Homeowners across each state look for incentives and savings programs to help offset solar installation costs. South Carolina residents interested in solar power for their homes are in luck. South Carolina solar incentives are some of the best in the country. In our guide detailing these South Carolina solar incentives, tax credits, and rebates, we provide:
- Why solar installations make sense
- Rebates to help you save money on your solar energy system
- Tax incentives that can help make a solar system possible
Why Go Solar in South Carolina?
South Carolina currently ranks 14th in the nation for states moving toward renewable energy. Now, there is enough solar power in South Carolina to power more than 200,000 homes. Quite a bit of this has to do with the state solar tax credit and other incentive programs that help to lower the total costs.
Energy costs in South Carolina can be high because of the temperatures in the Palmetto State. Electric bills can be pretty high when temperatures heat up in the summer. In addition, many large homes in South Carolina could use the help of some solar energy efficiency to decrease total costs. Luckily, a solar panel system in South Carolina can not only save money, but it can also earn money with net metering.
South Carolina Solar Cost
Installing solar panels in South Carolina will range from around $12,000 to $18,000. The costs depend on the size of the home, which company the panels are purchased from, and the types of panels used.
While this hefty startup amount may seem daunting, analyzing these system costs after rebates and the solar energy tax credit may make you more confident this project is not only possible but wise.
How Much Can You Save on Solar in South Carolina?
The state of South Carolina has one of the best tax credits in the industry, and state-level incentives can be combined with ones on the federal level. Combined, homeowners can save $5,000 or more on a full solar panel installation. In addition, small installations will still allow for a percentage of savings.
The Best Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, & Rebates in South Carolina
Here’s a look at the tax credits, rebates, and other incentives available to South Carolina homeowners:
|Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)||South Carolina residents can take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit and get a discount of 30% applied to their tax returns. Thanks to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, this credit will remain in place through 2032. If you purchase $20,000 worth of solar panels, you can get a credit for $6,000 on your next tax return. Remember, this does require you to come out of pocket first.||December 31st, 2032|
|South Carolina Solar Tax Credit||South Carolina residents can claim a tax rebate of up to 25% of the cost of the system up to $3,500 at the end of the tax year.||None|
|Net Metering||Net metering allows homeowners that create excess energy to use it as a credit on their next electric bill. All energy providers need to offer this option to homeowners, but the credit rates in South Carolina are low.||None|
|South Carolina Property Tax Incentive||Property taxes will remain unaffected by installing solar panels; this can apply to a new build or a retrofit.||None|
|Santee Cooper||The Santee Cooper-specific rebate will help customers save close to $5,000 if they follow the detailed steps for solar energy installation in this area. This program applies to commercial and residential properties.||None|
|Berkeley Electric Cooperative||This loan program gives homeowners up to $15,000 in loan money with a fair interest rate to make energy-efficient changes to the home. The Berkeley Electric Cooperative is a great choice for those with a hard time waiting for the tax incentives to be paid back.||None|
Let’s take a closer look at these incentive programs.
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
The Federal Solar Investment Tax credit is available in all 50 states. This program will give you a discount on your next federal tax return because of a solar system that you installed. Thanks to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, your tax incentive is 30% of the total value of your solar system installed in a given year. This credit will remain in place until the end of 2032. The ITC can be combined with state tax incentives to save you even more money.
South Carolina Solar Energy Tax Credit
The South Carolina Solar Energy Tax Credit is one of the best state tax credits in the nation. With this program, homeowners can get a credit of up to 25% of the cost of their solar installation as part of their next tax return.
The program allows for savings of up to $3,500 and will be something you can combine with your Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit. Combining a 25% state tax and a 30% federal tax rebate is certainly something that could help you justify the costs of these solar panels and systems.
South Carolina Solar Sales Tax Exemption
Many states will offer sales tax exemptions on purchasing solar panel systems. Although this is not currently a program available to South Carolina residents, there is a bill in place that, if passed, would allow for this. As we mentioned, South Carolina is a state pushing toward greener, more sustainable, and renewable energy resources, and these exemptions can only help.
South Carolina Solar Property Tax Exemption
When you install solar panels on your home, the price of your home can go up. Luckily South Carolina has put a property tax exemption in place to help with these potential increases in cost. If you install anything in your home that will help with renewable or sustainable energy, the value of your property will not go up. This is a great program to have, especially as property values have been on the rise.
South Carolina Net Metering
If your South Carolina solar system generates more energy than your home needs, you can supply some of that energy back to a utility company through a program called net metering. South Carolina has a very strong net-metering program, and the major utility companies have to offer you the option of net metering when you have a solar system.
One thing to remember with net metering is that if your home does not create enough energy to sustain itself for one month, you may have a credit from an overage the previous month that you can use with your net metering. Getting started and signing up is relatively easy, and you can start saving money immediately. The net metering policy will vary depending on the providers you use, so keep that in mind as you work through this process.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative Energy Efficiency Loan Programs
Although some programs help you get an instant rebate or a tax credit, make sure you are also looking into loan programs to help pay for a solar installation. The Berkeley Electric Cooperative Energy Efficiency Loan Programs allow up to a $15,000 loan with a term of around 5-7 years and an interest rate of 4–10%. This program can make a big difference if you are struggling with the out-of-pocket solar installation cost.
