV system.
A favorable net metering policy complements the generous amounts of sunlight available: any surplus generation is credited on the next bill; and if you accumulate a yearly surplus, utilities purchase it from you in cash!
Return on Investment for Residential Solar Power in Wyoming
The best PV system size for your home depends on how much energy you consume and the available rooftop area for solar panels. However, residential PV systems tend to average at around five kilowatts, so we will present a case study based on that capacity:
- The upfront cost for a 5-kW solar PV system in Wyoming is around $20,000. - However, 30% of that value becomes a federal tax credit you can use next year, bringing down the cost to $14,000. - With the expected first-year savings of $750, the net outlay drops to $13,250. - Solar panels normally come with 25-year warranties, and you can expect to get back this investment in 15 years, which results in a full decade of free energy. - The net profit you will make over the 25-year period is around $15,000. - Your property will also increase in value by around $15,000. - The environmental benefit is equivalent to planting over 100 trees per year.
- The upfront cost for a 5-kW solar PV system in Wyoming is around $20,000.
- However, 30% of that value becomes a federal tax credit you can use next year, bringing down the cost to $14,000.
- With the expected first-year savings of $750, the net outlay drops to $13,250.
- Solar panels normally come with 25-year warranties, and you can expect to get back this investment in 15 years, which results in a full decade of free energy.
- The net profit you will make over the 25-year period is around $15,000.
- Your property will also increase in value by around $15,000.
- The environmental benefit is equivalent to planting over 100 trees per year.
This financial analysis assumes a 5-kilowatt solar PV system, and the average sunshine available in Wyoming.
Of course, every project site is unique and there are always differences even if two PV systems have exactly the same capacity, to get an setimate that fits your specific home please visit our solar nation solar calculator
- Located in the central or southern regions of the state, which are the sunniest. - The available area for solar panels is free from shadows. - For rooftop PV systems, south-facing roofs are the best.
- Located in the central or southern regions of the state, which are the sunniest.
- The available area for solar panels is free from shadows.
- For rooftop PV systems, south-facing roofs are the best.
These conditions are optimal, but not mandatory.
Unless there are drastic shading issues, which would be the case of a home surrounded by trees and tall buildings, solar power can save you money.
The NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center has a great tool you can use to analyze the solar radiation available at your exact location. If you enter the website and input your coordinates, you will be granted access to plenty of weather data tables.
There is a section dedicated to solar panels, and you can break down solar radiation rates according to tilt angle and month of the year.
Wyoming Solar Power Incentives, Tax Breaks and Rebates
The main incentive for solar power in Wyoming is the favorable net metering policy, which makes sure you save money for every kWh produced.
Unfortunately, there is no Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring utilities in Wyoming to source a minimum percentage of their energy from renewable power technologies.
As a consequence, there are neither rebates not performance payments for solar power.
The tax burden for solar power could also be improved: you have to pay the sales tax when you purchase a PV system, and then you are subject to an increase in the property tax because it drives up the value of your home.
Wyoming Tax Credit
Wyoming does not have a state tax, so local tax credits for solar power would be useless – there is no tax payment from which to deduct them!
However, the 30% federal tax credit applies and it makes sure you get back $6,000 within a year in the case of a 5-kW solar PV system. Just keep in mind that this benefit is set to expire in 2020, where it will be reduced to only 10%.
If your taxes are not high enough to use the full credit at once, don’t worry: splitting it in two and deducting in for two consecutive years is valid.
Wyoming Electricity Rates
At $0.11 per kilowatt-hour, electric rates in Wyoming are among the lowest in the US and two cents below the national average. There is one issue, however: these rates are possible thanks to fossil fuels such as coal, which cause considerable environmental damage.
Governments are starting to realize this, and are committing to carbon emissions reduction. Fossil fuels could be subject to harsh regulations in the short term, and this will drive up the price of energy on power grids that rely too strongly on them.
- If a home lacks renewable energy sources like solar power, the electric bill will just rise steadily in proportion with energy prices. - On the other hand, if a home has a PV system, higher electric bills actually mean more savings because the costs being avoided increase!
- If a home lacks renewable energy sources like solar power, the electric bill will just rise steadily in proportion with energy prices.
- On the other hand, if a home has a PV system, higher electric bills actually mean more savings because the costs being avoided increase!
Even at $0.11/kWh, solar power can save you around $15,000 over the 25-year warranty period of photo-voltaic panels. If electricity prices rise, this number increases as well!
