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Clear info on home solar power rebates, tax credits, and other benefits

2017 Policy Grade

C

Avg. Yearly Savings

$686

Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in North Carolina

2017 Policy Grade

C

Avg. Savings/year

$686

At Solar Power Rocks, our dream is to turn your thoughts of solar power for your home into reality

Note: The numbers above are just estimates for a 5-kW solar system, and your home is unique. The best way to know exactly how much money solar power can save you is to connect with one of our partners nearby. A friendly solar expert we trust will give you a buzz and help you craft a personal plan to get the absolute most out of a solar power system for your home. It's 100% free (yes, that’s right, 100% free) and you aren't obligated to buy anything.

North Carolina’s been a regional leader encouraging solar power for years now, and thanks to a little help from our non-profit friends, things are continuing to look bright for renewable energy. While the current picture is pretty rosy indeed, things aren't quite as good as they have been.

See, North Carolina’s major energy suppliers have met their Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals (we’ll get to exactly what an RPS is in just a second). The utilities have reined in their own solar incentives, and the state’s excellent solar tax credit expired at the end of 2015.

But it's not all bad news! Solar is cheaper than ever, and the cost and payback time of a solar system is better than in some states. The legislature could do more to ensure a sunny future for solar by strengthening the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard, and renewing the expired state tax credit, but solar still makes a good deal of sense here.

Questions? Our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page. You can get discounted on-grid pricing as low as $4,000/kW! This is paired with the North Carolina solar incentives you see below.

Your guide to going solar in North Carolina

We've designed this page to be a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on a home in North Carolina. Since there's a lot of important information to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

The Solar Strategy section is all about the various financial options you have in North Carolina. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions about what you hope to get out of a solar purchase and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we give you a detailed picture of how each could work for you.

The Policy Information section contains all of our latest research on the rules set by the state legislature and public utilities commission that determines how easy it is to go solar in North Carolina. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to whether you get paid retail or wholesale rates for the extra energy your system produces, and can have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section lists all of the available financial benefits available to homeowners who go solar. This section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions. If you're looking for what North Carolina is doing to make solar more affordable for its citizens, you'll find it here.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in North Carolina

Figuring out the best way to go solar in North Carolina can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

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Compare the Return of Different Solar Investments in North Carolina

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan. That might look a little complicated to you, so let's break it down:

The green bars show the return if you pay up front. As you can see, there's a big payment (negative) in year 1, which gets slowly erased by elecricity savings over time. The orange bars, on the other hand, show what happens if you take a solar loan or Home-Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to pay for the system. You don't put any money down, and you still get the tax credit, meaning you actually come out ahead in year 1. The bars dip after year 6, because your loan payments (over a 15-year term) will exceed your energy savings by a little each year. Still, in the end, you'll come out thousands of dollars ahead over the 25-year estimate.

Finally, the blue bars represent a similar loan scenario, but for a smaller solar system. The loan and savings will be smaller, but it's a great way to go solar, even of you don't have a lot of cash or equity. Usually this is where we'd show you the savings with a solar Power-Purchase Agreement, but North Carolina is one of only 5 states in the country that ban third-party ownership.

There's still a lot to love about solar in the Tar Heel State. Read on to find out more about each option!

Net Present Value of Solar in North Carolina

“Net Present What?!” Don’t panic, this isn’t an economics test. NPV is just a tool used to compare investments. Basically, it asks, “if you had X dollars to invest, which investment would get you the best return?” It relies on the idea that getting a return on your investment sooner is better than later, because you can reinvest your early profits and keep the gain train going.

We compare an investment in solar to a “what-if” investment in a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock index fund, which has seen growth of about 7% per year over the past 25 years. We use the cost of solar in North Carolina and ask “how much better or worse (in 2017 dollars) is an investment in solar than stocks?” Here's what we found for the most popular ways of going solar in North Carolina:

green square  Buying Solar in North Carolina

Paying up front used to be the only way to get panels on your roof, and it's still the option that allows you the most control. But it isn't the best option from a percentage return on investment standpoint—that award goes to the solar loan.

