Cost of Solar, Financing, Lease Options
How much does solar energy cost?
An average residential solar system costs between $15,000-25,000 after solar rebates and solar incentives. Considering that you will probably spend over $72,000 in electrical bills over the next 25 years, this can be a small price to pay. Some companies even offer solar lease options in which you pay no out-of-pocket expenses for the installation.
The exact cost of your solar system will depend on the applicable North Carolina solar state rebates and utility incentives available in your area and the type of solar installation you chose. Using a qualified installer who is familiar with the local incentives and permitting process will ensure that you get the most from your investment.
Are there any government tax incentives or rebates?
One of the great elements of solar power in the U.S. is that there are large number of tax incentives and rebate programs that exist to make it easier to afford solar power for your home. The solar installer that you select will be up to date on all of the applicable incentives based on where you live but below are some of the basics:
- Federal Tax Credit: Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows individuals to deduct 30% of the cost of a solar system from individual federal income taxes;
- Individual State Rebates: Many states offer cash rebates that are either flat amount or are based on the size of your solar power system – check out the U.S. governments Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for more information on the rebates in your particular area;
- Property Tax Exemptions: Many states also specifically exclude the value a solar energy system from your your annual property taxes… for example, if a new solar power system adds $30,000 to the value of your home, that $30,000 will be exempted from the total assessed value and your property taxes will not increase as a result of the new system.
- Municipal and Utility Rebates: In addition to the federal and state incentives, many local municipalities and utilities will offer rebates on top of everything else…please check out Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for any incentives in your specific area.
What are the current North Carolina solar incentives and how do they work?
North Carolina also has a large number of rebates and tax incentives all geared towards promoting the adoption of residential and commercial power systems. The following is a brief discussion of the primary rebates and incentives in North Carolina (since these programs are subject to change at any time, please make sure you talk to an North Carolina solar installer for up to date information on these programs):
Is North Carolina a “net metering” state?
On top of the state subsidies, North Carolina has a net metering policy which means that you only pay for the net amount of electricity that you use. With net metering, homeowners with solar installed are able to “bank” the excess electricity their solar system generates and receive credit up to 100% of their electric use bill at the full retail electricity price that they can use later. In North Carolina, only residential renewable energy generation systems up to 25kW are eligible for net metering and commercial systems up to 500kW. However, under North Carolina law, if more than 1% of a state utility’s customers ask for a net-metering agreement, that utility is not legally obliged to provide net metering. Lastly, under North Carolina’s net metering laws the billing cycle is annual meaning that at the end of a billing year, customers are permitted to sell any excess power to the Green Energy Fund at their utility’s wholesale rate. So under net metering, customers can expect only to receive an annual credit as opposed to a monthly credit.
If I can not afford an up front payment for a solar power system, are there financing options to help me?
Yes, our partners offer a variety of great solar financing options to help offset some of initial installation costs. In some cases, your monthly payment will be less than the amount of savings on your electric bill. Low interest rates are available and the solar system increases the value of your home. Again, the your solar installer will have all of the details on the available solar financing options but make sure you ask about the following:
- Home Equity Loans: borrowing against the equity of your home;
- Solar Lease: leasing the solar panels for a fee over a set length of time; and
- Power Purchase Agreement: an arrangement similar to a lease arrangement where the solar provider/installer secures funding on their own for the solar project, installs the solar system in your home/office building and then sells the electricity from the solar system to the home/building owner at a fixed contractual price for a set length of time.
**Interested in a $0 electrical bill? Click here to get a free NC solar assessment from pre-certified installers in your area!**