North Carolina Solar Panels: Why Solar Energy Is Now Super Cheap in North Carolina



    Would you like to save tons of money on your electric bills over the years while also helping the earth?


    According to the Swanson effect, the cost of the cells used to make solar panels, is predictably dropping, by 20% every ten years. Price of solar cells decreased from a whopping per watt rate in 1977 of $76.67 to a mere per watt rate of $0.36 in 2014.




    Some people worry that solar energy equipment costs too much. Actually, as you can see, prices have been dropping sharply in recent years—there’s a close relationship between the number of panels sold and their cost. It’s called the Swanson Effect as seen in the graphic above, and, thanks to this principal, the more people go solar, the cheaper solar equipment will be.


    For the last few years, the North Carolina has been an excellent place to go solar, in part due to big tax credits and a big push on the part of the utilities. A 5-kW solar system could pay for itself in just six years. Investment return was 13.1%. The good news is that the state’s major utilities have already met their goals for clean energy capacity, but that means utility companies no longer have much incentive to get more people into solar. And unfortunately, the state’s solar tax credits are expiring. If North Carolina does not reinstate its tax credits—and set new goals for increased capacity—the options for solar energy in the state will change dramatically.


    Compare ROI for Solar Power Options in North Carolina


    North Carolina Comparison Graph


    North Carolina is one of only five states that ban leased solar systems. That means you have two options for going solar: you can buy your system directly or you can take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to pay for it. If you want to learn more about these options and what works best for you, then click here now and our partners will help you find the best option. They’ve already helped 1000s of others just like you, so why wait? Go here now! 🙂


    This graph compares these two options for a typically-sized system under the current tax scenario. Your situation will be somewhat different, depending on the size of your system and the take policy at the time of your purchase. But no matter what, buying with cash means a large initial cost and a lower price overall, while taking out a loan means no initial cost, but you do have to pay interest on the loan.



      Purchasing Solar with Cash in North Carolina


      North Carolina_purchase_graph


      A typical home solar system in North Carolina might cost $20,000, but you won’t have to actually pay that much, thanks to Federal tax breaks and the value of the electricity you generate. After the system pays for itself (within 14 years, even without the state tax break) you will get free electricity for the remainder of the 25-year working life of the system. You can get credit for any power you generate but do not use and the value of your home goes up dramatically. If you want to see how much credit you’re eligible for, then click here and our partners will be able to help you out! They’ve already help out 1000s of other people just like you! You can also click this big orange button 🙂


      Purchasing Solar with Loan Funds in North Carolina


      North Carolina_lease_graph


      This graph for the return on a solar loan again reflects a typical system and the old tax situation. Without the state tax credit, the picture will look a little different, but you still get a Federal tax credit and payments on the interest of a home equity loan (although not payments on the principal) are still deductible. For the first few years, you’ll come out ahead financially. As you pay off the principal, your return shrinks and you could owe some money for a few years. But once the loan is paid back in full, you own the equipment and earn a nice return for the rest of the life of your system. The solar experts can help you out as they’ve helped out 1000s of other people just like you. Click here if you want to learn more about getting solar installed on your home or business!


      North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)



      The cost of solar in each state depends significantly on that state’s RPS, or Renewables Portfolio Standard, which sets how much energy must come from clean renewables by a certain year. Utility companies must pay big fines if they don’t meet the deadline. Since the companies can meet the goal either by increasing their own renewable generation capacity or by helping their customers do so, these policies give the utilities incentive to help you go renewable—something that wouldn’t be in their financial interest otherwise.


      North Carolina’s RPS is the 25th-best in the nation, meaning it could be worse, but it could also be a lot better. It’s 12.5% by 2021, with a sub-goal of 10% by 2018 for municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. Energy companies in the state have responded with a big push to increase capacity, for which the North Carolina can be justifiably proud, but they do not have much incentive to do more at present.


      Overall Rating for North Carolina’s Solar-Friendliness


      report showing solar panel installation savings in North Carolina


      North Carolina is a tough place to go solar these days, but not as tough as it could be. There are still a few bright spots. Interconnection policies, for example, are decent. This means that the legal process for getting a small solar system connected to the grid is quick and straight-forward, although utilities still have the option to impose fees and other requirements. Solar adds value to your house, and in North Carolina, 80% of that added value is not taxed. If you go here now, then our partners will help you see how much YOU can save. And while the state as a whole has no rebate program for solar equipment, two major energy suppliers offer their own rebates. That puts North Carolina ahead of all but 14 other states.


      Net metering is an option, but only up to a point—if you generate more power than you use, you do get a credit. But if you do not use your credit within a set period of time, you lose it. If there is a month when you use more electricity than your system generates and you have to draw power from the grid, you can pay for it with the credits you earned from a month when you used less. But you do not actually get paid for unused power generation this way. Some utilities do offer ways to get paid for power generation, but the process can be somewhat involved.


      The low cost of electricity in the state, the lack of a solar sales tax exemption, and of course the loss of the state tax credit together mean that North Carolina needs to do some real work to maintain its progress. But the bottom line is that, because of the low price of equipment, it is still possible for state residents to save a lot of money by doing the right thing and switching to solar.


      So what are you waiting for? Want to see how much YOU can save by going solar in North Carolina? If so, click this big orange button now and our partners will help find the right solution for you just as they have done for 1000s of others. Click this link now or fill out your ZIP code below 🙂