How Much Can You Save on Solar in Georgia?
Ranked 15th among all states in terms of annual sunshine, Georgia receives 4,661 kilojoules per square meter of sunlight on average each year. As of 2023, approximately 525,348 homes are powered by solar energy in Georgia.
Roughly three-fourths of Georgia's total in-state electrical net generation is powered by natural gas and nuclear energy. The remaining energy is generated by coal and renewable resources.
For instance, renewable energy such as solar energy contributed to 12% of Georgia’s total electricity generation. Most of the energy generated came from utility-scale facilities with over 1 megawatt of capacity.
Since 2010, the proportion of electricity powered solely by natural gas has nearly tripled. It also makes up about half of the state's net generation. Georgia was one of the top five nuclear energy-producing states in the country in 2021.
Note: As of 2023, only 4,551 megawatts of solar power have been installed in the state. In comparison, Florida has installed almost double the wattage with an average annual average sunlight of 4,859 kj/m2.
|Georgia Solar Incentives||State or Federal||Program Overview|
|Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)||Federal||Offers you a credit for up to 30% of the total cost of your system against your income tax burden.|
|Solar Easement Laws||State||Ensures that you continue to have unrestricted access to the solar energy that would typically be directed at your home.|
|Net Metering||Local||Gives you bill credits for any extra energy your solar panels create and send to the grid. In the state, net energy metering is not a given.|
|Local Incentives||Local||Some local electricity providers offer incentives to clients who switch to solar power|
The total energy consumption per capita for Georgia is 254.3 million BTUs. The state ranks 32nd in total energy consumption per capita among states in the US. Georgia’s total residential energy consumption per capita stands at 64.2 million BTUs, ranked 30th across the US.
While the total energy consumption per capita for the commercial sector is 66.9 million BTUs. Georgia has 4,329,675 housing units, with 1989 serving as the median year of construction. 64.05% of Georgia's 3,830,264 inhabited housing units are owner-occupied, while 35.95% are occupied by renters.
As of 2023, there is no Georgia solar tax credit. However, there is a federal solar tax credit available to Georgia homeowners.
First made accessible in 2005, the Federal Solar Tax Credit provides a way to make solar energy usage more affordable. It provides a tax credit equal to 30% of the installed system value. This included solar panels, inverters, batteries, and more.
The credit rate was initially scheduled to decrease to 26% in 2022, 22% in 2023, and 0% in 2024. However, in 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act which retroactively extended the credit tax by 10 years. Furthermore, the tax credit will drop to 26% by 2033, 22% by 2034, and 0% by 2035.
How does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Work in Georgia?
To put your energy savings with the federal tax credit, in perspective consider the following. If your solar energy system costs $30,000, you would be saving a total of $10,000 on your system.
You are qualified for the solar investment tax credit if you own your solar energy equipment. For as long as the tax credit is in effect, you can "roll over" the leftover credit amount into future years even if you don't have enough tax liability to do so in one year.
However, keep in mind that you cannot claim the tax credit if you enter into a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) with a solar installer. This is because, under a lease agreement, you are not the system's proprietor.
Finally, it's crucial to remember that the ITC program has no revenue restrictions, meaning that taxpayers in all income brackets may qualify.
The Investment Tax Credit will cover the following costs for Georgia homeowners who take advantage of it:
The following are the eligibility requirements for Georgia's federal solar tax credit.
Trying to claim your solar tax credit is a straightforward exercise. You can do it while filing your taxes as it only takes an extra few minutes.
You can use different tax preparation software to make your job easier. You can claim the federal tax solar credit in Georgia by taking the following steps:
With net metering, your property's energy usage from the grid and from your solar system to the grid is tracked for billing purposes. Any extra energy you produce gets you billing credits, which you may use later to reduce your electricity costs.
This comes in handy if you ever need more energy than you produce, such as during cloudy or nighttime conditions. Net energy metering (NEM), per the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), is an appealing incentive for solar users. It aids in reducing electricity costs in many ways such as:
Individuals who generate their electricity and export the excess to the electrical grid are referred to as customer-generators. In the event that the customer-generator generates more energy than they can consume, the extra is sent to the grid.
However, if the customer-generator consumes more energy than they produce, they are still responsible for paying the standard retail rate. For extra electricity sent to the grid, the customer-generator is usually compensated on a per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) basis.
Different degrees of compensation are applicable in various locations depending on the state and local laws currently in effect. In some instances, customer-generators may be compensated for surplus generation at the entire retail rate or a lower sum. In other cases, compensation sums may be null.
Charges for energy received and credits for energy exported by the customer-generator are netted against one another. This netting is carried out at the conclusion of the billing cycle. If a customer imports more electricity than they export, they will be charged the difference on their account.
If exports during a billing cycle exceed imports, the customer-generator typically has the option to carry the excess over to future cycles. However, this depends on the policy presently in place in the state. For example, the balance can be carried forward for an undetermined amount of time or at an agreed-upon date.
Unfortunately, the Georgia Public Service Commission does not obligate utility companies to provide net metering to customers. However, some energy companies still do, so before going solar, you should confirm if your company provides it.
Net energy metering programs are no longer as helpful in several jurisdictions around the U.S. While some states are doing away with the rule entirely, others are adopting a credit rate that is lower than the retail rate. For instance, California has adopted a new net metering rule known as NEM 3.0 which reduces the credit rate by a significant margin.
Most Georgia homeowners who select a reputable solar contractor will qualify for net energy metering. A representative will typically apply on their behalf. However, you can take the following steps to ensure you have access to net metering if it is available.
Step 1: Speak with your electricity provider to ascertain whether a bidirectional meter has been placed. If you don't, your service provider ought to install one without charging you.
Step 2: Speak with your electricity provider to find out if net metering is an option. Since the program is not statewide required, many providers do not offer it.
Step 3: Get in touch with a reliable solar expert in your area if net energy metering is an option. Confirm with the representative that the company will handle the application process. If not, find out how to apply yourself from your electric company.
Step 4: Start the installation process.
Step 5: It is advised you conduct an audit of your energy bills for a few months after installation. This will be to ensure your system is earning credits as expected.
Unfortunately, the state does not exempt solar energy equipment property taxes. This implies that switching to solar will likely increase your property taxes. However, installing solar panels remains beneficial.
For instance, adding a solar energy system to your home will most likely increase its market value. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that every dollar you save on electricity bills thanks to solar panels adds $20 in property value.
The Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing model is a form of renewable energy incentive. It helps provide funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private land. This program is available to both commercial and residential properties.
Georgia's PACE-enabling legislation provides residents with access to both residential and commercial PACE financing. PACE assessments are unique in that they are attached to the property rather than the individual. Essentially, if the property is sold, the next owner assumes liability for payment.
Property owners can finance the initial cost of making energy-saving or other qualified upgrades to a property with the PACE program. They then pay the costs back over time through a voluntary property tax assessment which will be collected by local governments.
The structure upon which PACE programs are based is commonly referred to as a "land-secured financing district". This is also sometimes referred to as a local improvement district. Under this structure, municipal bonds may be used to finance PACE projects.
Property owners who willingly sign up for a PACE program pay back their improvement costs over a predetermined period of time. This period is typically between 10 to 20 years.
These improvements are also paid through property assessments that are secured by the actual property and added to the owner's annual property tax bills. The same set of consequences applies to nonpayment as they do to any other part of a property tax statement.
There are many benefits available to residents who decide to sign up for the PACE program.