* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
North Carolina is an excellent state for solar panel installations. A combination of high sun exposure, the federal tax credit, net metering, and local and utility incentives means homeowners get a great return on investment by installing residential solar panels in the Tar Heel State.
The average cost for an installed residential solar system in North Carolina is currently $10,441 after claiming the 30% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.49 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.
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Prices based on a 6.9kW system, after 30% federal tax credit
Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2022 they also remain subsidized by the 30% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.
Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.
(forecast avg North Carolina electric rates over the next 25 years)
The federal tax credit is the most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses. Right now, the federal tax credit equals 30% of the total solar system costs. This percentage will remain at that number until the end of 2032. If you want to maximize your savings potential, now is a great time to go solar in North Carolina.
North Carolina has a state-wide net metering policy that applies to investor-owned utilities. Under this law, the utility will credit you for the excess solar energy your system produces. Currently, most utilities value generation credits at the full retail rate, but this will change shortly.
It’s important to note that customers of Duke Energy will be subject to a new net metering policy beginning in July 2023 that will feature a secondary “time of use” plan and a new billing system that charges additional fees for solar homeowners.
Duke Energy has historically offered a solar rebate program to its customers. However, the program closed its doors in 2023.
But, the utility company is in talks to create a new incentive program potentially. It might even develop an energy storage rebate. Until then, though, don't expect an additional rebate from Duke.
Property tax exemptions
North Carolina does have a property tax exemption for solar panel systems. Under the Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems, 80% of the assessed value of the solar system is exempt from the homeowner's property taxes.
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2023 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximize savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. The solar electricity generated by your panels that your home does not use is stored in the battery instead of being sent to the grid, which reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.
Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the grid at all, so all of your energy needs must be met by the sun. There is no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not only during the day, but after dark as well, so many solar panels and a large battery system are required. These systems are often expensive and don’t make sense for homes that have access to the grid.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in North Carolina will fall during 2023.
Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.
A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 23-degree pitch roof North Carolina will generate 1,330kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in the Charlotte area.
Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.
The biggest advantage in North Carolina for installing solar panels is the state's solid net metering policy and the 30% federal tax credit. Along with this, North Carolina receives plenty of sunshine throughout the year that will be putting your solar systems to great use.
The disadvantage of installing solar panels in North Carolina is the dwindling rebates and incentives due to utility companies meeting their renewable energy goals. Also, net metering changes for the state's largest utility lower solar energy bill savings.
Despite all this, the federal solar tax credit and state-wide net metering are two great reasons to go solar in North Carolina!
This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:
If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this North Carolina solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.
Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.