Do home solar panels make sense in Clifton, New Jersey?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Clifton is about  $13,027.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,307 worth of electricity every year.
In 2019, you can qualify for a  30% federal tax credit. nope
There are at least  20,813 homes in Buffalo with solar panels.
Learn more

Table of Contents:



How much do solar panels cost in Clifton, NJ?

The average cost per watt of residential solar in New Jersey is $3/watt. For comparison, the national average is $3.70/watt.

Cost per watt is the total installed cost of a system, including taxes, divided by the size of the system in watts (DC). It includes the cost of hardware plus installation costs. Cost per watt is always the gross cost, before incentives. This means, at a minimum, you can take 30% off the price of the system in 2019 because of federal tax incentives.

The cost of a solar panel system for your house in Clifton will depend on how much electricity you want to generate, which affects the size of the system you’ll need. The following is an example price estimate for a home solar panel system in Clifton, with an electricity generation estimate based on the local climate and the following assumptions:

• 654 kWh is the amount of electricity that the average New Jersey home uses every month.
• 5.64 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 14 to 22 panels is what that translates to (depending on panel efficiency, which commonly ranges from 260 watts to 400 watts)
• Panels oriented due south and mounted on a shade-free roof at a 30° angle.

Gross system price$18,609This is the price of your system plus taxes but before incentives, based on an average cost of solar in your state of $3 per watt.
Federal tax credit of 30%$5,583The most important solar incentive in the nation, the federal solar tax credit, gives homeowners 30% off the cost of their system in 2019. It drops to 26% next year. Read more
Net system price:$13,027

This estimate is based on averages but your home, of course, may be different. For a personalized estimate, grab a copy of your utility bill and use our calculator to plug in the numbers for your home.



Can you save money with solar panels in Clifton, NJ?

Every year, that hypothetical Clifton home solar system described above would produce about $1,307 worth of electricity. This is based on the New Jersey state average price of electricity of $0.16/kWh and the average local climate.

This estimate assumes that your home uses an average amount of electricity, but your needs may be different. In addition, if you have some shade on your panels during the day, that can drop your production by a lot and require more panels to make up the difference.



Houses in Clifton with solar panels

In Clifton, our data shows that there are at least 421 houses with solar photovoltaic panels installed. This means that a lot of neighbors in your city are interested in solar, and have already made the leap. Added up, the total generating capacity of all these home solar systems equals 2,146 kilowatts. That’s a lot of clean energy being generated by your neighbors.

If you’re on the fence about going solar and trying to research whether solar is viable in the Clifton area, this is good news. It means many of your neighbors have made the calculation and decided that solar is a smart move for them in the long term. Next time you’re driving or walking around, take a look at the roofs in your neighborhood. You might find a surprising number of solar panels. Try talking to your neighbors with solar, and see how it’s worked out for them.



Solar panels directly turn sunlight into electricity, so the more sunlight you have, the more power that a solar panel system will generate. However, one misconception is that solar panels only work in very sunny climates. While it’s true that you will generate more electricity in a sunny state like Arizona, you might be surprised to learn that solar can generate plenty of electricity in most places in the United States - even cloudier places like New England or the Northwest.



Clifton solar energy potential

To make a fair comparison of how much sunlight different cities get, we use a measurement called Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). It takes into account the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, cloud cover, airborne particulates, precipitation, and other climate variables.

The DNI for Clifton is 4.54, which means that it has a good amount of sunshine - about average for the United States.

4.54

Averaged over the full year, a Clifton home solar panel system will be generate a lot of solar electricity, although expect diminished production in the winter.

In the continental United States, DNI ranges from about 3.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day. In the most northern parts of Alaska, the DNI reaches a low of 0.5.

A higher DNI is better, but even if your city is average or even below average for the US, it’s still possible for solar panels to generate plenty of power. For example, solar is very popular in Germany, where the DNI is only around 2.5.

This DNI data comes from GEOS geostationary satellite data and NREL climate models.