Is There Net Metering in Wyoming?
Wyoming has a solid net metering framework, which is very beneficial for residential PV systems:
- If you accumulate surplus production during a month, utilities must give you credit for it when you receive the next monthly power bill. Whether you get credit at the retail price or at the production cost varies by utility.
- Any surplus accumulated after a whole year is purchased by electric utility companies in cash, according to their production cost.
- Net metering applies for all utilities, regardless of whether they’re owned by investors or electric cooperatives.
- The benefit is available for systems of up to 25 kilowatts, which is way higher than what most homes need, especially when you consider the available sunlight in Wyoming.
The only drawback of the 25-kW system cap for net metering is that commercial and industrial buildings can’t apply for the benefit.
These can vary by utility company, but most are based on those used by Rocky Mountain Power, one of the largest utilities in the region. Rocky Mountain Power has a history of favoring energy efficiency and renewable sources, which is a favorable point!
Interconnection can be complex when states lack a corresponding standard, but it’s not an issue for a qualified and experienced solar contractor who has gone through the process dozens of times.
Are There $0 Down Payment Financing Options in Wyoming?
There is no legal framework for third-party ownership of solar PV systems in Wyoming, which means that solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are not available in the state.
However, it is still possible to install a PV system for $0 down if you own a lot of equity in your home and get a low-interest HELOC (home equity line of credit).
The main idea behind going solar through a loan is to install a PV system for $0 out of your pocket, and then use the savings along with any incentives available to start paying the loan. In places with generous incentives and expensive electricity, a solar PV system may even be able to pay 100% of the loan by itself.
- A HELOC typically has an interest rate of around 5% and you get up to 15 years to pay.
- As soon as you install the PV system, you can claim the 30% tax deduction. All that money you would have otherwise paid in taxes is now available for the first few loan payments.
- Yearly PV system savings also contribute to covering loan payments.
The only drawback of this approach is that the interest paid over 15 years takes away a portion of your savings.
A 5-kW PV system in Wyoming purchased through a loan provides net savings slightly above $6,500 for a 25-year period. However, remember this is a $0 down financing option that is viable as long as you have the required home equity.
Cash Purchase VS Loan: What’s Best for Wyoming Homeowners?
This question does not have a single answer that fits all scenarios, as it all depends on factors that are specific for each homeowner.
Purchasing a PV system in Wyoming in cash
Purchasing a PV system in Wyoming in cash is the recommended choice if you have the cash availability and the willingness to pay upfront, in order to get maximum savings over the project’s lifetime. With this option, the net profit over 25 years is around $15,000.
Purchasing a PV system in Wyoming through a loan
Purchasing a PV system in Wyoming through a loan is recommended if you have plenty of home equity and would prefer to dilute the payment over several years even if total savings are reduced. This option results in savings slightly above $6,500 over 25 years.
Personal preference plays a strong role in this decision: are you willing to pay in cash upfront to avoid interest and maximize total savings, or are you okay with paying interest so that you don’t have to pay $20,000 upfront?
What is the Solar Power Installation Process in Wyoming?
Since Wyoming lacks interconnection standards, the PV system installation process can be complex.
Although most utilities have drafted their requirements after those of Rocky Mountain Power, you can still expect to find differences from company to company. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to hire a trusted contractor who is familiarized with PV system interconnection.
If you have already taken the decision to install a PV system for your home in Wyoming, you can start the process today:
2. Talk with trusted solar contractors near you to get accurate quotes.
3. Compare quotes (we recommend you get at least three) and choose the best option for you.
4. Have your contractor install the PV system, and enjoy clean power while helping the planet.
The solar PV system installation process typically takes four days or less, so disruption of your home environment is minimal.
Remember this article assumes a 5-kW solar PV system is installed at a home that is subject to the average sunlight conditions in Wyoming.
Once you have selected a contractor and get a detailed proposal, you will know the exact project cost and the performance you can expect.
Wyoming is a very sunny state, which represents a great opportunity to save money with solar power.
The favorable net metering policy means you can stockpile credits during the summer and use them during the winter, potentially getting 100% of your energy from solar power even while remaining connected to the grid.
Remember there is also a 30% federal tax credit that makes your investment more affordable and shortens your payback period.
Although solar power is a solid long-term investment in Wyoming, local authorities could greatly improve the outlook by introducing a Renewable Portfolio Standard and easing up the tax burden.