*Solar panel cost varies by location, solar panel mqanufacturer, system size and the amount of electricity your home uses.
There are three ways you can reduce your BC bill: changing your habits, switching your rate plan, and adding solar panels.
You've probably heard a lot about reducing energy consumption by doing things like switching to LED lightbulbs and adding insulation to your walls, but these fixes are relatively easy compared to the far more impactful step of making changes to your lifestyle.
The second thing you can do is switch your rate plan. BC offers time-of-use billing that can help you save money by shifting your usage of energy-intensive appliances to off-peak hours, and there may be other options for you as well.
Finally, you can reduce or even eliminate your electricity bill by installing solar panels on your home.
For some people, the savings from switching rate plans may only be a few dollars per month, but for many it can be $20-$100 per month. That's between $240 and $1,200 that you may now be paying to Berkeley Electric Cooperative each year for no reason.
Finding out what's available to you is as simple as a phone call or email to Berkeley Electric Cooperative. Even a small savings can be worth it.
Yes, with a strong South Carolina tax credit of 25% of your solar purchase and installation costs, solar panels for your home make a lot of sense for Berkeley Electric customers. Berkeley’s solar generation rate rider also allows you to at least get some credit on your power bill for the excess solar electricity your panels produce which you can’t use onsite. Your credits, while at a lower rate than you pay for electricity, roll over to the next month’s bill.
No, Berkeley Electric Cooperative does not offer full 1 for 1 net metering. This means that when you export surplus power from your solar panels, you will be paid less by the utility than what you are charged to buy the equivalent amount of power from the grid.
The amount you are paid by the utility is known as a feed-in tariff. In the case of Berkeley Electric Cooperative, this feed-in rate is $0.06 per kWh.
The major financial incentive currently available until the end of 2022 is the 26% federal solar tax credit. The way this works is that the full cost of the system needs to be paid to the installer, and this tax credit can then be claimed back as cash when you next do your taxes.
Many states, local governments and utilities also offer incentives for homeowners who go solar. This help can take the form of state tax credits, rebates, tax breaks, SRECs or even performance-based incentives. The best part is that all of these incentives apply in addition to the federal credit.
Here is every incentive you may be eligible for as a BC customer:
|Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Federal)||-$4,870|
Solar Energy State Tax Credit
25% of costs up to $3,500 or half of state tax liability, per year. Unused credits carry forward for a maximum of 10 years; thus the $35,000 cap.
Investor-owned utilities are required to offer full retail rate for excess kWh produced. New net metering rules for Duke customers require that participants accept service on a time-of-use rate plan and are assessed a minimum monthly bill. Customers who applied for net metering before June 1, 2021 will receive net metering under the old rules until May 2029.
*Based on 10.70 kW system, average installation cost $24,976
If you input the details for a BC customer with a power bill of $190 per month into the best online solar panels calculator, it tells you that you need a 10.70 kW solar system that will produce 15,549 kWh per year and that this system will return the owner a $42,753 profit after repaying the cost of the system.
The solar savings possible for you as a BC customer will depend on the amount of electricity you use and the cost of the solar system you buy. Savings also vary based on the direction of your roof or any shading of your roof that affects output.
Here is a monthly and lifetime solar savings estimate for the same relatively typical BC customer with a $190 per month electric bill prior to solar and who installs a 10.70 kW solar system.
Showing data for:
Prices based on a 9.7kW system, after 26% federal tax credit
System Size (for 100% usage offset)
Annual Power Generation
Pay-back time (assuming Cash purchase)
Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on Investment
Total Upfront Incentives and Rebates
Net Cost of System after rebates and incentives
Total Cost of Utility Power Avoided over 25 years
While most homeowners decide to install solar panels because of financial savings over time, the environmental impacts of this choice are the primary motive for others. Here is a breakdown of the environmental benefits from a Berkeley Electric Cooperative customer installing a 10.7 kW solar system on their property:A solar system generating 15,549 kWh per year will save you money AND make the world a nicer place
The cost of installing solar panels will vary with brands of solar panels and inverters you choose and also the installation company you choose to install them.
It is common to see really good systems, using quality brands of equipment, being sold for around $2.33 per watt or $14,980 for a standard 10.70 kW solar system after the customer claims the 26% federal solar tax credit.