Solar in North Carolina

Jessica PirroSeptember 10, 201914680

North Carolina is known for quite a few things; beaches, an abundance of sunshine, college basketball and they are now ranked #2 in the nation for solar panel installations. With over 5,467.23 MW of solar power installed and over 11,000 solar-powered systems installed solar energy is only expanding in the Tar Heel State.

Solar Power in North Carolina

A common question that many prospective solar power customers are how long will it take for them to earn back the upfront costs of solar panels? The payback period is the amount of time it takes for the property owners who get a solar panel installation to get back their initial investment through solar electricity savings. Because North Carolina residents see quite a few sunny days they see high levels of efficiency of solar panels, which helps decrease the payback period. The solar incentives that the state has to offer have helped decrease the cost of solar in the state to anywhere between $12,112 - $16,388.

In the table below we will list the cost of solar panels in North Carolina’s most prominent counties:

2019 Cost of Solar Panels in North Carolina for a 5 kW Solar Panel Installation:


Out-Of-Pocket Costs

Net 20-Year Savings

Payback Period

Electricity Bill Offset

Buncombe County

$12,367 - $16,732

$16,576 - $22,427

9.1 - 12.4 Years

74 - 100%

Chatham Country

$12,282 - $16,617

$17,002 - $23,003

9.2 - 12.5 Years

64 - 87 %

Dare County

$12,452 - $16,847

$20,922 - $28,307

8.9 - 12 Years

67 - 91 %

Mecklenburg County

$12,792 - $17,307

$16,019 - $21,674

9.6 - 13 Years

70 - 95 %

New Hanover County

$12,750 - $17,250

$15,388 - $20,819

10 - 13.5 Years

58 - 79 %

Onslow County

$12,835 - $17,365

$16,350 - $22,121

10 - 13.5 Years

59 - 81 %

Orange County

$12,282 - $16,617

$15,234 - $20,611

9.6 - 13.1 Years

68 - 92 %

Randolph County

$12,410 - $16,790

$17,972 - $24,315

9.3 - 12.6 Years

67 - 91%

Rutherford County

$12,920 - $17,480

$16,309 - $22,066

9.7 - 13.1 Years

73 - 99 %

Wake Country

$11,900 - $16,099

$16,161 - $21,866

9.2 - 12.4 Years

67 - 91 %

Solar Incentives in North Carolina

The solar incentives and programs that are surrounding solar energy, homeowners with solar panel installations in the state are celebrating their reduced energy bills thanks the solar power.

The Best Solar Incentives in North Carolina

Here are the top solar incentives for homeowners who want to get a solar panel installation in North Carolina:

Duke Energy Rebates for Solar Panels

Duke Energy offers rebates for solar panels to homeowners in North Carolina who want to get a solar panel installation. For most homeowners, the program offers a $0.60/Watt rebate for solar panels for solar-powered systems up to 10 kilowatts. An average of 6 kilowatts (kW) solar-powered systems would be eligible for a rebate for solar of $3,600. There are also rebates for solar that are available for nonresidential customers, worth $0.50/Watt up to $50,000, and nonprofit customers, worth $0.75/Watt up to $75,000.

Revolving Loans for Solar Options

Legislation enacted in NC allows for cities and counties to offer low-interest loans for solar panels and other energy upgrades. Thanks to this legislation, the terms in North Carolina for loans for solar can be no longer than 20 years, have an interest rate cap set at 8 percent and it can easily be renewed,

Federal Investment Tax Credit

The federal ITC for solar panels, the horizon of solar incentives in North Carolina helps expand the solar energy industry even further. There are so many state-specific North Carolina solar incentives that are already in place, the added 30 percent cost of solar reduction from the ITC is the cherry on top of major solar energy savings. But you will have to keep in mind that the solar power tax credit only applies to those who buy their solar-powered systems outright.

State Property Tax Exemption

One of the popular selling points for solar panels is that when you get a solar panel installation, you also increase your property value, but it also can result in higher property taxes. Luckily, for all homeowners in North Carolina with solar panel installations who are using their solar-powered systems for residential reasons, the value that solar panels add to a property isn’t included in property taxes.   

Building Permit Rebates for Solar 

Residents who live in Asheville North Carolina will get a rebate on their building permit when they install solar panels on both residential and commercial properties. Even if the solar incentives are small they can add up.

Net Metering in North Carolina

When you put solar panels on your roof, you are going to want to ensure that you get credit for all of the power that the solar-powered systems generate. North Carolina has a net metering policy that credits you for the extrasolar energy that solar-powered systems are producing and allows you to use the credits when the solar-powered systems aren’t generating enough solar power.

Notable Solar Panel Installations in North Carolina

- Conetoe II Solar LLC was completed in 2015. The solar energy project can generate 80 MW of solar energy, which is enough solar power to give over 9,030 North Carolina homes power.

- There are also several large retailers in North Carolina that have got a solar panel installation including Apple, Ikea, and SAS. Apple has one of the largest solar panel installations with over 25 MW of solar power capacity at their location Maiden.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in North Carolina

Aside from the power output and efficiency of the solar equipment you pick to install, the amount of solar energy that your solar panel installation is going to generate in North Carolina is going to directly rate to the amount of sunlight that is hitting your solar panels. There’s good news for solar-powered system owners in North Carolina, the state ranks in the top half of all of the states for average peak sun hours, which will ensure that your solar panels rack up tons of energy.

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