Still, an outright purchase returns the most money over time, because you own the system from day one and reap all the benefits—including a Federal solar tax credit of 30% of the costs, and some decent energy bill savings. In our example, you put down $16,250, but by the end of year 1, those incentives and energy savings will erase a bunch of it. Over 25 years, your system will have produced nearly $13,000 in income. You'll be earning that over time, just like putting money in a retirement account. Here's how solar compares to an alternative investment:

Here’s how the numbers work for a North Carolina solar purchase of a 5-kW rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,250.
  • First, subtract your energy bill savings of $686, reducing your year-1 investment to $15,564.
  • Since the Feds calculate their incentive based on out of pocket costs, you'll get 30% of that back as a tax credit. Subtract $4,875, for a new price of $10,689. Note: you can take the credit several years if you don't owe that much in Federal taxes this year.
  • Your energy bill savings will grow over the life of your system as the price of electricity goes up. Your system will pay itself back after 14 years, and you'll end up with $12,926 profit at the end of your panels' 25-year warranty. The rate of return on this investment is 6.7%. That's pretty good!
  • On top of those profits, your home's value just increased by just about $18,000, too (your expected electricity savings over 20 years)!
  • And speaking of doing good for the environment... your system will create some green for the earth by not using electricity from fossil-fuels. In fact, the energy you’re not using has the carbon equivalent of planting 106 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in North Carolina. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

orange square  Solar Loans in North Carolina

This is where we tell you that taking a loan for solar panels is a no-brainer, because it means investing in an income-generating asset. It's true! As you can see from the chart above, you'll start out with a big windfall, because with a loan, you're not putting any money down, and you get the Federal 30% solar tax credit just like if you paid up front for your system.

You'll end up paying a little more for loan payments than you'll save on energy costs, but the key here is that you'll pay the loan off in year 15, and start saving tons of money every year after, because you'll own the system outright. You'll end up $7,540 to the good after 25 years, which is great for an investment where you put nothing down!

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can qualify for a solar loan or home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for with a fixed rate of 4% or lower and a 15-year repayment period.
  • You have an appetite for making a little money with a long-term investment, while also producing benefits for the environment.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a North Carolina solar purchase with a loan:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,250. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity bill savings in the first year of operation will total $686, but your loan payments will be $1,442 for a difference of $756, or about $63 per month.
  • Then comes the tax credit! The Feds will give you 30% of the cost of your system back at the end of the year; that's $4,875. After the first year, you'll come out $4,119 ahead, which will help eliminate the burden of loan payments.
  • When your loan’s paid off after year 15, you’ll start to see over $1,000 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • For our 25-year estimate, you'll see pretty nice returns, to the tune of $7,540 after all the payments. That's a huge amount of money for a zero-down investment!
  • Finally, the environmental benefits cannot be overstated. Operating your system will take as much carbon out of the air as planting 104 trees every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in North Carolina. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

blue square  Small Rooftop Systems in North Carolina

Let's say you don't have a ton of extra cash laying around, but you do have a bit of equity in your home. Can you get solar panels? Yes! Is it a good idea in North Carolina? Well... it depends on what you're interested in.

Here are the factors we'll look at for this example:

  • A 2-kW rooftop system that will cost around $7,800 installed.
  • A solar loan or HELOC for that amount with a 10-year payback at 4% interest.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a North Carolina solar purchase with a small rooftop solar system:

  • First-year loan payments: $948
  • - First-year electric bill savings: $275
  • = First-year cost of solar: $673
  • First year federal tax credit: $2,340
  • Total in your pocket after year 1: $1,667
  • Installing a typical 2-kW solar system should cost about $7,800. Your loan should be for this amount.
  • You'll gain $275 in electricity savings in the first year of operation, while your loan payments will cost $948. That's a net cost to you of $673.
  • But then, at the end of the year, the Federal government will give you a tax credit of 30% of the cost of your system. That's $2,340 that you won't owe this year. You can take the credit over several years if you don't owe that much in taxes this year.
  • When your loan’s paid off after year 10, you’ll see upwards of $360 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • For our 25-year estimate, you'll end up with some pretty decent profits! We're talking $2,584 after 25 years, all without putting any money down. That should help your old, wiser self appreciate your young, forward-thinking self.
  • Your system will remove as much carbon from the air as planting 42 trees per year, which is a pretty great thing, we'd say.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in North Carolina. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

North Carolina Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in North Carolina:

RPS

12.5% by 2021

Grade: C

North Carolina's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) requires utilities in the state to eventually source at least a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels.

North Carolina’s RPS, first passed in 2007, requires all investor-owned utilities to produce 12.5% renewable energy by 2021. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives have a lower goal of 10% renewables by 2018. The RPS also includes a small carve-out for solar power of 0.2% by 2018. That ain’t much, but a mandate is a mandate.

