2022 North Carolina Solar Incentives Guide (Tax Credits, Rebates & More)

In this EcoWatch guide on the solar incentives in North Carolina, you’ll learn:

  • Which solar tax breaks North Carolinians can take advantage of
  • What Duke Energy’s solar rebate is
  • How North Carolina’s revolving solar loan program works
  • How North Carolinians can profit off of the solar energy their homes produce

This guide has helped thousands of North Carolina homeowners save time and money when going solar by providing them with all of the latest incentives available in the area. Let’s get started!

Ecowatch Author Karsten Neumeister

By Karsten Neumeister, Solar Expert

Updated 7/28/2022

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.

Jump to Section:

  1. What Should You Know About North Carolina’s Solar Market?
  2. North Carolina Solar Tax Exemptions
  3. Net Metering Program in North Carolina
  4. Duke Energy Solar Rebate
  5. NC Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
  6. Local Incentives
  7. What Do North Carolinians Need to Know About the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit?
  8. FAQs: North Carolina Solar Incentives

When you’re ready to speak with a qualified professional, follow the links below. Each of these companies can help you identify and apply for incentives available in North Carolina.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

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What Should You Know About North Carolina’s Solar Market?

The SEIA gathers detailed information about the solar industry in each state, and the outlook for North Carolina is very promising. According to the latest SEIA data, the state has over 7,200 megawatts of solar capacity, which ranks among the top states for solar energy and is enough to power more than 846,000 homes with clean energy.

The accumulated investment in North Carolina’s solar industry now exceeds $9.8 billion, with more than 6,100 jobs created so far. North Carolina has enacted favorable legislation for solar power. There is a net metering policy, which ensures you get full credit when exporting surplus solar energy to the grid. There is also a law that enables low-interest green energy loans from county and city governments.

Watch Below: Duke Energy Is Set to Raise Electric Rates Once Again

What Solar Incentives Does North Carolina Offer?

Although there are sunnier regions in the U.S., the Global Solar Atlas shows North Carolina gets decent sunshine. The state also offers several incentive programs that improve your return on investment when going solar.

North Carolina Solar Incentive Program Overview
Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems North Carolina does not tax you for the increase in property value after installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
North Carolina Net Metering Policy Surplus electricity from your home solar system is credited at retail price on your next electric bill.
Duke Energy Solar Rebate Duke Energy customers can qualify for a cash incentive when installing a solar panel system.
Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency North Carolina has a law that enables revolving loan programs from cities and counties, with a maximum interest rate of 8% and a maximum term of 20 years.
Local Incentives Additional incentives may be available from your county, city or utility company.

We’ll go into detail about each North Carolina solar incentive below, but if you haven’t already, we recommend getting a free quote from a certified installer in your area to see exactly how much these tax credits and rebates could save you.

Read Also: N.C. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Solar Access, Against Homeowners Association

North Carolina Solar Tax Exemptions

North Carolina has offered a property tax exemption for solar panels and solar thermal electric systems since 2008. These systems increase the value of your property, like any other home upgrade, but NC does not tax you for that increase. For example, if solar panels increase the value of a home from $270,000 to $300,000, the owner will still be taxed for a $270,000 home.

This tax incentive is also available for solar power systems owned by commercial, industrial and agricultural energy users. However, in these cases, the property tax exemption applies for 80% of the system’s value, instead of the 100% exemption available for homeowners.

north carolina solar incentives net metering

Net Metering Program in North Carolina

North Carolina offers net metering for solar power systems up to 1,000 kW of capacity, which covers all residential systems and many industrial and commercial solar systems. However, leased solar systems have a much lower limit for net metering: 20 kW or 100% of estimated demand, whichever is less.

Surplus electricity from your solar panels is credited on your next electric bill, which means you save the full value of the kilowatt-hours that get exported to the grid. However, your accumulated balance expires at the start of the summer billing period. Having an optimally sized solar power system is recommended, since an oversized system generates electricity that you can never subtract from your power bills.

Duke Energy Solar Rebate

If you’re a Duke Energy customer who plans to install solar panels, you may qualify for the utility company’s North Carolina Solar Rebate Program. The available funding for 2021 ran out very quickly, but you can join a waiting list for when the program reopens in 2022.

The incentive per kilowatt changes depending on the type of customer, but the program website lists the following rates as of November 2021:

  • Residential customer: $400 per kW, maximum system size of 10 kW ($4,000)
  • Non-residential customer: $300 per kW, maximum system size of 100 kW ($30,000)
  • Nonprofit organization: $750 per kW, maximum system size of 100 kW ($75,000)

Keep in mind that incentive programs managed by energy companies tend to change frequently, and their funding per year is limited. If you’re interested in the Duke Energy rebate, check the company’s website regularly so you don’t miss any updates.

Read Also: Historic Solar Deal Powers Duke University Towards Carbon Neutrality

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NC Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

In North Carolina, city and county governments are legally authorized to offer low-interest loans for solar PV systems in homes and businesses. The loan program also covers other renewable energy technologies like geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines and biomass power.

The maximum interest rate of these revolving loans is 8%, and the maximum term is 20 years. This gives you the option of installing a solar energy system with loaned capital, then using your electricity savings to pay it back over time. This means your out-of-pocket cost is reduced to zero, and your solar power system can cover its own cost with the savings achieved.

Local Incentives

We have listed the main solar incentives available in North Carolina, but keep in mind that additional benefits may be available depending on where you live.

For example, the City of Asheville offers building permit rebates for homeowners and businesses who use solar panels and other green energy technologies. This North Carolina solar rebate changes depending on the technology used; in the case of solar panels, there is a $50 rebate on your building permit application.

Read Also: North Carolina’s Community Solar Programs

What Do North Carolinians Need to Know About the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit?

solar rebates and tax credits in north carolina

The federal solar tax credit (ITC) is not a North Carolina incentive, strictly speaking, since you can claim it anywhere in the U.S. However, we mention this benefit here because you can combine it with local incentives.

  • If you install a solar power system before the end of 2022, you can claim 26% of the total cost of installation as a federal tax credit.
  • The benefit will remain available in 2023, but it will be reduced to 22%.
  • After the start of 2024, there will only be a 10% federal solar tax credit for businesses and 0% for homes.

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FAQs: North Carolina Solar Incentives

At EcoWatch, we’re happy to get questions about the process and costs of getting rooftop solar from North Carolina residents. Below are some of the questions we see most often, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at solar@ecowatch.com.

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Karsten Neumeister

Solar Expert

Karsten Neumeister is a solar energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the renewable energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on solar energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.