On the Berkeley website, you will see a loan calculation that can help you figure out the total costs of your project and how much loan you will qualify for. Sometimes homeowners use the loan to fund the project upfront, and then they get the tax credits to pay off a good portion of the loan at the end of the year.
Santee Cooper Rooftop Solar Rebate Program
If you live in the Santee Cooper area, you can get a rebate of up to $.95 per watt of solar energy you install. This rebate can be up to $5,700 and works for residential, commercial, and nonprofit customers. The program will detail all of the requirements, and there is a manual homeowners can use to ensure they are fully eligible for the rebate when the time comes.
Duke Energy Rebate
Duke Energy offers rebates ranging from $100 to $450 for energy-efficient home upgrades. This policy does not directly include solar panels, but it does include things like water heaters, lighting, and heat pumps. Adding more energy-efficient appliances and systems and then powering them with your new solar panels is a great way to save even more money on an energy-efficient home.
Commercial South Carolina Solar Incentives
Some programs across the United States and South Carolina will apply to only commercial settings. Sometimes government or large utility companies can do more for commercial investors as they have very large upfront costs. Luckily, tax incentives and savings plans will help commercial customers in the state.
Solar Incentives for Nonprofits and Businesses in South Carolina
Luckily the same South Carolina residential tax credit of up to 25% of the total cost of the solar installation also applies to nonprofits and businesses in South Carolina. This means that you can expect a good portion of the total tax liability for your business to be reduced by up to $3,500 due to the South Carolina tax credit for businesses in South Carolina. Remember, this can be combined with the federal incentive as well.
USDA REAP Grant
The United States Department of Agriculture offers a REAP grant or Rural Energy for America Program that ensures loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers. In addition, small rural businesses can also access these resources for installing or upgrading renewable energy systems. The USDA REAP Grant program is in place to help people save money; it’s worth looking into if you are in this situation.
Federal Solar Tax Credit for Businesses in South Carolina
For a federal corporate income tax return, there is a 30% credit against the cost of any system that was placed into the building during that year. If your solar panel installation is tens of thousands of dollars, you may see a large tax incentive for going solar.
The Federal Solar Tax Credit is still one of the best ways to save money on solar energy. This program was previously set to expire but was extended through the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. Now, you’ll be eligible for a 30% tax credit for solar installation through the end of 2032 if you’re the proprietor of a non-tax-exempt business.
Santee Cooper Commercial Rooftop Solar Rebate Program
If your building is in the Santee Cooper area, you can get a rebate of up to $1.05 per watt of solar energy you install. This rebate can be over $6,000, which applies to commercial and nonprofit customers. It is best to consider this program before purchasing the solar system, as certain requirements must be in place for it to work properly.
ConserFund Loan Program
The ConserFund Loan Program is for state agencies, local governments, public colleges, school districts, and nonprofits looking to make energy-efficient improvements to their buildings. The project can go through the ConserFund loan program to see how much is eligible for financing, and sometimes that can be up to $500,000 per year. The loan term here is ten years, and the interest rate is fixed and set below prime.
In addition to solar energy systems, there are other energy-efficient improvements for which the money can be used. However, you must make all improvements within six months of receiving the money from the ConserFund Loan Program.
Final Thoughts: South Carolina Solar Incentives
South Carolina has tremendous incentives for installing a solar power system. Although we went through some of the best options for photovoltaic system rebates and incentives, these will change yearly. Keep checking to see other incentives more localized to your area, and take advantage of every opportunity you can. These must be researched before installation so you don’t miss out on any potential credit.
FAQs about South Carolina Incentives
Is solar worth it in South Carolina?
South Carolina deals with a wide range of temperatures throughout the year, meaning that the energy costs can be quite high. However, installing solar panels not only provides clean energy but is also a way for you to save a great deal of money each year. Electric costs are only going up, but solar panel costs have come down. Now is the time to consider the incentives that could make this process worthwhile.
How much will my electricity bill go down with solar in South Carolina?
Depending on your home’s size and the solar panel system you put in, the electric bill could be non-existent. When a professional comes to your home to design the system and talk about installation, they will explain the size you need to power your home efficiently. In addition, net metering programs can help you make money should you produce an excess of electricity.
How much does it cost for solar panels in South Carolina?
Solar panels in South Carolina for a single-family home will typically range from around $12,000 to more than $20,000. If you have a large home, the solar panels needed to power it will be considerably more extensive, and the total costs will increase. Some homeowners will do a partial installation to keep costs manageable and do the rest at a later time. Keep in mind: Doing this can impact eligibility for rebates and incentives.
How many homes in South Carolina have solar panels?
Currently, there are just over 200,000 homes in South Carolina that have solar panels.
Do solar panels increase property taxes in South Carolina?
Solar panels will increase property taxes and home value in South Carolina. The property tax exemption helps homeowners keep their property value the same while still making energy-efficient upgrades to the home.
How much can you write off for solar panels on taxes in South Carolina?
Owners of new residential solar installed between 2022 and 2032 can deduct 30% of the cost of the system from their taxes through the federal solar tax incentive.
Today's Homeowner’s Solar Ranking and Review Methodology
At Today's Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all the top innovative solar technology companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
- Plan Options (30): Do they provide various plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
- Services (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.
- Trust (10): What do customers say after installing solar panels? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
- Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.
- Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
- Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
- Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.