South Carolina solar panels: local pricing and data

Over 5,100 homeowners in South Carolina have used EnergySage to receive & compare solar panel installation quotes!

Updated 10/12/2019

Solar Data Explorer:

Out-of-pocket cost  
Net 20-year savings  
Payback period  
Electricity bill offset  

Solar installation costs do not include the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit or local incentives.

Save money by installing solar panels in SC.

With the Palmetto State's year-round sunshine and great solar incentives, South Carolinians see significant savings when they go solar.

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$13,515 – $18,285

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What solar panels should I install in South Carolina?

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For property owners, you now can customize your solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries, as well as the general aesthetic of the installation. This customizability has made it important for solar consumers to understand these various factors. For example, the best solar panels available may have premium efficiencies and warranties, but will typically be more costly. However, depending on the size of the installation, you’ll need to determine whether high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more electricity are worthwhile. Also, your appetite for risk can help determine which solar warranties best fit your needs. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when selecting solar panel equipment.

How much energy can I get from solar in South Carolina?

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Aside from the power output of the solar equipment you choose to install, the amount of energy you generate with solar panels in South Carolina is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. Fortunately, South Carolina ranks as one of the states with the highest average of peak sun hours, which should make it easier for your solar panels to save more money over your system’s lifetime.

There are additional factors that determine how much solar electricity you can produce. These include shading, panel orientation, and panel angle, which are all used to calculate your total production estimate. a prediction of how much energy your solar installation will produce over time. This evaluation offers a clear estimate of how much energy your solar installation will produce. You can see how much solar panels can save you based on factors like geographic location and shading by using the EnergySage Solar Calculator.

South Carolina solar incentives

South Carolina is becoming known for its great solar incentives and programs, which are considered some of the best in the country. Learn more about why solar panels are such a great investment in South Carolina.

Learn about solar incentives in SC

What rebates and incentives are there in South Carolina for solar?

The federal Investment Tax Credit has been one of the most reliable and impactful incentives for solar across the U.S. This solar incentive allows you to deduct 30 percent of the total system cost from your federal taxes. For example, a solar energy system installation that costs $15,000 out of pocket will qualify for a tax deduction of $4,500. This advantageous incentive lasts until the end of 2019 - the tax credit amount steps down to 26 percent for 2020 before falling to 22 percent for 2021. The federal ITC is eliminated for residential solar installations after 2021, but commercial solar energy system owners can still deduct 10 percent of a commercial solar system cost from their taxes in 2022 and beyond.

Besides the federal ITC, South Carolina has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. Of note are solar energy tax credits and net metering programs. South Carolina also has several utility solar power incentives through Duke Energy Progress, Santee Cooper, and South Carolina Electric and Gas. To learn more about South Carolina’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

Solar panel installations in South Carolina

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True Cost of Solar Guide™ for South Carolina

Download EnergySage’s DIY worksheet to better understand what solar should cost in your state

Don’t get sold on the hype! Find out what solar should actually cost before you talk to your first sales rep. This PDF worksheet will walk you through the simple calculations you can make to determine what size solar PV system you need, and approximately how much it should cost.

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History of solar policy in South Carolina

Despite its sunny climate, the Palmetto state is just starting to capture the benefits of their abundant solar resource. Prior to 2016, the state saw very little solar development. As of 2018, though, SEIA reports that the state ranks 18th in the nation in installed solar electric capacity with a total of over 660 megawatts (MW). Considering the solar success of their neighbor North Carolina, it’s easy to imagine the potential growth South Carolina has to offer.

South Carolina got started with solar policy in 2006, with a Solar Energy Tax Credit, nearly three decades later than the first solar policies enacted elsewhere in the country. However, the Tax Credit was a great place to start: the policy grants a 25 percent tax credit for the purchase and installation of a solar system. Soon after, policymakers added more financial incentive investing in solar by implementing the Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE) Program in 2008. The goal of this initiative is to encourage the use of renewable energy by offering premium payments for electricity generated by customer-owned systems like solar panels. Incidentally, South Carolina similarly modeled this program to the NC GreenPower program in North Carolina, which has achieved considerable success during its lifespan.

Perhaps the most crucial solar policy in South Carolina is the 2014 Distributed Energy Resource Program, which set a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and paved the way for net metering to begin in 2015.

Nationwide, state energy requirements have been instrumental to the development of clean energy. This is true in South Carolina as well, even though their RPS program ranks only requires utilities to supply 2 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy by 2021. Of note, though, 1% of the capacity must be generated by facilities sized between 1 MW and 100 MW, while the remaining 1% must be generated by any facility below 1 MW.

For net metering, on the other hand, South Carolina developed a program that rates highly as compared to other states. Net metering is an energy billing system that provides homeowners credit based on how much net excess generation is sent back to the electric grid. In the Palmetto State, utilities have to compensate their customers at the higher retail rate, rather than the lower wholesale or avoided cost rate, helping to significantly reduce ratepayer’s utility bills. Additionally, the proposed 2019 legislation H.B. 3659 may soon increase net metering caps or lift them altogether, making solar even more accessible in the state.

The best solar policies for residents in South Carolina are the solar rebates offered by utilities from 2015 onwards. Utilities that offer these rebates include Duke Energy, SCE&G, and Santee Cooper. For example, Duke Energy will pay a $1.00 rebate for every watt (W) of solar power installed for either residential or commercial purposes. For an average 6-kilowatt (kW) system, that’s an extra $6,000 in to help cover the cost of going solar. Residents should look to take advantage of these rebates soon though because Duke Energy has an expiration date of 2020 and it’s unclear how much longer the other programs will last.