Clifton
US low
US high

In some climates, you’ll see a big difference in sunlight and solar electricity generation from summer to winter. These charts show you what to expect in Clifton.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


The graph below estimates how much a 6 kilowatt south-facing solar panel system would generate in Clifton.

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


As you can see from the graphs above, there is a seasonal variation in sunlight and solar power generation from summer to winter, but the variation is less pronounced than in many other places in the US. You can expect to produce about 185% more solar electricity in the highest production month of the year, compared to the darkest month of winter. Because of this, you will send less excess electricity into the grid in the summer and draw less electricity from the grid in winter.



Clifton, NJ solar companies

This is a list of solar home installations we know about within the city limits of Clifton, NJ.

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Clifton area that we have a record of. It’s possible that the installer has done more installations in the local area.
Total kW installed is the cumulative solar generation capacity of all the residential installations by the installer in Clifton.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Clifton. This lets you know if the company is active in the area, or hasn’t done work in some time (or even gone out of business).
Installer# of homesTotal kW installedYear of most recent install
1ST LIGHT ENERGY5302011
A-TOP ALTERNATIVE ENERGY6312012
AKEENA292009
ALTERNATIVE LIGHT & ENERGY SOLUTIONS3132012
ASTON SOLAR2112014
ASTRUM SOLAR3192015
BYSOLAR152011
CODE GREEN SOLAR262016
DAYSTAR ENERGY SYSTEMS192004
DIRECT ENERGY SOLAR3402016
GEOGENIX152011
GEOPEAK ENERGY2122015
GEOSCAPE SOLAR3262016
GREEN POWER ENERGY172016
GROUP SOLAR152016
INFINITY SOLAR SYSTEMS, LLC152015
MERCURY SOLAR SYSTEMS172011
MOMENTUM SOLAR2132016
NRG HOME SOLAR311592016
ONFORCE SOLAR2112011
PRO CUSTOM SOLAR141272016
REC SOLAR5272014
RENEWERGY SOLUTIONS GROUP182013
ROOF DIAGNOSTICS SOLAR & ELECTRIC21962015
RYAN132016
RYAN INC162016
SEA BRIGHT SOLAR1102016
SELF272013
SKYLINE SOLAR1102012
SOLAR CENTER292009
SOLAR ENERGY WORLD152011
SOLAR HOME4182016
SOLAR HOME NJ2142016
SOLARCITY231142016
SOLIGENT152013
SOLULAR/RWD CONSULTANTS142011
SPECTRUM ENERGY172016
STAR POWER SERVICES LLC152016
SUNGEVITY8392016
SUNNYMAC162011
SUNRUN211032016
TOTAL EXTERIORS272013
TRINITY HEATING & AIR201152016
TRINITY SOLAR9542016
UNITED ELECTRICAL CO182012
VIVINT2039162016

Solar panel lease companies in Clifton

If you’re thinking about going with a solar lease or PPA, you should first read our guide to solar financing to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of a lease or PPA versus purchasing a system outright. In most cases, you will come out on top by buying your solar panels, even if that means taking out a loan.

That said, leases/PPAs continue to be popular, and they can be a good choice in some cases. There are several national solar installers that offer leases/PPAs, but not all of them operate in every state. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major solar installers that offer these types of contracts, and whether they operate in your state:

CompanyOperates in New Jersey ?
SungevityYES
SunnovaYES
SunrunYES
Vivint SolarYES

Looking for solar panel cleaning companies in Clifton?

If you’re trying to find a local company that specializes in cleaning solar panels, you should know that it’s probably not worth the cost. Solar panel cleaning services can cost more than $100 per visit, and in the vast majority of cases the temporary increase in power generation you get will never make up for that cost. In fact, rain is sufficient to keep solar panels clean for most people. If you live in a dry and dusty area or frequently find bird poop or leaves on your panels, invest in some inexpensive equipment to take care of cleaning yourself. Read our guide to solar panel maintenance, which includes tips on solar panel cleaning and a some recommended cleaning equipment.

