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South Carolina Solar Power Facts in 2022

south carolina solar program

With 2826 sunny hours in an average year, South Carolina is an amazing location for solar power system installation. Significant state and federal home solar system incentives can cover a major part of the expenses of solar installation. The net-metering systems in place in the Palmetto state guarantees that you can save money, so there is no reason not to go solar in the sunny state of SC. 

South Carolina Solar Energy Data

Photovoltaic systems work with the sunlight to generate electricity in their solar cells. The produced DC current is then converted to AC that the appliances in your SC household can use. Excess energy generated can be stored in a home solar battery or sent to the grid, only to be taken back during the night or during the cloudy days in the wintertime. 

South Carolina has great solar array capacity prospects. SC total solar power installed amounts to 1,891.4 MW which is somewhat smaller than the neighboring solar panels in North Carolina and solar panels in Colorado, which is currently 14th in the USA, just a spot below South Carolinians. This is enough solar power to supply 222,247 homes with clean energy. SC ranks 13th in the USA by the total solar capacity, which makes up 2.35% of total energy generation in the state. 

The SC solar industry is a larger employer. The 74 solar companies that work in the state are 16 solar system manufacturers, 34 South Carolina solar panel installation companies, and also 24 other companies working in the solar power industry. With a total of $2.3 Billion, the SC state is a serious investor in the green energy sector

An average South Carolina solar system owner can expect to invest some $13,500 for a 5kWH system, which should result in at least 73% solar savings on the electric bill. Significant state incentives and Federal taxes rebates cover the majority of these expenses, and South Carolinians, as South Carolina solar power homeowners, can expect monthly savings of around $ 102.78 for utility bills. This should translate to some $1200.00 savings per year. 

South Carolina Solar Statistics

DescriptionStatus
South Carolina National Ranking13th
Solar Installed(MW)1,891.4 MW
Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)222,247
% of State's Electricity from Solar2.35%
Solar Companies in the State74 (16 Manufacturers, 34 Installers and Developers, 24 Others)
Solar Jobs Created3,086
Total Solar Investment in the State$2.3 Billion
Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system$13,500 - $18,000
Net 20-year savings$28,000 - $38,000
Average Payback Period7-9 years
Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system+73%
Number of Solar Installations+23,700

Notable Solar Installations in South Carolina

There are a few notable, high generation solar projects in SC: 

  • Colleton County Solar Power Farm – with 3MW of solar panels installed, this project can power 325 SC households; 
  • Boeing Solar Farm – the 10-acre rooftop solar farm can produce enough electric energy to power 250 homes; 
  • General Growth Properties Solar Farm – across the USA, their total solar generation can power as many as 5,100 homes; 
  • Target Solar Farm – the forward-thinking and installation of their rooftop solar farm in Greenville has cut their electricity bill by a third. 

It seems that with their first large-scale solar system, SC is preparing for a more radical punch. With over 2800 hours of sunlight every year, the state has a lot of potentials and a lot of room to grow its home solar system capacity. Significant federal and state subsidies make the state one of the more attractive solar destinations. 

South Carolina’s Energy Freedom Act

The South Carolina Energy Freedom Act or the Clean Energy Bill extends incentives for South Carolina solar producers and residential solar homeowners. This solar policy is the key to continue developing renewable energy, or solar energy, in the SC state. This Act saves a lot of jobs in the SC as well, by keeping them in the state rather than sending them to more eco-conscious states. 

Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems

With the Palmetto State’s great incentives and Federal Tax Credits, a Palmetto solar owner can expect to see significant savings in the first year of installing solar panels. The average cost of going solar in the SC state falls anywhere between $13,300 to 18,100 for a 5kWh system. Per Watt of solar power DC installed, this would mean a price ranging from $2.61-3.53, depending on the type of solar panels and the location you would install them in. 

