North Carolina Solar Panels Pricing and Incentives
Written by Erin Gobler
Edited by Caitlin Ritchie
Last updated 10/25/2022
Murat Taner/The Image Bank /Getty Images
North Carolina is a national leader when it comes to solar power. Ranking fifth for solar generation in the country, solar energy is a major source of electricity in the Tar Heel state and is a major contributor to the state’s economy.
Are you considering installing solar panels on your home in North Carolina? Keep reading to learn more about the costs and benefits of solar power and whether it’s right for your home.
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North Carolina solar panel cost
The cost of a residential solar panel system depends on several factors, including its size, components, and configuration, among other expenses like installation and permitting. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in North Carolina solar panel system price per watt ranges between $3.11 and $5.77 per watt, with system sizes ranging from 4.8-kW to 9.9-kW, resulting in a system cost range between $14,906 and $57,251. The North Carolina median solar panel system price per watt is $4.63, and median system size is 7kW, resulting in a $32,613 median system cost. When you account for your energy savings, as well as any rebates and tax credits you may be eligible for, you can expect to recover those costs within about 6-9 years.
Price Per Watt
System Size (kW)
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North Carolina solar incentives or rebates
Solar panels are a considerable financial investment, but the federal government and many state and local governments have initiatives in place to reduce the cost burden and incentive consumers to invest in solar panels.
The federal government offers a solar tax credit for homeowners who invest in solar power for their homes. The tax credit is 30% on systems purchased from the beginning of 2022 to the end of 2032, then falling to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034, and is set to disappear in 2035 unless Congress renews it.
The state of North Carolina also has several initiatives in place to encourage residents to invest in home solar systems. The state offers a property tax exemption, meaning you won’t pay additional property taxes on the value your solar panels add to your home. North Carolina also has a net metering program that allows homeowners to sell their excess solar energy back to the grid for credits on future energy bills. Finally, North Carolina cities and counties are allowed to offer low-interest loans to homeowners who wish to install solar panels and other green energy upgrades.
Why choose North Carolina solar power?
There are three primary benefits to installing solar panels on your home: lower energy costs, energy independence, and a lower environmental footprint.
Lower energy costs
One of the most attractive benefits of installing solar panels is that you can cut down on your monthly energy expenses. When you invest in solar power, your solar panels capture sunlight and turn it into energy to power your home. Anytime your home is being powered by solar energy, you aren’t paying for electricity from the traditional electricity grid. While the amount you can save depends on several factors, you have the potential to save more than $1,000 per year.
Establish energy independence
Another benefit of solar panels is they can help you take a step towards energy independence, meaning you are less reliant on the traditional electricity grid to power your home. Relying more on solar power instead of electricity from the grid means you aren’t as vulnerable to energy price increases when demand spikes.
Traditional electricity generation emits greenhouse gasses that pollute the air and water and contribute to climate change. But solar power is a renewable energy source, and its production doesn’t create the same harmful effects. As a result, installing solar panels on your home can help you to reduce your family’s carbon footprint.
Want to learn more about solar energy
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Should I buy or lease my solar panels?
When you decide to install solar panels on your home, you can choose to either buy or lease your solar panels. While both options have some advantages, buying your own solar panels is ultimately the most cost-effective. Buying your solar system makes you eligible for the federal tax credit and other financial incentives and helps you maximize your long-term energy savings. Owning solar panels can also increase your home’s resale value by $15,000 on average.
While buying solar panels will lead to maximum energy savings in the long run, leasing solar panels is also a great option for many people and can make solar power more accessible for a wider range of households. Leasing is well suited to those who don’t want to take on the upfront cost of buying solar panels or who rent their homes.
While buying and leasing solar panels are the most common options, there is another option available that is growing in popularity in some areas — community solar programs. Community solar lets consumers share the benefits of the solar power the project produces with other homes in the area. If you sign up for a shared solar program, you don’t have to pay the upfront cost for solar panels or install them on your home. It’s ideal for consumers who live in apartments, rent their home, or who want to reduce their energy costs while still enjoying some benefits of solar power.
North Carolina solar power companies
There are a variety of solar power companies that offer their services in North Carolina. Before you search for a solar installer in North Carolina, be sure to research the solar industry thoroughly so you are prepared with the information you need to make the best choice. SaveOnEnergy’s solar resources and guides can help you navigate the ins and outs of buying solar panels, so you can be confident in your decision when you sign a contract with a North Carolina solar installer.
The history of solar power in North Carolina
North Carolina started implementing solar-friendly policies later than many other states. In 2003, the state passed its first solar legislation to encourage the use of renewable energy. In the following years, the state implemented several additional policies to make solar power more affordable and attractive for its residents.
North Carolina’s investments in solar power have paid off because the state now ranks fifth in the nation for solar energy generation. Solar power accounts for more than 5.1% of the state’s total electricity generation, which is enough to power nearly one million homes. Most of the solar installations over the past decade have been utility installations, but there have been many commercial and residential installations as well.
Important solar factors to consider
Solar power can be an excellent investment, helping to reduce your energy costs and your home’s carbon footprint. But it’s not right for everyone, and there are a few things you should consider before you invest in solar power.
According to the Department of Energy, solar power is best suited to south-facing roofs with slopes of 15 to 40 degrees. It’s also important to consider the age and condition of your roof and when it will need to be replaced.
Solar panels are most effective in areas that get lots of sunlight. Luckily, North Carolina residents can get plenty of use out of their solar panels, while residents in states with more overcast weather may not.
Some homeowners’ associations have restrictions around the use of solar panels. If you have a neighborhood organization, you may be limited in the size of the solar system you can install or may need to get approval ahead of time.
Solar power FAQs
The average 5-kW residential solar panel system costs between $15,000 and $25,000. Your cost will depend on the size and components of your system, local labor and permitting costs, and what financial incentives you may be eligible for. The federal solar tax credit alone will lower this cost by 30% in tax credits.
Solar power can be an excellent investment, helping you to increase the value of your home and reduce your energy costs. But it’s important to consider your home’s location, the local weather patterns, and your energy usage habits to determine if it’s the right choice for your house. If you plan to move to a new home before the payback period ends, solar panels might not be the best investment. Make sure to consider your future plans, energy goals, and whether the cost savings are enough to offset the upfront expense before buying solar panels.
North Carolina residents paid an average electricity bill of about $123.23 in October 2022. If you replaced that electricity entirely with solar power, you could save around $1,478.76 per year. Keep in mind that there are many factors that can influence your energy savings, including your average monthly energy usage.
If you’re searching for a solar panel installer in North Carolina, SaveOnEnergy can help make the process easier. Enter your information below and we can help you get started.
Solar power is a renewable resource. This means that unlike traditional electricity generation, solar energy doesn’t emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are directly linked to climate change, making solar energy a more environmentally friendly option.