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North Carolina Solar Rebates and Incentives

How Much Can You Save on Solar in North Carolina?

  • As of 2023, North Carolina homeowners are eligible for tax credits on their solar energy system
  • The Federal Solar Tax Credit offers up to 30% in tax credit for systems
  • The Asheville Building Permit Rebate offers $500 up to $1000 to residences and commercial buildings
  • North Carolina State Property Tax Exemption exempts solar panels and Photovoltaic systems from annual property taxes.

North Carolina Energy Profile

North Carolina has a friendly geography suitable for wind, solar, hydroelectric energy, and energy from biomass. The Old North State’s non-renewable sources of energy include coal, nuclear sources, natural gas, and petroleum.

According to the US Energy Information Associatio (EIA), in 2017, solar energy generation reached a landmark high, accounting for the largest renewable energy source. In 2021, solar energy accounted for 8% of the total renewable energy produced in the state. In total, the state generated over 6000 megawatts of solar energy, which places it just below three states in the US.

Federal and State Renewable Energy Incentives Available in North Carolina

North Carolina Solar Energy Incentives State or Federal Program Overview
Federal Solar Tax Credit Federal There is a 30% tax credit offered by the United States on all Solar Energy projects in 2023.
North Carolina Power Performance Payments (P3 program) State The state pays the beneficiary an amount corresponding to the energy they save in Kilowatts per hour.
Asheville Building Permit Rebate State Asheville offers $500 worth of building rebates to residences and $1000 to commercial buildings. The scope of this program extends to solar panels and other components of solar energy systems.
North Carolina States Property Tax exemption State This is another North Carolina tax credit for solar panels. Solar Panels and Photovoltaic systems are exempted from the annual property tax charge.
North Carolina Revolving Loans State According to the legislation, cities and towns are to offer low-interest loans for Solar energy projects. There is a maximum interest rate of 8% and a maximum 20-year loan term
North Carolina Net Metering System State The state credits people for excess energy generated from their solar energy systems, at retail price. The credit is usually deducted from the next electric bill.
Duke Solar Energy Rebate Program State, The Electricity holding company, offers solar panel rebates of up to $75,000 to commercial organizations, government agencies, and residences.

As of 2023, no policy stops homeowners in North Carolina from going fully renewable. If a homeowner finds out that his or her utility company has no policy against a 100% supply of renewable energy, then such a homeowner may opt for 100% renewable energy.

Depending on your utility company, you could choose from any of these options – solar, wind, or hydroelectric sources.

Renewable Energy in North Carolina

As of 2023, North Carolina also uses about 10% more energy than it produces annually. However, the total energy consumed by an individual is considerably low when compared to other states.

For more than a decade, North Carolina’s largest energy source has consistently been nuclear. In 2021, however, natural gas provided slightly more energy to the state than nuclear energy. Also, in 2021, North Carolina generated about 15% of its total energy from renewable sources.

Aside from solar energy power stations, North Carolina has hydroelectric power plants. Some of these plants are the High rock plant, the Badin plant, and the Roanoke rapids. The state also has offshore wind resources along its Atlantic coast.

These plants are indicative of the government’s commitment to expanding renewable energy production in the state.

There are also local renewable energy incentives in North Carolina. Depending on your local authority, it may be in the form of a solar energy tax credit or monetary rebate. You should check with your immediate local authority – counties, towns, cities – to know which incentive you qualify for.

Federal Solar Tax Credit in North Carolina

The Federal Solar Tax credit considerably reduces the upfront cost of installing solar energy systems in North Carolina. Using this tax break, homeowners can claim a percentage in tax credit for the cost of a Photovoltaic system.

North Carolinians can benefit from schemes other than North Carolina solar panel tax credits.

The percentage you are entitled to is dependent on when you complete the installation of your solar energy system. For energy systems installed between 2020-2021, you are eligible for a 26% tax credit.

The federal solar tax legislation was initially set to expire in 2022. However, it was extended in August 2022 and increased to 30%. As of 2023, if you make a complete installation between 2022-2032, you get a 30% tax credit.

According to the new provisions, the tax credit will be reduced to 26% for solar energy installations completed in 2033. If you complete yours in 2024, you will be eligible for a 22% decrease.

There are no limits to how much you can claim in Federal solar Tax credits

Here is what the Federal Solar Tax credit means for homeowners in North Carolina:

  • The Federal Solar Tax credit considerably reduces the upfront cost of installing solar energy systems in North Carolina. This, alongside other incentives, makes solar energy installation considerably cheap in North Carolina.
  • More homeowners in North Carolina may adopt solar energy. This is plausible, considering that it is a more affordable and sustainable alternative to the traditional energy system.
  • Finally, homeowners in North Carolina may want to purchase more energy-saving systems. Increased adoption of solar energy means an increased need for energy storage.

