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North Carolina Solar Power Facts in 2022

north carolina solar program

There is not a single cloud in the skies of the solar future of North Carolina. As one of the nation’s top solar power markets, this is the place to go if you happen to be a renewable energy enthusiast. The state of North Carolina offers great solar rebate incentives, tax exemptions, and the sheer volume of solar power installed testifies to the ability of NC solar installers and solar homeowners advantages. 

Solar panels or Photovoltaics work with the sunlight coming from the sun to generate the DC electric rate. The DC then flows to the inverter, which converts it to AC that your home appliances can use. The major reasons to go with clean energy in North Carolina are electric bills savings, independence from the grid as well as the increase in the value of your property. 

North Carolina Solar Energy Data 

Solar goes strong in North Carolina. This state is the third in the USA by the solar capacity installed, with 7,132.3 MW. California precedes it with 31,872.8 MW of installed solar panels and Solar Panels in Texas with 9,311.0MW of solar energy capacity. Solar panels in Florida have some 7,073 MW of combined power, which puts this state in fourth place by solar capacity, while the fifth spot goes to Arizona, with 5,247 MW of solar. The numbers are based on SEIA’s findings.

NC Solar is enough to power some 860 000 homes and brings in about 7.52% of the total energy production in this state. Solar in North Carolina is a great driving force to the economy. With some 204 solar companies in North Carolina and 6 100 workers employed in the solar energy sector, a large-scale employer took care of some $10.1 billion of investments so far.

As North Carolina can boast some 213 sunny days a year, the initial out-of-pocket cost of some $12.000-$16.000 is paid back within 9-12 years. Solar panel systems in North Carolina can turn 67-91% of your electric bill into savings, depending on the size of your household, the type, efficiency, and orientation of your photovoltaic system. Average solar homeowners in NC can expect to save $16.000-$22.000 over 20 years. This is the reason why so many homeowners in North Carolina decide to go solar: as of 2021, over 22,000 homeowners in North Carolina have free solar on their roofs. 

North Carolina Solar Statistics

DescriptionStatus
North Carolina National Ranking3rd
Solar Installed(MW)7,132.3 MW
Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)860,000
% of State's Electricity from Solar7.52%
Solar Companies in the state204 (38 Solar Panel Installation Companies, 84 Installers and Developers, 82 Others)
Solar Jobs Created6,107
Total Solar Investment in the State$10.1 Billion
Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system$12,000 - $16,000
Net 20-year savings+$16,000
Average Payback Period10 years and 10 months
Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system+67%
Number of Solar Installations+22,000

Notable Solar Installations in North Carolina 

With the advances made in free solar efficiency and the drop in the prices of solar panels down to $2.24 per Watt of solar power installed, many large-scale solar projects took place in North Carolina. 

  1. Conetoe II Solar LLC is the largest solar project in North Carolina. This solar facility has a total power of 80MW, which is enough to power over 9,000 North Carolina homes; 
  2. Apple has installed 25MW of the solar energy system in Maiden, NC; 
  3. SunEdison has built a solar farm in Davidson County – the total power of 17.2MW is enough to power around 2000 homes; 
  4. Carol Jeal Solar has installed 4MW, enough to power over 450 homes, in Walnut Cove. 

With breakthroughs in solar technology and solar manufacture, these trends can only go up, and larger solar projects take place, and existing solar farms are expanded. The UAE has announced solar power under three ¢/kWh, and multilayer solar cells close in on 50% solar efficiency. This means that in the future, there will be more solar and at a lower cost.  

