Georgia Solar Incentives (Rebates, Tax Credits & More in 2023)

In this guide to making solar conversion more affordable in Georgia using solar incentives, you’ll learn:

  • What solar benefit programs are available in Georgia?
  • How do the incentives for purchasing solar equipment affect the price of going solar in Georgia?
  • What are the most beneficial solar perks in Georgia, and how do you apply for them?
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Do Georgia Solar Incentives Make It Affordable for Homeowners to Go Solar?

Yes, absolutely. Solar is relatively expensive in the area due to the high energy demand, but the solar incentive programs available in Georgia help make converting to clean energy far more accessible.

The typical upfront cost of a solar panel system in GA hovers around $28,050, around $4,000 higher than the national average. The average price per watt for photovoltaic (PV) equipment in the area is $2.55, which is below the U.S. average.

The high all-in price tag is due to the larger system requirements to meet local energy use. Most residents need an 11 kilowatt (kW) system to offset utility bills and energy costs, whereas the average American needs just 9 kWs worth of PV equipment.

Unfortunately, the state lacks a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal, which many states use to promote clean energy and the adoption of related equipment like PV panels. As a result, the Peach State also has far fewer incentive programs available than most other states.

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In the table below, we’ll include all of the incentive programs available for solar conversion, along with a description of how they work and the average savings they yield.

Solar Incentives in Georgia Incentive Type Description Occurrence Estimated Dollar Amount You Can Receive
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Federal Provides a credit to your income tax burden for 30% of your total system cost One-time: Gets applied once when you file your taxes following solar panel installation. Unused credit can be rolled over for up to five years $8,415, on average for an 11 kW system
Solar Easement Laws State Ensures you maintain unimpeded access to the solar energy that would normally hit your property Always in effect: These laws guarantee that you always maintain access to solar energy Varies based on sunlight obstructions and many other factors
Net Metering Local Provides bill credits for excess energy produced by your panels that gets sent to the grid. Net energy metering is not guaranteed in the state Always in effect: Provided net energy metering is offered by your utility company, you’ll always be eligible to earn energy credits through the program Varies based on your system size, your monthly energy bills and more
Local Incentives Local Some local utility companies offer incentives to customers for converting to solar energy Varies based on the incentive Varies based on the incentive

What Do Georgians Need to Know About the Federal Solar Tax Credit?

georgia solar incentivesIn our opinion, the federal tax credit is one of the best perks for solar customers across the country, regardless of the state incentives available to them. It’s offered by the federal government, so it applies to all homeowners. It’s especially useful in areas like Georgia, where there are no universal incentives offered by the state.

The credit was initially provided in 2005 as a means of making solar adoption more affordable. At that time, it offered a credit to one’s tax liability for 30% of the entire system value installed — including panels, inverters, solar batteries and more. The credit rate was originally scheduled to drop to 26% in 2022, 22% in 2023 and 0% in 2024.

In 2022, Congress signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which, among other things, improved the federal credit. It pushed the rate for 2022 installations back up to 30% — retroactively — and extended the credit for a decade. The new rate schedule is listed below:

  • 30% credit for solar power systems installed between 2022 and 2032
  • 26% credit for systems installed in 2033
  • 22% credit for systems installed in 2034
  • 0% credit for systems installed in 2035 and beyond

Given the average solar system cost of $28,050 in Georgia, the 30% credit usually comes out to $8,415. You can save that much on your tax bill if you owe enough to cover the credit, which effectively brings down the cost of your system. Any unused credit can be rolled over to four additional tax years for a total of five years.

How to Claim the Federal ITC in Georgia

Claiming the federal credit is straightforward and usually only takes a few extra minutes when you’re filing your taxes. If you use software like TurboTax to file, just answer accordingly when prompted about installing renewable energy equipment or converting to solar. If you file manually or through an accountant, you can follow the below steps to take the credit.

  • Step 1: Go to the website for the Internal Revenue Service and print out IRS form 5695.
  • Step 2: Fill out the form with information about your solar power system, your home and your installer.
  • Step 3: Provide the file to your accountant for filing or file it yourself alongside your taxes.

EcoWatch’s Opinion on the Federal ITC in Georgia

As mentioned above, we’re huge fans of the federal credit in general, but especially in your area, where other incentives are severely lacking. The federal credit offers a great way to effectively make solar more affordable, and it stands out as an imperative perk to take in areas where there are few or no other benefit programs, like in the Peach State.

With an average credit value of nearly $8,500 and an application process that takes just a few minutes, this provides the best bang for your buck in terms of potential savings from going solar.

It’s crucial to understand that this is not a solar rebate, so you’re not guaranteed to get that credit value back. You’ll only get as much as you owe on your income taxes up to the credit value. That means if you don’t expect to owe at least $1,700 per year in taxes for the next five years, you won’t be able to take advantage of the full credit.
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What You Need to Know About Georgia’s Solar Easement Laws

Solar easement laws protect the rights of solar customers to access the sunlight that normally hits their properties. They prevent neighboring property owners from obstructing that sunlight, which means neighbors could be forced to keep trees trimmed, and commercial properties nearby cannot build structures that block sunlight from your roof.

Solar easement laws don’t provide any direct financial benefit. However, they are a sign that a state cares about solar and takes an interest in renewable energy as a whole.

Plus, in some cases, these laws can lead to an increased duration of sunlight exposure for your solar power system. Some benefits of this include:

How to Claim the Solar Easement Laws in Georgia

Thankfully, the solar easement laws are innate, so you never have to do anything to claim them. If you run into an issue with a neighboring property blocking your access to solar energy, you can contact your local building department to intervene on your behalf.

