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Add State and Local Incentives to the 30% Federal Tax Credit
Learn about solar incentives and solar rebates. Find out what is available to you through federal, state and local programs, as well as local utilities.
State and Local Solar Panel Rebates
Combining the Federal tax credit with state incentives you qualify for may significantly reduce the cost of your solar PV system.

Read more good news about these programs and important tips on qualifying below.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
30% of the cost of your Solar Electric System and installation can be deducted from your federal tax bill.

Read more about this credit and what qualifies.





Solar Incentives by State… Click on your state to see what is available.    
Solar States


— You may be able to afford a larger solar PV system than you originally thought!
— You may be able to add the battery backup system you were planning to buy in a year or two



The Good News About Solar System Incentives, Qualifications and Tips
Some solar incentive programs pay you back over time, based on the energy you generate. Other solar incentives are one-time payments of rebates or credits. Incentive requirements and definitions may vary between states.

Incentive types can be specifically for residential, schools, business, or industrial; or inclusive of all of them. Solar incentives are mainly for grid tied systems and are sometimes available for off grid systems.

The incentives may be only for solar photovoltaic (electric), for electricity generated by wind, or for solar thermal (hot water generation). Other types of incentives may incorporate multiple solar technologies.

Programs with yearly or periodic application dates have credits or rebate rates that may be stepped down over time.

To qualify for incentives, your solar system may have to be installed by a licensed Photovoltaic System Installer, and/or connected to the grid by a licensed Electrician. This may be particularly true for Grid-Tie (Grid-Intertied) systems.
Plan ahead and act quickly. Many incentive programs are time sensitive. First-come-first-served programs, such as lotteries, can be spoken for in minutes after the opening of their application date.

Be careful including incentives in your PV system's budget due to requirements and possible deadlines to meet before qualifying.

Always consult a tax professional in regards to your eligibility for tax incentives.





Solar Incentive Glossary
Battery Backup Systems
Battery backup systems can store electricity from the grid or a fuel-powered generator to provide emergency power when the grid goes down. It can also store energy created PV system to power appliances and lights at night after the sun goes down.

Feed in Tariffs,
a Performance Based Incentive, or PBI

(Available for Grid Tied Systems.)
Feed-in Tariffs are typically long term contracts with your local utility for performance-based compensation.

The contracts are typically a 15-25 year purchase agreement at a guaranteed rate. The rate may decrease over time as specified in the agreement. Feed-in Tariffs may ultimately pay for your PV system or even exceed your initial investment depending on the specifics in the contract.

Originally started in Germany in 1990 and restructured in 2000 to include the right to interconnect to the utility grid. It was designed as an incentive to promote cost-effective renewable energy use and advancements in technologies. Due to its success, the current German policy is the cornerstone for the creation of many feed-in tariff programs around the globe.

Green Building Programs
(May be available for Off-grid and/or Grid-tied Systems.)
Green Building Programs are generally for new construction and remodeling, or just adding a solar electric system. The most common incentives are reductions or waivers of building permit fees. Some state or local organizations offer coupons that reduce construction and/or installation costs to homeowners. The home or business owner usually gives the coupon to their program-authorized installer/contractor. Once the system is installed the installer/contractor can be reimbursed for the amount of the coupon by the program's organization.

Grid-Tied PV Systems
Grid tied systems are inter-connected to send energy back to the grid when your solar electric system creates more than you're using; and you can receive energy from the grid when you're using more electricity than your system is generating at the moment. Learn more about grid-tied solar systems.

Loans
(May be available for Off-grid and/or Grid-tied Systems.)
State or local governments may offer low or zero interest loans for renewable energy projects. Terms are typically 10 years or less. If you are going to purchase or remodel a home that you are going to add a solar system to you may also want to see the Energy Star website for information on Energy Improvement Mortgages (EIMs).

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing may be offered by states that have been authorized to participate in this program. The amount of the loan is determined by a special assessment of your property and is typically repaid over a period of years.

