Updated 1 month ago

Going solar with Duke Energy South Carolina: Homeowner's guide 2024

Written by Jamie Smith , Edited by Catherine Lane

Find out how much solar panels can save on your Duke Energy bill

Duke Energy is one of America’s largest electricity providers, servicing over 8.2 million customers across North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. In South Carolina, Duke Energy splits into two entities: Duke Energy Carolinas, servicing the Greenville area, and Duke Energy Progress, servicing the Florence area. 

Duke Energy prides itself on being a big advocate for clean energy. Currently, the company is executing a plan for a clean energy transition, with a goal of net-zero carbon emissions from its electricity generation by the year 2050. 

Going solar is one of the ways you can transition your household to clean energy. For residents serviced in South Carolina - here’s what you can expect when going solar with Duke Energy. 

Key takeaways

  • A solar installation in South Carolina costs roughly $2.62 per watt, and the average 6 kW system costs around $15,720.

  • All Duke Energy customers who go solar are required to be on a time-of-use electric rate schedule, where the cost of electricity varies by the time of day.

  • Duke Energy does not offer full retail net metering in South Carolina, but does offer compensation for excess solar generation at the lower Net Excess Generation Credit rate.

  • Duke Energy does not offer solar-specific rebates or incentives but does offer other rebates for certain energy-efficient home upgrades.

How much does solar cost in South Carolina?

The average 6 kilowatt (kW) solar system in South Carolina will cost about $15,720 before any incentives are applied, or about $2.62 per watt. 

The table below displays how much homeowners can expect to pay for different solar system sizes before and after the 30% federal tax credit is applied. 

System size

Total before tax credit

Total after tax credit

4 kW



6 kW



8 kW



10 kW



Keep in mind that these are just estimates. The total cost of your solar system installation will depend on your home’s electricity usage, roof characteristics, solar equipment used, and how you finance the solar panels

Calculate how much solar panels cost for your specific home based on local installation prices

Does Duke Energy offer net metering in South Carolina?

Duke Energy does not offer full retail net metering, but it does offer a solar buyback program. 

Duke Energy solar customers are put on a specific solar time-of-use rate schedule called Solar Choice Time of Use. Through this rate schedule, the price of electricity varies depending on the time of day and time of year. 

This also means the value of solar energy varies with when it is generated, used, or sent to the grid. For example, solar energy generated during off-peak hours will be worth less than solar energy generated during on-peak hours.

If you produce more solar energy than you use in a given time of use period over the billing month, it will be credited at the Net Excess Energy Rate, which is lower than the retail rate.

Find out how much money you can save with solar panels on your Duke Energy bill

Time of use rates

Time of day 

Winter Rate (per kWh)

Summer Rate (per kWh)







Super off-peak



Critical peak



With time of use rates, the value of electricity varies by the time of day. Electric rates are the most expensive during on-peak hours when demand is high. 

Under Duke Energy’s net metering policy, solar energy can only offset electricity that is consumed during the same time period. For example, solar electricity generated during off-peak hours can only cover the cost of energy that is used from the grid during off-peak hours. 

Solar panels typically generate the most electricity during off-peak hours, which also happens to be when your home uses the least amount of energy. Because of this, most of the solar energy you produce will be worth less, and you won’t be able to cover the costs of your energy usage later in the day. 

To maximize your solar savings, you can shift your energy usage to off-peak hours to utilize most of the solar power you generate. 

Monthly credit for Net Excess Generation

At the end of your monthly billing period, Duke Energy will review how much energy your solar panels generated and how much energy your home used during the different time of use periods.

If you produce more energy than you used from the grid, Duke Energy will give you a credit on your bill for that excess generation. The excess generation is valued at about $0.04 per kWh, which is substantially lower than what the utility charges for electricity. 

Let’s look at an example: Your solar panels generated 700 kWh of electricity during off-peak hours. In the same month, you only used 400 kWh during off-peak hours. The 300 kWh of excess solar you produced will be valued at $0.04 each, giving you a bill credit of almost $12.

The credit cannot cover all of the charges, fees, or taxes on your electricity bill. 