EcoWatch’s Opinion on Georgia’s Solar Easement Laws

Solar easement laws are a great thing to have in place. They help establish renewable energy sources as legitimate and worthwhile alternatives to fossil fuels like natural gas, and they help increase the value of PV equipment.

Unfortunately, they don’t provide any direct savings for most property owners.

Net Metering in Georgia

Net metering is a billing policy that monitors energy flowing to your property from the grid and from your solar system to the grid. Any excess energy you generate earns you billing credits, which you can use later on to bring down your electric bills if you ever pull more from the power grid than you send — like during cloudy weather or at night.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), net energy metering (NEM) has historically been one of the most beneficial perks for solar customers. It helps reduce costs in several ways:

  • Increases the value of your panels, which can contribute to a greater bump in property value after solar adoption
  • Maximizes your energy savings, which is especially important for Georgians, who use far more electricity each month than the average American1
  • Helps pay off your panels more quickly, yielding greater savings in the long run

Unfortunately, NEM is not mandated by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), which means utility providers are not required to offer it to customers. Some electric companies still do, though, so you should check with yours to confirm eligibility before going solar.

For example, Georgia Power has a behind-the-meter option, which is a buyback program that’s similar to net energy metering. However, the program filled up in 2021 and is not currently accepting new applications.

We should also mention that residents in many states throughout the U.S. are seeing net energy metering programs become less and less beneficial. Some states are adopting a credit rate that’s below the retail rate, while others are ditching the policy altogether.

It’s possible that a net metering program in GA will be mandated in the future, but it’s unlikely, given the direction the program is going in other states.

How to Enroll in Net Metering in Georgia

Enrolling in net energy metering is automatic for most homeowners that choose a reputable solar installer in Georgia, as a representative will typically file the application for you as a representative will typically file the application for you. You can follow the steps below, though, to make sure you get access to the program if it’s available.

  • Step 1: Contact your electric company to confirm that you have a bidirectional meter installed. If you don’t, your provider should install one at no cost to you.
  • Step 2: Contact your electric company to ask if net metering is available. Many providers do not offer the program, as it isn’t mandated statewide.
  • Step 3: If net energy metering is available, connect with a reputable solar professional in your area. Ask the representative to confirm that the company will handle the application process. If not, confirm with your electric company how you can apply yourself.
  • Step 4: Proceed with the installation.
  • Step 5: We suggest doing an audit of your energy bills for a few months after installation to make sure your system is earning credits as expected.

EcoWatch’s Opinion on Net Metering in Georgia

Net energy metering is an outstanding policy that is hugely beneficial to solar customers. This is especially true in states in the southern part of the country, where long, hot summers lead to above-average electricity consumption.

We’d love net energy metering even more if it were mandated throughout the state, but we don’t expect to see that any time soon or in the foreseeable future. 

Local Solar Incentives in Georgia

Along with a lack of statewide perks, there are relatively few local incentives as well. We’ll include some information on the benefit programs that are offered by local municipalities and utility companies below.

  • Jackson EMC Right Choice Sun Power Solar Rebate Program: This is a cash-back incentive for up to $250 per kW installed, up to a maximum of $2,500.2 There are some restrictions — like a requirement for your installer to be NABCEP-certified (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners). Given that most systems in the area total 11 kW, most customers should be able to take the full $2,500.
  • Central Georgia EMC Residential Energy Efficiency Home Plus Loan Program: As the name suggests, this is a solar financing option for customers of Central Georgia EMC. It can provide low interest rates and down payment requirements for solar projects and other energy efficiency upgrades to help make converting to solar more accessible. This is a great alternative to solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs), which provide less value over time.
  • Georgia Solar Program: This is a solar rebate offered by the U.S. Department of Energy. Unfortunately, it is only available to commercial customers.

Which Tax Incentives Are The Best In Georgia?

We’ve mentioned all of the perks available for local solar adopters above, but not all of these are equally worthwhile. We’ll include what we believe are the top three incentives below.

The Federal Tax Credit

The federal solar tax credit is far and away our favorite benefit program and the one we’d recommend taking over all others if you had to choose. It provides the most substantial potential savings — an average of over $8,400 — and takes just a few minutes to apply for.

Perhaps most importantly, this credit is available to all residents, which is not the case for nearly all of the other perks available in the area, including net energy metering.

Net Energy Metering (NEM)

NEM is another great perk to take if it’s available to you. It helps increase the value you see from your panels by maximizing your energy savings. In turn, it helps pay off your system more quickly.

Unfortunately, this perk is not universally available in the state, as it’s not mandated by the PSC. Still, if it is available to you, we strongly recommend taking it, as it can help push your total savings closer to the average of $23,182.

Jackson EMC Solar Rebate

Finally, the local rebate offered to Jackson EMC customers is one of the best available in the state. Although it’s only accessible by a relatively small subset of residents, it provides an average of $2,500 in effective savings and doesn’t take long to apply for.

What’s The Near Term Outlook For More Incentives In Georgia?

Unfortunately, there is no plan in place that will make incentives in the area better or more readily available. The state still has not set an RPS goal, which is very often the catalyst for new incentives or making the existing ones more appealing.

Unless the state sets an aggressive RPS goal in the near future, we don’t expect any improvement to incentive programs.

FAQs: Georgia Solar Incentives

In the sections below, we’ll answer some questions you may have about perks and benefit programs that we see commonly from other prospective solar customers.

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Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.
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Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

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