An RPS is critical to strong renewable energy policy. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also naturally don’t want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities have aided in the transition to lower electric bills and offered incentives to put solar on homeowners’ roofs is because the states force them to. In North Carolina, with the RPS goals set so low, the utilities have little incentive to help.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out

.2% by 2020

Grade: C

North Carolina's Solar Carve-out grade

The solar carve-out in North Carolina’s RPS states that 0.2% of the state’s electricity must be generated from solar by 2019. If you think that seems low, you’re right. The North Carolina solar carve out numbers have already been achieved by the state’s utilities. A strong RPS with an expanded carve out for solar would go a long way toward bringing better incentives to North Carolina homeowners again.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

North Carolina Electricity Prices

$0.11/kwh

Grade: D

North Carolina's Electricity cost grade

The average cost of electricity here is 11 cents per kilowatt hour (“kWh”). That’s really cheap! Even cheaper than the national average of 13 cents/kWh. Why is energy so inexpensive? Oh, only because coal and other destructive fossil fuels are generating all that energy. No biggie. NOT GOOD! When all of the fossil fuel we’re burning starts to catch up with us, new regulations and scarcity is going to cause energy prices to rise, and rise, and rise. All those rising rates are going to cost you boatloads! That is… unless you are making your own power from say, a solar power system.

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

North Carolina Net Metering

D

Grade: C

North Carolina's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus. North Carolina law requires all three of North Carolina’s largest electric utilities –Duke Energy, Progress Energy, and Dominion North Carolina Power– to make net metering available to customers.

In general, any customer net excess generation (NEG) you produce in a billing month is carried forward as a credit to your bill the next month at the full retail rate. That’s great! What’s not so hot is that all unused credit transfers to the utility without compensation at the beginning of the summer season. You don’t get a check for your unused credits under the net metering law, the way you would in the TVA program. We can’t be too hard on North Carolina individually, since that’s a shameful trend we’ve seen in a lot of states now, but we’re still not happy about it. Your surplus should be your surplus, no matter how long you hold on to it.

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

North Carolina Interconnection Rules

B

North Carolina's Interconnection Standards grade

"Interconnection" refers to the rules that are in place about what needs to happen before you can get your solar system up and running with your utility company. North Carolina's interconnection policies are a mixed bag.

We like that small installations are eligible for fast track application status, but we don't like that the state leaves it up to utilities to decide whether they want to require redundant external disconnect switches and insurance, and impose fees on interconnection applications. We'd prefer to see a more streamlined, statewide policy.

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

Solar Incentives in North Carolina

North Carolina Solar Power Rebates

None

Grade: F

North Carolina's Solar Rebates grade

North Carolina lacks a statewide solar power rebate program, and unlike some other states we’ve seen, the utility companies haven’t stepped in to fill the void. Remember what we were saying about strong RPS goals? Here’s where they would help.

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

North Carolina Solar Power Tax Credits

None

Grade: A

North Carolina's Solar Tax Credits grade

North Carolina had one of the country's most amazing solar tax credits. Unfortunately, it expired in 2015, and nothing has come in to replace it.

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments

Local Option

Grade: D

North Carolina's Solar Performance Payments grade

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) are generated when you create electricity from clean sources, you know, like those shiny solar panels on your roof. These aren’t just certificates of merit though, they’re certificates you can sell! Utility companies can buy SRECs in order to gain credit for the clean energy you produce toward the utility’s RPS goals.

In North Carolina you have the option to sell your SRECs through NC Green Power (NCGP). NCGP is a non-profit organization that helps facilitate REC purchasing agreements statewide. In order to sell your RECs through NC Green Power, you will have to enter into a contract with your utility as well as NCGP. NCGP will pay you $0.06/kWh of solar energy produced. Rates from the utility can vary, but currently average about $0.04/kWh, for a total incentive of $0.10/kWh of solar electricity produced. NGCP incentives are paid on a quarterly basis. The NCGP program may not be combined with net metering (explained below).

If you’re a customer of one of the municipal or cooperative utilities served by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) — Murphy Power Board, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corp., Tri-State Electric Membership Corp., and Mountain Electric Cooperative– then you’re also eligible for TVA’s Green Power Providers (GPP) program. The GPP program will purchase 100% of your solar output at the retail rate plus a premium of $0.02/kWh. Your utility will track how much electricity your solar power system produces and how much electricity you consume. You will continue be billed at the normal retail rate every month for the energy you use, and then your solar performance payments will be applied as a credit to the final bill. If the credit outweighs your charges, the utility will cut you a check for the difference. The utility chooses whether they send you that check either monthly or yearly.