Nonbypassable charges and grid access fees

Solar customers must pay non-bypassable charges that are based on the size of their solar panel system. These charges cannot be offset by the monthly net excess generation credit. The non-bypassable charge rate equals $0.24 per kW of solar installed, adding about $1.50 to the average solar homeowner's bill. 

Grid access fees are applied to customers whose systems are over 15 kW in size. The grid access fee equals $5.86 per kW of solar over 15 kW. For example, a 16 kW would have a grid access fee charge of $5.86, while a 17 kW system would have a charge of $11.72.

Monthly minimum bill

Duke Energy bills its solar customers a monthly minimum bill of $30 regardless of how much solar their system generates. The minimum charge is only billed when the sum of your basic facilities charge, distribution energy charges, and riders is less than $30. 

In other words, even if you generate enough solar to completely offset your usage, you will still receive a bill in the mail each month. 

You will be responsible for other fees and charges. In addition to the charges mentioned above, you may see other small fees, charges, or taxes attached to your bill.

Does Duke Energy offer any solar rebates or incentives in South Carolina?

Duke Energy does not offer solar rebates or incentives to South Carolina customers. However, residents of the Palmetto State can still take advantage of the federal solar tax credit to lower the total installation cost by 30%.

South Carolina is one of the few states in the U.S. that offers a state tax credit that can be used in addition to the federal credit. The state tax credit is worth 25% of the total installation cost.

Duke Energy does offer rebates for other energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, such as HVAC installations, heat pumps for water heaters, pool pumps, and more. 

Steps to going solar with Duke Energy in South Carolina

Before you can get your solar system up and running, there are a few necessary steps you’ll need to take to get your solar system hooked up to the electrical grid. Here’s what you can expect from Duke Energy’s interconnection process:

  1. Design your system: Before you can fill out your interconnection form, it’s necessary to consult with your chosen solar installer to design a system that will fit on your roof and give you optimal results. 

  2. Apply for interconnection: Once your system is designed and is compliant with applicable regulations, you must apply for interconnection by filling out Duke Energy’s Interconnection Request Application Form, where you notify the utility of necessary details about your system’s size and characteristics.

  3. Install your solar system: Once you have completed all of the proper paperwork and it is determined that your designed solar system meets state and utility regulations, your installer can then perform the installation. 

  4. Complete a system inspection: Once the application is completed and turned in, the appropriate local electrical wiring inspector will conduct an inspection. 

  5. Return certificate of completion to the utility: Once the inspection is complete, the customer must send a certificate of completion, stating that the system has passed inspection, back to the utility. The utility then must approve the completed inspection.

  6. Install your net meter: Once Duke approves the completed inspection, Duke will verify all of the completed information and install your net meter. 

  7. Permission to operate: Finally, once all the state and utility requirements have been approved, Duke will give the customer permission to operate, and then the system can begin generating solar energy. 

This whole process should only take a few weeks to complete, but it will depend on the responsiveness of your utility and local inspector. Worst-case scenario, the process can take up to a few months. 

Should you go solar with Duke Energy in South Carolina?

Going solar with Duke in South Carolina isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but the solar savings here aren’t as substantial as they are in other states. 

While Duke Energy does purchase excess solar energy generated, it’s at a much lower rate than the full value of all the solar you produce. Also, their time-of-use net metering program can get complicated and requires a lot of effort to make it work in your favor. You will still see savings on your electricity bills—just not as much as you would see with true net metering.

The saving grace here is that South Carolina offers a state tax credit in addition to the federal tax credit, which can be combined to help you save big on your solar installation. With Duke Energy’s advocacy for clean energy, we hope to see them offer more solar rebate programs across all its service areas.

Find qualified solar installers to help you save on your Duke Energy electricity bills

Going solar with Duke Energy FAQ

Written by Jamie Smith Content Specialist

Jamie is a Content Writer and researcher at SolarReviews. A recent graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Jamie earned her B.S. in communications with a concentration in journalism, mass media, and public relations. Jamie has previously worked at a marketing company where she had the opportunity to highlight and promote small business owners through long-form stories and interviews. With a deep-rooted passion for creativity, Jamie stri...

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