What Expenses Does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Cover

You can claim the Solar tax Credit on the following expenses:

  • The cost of the solar panels or Photovoltaic cells
  • Tax on sales for any eligible expense.
  • Cost of Installation. This includes the cost of inspection, interconnection, development, and labor.
  • Cost of purchasing equipment. This covers wiring equipment and mounting equipment. It also covers other useful equipment that is not the solar energy system.
  • Devices used to store renewable energy. Such devices must, however, be ones that have a capacity rating of 3 kilowatts-hours (kWh) or greater.

Eligibility For the Federal Solar Tax Credit

To be eligible for the Solar Tax Credit in North Carolina, you must:

  • Own a Solar Energy System: You are only eligible for a tax credit on a Solar energy system that legally belongs to you. This also applies to Solar Energy systems leased off to you.
  • Install the Solar Energy systems between 2017 and 2034: Barring an extension, the Solar Tax Credit legislation only applies until 2034. You must have completely installed your system before the deadline.
  • Own a New Photovoltaic system: You can only claim the Federal Solar Tax Credit if the PV system is new. You may also be able to claim the credit if you are using the PV system for the first time.
  • Own a system that meets the regulatory requirements: The energy system must be certified by The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This is to ensure that the system meets minimum performance and safety requirements.
  • Have enough tax Credit: You cannot claim a tax credit that is above your federal income tax liability. While there are no limits in the Federal provision, your income tax liability may limit how much you can claim. However, you don’t have to claim everything at once. You can claim the rest of the credit in subsequent years till you exhaust it.

How do I claim the Federal Solar Tax Credit in North Carolina?

To claim the Federal Solar Tax Credit, you have to:

  • Confirm your eligibility: You can check the eligibility criteria above to confirm whether you can apply or not.
  • Gather the necessary documents: You need all purchase and installation receipts. You may also need documentation of your Tax income. These documents are necessary to determine the amount you are eligible for in tax credit.
  • Complete the IRS forms – There are about two IRS forms you have to fill out, the most important of which is the IRS 5695 form. The other form is the IRS 1040. These forms are tax forms and they are necessary to validate your tax qualification and eligibility.

Net Energy Metering in North Carolina

Homeowners wiht solar energy systems can offset their energy bill by sending any excess generated energy back to the grid for distribution. This process is called Net Metering.

You must have met certain conditions to be eligible for Net Metering in North Carolina. The most important condition is interconnection and distribution. Your energy system must be connected to the distribution system in your immediate vicinity. This way, the excess energy can be redistributed for others – on the grid – to consume.

Under this arrangement, your electricity bill is offset based on the amount of excess energy that flows back to the grid. If your meter runs backwards than it does forward, then you receive credit. These credits are safe and can be used to offset future electric bills. However, on the first of June, unused credit that has spanned a year will be forfeited annually. The reason for the forfeiture is simple. The North Carolina energy grid cannot accommodate multiple individual energy banks.

How to Enroll for Net Energy metering in North Carolina

To enroll for a Net metering arrangement in North Carolina, you must:

  • Confirm whether you are eligible – Your solar energy system must be of the required size and quality before you apply.
  • Apply for Interconnection – You should request a grid interconnection form at any available distribution companies. The conditions for obtaining a form depend on where you apply to.
  • Request Net metering – After interconnection, you should request net metering from your preferred utility company. Usually, you would pick the company nearest to you. The company or your installer would walk you through the forms and processes.
  • Get a bi-directional meter – You need this meter since energy flow is measured both in the direction of the grid and your home. Ideally, the utility company should take care of this.

North Carolina Property Tax Exemption

North Carolina has several renewable energy tax credits. One of these tax credits is the North Carolina solar energy property tax abatement. In 2008, North Carolina adopted legislation that provides an 80% tax abatement to all solar electric systems. Upon approval, a tax assessor confirms the real market value of your solar electric systems.

For instance, say your solar electric system is appraised at a value of $50,000 by your county’s tax assessor. Rather than pay $50,000 in property taxes, only $10,000 will be added to the tax on your properties before the installation.

To apply, you – as a taxpayer, must legally own the solar energy system. However, solar heating or cooling systems are not eligible for this program. So, for your solar system to qualify for this tax exemption, it must be one that actively converts solar power to electrical energy. It must also meet the minimum performance and safety requirements.

Finally, the exemption applies to systems designed to provide energy to your property alone. Thus, if the solar panels provide income for you or are connected with a business, they would be taxable. To claim this exemption, you must apply through your county’s tax assessor and the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Duke Energy Solar Panel Rebate

Duke Energy, in an effort to encourage solar energy and patronage in 2018, launched a first come-first serve energy rebate system. Duke Energy is a power holding company whose operations span six states in the US. These states include North and South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, and Indiana. However, the company is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. The rebate program, therefore, only applied to people in the state.