Check with your local banks and credit unions as they may offer renewable energy loans for less than the prime rate. Also consider that mortgage loans and home equity loans can offer several advantages: longer terms, lower interest rates than conventional bank loans, and tax-deductible interest.
Net Metering
(Available for Grid Tied Systems.)
As of January 2012, only four states do not have net metering policies ‐ South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. These programs are for utility customers who generate their own electricity and feed excess energy back into the grid. Net-metered customers may use grid energy when their electrical demand exceeds their solar electric system's output. Solar electric credit rates are applied to the customer's total electric use and are shown on the utility bills.

The credit rates and rules vary from state to state. Unused solar electric system credits may expire in a specified time period or they may be carried over from year to year. The credits may only be applied to the utility bill or you may be allowed to get a refund check at the end of a designated period, usually the end of the year.

Off-Grid PV Systems
Off grid systems do not feed energy back to the grid. You may be completely independent from the grid or you may be receiving grid electricity to supplement your system (Grid-Assisted). Learn more about off-grid solar systems.

Solar PV System (Photovoltaics)
A solar PV system uses photovoltaic panels (or modules) to create electricity. This powers appliances, lights, and other electric equipment.

Solar Thermal System
A solar thermal system uses panels (or modules) to heat water. The hot water is typically used instead of a water heater for everyday water use, or in a radiant heating system to warm the air.

State and Local Tax Incentives
(May be available for Off-grid and/or Grid-tied Systems.)
  • Personal tax incentives include income tax credits (dollar-for-dollar reduction on what you owe) and income tax deductions (reduces your taxable income).
  • Property tax exemptions, exclusions and credit incentives generally exclude the added value of the system from your yearly property tax. Abatements may reduce a percentage of your yearly property tax over time.
  • State sales tax incentives can be an exemption from or a credit towards the applicable sales tax.
Utility Rate Discounts & Rebates
(Available for Grid Tied Systems.)
Some utilities and state or local programs may offer temporarily reduced rates on utility bills, or one time rebates on the installation of solar systems and purchases of energy efficient appliances and/or HVAC systems.


Updated: 09/24/2016
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South Carolina Solar Incentives
Updated: 09/24/2016
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INCENTIVE NAME: ConserFund Loan Program
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Loan Program
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC05F
DETAILS:
Maximum Loan - $500,000 per fiscal year
Loan Term - Ten year term; Possibility to receive 30% of loan as a grant.
Interest Rate - Fixed annual rate set below prime rate;
WEBSITE: http://www.energy.sc.gov/incentives/conserfund
LAST UPDATE: 01/29/2016

INCENTIVE NAME: Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit (Personal)
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Personal Tax Credit
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC08F
DETAILS:
Incentive Amount - 25% of eligible costs
Maximum Incentive - In any given tax year a maximum of $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer's tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. If the amount of the credit exceeds $3,500 for each facility, the taxpayer may carry forward the excess for up to ten years.
Equipment Requirements - Solar-thermal systems must be certified by SRCC or a comparable entity endorsed by the S.C. Energy Office
Carryover Provisions - Excess credit may be carried forward up to 10 years
WEBSITE: http://www.energy.sc.gov/renewable
LAST UPDATE: 05/04/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit (Corporate)
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Corporate Tax Credit
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC09F
DETAILS:
Incentive Amount - 25% of eligible costs
Maximum Incentive - In any given tax year, $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer's tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. If the amount of the credit exceeds $3,500 for each facility, the taxpayer may carry forward the excess for up to ten years.
Equipment Requirements - Solar-thermal systems must be certified by SRCC or a comparable entity endorsed by the S.C. Energy Office
Carryover Provisions - Excess credit may be carried forward up to 10 years
WEBSITE: http://www.energy.sc.gov/renewable
LAST UPDATE: 03/28/2016

INCENTIVE NAME: Interconnection Guidelines
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Interconnection
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC05R
DETAILS:
Applicable Utilities - Investor-owned utilities
System Capacity Limit - 100 kW for non-residential; 20 kW for residential
Standard Agreement - Yes
Insurance Requirements - Vary by system size and/or type; levels established by PSC
External Disconnect Switch - Required
Net Metering Required - No
LAST UPDATE: 08/20/2014

INCENTIVE NAME: State Building Energy Standards
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC07R
WEBSITE: http://www.energy.sc.gov/public
LAST UPDATE: 01/29/2016

