Solar panels in North Carolina
When it comes to solar energy generation, North Carolina is leading the way in the United States. In fact, the Tar Heel State ranks third in terms of generating the most energy from solar in the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
As an energy customer, you might be wondering: “is solar worth it?” In short, yes. By investing in solar energy, you can get money back through rebate programs all while reducing your environmental impact.
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to solar panels in North Carolina, including costs, incentive programs, and frequently asked questions.
Cost of Solar Panels in North Carolina
As you begin researching solar options in your area, one of your first questions will likely be about price. There are a few factors that influence the cost of solar panels in North Carolina, such as the size of your solar energy setup and the components within it, as well as labor and permit costs.
In many cases, you can save on the cost of your solar system by taking advantage of state and federal government incentives and rebate programs. We’ll explain North Carolina solar incentives in more detail in the next section.
Solar panel setup
To use solar energy to power your home, you’ll need the right equipment. A typical photovoltaic (PV) home solar system includes:
- Solar panels
- Solar panel inverter
- Solar racking system
- Solar panel roof monitoring system
Solar panels consist of individual solar cell energy receptors designed to collect sun power. They’re made from either monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon and held in place by a racking system. Inverters convert the solar power into alternating current, or AC energy, which can be used in the home. Finally, monitoring systems are used to understand how much power the panels are producing.
Before installation, decide whether you want to purchase or lease your solar system. You can get the most value out of your system if you buy it, since you will be eligible for government credits. However, you will also be on the hook for upfront and ongoing maintenance costs if you own your system, which might make it more tempting to lease.
Solar incentives and rebates in North Carolina
As we’ve mentioned, you will need to purchase your solar system (rather than lease it) to benefit from North Carolina solar incentives and rebates. Here’s a brief list of solar panel tax credit programs in the state:
Solar energy in North Carolina may help lower your electric bills
You might be curious about the cost benefits you could see by going solar. In order to understand the potential savings, we’ve done some simple calculations that take into account your initial investment and estimated monthly energy costs. In most cases, you will gain long-term savings rather than immediate ones.
With a solar energy system, your highest costs will be the system and installation. Once it’s up and running, you can begin to generate your own energy from the sun and yield savings over time.
In North Carolina, the average cost of solar power is $2.49 per watt (or 0.00249 cents per kwh). Compare that cost to the 10.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for non-solar energy and you can easily see the value for the consumer.
With an average initial cost of $14,040, it could take up to 9.36 years to begin earning a return on your solar investment in North Carolina. This figure is based on data that reports the average American energy bill is $1,500.00/year, so you may see quicker returns based on your actual energy usage at your North Carolina home.
Energy independence in North Carolina can help you
On a large scale, energy independence occurs when a country is able to produce enough power on its own, without having to get it from other countries. But energy independence can also take place on a smaller scale, such as when homeowners generate their own energy without relying on the public grid.
Energy independence allows people to be self-reliant to meet their electricity needs. This can be incredibly important for consumers during periods of extreme weather or when energy is in high demand.
Plus, having a solar energy system installed at your home can drive up its resale value when you’re ready to move. In fact, the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy found that solar-enabled homes sell faster and for higher prices than those with traditional energy systems.
Plus, you can sell excess electricity back to your utility company to earn credits for future bills. This practice is called net metering, and it’s another compelling reason to consider investing in solar.
How to buy solar panels in North Carolina
Ready to buy solar panels in North Carolina? You may find the following resources helpful as you research solar options in North Carolina.
- Get more information about your rights as an energy customer in NC
- Learn more about net metering and how it works
- Find out about the North Carolina solar incentives from Duke Energy
When doing your research, be mindful of the following factors as well.
- Your local city or homeowner’s association regulations
- The length of time you’ll be living in your home
- The current and potential market value of your home
- The amount of tree cover and shade over your roof
- The condition of your roof and when it will need repairs
The future of energy is solar in North Carolina
As solar energy continues to gain popularity across the United States, it’s important to have a clear understanding of some basic energy principles. Solar power is a resource that can regenerate on its own, which makes it a form of renewable energy. It’s also a type of green energy, a subset of renewable energy that offers the best benefit for the environment.
Solar power is already a notable industry in North Carolina, with about 7.5% of the state’s electricity coming from solar sources. Residents can apply for Duke Energy’s NC Solar Rebate Program or the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for savings on their solar investment.
Solar energy FAQs
Do solar panels save you money in North Carolina?
You may enjoy reduced energy costs when you invest in solar panels in North Carolina. Although you need to pay to install the panels at your property, you should be able to recoup these costs within about 10 years after installation. If you’re planning on living in your home for that length of time, then a solar system could be rewarding.
How does solar power help the environment?
Solar power is collected from the sun in a way that is cleaner and more sustainable than traditional energy. When you add solar to your house or business, you’re helping reduce our reliance on finite fossil fuels that let off harmful gases and contribute to climate change and air pollution.
Is it better to buy or lease solar panels?
Your decision to buy or lease solar panels is a matter of personal preference since there are pros and cons of each option. For example, buying solar panels lets you take advantage of rebate programs to lower the overall cost of your system. Naturally, this requires a larger financial commitment than if you were to lease your panels. Leasing could be a more compelling choice if you plan on moving before your investment pays off.
What percent of North Carolina energy production is solar?
According to the SEIA, 7.46% of North Carolina’s electricity comes from solar sources. It’s an impressive number that continues to grow, helping the Tar Heel State move up to third place on SEIA’s national ranking of top solar states. Curious how it stacks up to other states? Check out how much solar energy each state generates.