Warm and sunny North Carolina is well on its way to energy independence, making large strides to achieve clean, renewable energy reliance throughout the state. As of 2022, North Carolina ranks fourth for total solar energy use in the U.S., with enough solar installed to power over one million homes.
If you live in North Carolina, there are plenty of rebates and incentives to take advantage of when investing in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
Federal incentives, such as the solar tax credit, are still available for any state in the U.S., but there are also many state- and city-level rebates and incentives that North Carolinians can enjoy when going solar.
North Carolina Solar Incentives
Here are the solar incentives available for North Carolina dwellers.
Local Option – Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
This revolving loan program applies to both residential and commercial properties to help finance permanent projects relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The interest and loan repayments are transferred back into the fund so that future applicants in the state can rely on the loan if they choose to go solar.
The funding for this loan program is made available through Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants. Essentially, money from the federal government as well as the city and county’s unrestricted revenue feeds the fund.
This loan can only legally charge 8% or less for interest and is limited to a 20-year term.
Haywood EMC – Residential Weatherization and Heat Pump Loan Program
Members of Haywood EMC can borrow a maximum of $35,000 for their home solar project, or $5,000 for their mobile home solar project. The loan has a 3.90% interest rate and a repayment term period of up to 120 months.
Piedmont EMC – Residential Solar and Energy Efficiency Loan Program
Eligible and approved customers can borrow up to $10,000 for seven years with a 5% interest rate.
[Related: What to Expect: Your HOA and Solar Panels]
Local Option – Green Building Incentives
It provides building permit reductions and partial rebates. However, buildings need to meet certain guidelines under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globes program, or some other eligible certification program to qualify for the fee reduction.
PSNC Energy (Gas) – Green Building Rate Discount
The PSNC utility discount is a financial incentive available for commercial and residential customers, as well as the federal government.
In order for a commercial customer to qualify, the building must be LEED-certified or have an equivalent qualification. Residential customers must meet ENERGY STAR for Homes qualification, or equivalent.
For buildings that aren’t LEED-certified but still looking to qualify, a registered professional engineer’s statement should be submitted and state that the building uses no more energy on a square foot basis than a LEED-certified building.
[Related: Tips to Save on Energy Costs]
Town of Carrboro – Worthwhile Investments Save Energy (WISE) Homes and Buildings Program
The minimum loan amount is $1,500 with a 3% interest rate and a loan term of 10 years.
Applicants are required to submit their past 12 utility bills to the town of Carrboro. They must continue submitting their bills for the next three years so that performance can be measured after the project is complete and fully in use.
NC GreenPower Production Incentive
Residential homeowners can apply if they meet the power generation requirement. However, the incentive is mostly intended for larger establishments such as schools, nonprofits, and state government buildings, as well as commercial, industrial, institutional, and agricultural properties.
Solar energy generators have to be grid-tied and enter into power-purchase agreements with NC GreenPower (a North Carolina electric utility company).
Catawba County – Green Construction Permitting Incentive Program
This incentive program applies to commercial, construction, and residential sectors, and encourages them to construct more sustainable buildingsl. Savings include the following:
- New structures qualify for a 25% rebate on permit fees (savings capacity is $500).
- Existing structures installing a PV system qualify for a 50% rebate.
- Commercial buildings pursuing a LEED certification, Energy Star, or an NC HealthyBuilt Homes certification qualify for a 50% rebate on plan reviews.
Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems
As of 2008, North Carolina enacted a property tax abatement that exempts 80% of a solar PV system’s appraised value from property tax. This applies to commercial, industrial, and agricultural solar projects.
If you have a residential solar panel system that has no connection with a business, nor is it used to generate income for a business, then 100% of its appraised value is entirely exempt from property taxes.
Net metering is a process that allows utility companies to give credit to solar panel system owners who generate more electricity than they need for their home. Essentially, owners will send their extra electricity back to the city’s grid and receive credit as payment based on the amount they give.
There are two net metering programs available for solar PV system owners in North Carolina. However, the state requires that the solar system fall into one of these two categories:
- Residential: Must be 20 kW or less
- Nonresidential: Must be 1,000 kW or less
Dominion Energy allows solar panel owners to connect their system to the power grid. This allows owners to send their excess energy to it, as well as receive a steady electricity supply in the event that their solar system doesn’t generate enough for household use.
Dominion Energy will install a bi-directional utility meter to monitor electricity, and send credits to owners who send excess energy to the grid.
Duke Energy also offers a net metering program for customers with solar panel systems.
Any solar panel system owner who generates excess electricity and sends it back to the grid will receive credits from Duke Energy. This helps participants offset their energy bill costs.
North Carolina Rebates
Here are the available rebates for solar panel system owners in North Carolina.
Duke Energy Solar Rebate
The Duke Energy – NC Solar Rebate Program offers rebates to customers looking to install a solar PV system.
Duke awards the rebates to 10 megawatts (MW) worth of systems on a first-come, first-served basis every year. The 10 MW are divided as follows:
- 5,000 kW for residential properties
- 2,500 kW for nonresidential properties
- 2,500 kW for nonprofits
The price-per-watt rate is the following:
- Residential: $0.60/Watt with a $6,000 maximum incentive
- Nonresidential: $0.50/Watt with a $50,000 maximum incentive
- Nonprofit: $0.75/Watt with a $75,000 maximum incentive
City of Asheville – Building Permit Fee Rebates
The city of Asheville offers building permit rebates and plan reviews for green building certifications and select renewable energy technology (solar PV is one of the allowed technologies). The rebate applies to residences as well as mixed-use commercial buildings (as long as there is some sort of residential space inside).
Solar energy systems can receive a $50 rebate on their building permit fees and a $100 rebate for a Green Built North Carolina certification or HealthyBuilt Home Certification. The rebate goes into effect once regular fees are paid in full and the certification is instated.
Additionally, Asheville will rebate any plan review fees by 50% for buildings pursuing LEED certification.
Contact Freedom Solar to Begin Saving With Solar Power
Take advantage of North Carolina’s solar rebates and incentives by going solar today. If you’re ready to make the switch to renewable energy, contact Freedom Solar and we’ll help you gain the energy independence you deserve.
* Tax credits are subject to change. Consult your tax advisor regarding how incentives and rebates apply to your specific circumstances. Visit the DSIRE’S website for detailed solar policy information. We do not provide legal or tax advice.
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