Unexpected Situation in NC Solar Industry 

As with any other market, some awareness is necessary for the NC Solar Industry as well. Although most companies employ ethical business practices, some less-than-ideal situations may emerge as the market expands. Malpractice in the NC Solar Industry may include: 

  • Manipulative Sales Tactics – some solar panel installation companies may over advertize and stream messages of fear or manipulation to the consumers – be aware of this practice and choose the best solar installer in NC based on numbers and logic, not feelings and fear; 
  • Utilities discouraging customers from going solar – certain utility companies may pay less for solar that is considered ethical. Always contact them and ask around and switch to a higher-paying utility company. Even a 10% difference in solar rates can accumulate over 25+ years that the solar panels are supposed to last; 
  • Misinformation in the Media – some media may overdramatize their negative solar experience headlines for the sake of getting more readership on board, not because the experiences are so catastrophic – always read carefully and check the information you find under such headlines. 

Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems 

New advances in the solar technology sector and competition among the 204 NC solar panel installation companies have brought the price of solar in North Carolina down to some $2.24 to $3.04 per Watt of solar power installed. This would translate to $11,000 to $15,000 for an average home in North Carolina, a 43% drop in prices from five years ago. The prices outlined here are without the sales tax and the rebates and tax credits offered by North Carolina. 

Although the initial cost may seem too high, an average household may save around $1,000-1,500 per year, and the entire investment will pay off in as little as 9-12 years. With many sunny days per year, North Carolina is heaven for new solar owners. An added benefit of installing solar on your house is that every 1kWh of NC solar power installed on your roof increases the property’s value by around $6,000. 

There are more things to consider before installing solar. The orientation of your house, any nearby tall trees, and the slope of your roof all play a role in how fast the investment will pay off. Additionally, any home repairs and enforcing that you may have to do to make sure your house can support the weight of the panels will present an extra solar expense, so do not forget to calculate those expenses in your equation. The best thing to do is contact a good solar energy consultant and have professionals do the calculations for you. 

Solar Energy Production in North Carolina

Solar Energy Production in North Carolina has been experiencing an upward trend for years now. While the state offers solar incentives and tax advantages, the overwhelming majority of the solar growth in North Carolina comes from the reduction in prices that could be observed for many years. Back in 2010, the price of Solar Photovoltaic Panels was a little more than $7.34 per Watt DC of installed power. Some eight years later, the price has dropped to $2.70. These prices have been observed in home solar panel systems, but a similar drop can be seen in the Commercial photovoltaic systems and large-scale utility systems. 

Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits 

The state of North Carolina offers many benefits to free solar owners. The solar incentives, solar rebates, and solar tax advantage in North Carolina are: 

  1. The Duke Energy NC solar rebates – the rebates are the most popular option when it comes to reducing the out-of-pocket cost of solar panel systems in North Carolina. The solar rebates program offers $ 0.60 back per Watt of Solar DC Power installed on your rooftop. For residential properties, Solar rebates are available for any installed power up to 10kWh. With a 10kWh system, you could apply for a rebate for up to $ 6,000. The solar rebates program also offers a $ 0.50 rebates plan for non-residential properties and $ 0.75 for non-for-profit prosumers. The program runs on a first-come, first-serve basis. 
  2. Revolving Loan Options for adding solar panels – the legislation introduced by the NC government promises more favourable loans for NC residents who would like to install solar in their homes. The legislation states that banks can give out no loans for a period longer than 20 years and that the interest rate cannot go over 8% per year. 
  3. The Federal Solar Tax Credit – The federal incentives can be accessed by anyone eligible who would like to install a solar system to generate more electricity on their rooftop. To be eligible, you must first make enough money for the tax credits to make any sense to you. You must also purchase the solar panels outright, by either cash or a solar loan. Then, you may be eligible for up to 26% free solar system price reduction under the Investment Tax Credit. 
  4. State Property Solar Property Added-Value Tax Exemption – Installing solar panels on your rooftop will easily add some $ 6,000 worth to your property for every kWh of solar power installed. A 10kWh system could increase the price of your home by up to $ 60,000 at best. The state of North Carolina has offered a Property Tax Exemption rule so that the value-added through solar panels does not count towards your property taxed value. 
  5. Net Metering with Solar in North Carolina – Although net metering is not a program that would put money back in your pockets per se, it is still a great way to minimize your solar panels cost. When deciding on the solar system to install on your house, you would want to install a powerful enough system to power your solar household even during the winter months, when there is not enough sun. This is why many solar owners decided to install a solar panel system much larger than their needs were, to be able to produce more power in the winter. Luckily, it is possible to achieve 0 kW spent over the year with the net metering systems. Net metering allows you to use the extra power you produce in the summer to get solar credits, which you can use during winter when the power consumption is higher and production lower. This should allow for a much smaller system. When designing it, you should consider the total annual power consumption and the system generating energy you spend yearly. 
DescriptionEquivalent Cost
The Cost of PV - 10kWh at the average of $2.64 per Watt DC$26,400
Duke Energy Solar Panel Rebates for a 10kWh solar system at $0.60 per Watt DC$6,000
The Federal Solar Tax Credit - 26% of eligible$6,864
North CarolinaTax Exemption $0 added to your property tax
Net Metering Systems with the average price of $0.106 per kWh per year$1140.96
Total cost for a 10kWh solar system at the end of year 1$12,395.04
Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all North Carolina solar incentives are taken 10 years & 10 months