The program was planned to run from 2018 to 2022, but the incentive bank was exhausted in 2021. The program made provisions for homeowners, government facilities, commercial structures, and even non-profit organizations.

Residential areas were eligible for an incentive of $0.4 per Watt-AC (alternating current). The maximum claimable amount for residences was $4000.

Nonprofit organizations were eligible for $0.75 per Watt-AC. Non-profits organizations could claim as much as $75,000 in rebate amount. Finally, commercial and government agencies were eligible for $0.3 per Watt-AC. These organizations could claim $30,000 in rebate amount.

However, the state government has been recently considering a collaborative effort with Duke energy. The collaboration would be targeted at reducing the upfront cost of installing photovoltaic systems in North Carolina. You can check the company’s website and even join the waitlist for regular updates on the rebate program.

How to Find the Best Solar Energy Company in North Carolina

The United States Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recommends getting a professional to make solar installations for you. With the many options available, here is how you could select the best Solar Energy company in North Carolina:

STEP 1: Create a List of Companies

In your search for the best Solar energy company in North Carolina, you should first create a long list. You could explore these options:

  • Explore an energy marketplace. The internet makes it easy to explore your options for solar energy companies in North Carolina. Depending on your marketplace choice, you would be required to fill in different types of information. On some, you would simply fill in a ZIP code. On others, you may have to fill in your address, your name, and even an Email address. Some of the popular marketplace options include Energy Save, Solar, and Uhire.

  • Ask your Family and Friends to recommend a company. You could also make a list based on the recommendations you get from them.

  • Check the Local Government website. Some local government and (even) county websites have a compilation of some trustworthy solar installers. You could explore your local government’s website to get the ones in your locality.

STEP 2: Create a Short List

To narrow down your longlist, you could check out the company's websites. You could also explore reviews on the marketplaces, app stores, and offline. The following criteria should guide your inquiry:

  • Certifications: Your preferred solar energy company must be certified by the appropriate bodies. Some necessary certifications include: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)’s certification, the Solar Energy International Certification, and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council certification. Other certifications include North Carolina Electrical License among others.

  • Experience: There are a lot of ways to measure experience. However, the best bet is time. So, check the company’s years in business. Time may also be a measure of quality. It is highly plausible that companies stay long in the market because they are good.

  • Check whether the company has customer protection and warranty coverage. You need to be sure you can make complaints and get a replacement if necessary.

  • Check the company’s service headquarters to see their proximity to your place.

  • Check the pricing system and the available financing options.

  • Confirm the companies’ industry affiliations. These industry affiliations are a measure of expertise, qualification, and, most importantly, certification of the company.

  • Check Reviews. User reviews help give you a good idea of the companies’ customer experience. You should take note of this too.

STEP 3: Get Multiple Quotations

Taking the time to narrow and compile the best Solar energy companies in North Carolina will make it easier to reach the right choice. You should go further to request quotations from the top 5 companies on your shortlist. On the quotations, you can decide your pick based on the cost and professionalism. You could also infer the companies’ attention to detail from the quotations. After you get this, select the best fit for your building.

Over time, some companies have consistently appeared on the radar for being the best in North Carolina. Some of these companies include 8M Solar, ADT Solar, Blue Raven Solar, NC Solar Now, Solar Power, Covenant Solar, and TayCo Electric, among others.

North Carolina Homeowner Statistics

North Carolina is the 9th largest state in the United States. The state’s population – as of 2020 – was estimated to be 10,439,388. It is home to some of the United States’ most lively cities and significant economies. For instance, Charlotte, in Piedmont County, North Carolina, is the second largest banking city in the US. The state also has the Research Triangle park – the largest US research park – located in the combined metropolis of Raleigh-Durham-Cary.

The homeownership rate in North Carolina is higher than the National Average. According to 2021 census estimates, North Carolina has a record homeownership rate of approximately 65.7%. The Tar Heel State has witnessed a consistent increase in construction rate since 2021.

The homeowner vacancy rate is just about 0.5%, and about 2.88% of the available housing units are renter-occupied. To cap it all, the property tax rate in North Carolina is generally lower than average. The annual property tax rate in North Carolina is about 0.78%, as against 1.03% in other US states.

North Carolina Household Profile

In 2021, North Carolina was recorded to have 4,801,712 housing units. The number of housing units in the state has for some time been on a steady increase, and the year 2021 was no different. For instance, the North Carolina government issued 94,874 new building permits in 2021 alone. Also, the midpoint value of the homeownership rate between 2017 to 2021 is about 65.9%, the value of which is about