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Solar energy is gaining considerable traction in residential and commercial settings. With incentives and rebates available for homeowners who make the switch, solar is more affordable than ever. This guide covers:
Georgia isn’t as solar-friendly as other states, but this doesn’t mean installing solar here isn’t a good idea. There are a few rebates and incentives available to homeowners switching to solar; in the long run, solar systems are often well worth it.
Compared to other states, Georgia falls behind in incentivizing the switch to solar. This is likely because Georgia is a proponent of natural gas, using it as its primary energy source. However, switching to solar in Georgia can still be a good idea.
Georgia receives 218 sunny days per year, higher than the U.S. average of 205 years. With a large enough system, homeowners could potentially offset their electric bills (or even eliminate them). Although the upfront cost is steep, homeowners that make the switch could reap the benefits of solar for many years.
Incorporating solar into your home is an excellent way to prioritize green energy and reduce your carbon footprint with the bonus of reducing or eliminating electric costs. In some cases, you might even earn credits through a net metering program to pay for future utility bills.
Georgia homeowners choosing to incorporate solar may enjoy lower per-watt costs than most of the country. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national per-watt price for solar sits at about $2.94. In Georgia, the per-watt cost averages about $2.55 per watt.
Although the per-watt cost is lower, most solar energy systems in Georgia cost more, as a larger system is necessary to harness enough energy. A typical Georgia home requires an 11-kilowatt system or larger, so the average cost of going solar is about $28,050.
With the Federal Solar Tax Credit, homeowners can receive a sizeable chunk back in their tax returns, but the upfront cost can be steep.
Despite the lack of solar incentives local to Georgia, homeowners can still save thousands of dollars on solar. By utilizing the Federal Solar Tax Credit, homeowners can get 26% off the total cost.
While there aren’t many incentives available from Georgia, some homeowners may be able to take advantage of some local incentives. One such program is offered through Jackson EMC, which covers North-East Atlanta. In the long run, switching to solar could save you thousands or more on electric bills, providing you install an adequately-sized photovoltaic system.
|Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)||Using the ITC, homeowners can receive 26% of the total solar energy system purchase price back on their tax returns.||December 31st, 2023 (drops to 22% before expiring in 2024)|
|Jackson EMC Solar Power Rebate Program||Eligible homeowners can receive $250 per kilowatt installed on their homes, capped at $2,500.||None|
|Net Metering||Net metering lets homeowners use the excess energy they produce as credit for future energy bills. Georgia does not provide any net metering.||N/A|
|Georgia Property Tax Incentive||Georgia does not have a property tax incentive, unlike other states.||N/A|
Additional solar incentives might be available through specific municipalities and utility companies, although these hinge on your location and electricity provider. Once you find a viable incentive, be sure to do your research. Many incentives require the homeowner to follow specific steps to receive the rebate, so follow the application instructions, permitting, documentation, etc., to a T.
As of 2022, the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit is available to all 50 states, including Georgia. The credit currently sits at 26%, accounting for a sizeable portion of the purchase price. The ITC works by returning 26% of the system cost via your tax return after you file.
So, although Georgians have to pay the steep upfront cost, they can get a considerable chunk of this money back they receive their tax returns. Some exceptions exist to the ITC, such as solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Solar leases and PPAs are exempt from redeeming the ITC.
It’s important to note that the Federal Solar Tax Credit drops to 22% in 2023. After that, the bill will expire in 2024, so there will not be any savings like the ITC available from the federal government. Of course, the government may vote to extend the bill, but at this point, it appears to expire in a few short years.
If you’re considering switching to solar, now is the time, as this credit is on its way out.
Although multiple states offer a sales tax exemption as an additional enticement to go solar, Georgia provides nothing of the sort. Sales tax can account for a sizeable portion of your final cost, so being exempt is handy.
However, Georgia homeowners should budget for an additional chunk of money to devote toward sales tax. As of 2022, sales tax in Georgia is 4%. Based on the average cost of solar in the state ($28,050), homeowners should expect to pay around $1,100 in sales tax.
Like sales tax exemptions, many states offer solar property tax exemptions. Generally, any home improvement increases the value of your home, therefore increasing property taxes. Unfortunately, Georgia doesn’t provide solar property tax exemption.
So, Georgia homeowners will have an increase in their home’s value and higher property taxes after installing a solar energy system.
As of 2022, no Georgia utility company offers net metering. Net metering is a policy that offers customers a way to lower their energy costs or completely offset their electric bills by providing extra electricity to the grid.
When your solar energy system produces more energy than your home uses, the excess energy is sent straight to the power grid. You accrue energy credits on your account from the energy you give to the grid. You can generally use these credits in scenarios where your solar energy system underproduces, like at night or on cloudy days.
Unfortunately, the Georgia Public Service Commission doesn’t mandate net metering policies, so it likely will not be available through your electric company.
Up until 2021, Georgia Power offered a solar buyback program, but funds were capped in 2021. However, the company shut the program down. The program could open up again in the future, but there aren’t any guarantees. You can easily check with your utility company for their policies regarding net metering for home solar systems.
Jackson EMC is one of Georgia’s few utility companies to offer a solar rebate program. Customers of Jackson EMC can take advantage of this program, which provides a $250 rebate for each kilowatt installed on your home.
