Solar Panels in Oklahoma: Costs, Incentives and Installers – CNET

Oklahoma ranks among the top 10 states for peak sunlight, ahead of sunny California, making Oklahoma a great place for solar power generation. 

There’s a solar market in the state, just not a very big one. There aren’t any state solar incentives, and there aren’t many installers either. Electricity prices in Oklahoma are lower than in other solar-friendly states too. And while the renewable energy climate in Oklahoma hasn’t always been favorable, it is getting better. 

“Oklahoma was kind of like that last frontier for solar,” J.W. Peters, acting president of the Oklahoma Solar Association, told CNET. “A big part of our gross product is oil and gas. And so you’ve got a lot of people that are very loyal to oil and gas.” 

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Best national solar panel companies in Oklahoma

Formerly known as Sunpro Solar, ADT Solar is headquartered in Florida and operates in 23 US states, including Oklahoma. The company offers high-quality monocrystalline solar panels and name-brand solar batteries, including the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase IQ batteries. Its products come with a 25-year warranty for panel production and quality of work. In addition, the company offers a price match guarantee. If you get a lower quote from another company for the same products and benefits, ADT Solar will refund the difference.

SunPower is a national solar company, headquartered in California, providing highly efficient Maxeon solar panels with a 25-year warranty. SunPower was founded in 1985 and manufactures some of its products, like the SunVault solar battery. SunPower’s name-brand products come with a higher price tag than most competitors, but its warranty guarantees the solar panels will produce at 92% capacity after 25 years. Other manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty but only guarantee production at 85%.

Local solar panel companies in Oklahoma

Since 2012, Okie Solar has provided solar services to Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. The family-owned company starts its process with a free consultation where a solar advisor surveys your home to evaluate energy needs and discuss financial benefits. The company installs top products, including brands like Mission Solar and SolarEdge, backed by a 25-year manufacturer warranty. Okie Solar’s goal is to help you choose solar energy with confidence and support.

Solar Power of Oklahoma provides services in multiple areas of the state and handles everything from consultation through installation. The company installs solar panel and battery products, including the Tesla Powerwall (with a 10-year warranty) and Q Cell solar panels (with a 25-year manufacturer warranty). Solar Power of Oklahoma has installed over 100,000 solar panels and is one of the highest-rated solar companies in the state.

Starry Solar is another  local solar company in Oklahoma. The company installs Canadian Solar, Mission Solar and Qcells panels. For your solar battery needs, Starry Solar works with Generac and Storz Power. Customers get a free consultation and a free bi-annual cleaning for their solar panel system. Starry Solar also offers a limited lifetime workmanship warranty and a 25-year panel and microinverter production warranty, through manufacturers. 

How to determine which solar company in Oklahoma is best for me

Finding the right solar installer for the job can be a little overwhelming. But if you know what to look for, you can narrow down your options a bit. We asked Ben Delman, a communications director with Solar United Neighbors, and Peters, of the Oklahoma Solar Association, for some tips on how to find a reputable solar installer.

Your installer should have experience working with the type of roof that you have, and the type of system you want installed, Delman said. Homeowners should also look for installers that are certified by NABCEP and have the proper licensing to work. Doing some quick reading of online reviews from multiple sources, like Google and Yelp, can help you get a better understanding of a solar company’s reputation. Delman said he would look for solar companies that have at least 20 to 30 reviews. If you know anyone who has solar panels on their home, you can ask them for recommendations as well.

Make sure that your installer is located and licensed to work in Oklahoma specifically. If your installer is out-of-state, you might not be able to use your solar system after it’s installed. This has been a big issue in Oklahoma, according to Peters. 

“We kind of call them orphaned customers. They signed up to buy a solar generation system from another state company. They were installed. They collected those funds. But then these customers have been abandoned and they don’t have permission to operate their systems,” Peters said. “Most of these customers have a loan with a third-party finance company, but don’t have permission to operate their system and therefore aren’t able to fully utilize the benefits of the system”.