Contact solar companies in Clifton

Want to work with one of these companies? We screen companies to make sure that you work with qualified installers. Use our service to get multiple quotes from quality Clifton solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Clifton



Average New Jersey electricity prices


In New Jersey, homeowners pay an average of 15.65 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. Meanwhile, the average price of residential electricity in the US in 2019 is 13.34 cents per kWh.

Do the math, and you’ll see that you’re paying 17% more for electricity than the average American.

That’s not bad - there are states with much higher electricity prices than yours. Still, the cost of solar hardware is dropping all the time. Because of this, if you have a suitable roof or backyard, it’s very likely that solar electricity will cost less than what you are now paying to your electric utility.

Regardless of what your electricity prices are, by adding solar panels to your house and generating your own electricity, you’re locking in your cost of electricity for as long as your system is working, which will protect you from future rate increases by your utility. Given that many panels come with 25 year warranties, this is an investment that can last a long time.

Keep in mind that the price of electricity varies by utility, sometimes by a lot. The table below lists the average price of electricity for utilities in New Jersey state. For current rates, check with your utility.

Company# CustomersAvg Price (¢/kWh)
Borough of Butler - (NJ)10,21611.04
Borough of Madison - (NJ)5,72019.40
City of Vineland - (NJ)21,94914.69
Jersey Central Power & Lt Co791,30913.46
Atlantic City Electric Co415,07217.63
Public Service Elec & Gas Co1,709,51416.16
Rockland Electric Co58,97716.29
Sussex Rural Electric Coop Inc11,61012.61

Historical New Jersey electricity prices, 2008 to 2017


The average price of residential electricity in New Jersey, over the past ten years, is 15.92 cents per Kilowatt hour. This is 32% more than than the US average price of 12.07 cents per kWh. Because your state historically has had high electricity prices, there’s a good chance that prices will continue to be high in the future. This is a good argument for going solar.

Why is this important to know? Depending on the size of your system, owning home solar reduces or eliminates the effect of electricity price increases.


Historical New Jersey electricity prices (cents per kilowatt hour)

NJ prices
US prices
2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
NJ prices15.66¢16.31¢16.57¢16.23¢15.78¢15.73¢15.78¢15.81¢15.72¢15.65¢
US prices11.26¢11.51¢11.54¢11.72¢11.88¢12.13¢12.52¢12.65¢12.55¢12.89¢


One of the big financial advantages of going solar is that you basically lock in your price of electricity for the next 20 to 30 years (because most solar panels come with 25 year power warranties). When you look at the graphs above and see the historical trend of electricity prices in the United States, you’ll notice that prices steadily increase over time. While prices from your utility may bounce up and down, the cost of electricity eventually increases over time. Going solar will protect you from those increases.



Environmental report for New Jersey electricity

Depending on the type of fuel they use, power plants produce differing amounts of air pollution. This is measured as units of pollution per megawatt hour (mWh) of electricity.

For every mWh of electricity generated, New Jersey power plants produce on average:

  • 240 kilograms of CO2, which is 48% less than the US average of 459 kg.
  • 38 grams of SO2, which is 91% less than the US average of 411 g.
  • 129 grams of NOx, which is 65% less than the US average of 373 g.

In the power generation estimate listed above, The Solar Nerd calculator determined that an unshaded, south-facing 6 kilowatt PV system would generate about 8,350 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,004 kilograms of CO2, 317 grams of SO2, and 1,077 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 117 trees every year! (One deciduous tree left to grow for 10 years offsets 17.2 kg of CO2, according to the EPA.)

NJ state average electricity emissions
NJ
US
Glossary:
CO2 is carbon dioxide and is a primary greenhouse gas.
SO2 is sulphur dioxide. It damages the human respiratory system and contributes to acid rain.
NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, acid rain, and lung damage.


Calculate your home solar incentives for Clifton

Use our calculator to determine the financial payback of a home solar systemand to get a solar performance estimate customized to your home, including federal, state, and local incentives.



Ready to go solar in Clifton?

Use our free service to find qualified solar contractors and get multiple quotes on a solar panel installation in Buffalo.

Home solar quotes in Clifton
Sources:
This report was prepared with data from the good people at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.