We know this is getting convoluted and confusing. The program or programs that make more sense for your finances depends on the specifics of your home and your energy consumption patterns. We created this site to try to make things a little clearer, but the clearest picture you can get of the programs that are available and most advantageous to you is by getting one of our free quotes, and letting one (or more!) of our expert partners on the ground walk you through all of your options.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

If you don’t know what an SREC is, or how they work, check out this great SREC video

Property Tax Exemption

80%

Grade: B

North Carolina's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

In addition to that awesome state solar panel tax credit, North Carolina gives you a little long-term love on your taxes as well when you install a solar power system. You see, when you install a solar power system, your home increases in value because of the anticipated savings in electricity costs. Exempting property value increases from solar power systems from accompanying property taxes is an easy way to incentivize solar power. North Carolina seems to agree; 80% of the home value increase from your solar power system is exempt from property taxes. That’s not the 100% exemption we’ve seen in a lot of states but… well… it’s 80% of the way there!

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Many argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing. Leasing still has a positive impact on the ability to sell your home though, in our opinion).

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean $20,000 to your home value. (Edit April, 2014: Some companies, like Solar Mosaic, are starting to offer traditional style equity-based home loans for such a thing). An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was also sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The stronger the tax exemption, the higher the grade.

Sales Tax Exemption

None

Grade: F

North Carolina's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Unfortunately the equivalent sales taxes exemption that many states also have passed is a big fat 0% of the way there. As in, there is no sales tax exemption for the purchase and installation of solar power systems here. That’s a real shame. Sales tax exemptions help the local solar industry in addition to the customer, so they’re a double win, when such exemptions are in place that is.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

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The consensus on North Carolina solar power rebates and incentives

For a state without a super-strong RPS, the prospects for solar in North Carolina are pretty impressive. The payback timeframe here is still superb – for now. Between the federal solar tax credit saving you bundles of cash up front, the state solar tax credit savings you another pile every year for up to 5 years, and the potential for great rebates, performance payments, and energy bill savings, North Carolina has one of the shortest payback timeframes we’ve seen yet. That’s if you can get all the benefits. The patchwork nature of the incentives and the weak RPS goals mean we can’t give North Carolina better than a “C,” even though it’s possible to beat the bank here in the Tar Heel State.

Remember too, the state tax credit is set to go away at the end of 2015, so if you’re on the fence, you should know that that single incentive, if you can get all of it within the 5-year timeframe, is worth 5 years of payback time reduction on its own. Put another way, that tax credit is the difference between a 6-to-9 year payback and a 11-to-14 year payback. That’s a big deal in the solar world.

Again, if you are confused about how these numbers work and would like some personalized assistance or a quote of your own, simply connect with our network of solar experts. They’ll help sort out all the pricing, get you access to special deals, and they’re super friendly to boot!

37 thoughts on “North Carolina Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. Gigi says:

    I recommend everyone considering installing solar photovoltaic panels do a ROI analysis. Even with today’s federal/state/energy company incentives; you should do a ROI analysis to identify the time it may take to realize cost savings so that your expectations are reasonable and to migitage possible disappointment. I commend everyone who is especially concerned about creating a cleaner enviiroment. Working together as customers (residential; industrial; commercial) and with legislation (like it or not), and unless you’ve been living under a rock or totally off the grid (lucky you); we know that the sulfer dioxide (SO2) has to be removed/scrubbed before coal is emitted into the atmosphere. I was recently told that the US exports more coal to China than 1) used in the US or 2) any other country. There’s a sign.. Just watch a news story recorded in China and look at the smog and the number of people wearing respiratory masks not related to medical epidemics. Very smart people in my opinion. If you are considering solar energy for industrial use, you’ll need to assess the effect of a potential power failure to sensitive materials used in your manufacturing process. Momentaries or sustained outages could cause your material to solidify causing financial loss of useless material and having to shutdown your operation for cleanup intererring with another cost loss – sending employees home because of the inability to remain productive. In closing, there is a lot of excellent information on solar energy on the Internet (review scientific sites vs. sales sites). One ot the most currnent interesting stories, is the largest solar farm being built in the desert in India!

  2. Tilden Hagan says:

    Just an fyi – the Progress Rebate for residential SunSense programs will drop to $0.50/kW AC from $1.00/kW AC beginning of 2013. So be sure to sign up for the program by the end of the year. You can contact us at Green State Power http://www.greenstatepower.com to perform a free site assessment and file all paperwork for you.