Top Solar Companies in North Carolina 

There are 204 solar companies in North Carolina. The companies fall into three tiers: the producers, the solar panel installation companies, and others. There are 38 solar system manufacturers, 84 Installers, and 82 others. Among the best NC solar installers are: 

  • Renu Energy Solutions, in Jamestown, 
  • 8MSolar, in Cary, 
  • Emerald Energy LLC, in Raleigh, 
  • South Coast Solar LLC, a multi-state solar installer, and
  • CAPE FEAR SOLAR SYSTEMS, LLC, in Wilmington. 

FAQs

How many batteries do I need to go off-grid? 

To go completely off-grid, you need as much solar power battery storage as can safely last you for the time between sunset and sunrise on a winter day. An average home in the USA uses around 909kWH of electricity per month. Also, an average North Carolina residential electric bill comes for some 1,098 kWh per month, so you should have some 30kWh of batteries installed to ensure you have enough even during the cloudy days in the winter. There are various factors to consider when thinking of battery storage set up to go off-grid, such as the orientation of your house, the appliances you have, hours of sunlight and your habits. The best thing to do is to contact a solar advisor and schedule a consultation with them. Comparing quotes is always a good idea with large purchases.

Do solar panels void your roof warranty? 

No, solar panels do not void your roof warranty, especially if they are installed by a professional contractor that would install the racking system according to the company instructions. It would help if you were careful not to install solar panels on roofs with less than ten years of life left. Always have your home quality inspection to make sure it can take the additional load from the free solar system. 

How much does Duke Energy pay for solar in NC? 

Duke Energy Solar Panel Rebates in NC pays the following rebates: 
• $0.60 per Watt Solar DC for residential properties, 
• $0.50 per Watt Solar DC for non-residential properties, 
• $0.75 per Watt Solar DC for non-for-profit ventures. 
This is a part of NC solar policy for clean energy to bring down solar quotes and offer NC solar rebate programs to their solar customers. Contact the company to find out about the next application period.

Are solar panels free in NC? 

No, solar panels are not free in NC. However, Duke Energy offers up to $0.75 per Watt of Solar Panels installed. You may also be eligible for a 26% Federal Tax Credit so that the total out-of-pocket cost for your Solar System can be around 50% less than what you would pay without the solar incentives. 

Conclusion

The best time to go solar in North Carolina is today. The prices have never been lower and are likely to go down. The solar incentives offered by the NC state and the Federal Government bring the already low costs down even further, and the net-metering systems in place in NC guarantee that you can install a smaller solar panel system on your roof and still enjoy the benefits of going full-solar.

The net-metering system also allows you to design and purchase a solar installation without batteries, bringing down the cost of the entire system down by some $30,000 – $40,000 for an average NC household. During the summer, you sent excess solar energy to the grid and get it back in the winter. Do your planning and contact your solar company to see what you can do today to start saving money and for a clean energy-independent future. 

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