INCENTIVE NAME: Santee Cooper - Renewable Energy Resource Loans
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Loan Program
SECTOR: Utility
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC26F
DETAILS:
Maximum Loan - $40,000
Loan Term - Rate: variable - check website
Repayment: up to 10 years
WEBSITE: https://www.santeecooper.com/portal/page/portal/santeecooper/myhome/smartenergy/smartenergyloans
UTILITIES: Santee Electric Coop, Inc,
LAST UPDATE: 08/26/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: South Carolina - Net Metering
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Net Metering
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC09R
DETAILS:
Applicable Utilities - All utilities with more than 100,00 customers, excluding cooperatives.
System Capacity Limit - 20 kW for residential; 1000 kW for non-residential
Aggregate Capacity Limit - 2% of average retail peak demand for previous 5 years
Net Excess Generation - Credited to customer's next bill on a monthly basis. Annual pay out to customer zeros out monthly carry-over.
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits - Not addressed
Meter Aggregation - Explicitly prohibited
WEBSITE: http://www.energy.sc.gov/index.aspx?m=6&t=99
LAST UPDATE: 01/25/2016

INCENTIVE NAME: South Carolina Municipalities - Green Power Purchasing
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Green Power Purchasing
SECTOR: Local
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC10R
DETAILS:
Renewables % or Amount - Cities & Towns purchase green power in 200-kWh blocks of electricity
Source - Landfill gas, solar
WEBSITE: https://www.santeecooper.com/committed-to-south-carolina/environmental-stewardship/green-power.aspx
UTILITIES: Aiken Electric Coop Inc, Berkeley Electric Coop Inc, Black River Electric Coop, Inc, Blue Ridge Electric Coop Inc, Broad River Electric Coop, Inc, Coastal Electric Coop, Inc, Edisto Electric Coop, Inc, Fairfield Electric Coop, Inc, City of Georgetown, Horry Electric Coop Inc, Laurens Electric Coop, Inc, Little River Electric Coop Inc, Lynches River Elec Coop, Inc, Marlboro Electric Coop, Inc, Mid-Carolina Electric Coop Inc, Newberry Electric Coop, Inc, Tri-County Electric Coop, Inc, Palmetto Electric Coop Inc, Pee Dee Electric Coop, Inc, Santee Electric Coop, Inc, York Electric Coop Inc,
LAST UPDATE: 09/17/2014

INCENTIVE NAME: Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE) Program
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Performance-Based Incentive
SECTOR: Non-Profit
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC31F
DETAILS:
Incentive Amount - Varies by technology and customer demand for Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE)
Terms - PaCE premium payments contingent on sufficient funding and vary depending on technology
WEBSITE: http://www.palmettocleanenergy.com/
LAST UPDATE: 06/02/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Renewable Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Industry Recruitment/Support
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC63F
DETAILS:
Incentive Amount - 10%
Maximum Incentive - $500,000 for any year and $5 million total for 15 years
Terms - Qualifying expenditures must be certified by the Department of Revenue
WEBSITE: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t12c006.php
LAST UPDATE: 01/29/2016

INCENTIVE NAME: Distributed Energy Resource Program
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Renewables Portfolio Standard
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC14R
DETAILS:
Standard - 2% of aggregate generation capacity by 2021
Technology Minimum - 1% from 1 MW to 10 MW facilities
1% from facilities under 1 MW with 25% of this carve-out coming from systems under 20 kW

LAST UPDATE: 08/21/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: SouthCarolinaSaves Green Community Loan Program
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Loan Program
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
SOURCE: Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds issued by the SC Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA)
CODE: SC65F
DETAILS:
Loan Term - 15 year payback period
WEBSITE: http://energy.sc.gov/incentives
LAST UPDATE: 08/21/2014

INCENTIVE NAME: Duke Energy Progress Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Rebate Program
SECTOR: Utility
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC68F
DETAILS:
Incentive Amount - $1.00 per watt
LAST UPDATE: 08/25/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: SCE&G - Customer Scale Solar Program
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Performance-Based Incentive
SECTOR: Utility
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: SC69F
WEBSITE: https://www.sceg.com/for-my-home/solar-for-your-home
LAST UPDATE: 01/26/2016

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