  3. mark foster says:

    Dear folks-
    This is a really useful and informative article. I have several rental properties in the Research Triangle area and will be in touch with some of your vendor partners about putting in photovoltaic systems. Thanks.

  4. MRSOLAR says:

    GREAT COMMENT ON SOLAR IM AND INSTALLER FOR FOUR YEARS IN N.J HAVE INSTALLED OVER 650 JOBS LIKE 1200 PANLES I JUST MOVED TO HICKORY N.C AND I DONT SEE MANY SOLAR COMPANYS HERE AT ALL IN NJ U SEE SOLAR EVER WERE ON HOUSE BLUIDINGS ITS WORTH THE MONEY FOR A HOME OWNER TO INVEST IN SO COME ON N.C AND LETS HELP OUR PLANT ANY WAY YOU CAN AND GET SOLAR THANKS , FROM MRSOLAR

  5. Robert says:

    I think your numbers do not match mine therefore I must question their validity or my electrical company is gouging me. Last month, June 2012, my cost per kilowatt was .21 not .10 or .11 as your article states. I live in eastern NC and receive electricity from Roanoke Electric Coop. To have a chance at lower prices can only be achieved by competition but the electric companies have a monopoly over most of the USA.

    1. chris williams says:

      robert i too live in eastern nc and have the same electric co. i am very iteressted in installing a system. what type of system do you have, how cost effective is it and how helpful was roanoke electric when you installed i am very courious.

  6. Gary D says:

    Does anybody know if the state and federal incentives apply to conversion of flouresent lighting to LED lighting?

  7. Mark says:

    Hi, Having trouble finding correct docs to claim my energy credit for 2010. NCDOR told me that CD 405, CD 425 for credit. It looks to be a corporate form. Does anyone have a better source of information on NC 478, CD 405,435? Thank you

  8. Jared says:

    If you could please send me an email as well responding to Shay’s comment about the partial install that would be great. I spoke to Accelerate Solar in Charlotte about this, but would also like your opinion.

  9. Shay says:

    Hi, what if you only want partial for now? we don’t completely want to go off the grid at this time but would love to invest in some solar panels to help our electric bill. Thanks

  10. andy says:

    Robb,

    Unless you mean turn EVERYTHING off during the day, net metering won’t mean anything to you with 300 watts, because your fridge alone will use what that much panel produces. Throw in a few “phantom” loads like a clock or two, your TV/sat dish/DSL router/etc, and you have nothing to worry about with net,because you won’t be producing any excess at all.

  11. Alex Allen says:

    Good evening, I am a junior at West Davidson High School and I am writing a research paper on how solar energy is the most beneficial alternative energy source. It is required to interview a professional or representative knowledgeable on the topic. Below are 10 brief questions that I would be highly appreciative of, if they could be answered as quickly as possible. Thank you for your time and help!
    -Alex Allen

    1)What are some of the major benefits of solar energy?

    2)Briefly, how do solar panels function?

    3)What are the general prices of solar panels and their installation?

    4)How energy efficient are solar panels today?

    5)Who invented the solar panel?

    6)What is the average lifespan of solar panels?

    7)What factors should a person consider when they are deciding to buy solar panels?

    8)What materials are used to develop solar panels?

    9)Is it cheaper to buy solar power for industrial purposes or for residential homes/businesses?

    10)Generally, how long does it take for the solar panels to pay off the initial costs of themselves?

  12. robb says:

    very informative site.

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 under Sec.1251, all public electric utilities are now required to make available upon request Net Metering to their customers.

    So i bought a couple solar panels and a power inverter, 300 watts not much but being a single guy i can turn off everything when i go to work and my meter will spin backwards all day.
    The Act says upon request so i requested the power company get me set up. Even after i informed them of the Energy Policy Act and that on their own website it says that they do offer net metering, i was told they do not have to and they will not. Can they still deny net metering to their customers really?
    Energy United in Alexander county.
    robbthebuilder@yahoo.com

  13. Peter Fland says:

    I am using a Macbook Pro and I do not have excel. i do have a spreadsheet that is part of an apple suite. Evidently this is making it impossible for me to enter my billing information so that I can see how this will play out. I currently reside in NJ and am moving to North Carolina and want to install solar in our new home. I know that my average kwh usage is 1345/mo and my last year of usage was 16,144 kwh. Our average bill is around 280. Could you input the data into your spreadsheet and email it back to me?

