Atlanta Solar Incentives, Tax Credits & Other Rebates [2022 Updated]

In this EcoWatch guide on Atlanta solar tax credits and incentives you’ll learn about:

  • Specific solar credits for Atlanta residents
  • The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Atlanta residents
  • Net metering policies in Atlanta
Ecowatch Author Dan Simms

By Dan Simms

Updated 9/19/2022

Why You Can Trust EcoWatch

Our solar experts have sifted through hundreds of local governments’ and utility companies’ websites to find accurate information about current solar incentives in each state. We’ve also unbiasedly ranked and reviewed hundreds of solar installers to empower you to make the right choice for your home. 

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SunPower

  • Pros icon Most efficient panels on the market
  • Pros icon National coverage
  • Pros icon Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Con icon Expensive
  • Con icon Customer service varies by local dealer

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Renu Energy Solutions

  • Pros icon Excellent reputation
  • Pros icon Many financing options
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  • Service icon Solar Panels
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Solar SME

  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Pros icon Comprehensive service offerings
  • Pros icon Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Con icon Some reported communication issues

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
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  • Service icon Electrical Work
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How Much Can Solar Incentives in Atlanta Save You?

Installing solar panels in Atlanta usually costs residents around $28,050. This is based on the average system size of 11 kilowatts needed in the area to offset the typical electric bill and the average per-watt cost for a system of around $2.55.

While this is expensive, there are some solar incentives that can bring down your costs and make going solar more appealing overall.

In fact, the average Atlanta resident can save around $7,000 by taking advantage of federal and local solar incentives within the first year of installing panels. The typical lifetime savings from switching to solar, if you qualify for local incentives, can reach as high as $30,000. This assumes a few things:

  • The average 11 kW system required in Atlanta is suitable for your home and costs you the typical $28,050 before incentives
  • You can take full advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC)
  • You are serviced by Georgia Power or another local utility company that offers a net metering policy
  • Your home uses a typical amount of electricity in the Atlanta area, around $129 per month for energy

We’ll include more information about all of the local, state and federal solar incentives available to Atlanta residents in the sections below. We’ll also discuss an incentive available in Atlanta that applies to some commercial customers.

What Incentives or Solar Tax Programs Are Offered in Atlanta for Homeowners?

We searched local government websites and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) database1 to ensure we included all of the city, state and federal incentives available to you. Unfortunately, Atlanta — and Georgia as a whole — doesn’t offer much in the way of solar incentives, but you can still save quite a bit.

We’ll include some quick information on the two perks provided to solar customers in Atlanta in the table below, along with a third option for solar system loans in Atlanta. We’ll also further explain these incentives and how they might affect you further down.

Atlanta Solar Incentives Description
Georgia Power Net Metering/Net Billing Policy Net metering is a billing policy that credits you for unused electricity produced by your panels. This policy helps lower your electric bills, effectively maximizing your energy savings. If you’re serviced by Georgia Power, you qualify for net metering at a variety of rates. We’ll explain in more detail below.
Central Georgia EMC Home Plus Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Loan program This is a solar financing option offered by Central Georgia EMC, a local power company in the Atlanta area. It keeps the costs of solar down by offering affordable and low-APR solar loans for residential customers.
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) The ITC is a tax incentive offered by the federal government to reduce the effective cost of solar. It provides a credit to your income taxes for 30% of the cost of your solar equipment, with no cap.2 This averages around $8,415 in Atlanta.

Local Atlanta Net Metering & Net Billing Policy

Net metering is an energy buyback program that lets customers benefit from power their solar systems produce but that they don’t use. The excess energy is sent to the power grid and customers are credited for it for the full retail energy price. The credits can be applied to future usage.

electricity meter, full frame, close-up
Credit: Robert Linder / Unsplash

If you live in Atlanta, it’s likely that your electricity provider is Georgia Power. Georgia Power offers a net metering program that credits its solar customers at the annual Solar Avoided Energy Cost Rate per kilowatt hour. This is not a one-to-one rate, so you won’t get full credit for the energy you return to the grid. 

Unfortunately, net metering is not mandated in Georgia. In 2019, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) pushed Georgia Power, an electric utility operating in the greater Atlanta area and much of the state, into net metering. This mandated a one-to-one credit for all excess energy for up to 32 megawatts of installed solar system capacity or 5,000 customers, whichever came first.3 This threshold was met in 2021, which means net metering is only available to new users if a space becomes available in the group of 5,000.