Aside from licensing and reviews, there are a few other things a reputable solar installer should have:

  • Good word-of-mouth references
  • Clear explanations of the project and working deadlines  
  • Definitions of technical terms and is able to explain them in an easy-to-understand manner
  • Transparency about pricing and how financing works
  • Knowledge about the local permit requirements and the process for system interconnection with the local utility company
  • Understanding of homeowners association restrictions and how to help you navigate that process
  • Encourages customers to get multiple quotes
  • An accurate understanding of tax credits and incentives 

Your installer should be able to answer any questions you may have, even the difficult ones. And don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on any project and pricing details. Delman and Peters also stress the importance of shopping around for multiple quotes before settling on an installer. To get the best price possible, try to get at least three quotes.

Oklahoma solar panel incentives and rebates

Homeowners in Oklahoma looking to install solar panels can benefit from the federal tax credit and net metering, which is the process of selling your excess solar energy to your utility. The federal solar tax credit is a 30% tax credit from the federal government for solar systems purchased from the beginning of 2022 through 2032. 

And while Oklahoma does have net metering programs, net metering isn’t available in all utility territories. And net metering rates tend to differ by utility.

“The two large publicly traded utilities are OG&E and PSO, which by far have the most customers in the state. Both of those do have net metering and it’s a one-to-one retail net metering, but there is no rollover from month to month,” Peters said. “They will credit you at the avoided cost if you overproduced and roll that credit to the next month, but net metering in Oklahoma is essentially set on a month-to-month basis.”  

Solar panels can increase your home’s value and therefore, property taxes. Unlike many other states, Oklahoma does not offer a property tax protection or sales tax exemption.

Oklahoma solar incentives

Program Description
Net metering This allows you to sell your excess solar energy to the power grid. Net metering is not available in every utility territory.
Federal solar tax credit This is a tax credit that allows you to claim 30% of the total cost of your solar panel system back on your federal taxes.

How to pay for solar panels in Oklahoma 

The following are payment options to consider when purchasing a solar system. Each payment method comes with benefits and drawbacks. Take time to evaluate which option is best for your budget. 

  • Cash: No interest, but you must pay the total cost upfront. Cash is the most beneficial option for homeowners who want the quickest return on investment.
  • Solar loans: Most solar companies will over financing via a solar loan. You can pay over time but you may accrue interest.
  • Solar lease: You don’t own the solar system. Instead, you pay for the use of company-owned solar equipment. Most solar leases are made in monthly payments. You also won’t be eligible for certain incentives. 
  • Power purchase agreement: You don’t own the system, instead paying per kilowatt-hour for the energy you use from it. It comes with little or no upfront costs or maintenance, do not qualify for tax incentives
  • Home equity: You don’t have to use a loan from your solar company. Financial institutions offer home equity loans and lines of credit (or HELOCs) that are commonly used for home improvement projects. These loans can be used for basically any purpose, and they may be a good fit for your solar project. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Installation factors to keep in mind

There are many factors to consider when investing in solar energy. Take time to investigate the following about solar installation and ownership before deciding. Among other differences, some solar panels are more efficient than others.

Factor Details
Insurance Contact your home insurance agency. Find out if solar panels need to be added to your policy and how they will affect your coverage.
HOA rules Check your HOA or other neighborhood association rules regarding solar panels. They may have specific requirements for placement.
Location Solar panels are most efficient with direct sunlight. While solar panels can generate electricity in shaded areas, constant shading is not favorable.
Rent or own Renters are often prohibited from making many changes to the property but can inquire with the landlord about installing solar. Renters may be eligible for community solar subscriptions, such as Arcadia, to power their homes with solar energy.
Roof condition Your roof may need repair before solar panel installation. Solar installers should inspect if maintenance is required during a roof examination or consultation.

Oklahoma solar power FAQs

Does Oklahoma have a solar tax credit?

Yes and no. Oklahoma residents are eligible for the federal Clean Energy Credit for a 30% tax credit toward purchasing a solar system. But Oklahoma doesn’t currently have a state incentive or rebate program specifically for solar energy. 

How much do solar panels cost in Oklahoma?

The cost of solar panels in Oklahoma can range based on many factors, but the average costs around $35,865 before applying for the federal solar tax credit. The total price depends on several factors, including system size, roof repairs, location and additional equipment. 

How do I choose a solar installer in Oklahoma?

With so many solar companies in Oklahoma to choose from, try to review your options and receive multiple quotes before making a final decision. In addition to the solar installers listed, check out CNET’s picks for other top solar companies