    Thanks

  14. Scot says:

    Thanks for some great info. Are tax credit available to an individual home owner that installs/builds their own system?

  15. Zac says:

    Awesome so they have created a system with absolutely no incentive for a private enterprise to put solar power anywhere showing their half hearted politicians adherance to the idea of renewable energy. Hence the don’t allow anyone to make money off of solar energy part of this plan.

  16. Bob says:

    Can you tell us how a person can take advantage of the state tax credit if you are retired with no state income? Does property tax and/or sales tax qualify and if so, how do you take advantage of the credit? Is it possible to transfer the credit to someone else? Thanks for the great site.

  17. Doug says:

    Hello…..

    Another person who greatly appreciates this site – so much to learn & know.. Now where’s that money!?
    Thank you!

  18. James Ray says:

    How is this calculated 20 times annual savings?

    Immediate Tax Exempt Property Value Increase $59,274

    Savings is
    Your average monthly power bill savings over the first 20 years* $165.54
    Right??? 20 X 12 X 165 is $39,600.00

  19. Janet says:

    We have a 3,200 sqft home near Charlotte, NC. Our electric bills run average $175 a month (we do not have solar power at this time). We would like to add a pool to our home. How would solar energy affect our current costs and future costs with a pool?

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Janet. Best thing to do is fill this out and someone from our network will reach out to build a free quote:
      https://solarpowerrocks.com/free-solar-estimates/

  20. Robert says:

    I noticed you used an example of 5.4 hours of usable sunlight to calculate system size, however this area is considered to be a zone four with approximately 4.5 hours of usable sunlight. How did you determine the amount of usable sunlight available here in North Carolina ?

  21. You may want to check out Pursol Solar. They design,install,and maintain complete commerical systems at no charge. These systems provide for lower monthly cost with no increases for the term of the contract.

  22. Bruce says:

    I just listened to a great report on NPR (Marketplace) that described a program in Gainesville, Fl which provides incentives for going solar. Add this to the reasons that just make sense to see if this would push us all even more to start the conversation. Thought this might be of interest to the readers of this blog.http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/08/13/pm-solar-energy/

    Maybe other municipalities will begin to follow this example.

  23. Rick says:

    Two questions:
    1) Would line 31 “Average monthly power bill savings” equal $90 in year 1?
    2) Is the current state budget crisis likely to effect the 35% state credit?

  24. Thank you for this website, it’s one of the rare blogs that you find talking about solar power and energy by states, as we are a company in Charlotte, north Carolina that we offer solar energy and solar power, we learn a lot from your website. Thank you again.

  25. JIMW says:

    Do you have a spread sheet like that for VA?

  26. Dan Hahn says:

    Meckes,

    That is incorrect. The feds offer a 30% tax rebate with no cap. Legislation passed at the end of 2008 removed the $2000 cap.

  27. Meckes says:

    Not to be a party pooper, but the feds only offer a 30% tax rebate OR $2000.00 which ever is less. See Fed Form 5695.

  28. Ursula says:

    Zachary, we installed a solar water heater in September 2007 with fantastic results. We live in Hillsborough, NC and have a southeast facing roof. In February we’ll start getting 120 degree temps from the sun leading to summer when it turns itself off at 175 degrees. The tough months are October when the leaves are still in and the sun has dropped on the horizon or if we get a lot of rainy/cloudy days. During the winter we use the electric backup when we need to but keep it off otherwise. In all we are thrilled with our purchase and are looking into getting PV as soon as possible.

  29. Zachary says:

    Has anyone done a solar water heater install or a full home energy system install in Raleigh, NC? What was the cost? The results? I’m very interested!

  30. CGSC Student says:

    Does anyone know if it is better to buy the argon filled windows or not? How good of an investment are they? I want to reduce my energy bill but the contractor told me it would take about 22K to replace about 30 windos.. doesn’t that sound corrrect?

  31. Dan Hahn says:

    Thanks Dave’s mom! All fixed.

  32. Dave's mom says:

    Hi Dan, This looks great, but you may need to update the “Example 3KW System” to reflect the new Federal Tax credit (it is still shown as $2000).
    Also I don’t understand why the 6.21 KW system requires 407sq ft and the “Example 3KW system requires 600 sq ft

  33. robert says:

    nc solar incentives

  34. Brian says:

    Thank you. Very informative for those of us interested in alternative home power and the cost/benefit ratio of implementation.

  35. Sunwolf says:

    This is good info. Thanks for having this available for people like me who are researching the viability of solar panels for my home and family.

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