*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 LEC 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. LEC doesn't offer time-of-use billing that can help you save money by shifting your usage of energy-intensive appliances to off-peak hours, but there may be other options for you .
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 Laurens Electric Cooperative each year for no reason.
Finding out what's available to you is as simple as a phone call or email to Laurens Electric Cooperative. Even a small savings can be worth it.
Maybe. With a strong South Carolina tax credit of 25% of your solar purchase and installation costs, solar panels for your home can make a lot of sense for Laurens Electric Cooperative customers. Laurens has not made it completely clear in their documentation if you can at least get some credit on your power bill for the excess solar electricity your panels produce which you can’t use onsite. For other electric cooperatives in South Carolina, solar credits, while accrued at a lower rate than you pay for electricity, roll over to the next month’s bill.
No, Laurens 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 major financial incentive currently available until the end of 2021 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 LEC customer:
|Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Federal)||-$5,391|
Solar Energy State Tax Credit
25% of costs up to $3,500 per year, or half of state tax liability. Unused credits carry forward. The Tax Credit calculation in this estimate applies only the First Year credit, you may be able to claim remaining credits over several years leading to a significantly better profit. Speak with a local installer for more details.
Investor-owned utilities are required to offer full retail rate for excess kWh produced for customers who apply before June 1, 2021 and will receive compensation until May 2029.
*Based on 9.82 kW system, average installation cost $24,236
If you input the details for a LEC customer with a power bill of $170 per month into the best online solar panels calculator, it tells you that you need a 9.82 kW solar system that will produce 13,223 kWh per year and that this system will return the owner a $30,451 profit after repaying the cost of the system.
The solar savings possible for you as a LEC 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 LEC customer with a $170 per month electric bill prior to solar and who installs a 9.82 kW solar system.
Showing data for:
Prices based on a 11.4kW 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 Laurens Electric Cooperative customer installing a 9.82 kW solar system on their property:A solar system generating 13,223 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 $2.47 per watt or $14,432 for a standard 9.82 kW solar system after the customer claims the 26% federal solar tax credit.
While Duke Energy’s new net metering program will cut customers’ solar savings, it could potentially increase battery installations.
Some solar installers use inflated estimates of utility price growth to make it seem like savings will be higher than they likely will. It’s time to stop.