South Carolina solar panels: local pricing and installation data

Over 14,000 homeowners in South Carolina have used EnergySage to receive & compare solar panel installation quotes!

Updated 2/17/2024

Solar Data Explorer:

Out-of-pocket cost  
Net 20-year savings  
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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.

Solar in South Carolina

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Waterfalls, lakes, beaches, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are all a part of the natural beauty of South Carolina worth protecting and maintaining. South Carolina provides solar incentives to make this goal a reality, including offering a statewide solar energy tax credit, net metering programs, and utility solar power incentives.

How much do solar panels cost in South Carolina?

From South Carolina data, it is shown that the average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $12,155 to $16,445. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in South Carolina ranges in price from $2.43 to $3.29. See how South Carolina compares to solar panel costs across the U.S.

How long does it take to earn back your initial investment in solar panels? A solar payback period is the amount of time it takes for property owners who install solar panels to recover their initial investment through electricity savings. In South Carolina, the average solar payback period is 8.43 years.

Regardless of the exact cost of installation, there are many affordable financing options for solar panel systems. Cash purchases are one common method to pay for solar and often lead to the most long-term value for your money. If an upfront purchase isn’t right for you, solar loans and solar lease/PPAs are available to help finance a solar energy system.

Solar companies in South Carolina

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$12,155 – $16,445

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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 and panel angle, which are 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

Solar incentives in South Carolina can help you reduce the overall price of going solar. 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, now referred to as the Residential Clean Energy Credit for residential systems, 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. For residential systems, this advantageous incentive lasts until the end of 2032 at which point it steps down to 26 percent. The federal ITC drops to 22 percent in 2034 and is eliminated for residential solar installations in 2035. Commercial systems are eligible at least through 2024, but may not be eligible for the full 30 percent depending on certain labor and domestic manufacturing requirements; they also may be eligible for specific ITC adders.

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.

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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.