Solar panels North Carolina:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2021

Avg NC solar panel cost:

$12,722 - $15,550*

Avg 25 year savings:

$23,693 - $28,958

Avg payback period:

9.7 - 11.9 years

Estimate cost and savings based on your location and power usage

* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

North Carolina solar panels guide 2021

Updated November 3, 2020

North Carolina is an excellent state for solar panel installations. A combination of high sun exposure, the federal tax credit, net metering, plus local and utility incentives means that homeowners get a great return on investment by installing residential solar panels in the Tar Heel State.

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of North Carolina

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in North Carolina is currently $11,038 after claiming the 26% 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.

Cost range of local prices


Net profit (savings less system cost)


Payback period

9.7-11.9 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill


Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 6.9kW system

Are solar panels worth it in North Carolina

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% 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.

Levelized cost of solar energy
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

5¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

25¢ /kWh

(forecast avg North Carolina electric rates over the next 25 years)

NC solar panel cost calculator

Best 10 solar installers in your part of North Carolina


North Carolina solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses is the federal tax credit. Right now, the federal tax credit is equal to 26% of the total installed costs of installing a solar system. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will fall to 22%. This means that in order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in North Carolina is now.

Net metering

North Carolina has a state-wide net metering policy that applies to all investor-owned utilities in the state. The law requires investor-owned utilities to credit you for any excess energy your solar system produces at the full retail value of electricity.

Utility incentives 

One of North Carolina’s largest utilities, Duke Energy, offers solar rebates to their customers. Duke’s solar rebate program offers $0.60 per watt of solar installed on your property. The rebate is capped at $6,000.  


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.

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Net Metering

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Top models of solar panel installed in North Carolina 2021

Average cost of solar panel installation in North Carolina by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $10,844 $11,603
5kW $13,015 $13,926
6kW $14,916 $15,960
7kW $17,213 $18,418
8kW $19,840 $21,229
9kW $21,726 $23,247
10kW $23,870 $25,541

Find city information in North Carolina


Best solar companies in the main cities of North Carolina

Solar Companies in Charlotte

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in North Carolina

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.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2021 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Hybrid solar system

In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This 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.

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in North Carolina in 2021?

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 2021.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in North Carolina?

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.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in North Carolina?

The biggest advantages in North Carolina for installing solar panels is the state’s net metering policy and the 26% federal tax credit. 

North Carolina homeowners can also take advantage of Duke Energy’s solar rebate program. This let’s solar homeowners save money on their upfront solar installation costs.

There are not many disadvantages to installing solar panels in North Carolina. However, North Carolina utility incentives are starting to dwindle as the utility companies start to meet their renewable energy goals. However, the falling price in solar helps make up for the limite incentives. 

If you’re a North Carolina homeowner, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t get solar while all of these incentives were still around.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

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.

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