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North Carolina Solar Incentives, Tax Credits & Rebates (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Tamara Jude Updated 04/24/2024

North Carolina has become a rising leader in the solar industry over the last few years. The state currently ranks number 4 in the nation for solar installations, up from No. 16 in 2022, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). State officials have rolled out several solar-focused incentives to continue to increase solar energy adoption and make solar panel installation more affordable. 

We spent over 40 hours researching the best North Carolina solar incentives and credits for state residents. Learn more about these cost-saving programs before signing up with one of the area’s top solar companies.

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North Carolina offers fewer solar incentives, credits, and rebates than other nearby states. However, homeowners still have excellent options to make their solar conversion more affordable. Below is an overview of the state’s available solar incentives.

Duke Energy NC Solar Rebate Program

Duke Energy offers a rebate program of 40 cents per watt for solar systems up to 10 kW. Applications were accepted in January 2023 but have closed for the year. You can join the Duke Energy Solar Rebate waitlist and receive notifications if openings are available.  

More resources: Visit the Duke Energy website for complete program details. 

North Carolina offers additional rebates and credits for energy efficiency upgrades and other solar-related appliances. Homeowners should check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for additional programs in their area.

Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems

North Carolina residents qualify for a 100% property tax exemption for their solar systems. Adding a solar panel system will boost your home value. When your home value increases, your property taxes follow suit. With this property tax exemption, homeowners won’t incur added property taxes with their new system. You benefit from boosted property value without added taxation. No additional application is required for this program since it applies automatically after your purchase. 

More resources: Check the North Carolina General Assembly website for full exemption details.

How Does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Work?

The federal solar tax credit (formerly the solar investment tax credit, or ITC) offers North Carolina residential customers additional savings on solar system costs. Homeowners receive up to 30% off installation costs for photovoltaic (PV) equipment and energy storage. Qualifying equipment includes rooftop panels, solar shingles, tiles, and standalone solar batteries. 

You must legally own your PV system to qualify for the federal tax credit. Certain solar financing options, such as up-front payments and solar loans, help your eligibility. Choosing a leasing option keeps solar system ownership with the installer, disqualifying you from this incentive.

Is Net Metering Available in North Carolina?

North Carolina’s net metering program helps homeowners earn additional savings for future power bills. You’ll earn credits from your utility company when you return excess energy to the power grid. Those credits accumulate on your account and apply to future energy use, helping to reduce your electric bill. Payout rates vary between utility companies. Participating utility companies include Blue Ridge Energy, Dominion Energy, and Duke Energy. Duke Energy offers programs under its two companies serving North Carolina: Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolina. 

When we reviewed the program details, we learned that system ownership affects your qualification for the program. Customer-owned solar energy systems with up to 1,000-kW capacity can participate in the program. Leasing customers are limited to 20 kW or 100% of estimated demand, whichever is lower. To sign up, homeowners complete an interconnection service application with their utility company. Once approved, your utility company will guide you through the next steps. 

How Much Do Solar Panel Installations Cost in North Carolina?

According to EnergySage, North Carolinians spend about $17,580 on a standard 6-kW system. This pricing is less than the $20,650 national average and doesn’t include incentives. When you add the federal solar credit, you could save $4,571 on your new solar system. 

To benefit from the most solar installation cost savings, residents should consider purchasing their system up-front or using solar loans. These payment options qualify you for solar incentives and rebates and offer the best return on investment (ROI).

Is Going Solar in North Carolina Worth It?

Solar power is worth it in North Carolina thanks to the state’s net metering program and property tax exemption. These incentives result in boosted home value and improved long-term savings for residents. North Carolina also benefits from 213 sunny days yearly, more than the national average of 206. These excellent weather conditions are ideal for maximum solar energy production and long-term savings. 

Our Conclusion

North Carolina is ideal for solar energy thanks to the state’s increasing clean energy growth, sunny environment, and available solar incentives. Going solar will increase your home efficiency, lower your electric bills, and boost your home value. 

We recommend comparing at least three top North Carolina companies and requesting quotes to find the best deal.

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FAQ About Solar Tax Incentives in North Carolina

Does NC offer a state solar tax credit?

No, North Carolina does not offer a state solar tax credit. Its previous state tax credit ended in 2016. However, lawmakers are hoping to reinstate the incentive in the near future. Until then, North Carolina residents can apply for the federal tax credit for additional installation cost savings.

Can you get free solar panels in North Carolina?

No, you cannot get free solar panels in North Carolina. You must pay for your solar energy system in some form. However, North Carolina solar rebates and credits help lower installation costs, making it more affordable to go solar.  Residents should also check for additional savings offered by their city, municipality, or local utility company. 

Does North Carolina still offer loans for renewable energy upgrades?

No, North Carolina no longer offers renewable energy loans. Previously, the Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency provided revolving loans with fixed interest rates to promote the conversion to renewable energy sources. Unfortunately, the program ended in 2022 with no indication of renewal. 

What is the break-even point for solar panels?

Most homeowners achieve their break-even point for solar panels after six to 10 years. Also called the solar panel payback period, this time frame represents when solar panels pay for themselves in energy savings. Your payback period can vary based on your panel quality, local climate, and financing option. 

Our Rating Methodology

We are committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. After over a thousand hours of research on solar companies, interviews with experts, and common customer needs, we’ve created a detailed rating system for solar providers based on six factors:

  • Solar equipment, installation, and services (25%)
  • Warranty and performance guarantees (25%)
  • Brand reputation and certifications (15%)
  • Financing options (15%)
  • Experience (10%)
  • Availability (10%)

Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale.

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