North Carolina solar rebates and incentives: 2024 guide

The average North Carolina solar shopper will save $3,967 on solar panels with rebates and incentives.

Updated May 7, 2024

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    Written by: Emily Walker

    Solar panel systems in North Carolina are expensive, but incentives from the state and local government can help you reduce the upfront cost. Between the federal tax credit and other state-specific incentives, you can save thousands on solar panels, making them well worth the investment. Here's how you can lower the cost of solar if you live in North Carolina.

    See how much solar costs in North Carolina

    As a North Carolina homeowner, you have access to some great incentives that can substantially improve your return on investing in solar panels. The two below are some of the most impactful ways to bring down your solar costs.

    Incentive
    Average savings in North Carolina
    Description

    Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

    $3,967

    Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

    PowerPair rebates

    $9,000

    For Duke Energy customers: if your solar panel system's inverter rating is below 10 kW and you pair it with a battery up to 13.5 kWh in size, you could receive a one-time rebate of up to $0.36/W for solar and up to $400/kWh for storage.

    Residential Clean Energy Credit

    The Residential Clean Energy Credit, formerly known as the federal investment tax credit (ITC), can reduce your solar panel system's cost by 30%. Your entire system qualifies for this incentive, including equipment, labor, permitting, and sales tax. 

    The average cost for a 5 kW solar panel system in North Carolina is around $13,224. Once you factor in the 30% credit, the cost comes down to $9,257.

    When you file your federal income taxes, you can claim this incentive as a credit towards your federal tax bill. Just keep in mind that to qualify for the ITC, you need to purchase your system either with cash or a solar loan–if you lease your system, you won't be eligible. 

    You also need a high enough tax bill, though you can roll over any remaining credit year-to-year until the end of 2034 when the ITC expires. The only time you might be eligible for a direct payment for the ITC is if you're a tax-exempt entity, like a nonprofit organization.

    PowerPair rebate program

    If you're a Duke Energy customer, it's worth considering a solar-plus-battery system due to the PowerPair program. With this program, if you pair your solar panel system with a battery, you could earn a one-time rebate worth up to $9,000, including up to $3,600 for the solar panels and $5,400 for the battery. 

    If your solar panel system's inverter is rated 10 kW and below, you'll earn $0.36/W. If your battery is 13.5 kWh in size and below, you'll earn $400/kWh.

    The major catch here is that the program has limited capacity. Duke Energy is implementing a random selection process that will run from May 8 to June 5, 2024. If there's remaining capacity after the random allocation, it will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

    In addition to the great rebates and incentives above, North Carolina also offers tax exemptions for solar panel systems. The solar property tax exemption means you don't need to pay a higher property tax for adding solar panels to your house. North Carolina doesn't have a solar sales tax exemption.

    Tax exemption
    Description

    North Carolina solar property tax exemption

    If you use solar energy as a source of power, you won't ever need to pay a tax on the value your solar panels add to your property.

    Dominion Energy

    If Dominion Energy is your utility company and you connect your solar panel system to the grid, you can benefit from net metering, one of the best solar panel incentives available in North Carolina. With net metering, you earn credits when you send excess electricity from your solar panels to the grid. 

    When the sun isn't shining and you need to pull electricity from the grid, your utility will apply the credits to your bill. Net metering makes it so you will owe very little, or even nothing, on your electric bills with solar panels. The credits won't roll over indefinitely, though. On June 1 of each year, you'll forfeit any unused credits from the previous 12 months.

    Learn more about Dominion Energy's net metering program

    Duke Energy

    If you live in Duke Energy territory and your installer applied for interconnection before October 2023, you'll be grandfathered into net metering until 2027. If you're still considering solar, you won't have access to net metering anymore, but you can choose between two options until 2027.

    1. You can benefit from a time-of-use (TOU) export rate, which offers about 30-40% lower savings compared to net metering. If your system is larger than 15 kW, you'll also need to pay a grid access fee of $1.50 per kW per month for Duke Energy Progress and $2.05 per kW per month for Duke Energy Carolinas. You'll also be subject to a minimum bill requirement and non-bypassable charges of $28 and $0.36 per kW per month for Duke Energy Progress customers, and $22 and $0.44 per kW per month for Duke Energy Carolinas customers, respectively.

    1. Until 2027, you can choose to be placed on a modified net metering rate called the Bridge Rate for 15 years after your interconnection date instead of the TOU export rate. With the bridge rate, you'll be subject to a minimum bill requirement and non-bypassable charges, but you won't have to pay a grid access fee or be on TOU rates. Basically, your savings will be higher than with the TOU export rate. It's subject to annual caps though, so be sure to confirm your eligibility.

    Learn more about Duke Energy's net metering program

    In addition to solar incentives, North Carolina also offers some great battery incentive programs to bring down the price of energy storage. As we said before, with Duke Energy's PowerPair program, you could earn a rebate worth up to $9,000 for a solar-plus-battery system. 

    If you enroll in the PowerPair + Power Manager Battery Control program, which launches in July, you grant Duke Energy control over your battery 30-36 times per year. In exchange, you'll be eligible for the PowerPair rebates, plus a monthly bill credit based on your battery's continuous power rating.

    All batteries above 3 kWh are also eligible for the 30% federal tax credit.

    Learn more about battery incentives and rebates See the complete list of solar companies in North Carolina

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