At the moment, net billing is available in Atlanta and throughout GA. This is similar to net metering with a few key differences:

  • Overproduction is not credited at the retail rate and is instead credited using a lower avoided-cost rate so long-term energy savings will be lower
  • Net billing isn’t as beneficial as net metering due to the less impressive savings, so the policy doesn’t add as much value to your solar panels

While the net billing policy currently in place in Atlanta isn’t as attractive as net metering, it’s still a decent option that can save quite a lot of money. This is especially true since Georgians consume more energy than the national average and have more to offset.4

Central Georgia EMC Home Plus Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Loan Program

Central Georgia EMC provides solar loans for efficiency upgrades and clean energy equipment for its customers.5 The loans can be used for photovoltaic (PV) systems and other upgrades, with financing caps reaching up to $25,000.

Most loan payoff periods for PV systems through this program will range from 61 to 96 months, giving residential property owners plenty of time to pay off their systems while enjoying the energy savings upfront. The program also caps the APR at 7.9%.

There are a few conditions for participating in the program:

  • You can only take out one loan unless the first loan is below $10,000
  • You must opt in to automated payments via Direct Payments
  • You must have a credit score of at least 650
  • You must verify your income when applying

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit

The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most appealing solar incentives available in the country, and it’s available to all Atlanta property owners and residents throughout the Peach State.

The ITC is a credit applied to your income taxes of 30% of all of your solar equipment costs. In Georgia, where an average system costs around $28,050, that means the average homeowner will be eligible for a credit of $8,415. 

It’s important to understand that the ITC is not a rebate program, so you won’t be getting this money back. Instead, it gets credited to any income taxes you owe.

For example, if you only owe $2,000 when it comes time to file your taxes, you’ll be missing out on $6,415, on average. However, the federal government lets you roll over the ITC to future tax years, so you could still get the full benefit of the credit spread out over several years. The credit can roll over for up to five years.

How Can Homeowners Redeem Solar Incentives in Atlanta?

The solar incentives available in Atlanta are few and far between, which makes it all the more important to take advantage of the ones that are available. In the sections below, we’ll discuss what — if any — action needs to be taken on your part to take part in the Georgia solar incentives mentioned above.

How Can Atlanta Residents Take Part in Net Metering & Net Billing?

As discussed above, net metering is essentially no longer available in Atlanta from any local utility providers. Luckily, net billing is still available, and you’ll be auto-enrolled in the policy when you convert to solar.

You should see credits accrued and applied to your energy bills shortly after installing your solar energy system.

How to File for the ITC as an Atlanta Resident

stack of papers flat lay photography photo
Credit: Kelly Sikkema/ Unsplash

Filing for the ITC is a straightforward process, but you will need to take action to ensure you get access to the credit. You can follow the steps below to take advantage of this incentive:

  • You can begin by checking your eligibility for the ITC on the Department of Energy’s website
  • When it’s time to do your taxes for the year your system was installed, make sure you or your accountant file federal tax Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits) along with your other documents.
  • Enter information about your home solar panel system in the first section of the form, including the total cost of your rooftop solar system, the property address where it was installed and the capacity of your system in kilowatts. You can get this information from your solar installer if you don’t have it on hand.
  • Finally, you need to transfer over the information to your 1040 to reflect the credit amount calculated using the first form.

If you need to file for a carryover amount from the previous tax year, you can skip the first section of the IRS form and just put in the amount carried over in line 12.

What Incentives or Solar Tax Programs Are Offered in Atlanta for Businesses?

The incentives discussed above that apply to residential solar customers in Atlanta also apply to business owners, with the exception of the Georgia EMC energy efficiency loans. Commercial solar customers can take advantage of the net billing policy and the ITC in Atlanta.

There are no differences in the application process or how the programs work, except the federal tax credit is a bit more appealing for business owners. In 2022, the ITC for commercial solar projects is 30%.

FAQ: Atlanta Solar Incentives

We frequently get questions about solar incentives available in Atlanta, so we’ll answer some of the most common ones we see in the sections below.

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Dan Simms

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.