South Carolina Solar Incentives: Tax Credits & Rebates Guide (2022)

By Britt Olizarowicz

South Carolina residents that are interested in solar power for their homes are in luck. Homeowners across each state look for incentives and savings programs that can help offset the costs of a solar installation. However, the South Carolina solar incentives are some of the best in the entire country. In our guide detailing these South Carolina solar incentives, tax credits, and rebates, we provide:

  • Why solar installations make sense
  • Rebates to help you save money on your solar energy system
  • Tax incentives that can help make a solar system possible

Why Go Solar in South Carolina?

South Carolina currently ranks 14th in the nation for states that are making the move toward renewable energy. Now, there is enough solar power in South Carolina to power more than 200,000 homes. Quite a bit of this has to do with the state solar tax credit and other incentive programs that help to lower the total costs.

Energy costs in South Carolina can be high because of the temperatures experienced in this state. If you have ever been to South Carolina in the middle of the summer, you may know the Palmetto State can get a little warm. When this happens, the electric bills can be pretty high. In addition, there are many large homes in South Carolina that could use the help of some solar energy efficiency to decrease total costs. Luckily a solar panel system can not only save you money in South Carolina, but it can also make you money with net metering.

South Carolina Solar Cost

Installing solar panels in South Carolina will range from around $12,000 to $18,000. The costs depend on the size of the home, the installation procedures, who the panels are purchased from, and any financial incentives or tax rebates that may have been applied to the project’s total cost.

There is no question that installation costs and paying full retail value for a new energy source will keep residential customers from purchasing a solar panel system. However, when you analyze these system costs after rebates and the solar energy tax credit, you may end up feeling like this project is possible.

How Much Can You Save on Solar in South Carolina?

The state of South Carolina has one of the best tax credits in the industry. The state-level incentives can be combined with the federal level incentives while they are all still active. This means that homeowners can save $5,000 or more on a full solar panel installation. In addition, small installations will still allow for a percentage of savings.

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The Best Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, & Rebates in South Carolina

Incentive Summary End Date
Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) South Carolina residents can take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit and get a discount of up to 26% applied to their tax return. If you purchase $20,000 worth of solar panels, you can get a credit for more than $5,000 on your next tax return. Remember, this does require you to come out of pocket first. December 31st, 2023
South Carolina Solar Tax Credit For South Carolina residents, a tax rebate of up to 25% of the cost of the system up to $3,500 can be claimed at the end of the tax year. This is None
Net Metering Net metering allows homeowners that create excess energy to use it as a credit on their next electric bill. All energy providers need to offer this option to homeowners, but the credit rates in South Carolina are low. None
South Carolina Proper Tax Incentive Property taxes will remain unaffected by the installation of solar panels; this can apply to a new build or a retrofit. None
Santee Cooper The Santee Cooper specific rebate will help customers save close to $5,000 as long as they follow the detailed steps for solar energy installation in this area. This program applies to commercial and residential properties. None
Berkley Electric Cooperative This is a loan program giving homeowners up to $15,000 in loan money with a fair interest rate to make energy-efficient changes to the home. The Berkley Electric Cooperative is a great choice for those that are having a hard time waiting for the tax incentives to be paid back. None

There is no reason not to jump in when there are rebates and incentives to take advantage of. In the state of South Carolina, you will see the South Carolina Solar Tax Credit as well as individual programs from companies like Duke Energy. In the end, all of these should be researched and analyzed as they can make this purchase decision considerably easier.

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The Federal Solar Investment Tax credit is available in all 50 states. This program will give you a discount on your next federal tax return because of a solar system that you installed. Currently, the program allows you a tax credit of up to 26% of the cost of your solar installation. The solar system will need to be paid for out of pocket upfront, and then it will come back to you as part of a tax return.

It’s important to note that this credit will drop from 26% to 22%. In addition, the bill is set to expire at the end of December 2023. This is undoubtedly a reason to consider having your solar panels installed before that date. The ITC can be combined with the state tax incentives to save you even more money.

South Carolina Solar Energy Tax Credit

The South Carolina Solar Energy Tax Credit is one of the best state tax credits in the nation. With this program, homeowners are able to get a credit of up to 25% of the cost of their solar installation as part of their next tax return.

The program allows for savings up to $3,500 and will be something you can combine with your Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit. Combining a 25% and a 26% tax rebate is certainly something that could help you justify the costs of these solar panels and systems.

South Carolina Solar Sales Tax Exemption

Many states will offer sales tax exemption on the purchase of solar panel systems. Although this is not currently a program available to South Carolina residents, there is a bill in place that, if passed, would allow for this. As we mentioned, South Carolina is a state pushing toward greener sustainable, and renewable energy resources and these types of exemptions can only help.

South Carolina Solar Property Tax Exemption

When you install solar panels on your home, the price of your home can go up. Luckily South Carolina has put a property tax exemption in place to help with these potential increases in cost. If you install anything in your home that will help with renewable or sustainable energy, the value of your property will not go up. This is a great program to have, especially as property values have been on the rise.

South Carolina Net Metering

South Carolina net metering is the process of creating more energy than your home needs and supplying some of that energy back to a utility company. South Carolina has a very strong net metering program, and the major utility companies have to offer you the option of net metering when you have a solar system.

One thing to remember with net metering is that if your home does not create enough energy to sustain itself for one month, you may have a credit from an overage the previous month that you can use with your net metering. The process of getting started and signing up is relatively easy, and you can start saving money right away. The net metering policy will vary depending on the providers you use, so keep that in mind as you work through this process.