However, it’s important to note that your eligibility hinges on passing inspections and obtaining proper permitting. So, it is vital your solar company does the inverter and solar panel installation the right way for you to cash in on this rebate. Jackson EMC caps the rebate at $2,500, so rooftop solar systems larger than this won’t receive extra rebates.
For example, the average 11-kilowatt system would rack up more of a rebate, but since the company caps it at $2,500, that is all the customer would receive.
Business owners considering solar don’t fare much better than residential customers in Georgia. Save for the ITC, and the USDA REAP grant, which are both offered at the federal level, there aren’t any solar tax incentives available to commercial customers.
However, these two incentives from the federal government can account for a sizeable portion of the system cost. Considering the size of many commercial solar installations, the ITC can significantly offset the price of a new clean energy system.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any solar incentives specific to nonprofits and businesses in Georgia. That said, several programs at a federal level offer savings plans for companies and nonprofit organizations throughout the country, so it’s worth looking into.
Agricultural producers and small businesses throughout the United States can take advantage of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program helps switch to renewable energy, such as a solar power system.
Applying for grants and loans can be overwhelming, so this program can be exceedingly beneficial for agricultural producers and small businesses. Instead of stressing over applications, interested, qualified parties simply send their contact information to the USDA.
Upon receiving the information and solar project plan, the USDA applies to all the available grants on behalf of the agricultural producer or small business. So, not only does the USDA assist with loan financing, but they’ll also help small businesses and agricultural producers find and negotiate funding.
Aside from the USDA REAP grant program, businesses can take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit. The percentage is set higher for businesses than residential customers, sitting at an impressive 30%.
The process works similarly to how it does for residential customers – businesses simply receive a tax credit toward the cost of the new solar panel system. Considering the larger solar energy system sizes necessary for most companies, the ITC can easily account for tens of thousands of dollars in savings.
However, while this credit is an excellent way to offset the cost of the system, it will drop in 2023 before disappearing in 2024. In 2023, the rate drops to 10%, a massive drop from the current percentage. In 2024, the bill expires entirely, so now is the time to take advantage of the higher percentage.
Although Georgia falls short regarding impressive solar incentives, solar energy is still a solid choice for homeowners and businesses alike. The upfront cost may be steep, especially since rebates are few and far between, but the Federal Solar Tax Credit can help offset expenses later down the road. Plus, you can reduce your energy costs substantially or eliminate them entirely with solar power.
As time moves on, solar is becoming more affordable. Today, solar power is cheaper than other forms of electricity, and as the solar industry continues to make it more available, it will likely become more affordable. However, with the Federal Solar Tax Credit disappearing in the next few years, now is the time to pursue solar.
If you’re considering solar for your home or business, now is the time to invest in renewable energy and sustainability, as the ITC is set to expire in 2024. While solar will still be available after the fact, the cost may create a barrier to entry for many homeowners and business owners.
Yes, switching to solar is a worthwhile investment in Georgia. Although the state lacks substantial rebates and incentive programs, the Federal Solar Tax Credit can offset a considerable portion of the cost. On top of that, you might be able to majorly lower or eliminate your energy bills with an adequately sized system.
However, you will have to pay added property and sales taxes on the system, so these are aspects to consider.
The amount you save on your electric bill depends on how much electricity you currently use and the size of your solar array. In some cases, homeowners can entirely eliminate their energy bills, but this is highly dependent on the mentioned factors like the amount of sun, home energy use, system size, available net metering programs, etc.
On average, solar energy systems in Georgia cost about $2.55 per watt. Most Georgia homes require a system that is at least 11 kilowatts to accommodate energy needs, so the average system costs about $28,050 before any credits or rebates.
Of course, pricing may vary based on several factors, such as the size of your home, the company you go through, and the extra equipment (like solar batteries) you choose. Your final total may be higher or lower than the state average, depending on your home or business.
No, you can’t get solar panels for free in Georgia. Some companies use a marketing gimmick that makes it seem like the panels are free– these are usually power purchase agreements (PPAs) or solar leases. When you lease a solar energy system, you cannot receive any tax credits or rebates since you don’t own the system. You can never get a solar system for free (unless you win some sort of sweepstake).
Unfortunately, solar rebates are few and far between in Georgia. Although many states offer a statewide solar incentive, Georgia doesn’t provide anything of the like. It is one of the few states that doesn’t have its own Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), as the state is primarily focused on natural gas as its primary energy source.
However, a few rebates are available through local utility companies, including Jackson EMC.
According to the Georgia Solar Energy Association, about 7,400 Georgia homeowners have solar on their homes. Since Georgia isn’t as solar-friendly as other states, this low number isn’t a surprise.
However, with the Federal Solar Tax Credit, this number may continue to climb unless the bill expires in 2024.
Unlike several other states, Georgia doesn’t offer property tax exemptions on solar energy systems. So, like any other home improvement, adding a solar energy system to your home will increase your property taxes.
Although statewide solar tax cuts are few and far between for Georgia homeowners, the Federal Solar Tax Credit is available. The credit is worth 26% of the total system cost and is applied to your federal income taxes for that year.
So, while there isn’t much for statewide tax credits, the ITC can shave off 26% of the total system cost (although it’s dropping at the end of 2023 and will disappear in 2024).
At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the solar energy companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
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