Before deciding to go solar, make sure to check with your local South Carolina solar power advisors. They can estimate your cost much more precisely and can even recommend a house-check up. These checks are important because they could pinpoint some weak spots in the roof or the house itself, and this may require some additional on-site spending before the solar comes in. 

Solar Panel Energy Production in South Carolina

The SC state has gone a long way from a complete struggle to install solar panels as late as ten years ago. Significant renewable energy incentive, easier bureaucracy, and lower South Carolina solar panel system cost in SC has significantly increased the rate at which solar installers install solar panel systems in the state. The first large-scale solar installations have started springing up, and the current solar capacity of 1,892.4 MW is expected to go up as SC fathers see the value of installing solar. 

Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

There are many options in SC to bring down the cost of solar system installation: 

  1. South Carolina’s State Tax Credit for Solar Energy – you can save up to 25% of the total expenses for installing a home solar system on your rooftop; there are additional incentives:
  2. Duke Energy Progressive Solar Rebate – with Duke Energy, you can get up to $1.00 for every Watt of solar installed. This means that a small-scale system of 5kWh is eligible for up to $5,000 in Duke Energy Solar Rebate; 
  3. Santee Cooper – Santee Cooper offers a Solar Rebate of $1.30 per Watt Solar DC installed. The solar rebates are capped off at $ 5,200; you can also save more money:
  4. Federal Solar Tax Credit – if eligible, you can expect up to 26% savings on your solar project. The project should be funded in cash, or you should take out a solar loan to get the Federal Tax Credit
  5. Net metering in South Carolina – this system allows you to use the electric grid as a battery. You feed in the excess electricity produced and can then take it back when your production drops (during the night or the wintertime). 
DescriptionEquivalent Cost
The Cost of PV - 10kWh at the average of $3.07 per Watt DC$30,700
South Carolina’s State Tax Credit for a 10kWH system $7,675
Duke Energy Progressive Solar Rebate for 10kWh$10,000
The Federal Solar Tax Credit - 26% of eligible$7,982
Net metering savings in South Carolina (Per Year)$1,200
Total cost for a 10kWh solar system at the end of year 1$3,843
Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all South Carolina solar incentives are taken less than 5 years

Top Solar Companies in South Carolina

There are 74 SC solar companies. Among the top solar installation companies in South Carolina are: 

  1. Renu Energy Solutions, in Greenville; 
  2. RC Construction Solar, in Greer; 
  3. South Coast Solar LLC, in Columbia, 
  4. RayWell Solar LLC, in Charleston, 
  5. South Power Partners, operates multi-state, 
  6. Tayco Electric & Solar, operates multi-state, 
  7. Firefly Solar & Roofing, in Greenville. 

FAQs

Why is solar access important?

Access to renewable, clean, solar energy is important for multiple reasons: 
1. Decreased dependence on fossil fuels and utility companies and resilience against power outages, 
2. Significant savings on the power bill, 
3. Increased property market value,
4. Peace of mind, 
5. Reducing your carbon footprint. 

How small can a solar panel be?

There are mini solar panels that are produced in sizes as small as 0.6 x 2.55 in. Residential solar panels are mostly made in the 5.5 X 3.5 feet. Many solar panels can be combined to better utilize the roof surface and make the system suited to your needs. 

What roof is best for solar panels?

Solar power panels can be mounted on any rooftop. However, the best rooftop for solar panel installation is a standing metal roof. These roofs are sturdy and usually have a long-lasting life which should make sure your solar power panels are fully utilized before you take them down for a replacement or roof reparation. 

Do solar panels attract lightning?

No, solar panels do not attract lightning. However, as they are on the rooftop, they can still be hit by lightning and damaged in the process

Conclusion

The Palmetto State has made much progress in terms of green energy and its implications on the economy. The South Carolina Energy Freedom Act allows for much greater freedom when installing and using solar panels and incentivizes people to go solar. Clear South Carolina skies and many sunny hours every year mean that the great investment is fast to pay off and that you can save a significant portion of your money. 

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