Bristol's solar prices just got lower ·

It can cost $25,000 to install solar panels on the average home, a little less if you live in Bristol. As of Friday, the price went down even further for Bristol residents.

Because participation in the “Solarize Bristol” program reached a new tier (Tier 2), the price just got lower for any Bristol property owner who signs up for a solar installation from Oct. 27 until April 1.

If participation can climb to another tier in the next three months, the price will drop once again.

Here’s how it works:


  • Solar installations are measured by size in terms of kilowatts. The average system for a residential home is about 7 kilowatts (that could be about 24 panels).
  • Per agreement with the Town of Bristol, Sunwatt Solar is actively signing contracts to install solar energy systems throughout town.
  • Per that agreement, Sunwatt was installing systems for $3.25/watt (about 15% below market prices), or about $22,750 for a 7-kilowatt system
  • Once Sunwatt reached 60 kilowatts — which it did on Friday — the price dropped to $3.19/watt.
  • If they can get to 150 kilowatts by April 27, the price will fall once again, to $3.09/watt.

The State of Rhode Island has been making big investments in solar energy incentives and rebate programs, and the programs have been popular.

“A tariff program opened in April last year, and all of it was used up in six months,” said Dana Weinberg, director of inside sales and marketing for Sunwatt Solar. “It’s really a matter of getting yourself in position and taking advantage of the incentives while they’re here.”

One of the first Bristol customers to sign with Sunwatt is thrilled with the program so far. “We were one of the first to install solar panels on our house through the first Solarize Bristol program and can’t say enough good things about it,” said Carlton Tucker. “We pay virtually nothing for electricity and we are actually making money from National Grid for the next 15 years.”

Bristol was able to reach the second pricing tier thanks in large part to one of its Industrial Park businesses, GMT Composites, which signed up for a 25-kilowatt system.

Solarize Bristol is hosting an information forum later this month for residents who want to learn more about the program (see below).

Public forum

Tuesday, Jan.. 23; 6:30 p.m.

Mt. Hope Farm, Bristol

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