Berkley Electric Cooperative Energy Efficiency Loan Programs

Although some programs help you get an instant rebate or a tax credit, make sure you are also looking into loan programs to help pay for a solar installation. The Berkely Electric Cooperative Energy Efficiency Loan Programs allow up to a $15,000 loan with a term of around 5-7 years and an interest rate of 4-10%. If you are struggling with the out-of-pocket cost of solar installation, this program can make a big difference.

On the Berkley website, you will see a loan calculation that can help you figure out the total costs of your project and how much loan you will qualify for. Sometimes homeowners use the loan to fund the project upfront, and then they get the tax credits to pay off a good portion of the loan at the end of the year.

Santee Cooper Rooftop Solar Rebate Program

If you live in the Santee Cooper area, you can get a rebate of up to $.95 per watt of solar energy you install. This rebate can be up to $5,700, and it works for both residential, commercial, and non-profit customers. The program will detail all of the requirements, and there is a manual homeowners can use to make sure that they are fully eligible for the rebate when the time comes.

Duke Energy Rebate

Duke Energy offers rebates that range from $100 to $450 for some energy-efficient upgrades to the home. This policy does not directly include solar panels, but it does include things like water heaters, lighting, and heat pumps. If you add more energy-efficient appliances and systems and then power them with your new solar panels, this is a great way to save even more money on an energy-efficient home.

Commercial South Carolina Solar Incentives

Some programs across the United States and in South Carolina will apply to only commercial settings. Sometimes government or large utility companies can do more for commercial investors as they have very large upfront costs. Luckily there are both tax incentives and savings plans that will help the commercial customers in the state.

Solar Incentives for Nonprofits and Businesses in South Carolina

Luckily the same South Carolina residential tax credit of up to 25% of the total cost of the solar installation also applies to nonprofits and businesses in South Carolina. This means that you can expect a good portion of the total tax liability for your business to be reduced by up to $3,500 due to the South Carolina tax credit for businesses in South Carolina. Remember, this can be combined with the federal incentive as well.

USDA REAP Grant

The United States Department of Agriculture offers a REAP grant or Rural Energy for America Program that ensures loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers. In addition, small rural businesses can also access these resources for installing or upgrading renewable energy systems. The USDA REAP Grant program is in place purely to help people save money, it’s worth looking into if you are in this situation.

Federal Solar Tax Credit for Businesses in South Carolina

For a federal corporate income tax return, there is a 30% credit against the cost of any system that was placed into the building during that year. If your solar panel installation is tens of thousands of dollars, you may see a large tax incentive for installing solar.

The Federal Solar Tax Credit is still one of the best ways to save money on solar energy, but these programs are set to expire, and the rate of 30% savings is going down to 10%. If you have a business in South Carolina, now is the time to start looking into which of these programs will be worth the money.

Santee Cooper Commercial Rooftop Solar Rebate Program

If your building is in the Santee Cooper area, you can get a rebate of up to $1.05 per watt of solar energy you install. This rebate can be over $6,000, and it applies to both commercial and non-profit customers. It is best to consider this program prior to purchasing the solar system, as certain requirements must be in place for it to work properly.

ConserFund Loan Program

The ConserFund Loan Program is for state agencies, local governments, public colleges, school districts, and non-profits that are looking to make energy-efficient improvements to their buildings. The project can go through the ConserFund loan program to see how much is eligible for financing, and sometimes that can be up to $500,000 per year. The loan term here is ten years, and the interest rate is fixed and set below prime.

In addition to solar energy systems, there are other energy-efficient improvements that the money can be used for. However, you must make all improvements within 6 months of receiving the money from the ConserFund Loan Progam.

Key Takeaways: The Best South Carolina Solar Incentives

South Carolina is a state with tremendous incentives for those looking to install a solar power system. Although we went through some of the best options out there for photovoltaic system rebates and incentives, these will change yearly. Keep checking to see other incentives more localized to your area, and take advantage of every opportunity you can. This is something that needs to be researched before installation, so you don’t miss out on any potential credit.

South Carolina Solar FAQ

Is solar worth it in South Carolina?

South Carolina is a state that deals with a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. This means that the energy costs can be quite high. However, the installation of solar panels not only provides clean energy but is also a way for you to save a great deal of money each year. Electric costs are only going up, but solar panel costs have come down. Now is the time to consider the incentives that could make this process worthwhile.

How much will my electricity bill go down with solar in South Carolina?

Depending on your home’s size and the solar panel system you put in, the electric bill could be non-existent. When a professional comes to your home to design the system and talk about installation, they will explain the size you need to power your home efficiently. In addition, net metering programs can help you make money should you produce an excess of electricity.

How much does it cost for solar panels in South Carolina?

Solar panels in South Carolina for a complete single-family home will typically range from around $12,000 to more than $20,000. If you have a large home, the solar panels needed to power it will be considerably more extensive, and the total costs will increase. Some homeowners will do a partial installation to keep costs manageable and do the rest at a later time. This can impact eligibility on rebates and incentives, so keep that in mind.

How many homes in South Carolina have solar panels?

Currently, there are just over 200,000 homes in South Carolina that have solar panels. The state of South Carolina is pretty ahead of the times when it comes to solar panel installation; keep this in mind as it will help you manage costs and benefit programs.

Do solar panels increase property taxes in South Carolina?

Solar panels will increase property taxes and home value in South Carolina. The property tax exemption helps homeowners keep their property value the same while still making energy-efficient upgrades to the home.

How much can you write off for solar panels on taxes in South Carolina?

Currently, there is the ability to write off 25% of the cost of your solar panels that will be returned to you in the form of a tax rebate. However, this program can be combined with the 26% that the Federal tax incentive offers. If you meet the requirements, the total savings is relatively high.

House Method’s Solar Companies Rating Methodology

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:

Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.

Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its own solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.

Trust (10): What do customers say after their solar panels are installed? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.

Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.

Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.

Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.

Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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