2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Hickory, NC - Tax Credits & Rebates

In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Hickory.

You'll learn about:

  • Local & State Solar Incentives
  • Federal Tax Credits (Updated for 2023 and beyond)
  • Ways to optimize your solar investment

Solar installers are experts in maximizing your solar tax credits and rebates.
Get a free quote from one of our trusted Hickory solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated September 15, 2023

Why you can trust EcoWatch

We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Hickory?

Duke Energy - NC Solar Rebate Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Residential: $0.60/W-AC
Nonresidential: $0.50/W-AC
Nonprofit: $0.75/W-AC

Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems

Incentive Type:
Property Tax Incentive
Residential systems: 100% of the appraised value
All other systems: 80% of the appraised value

Active Solar Heating and Cooling Systems Exemption

Incentive Type:
Property Tax Incentive
No more than conventional equipment

EnergyUnited (Electric) Residential Energy Efficiency Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Heat Pumps (15 SEER): $150/unit
Heat Pumps (16 SEER): $300/unit

Duke Energy (Electric) - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Central Air Conditioning or Heat Pump: $300 - $400 + $50 with added smart thermostat
Geothermal Heat Pump: $400 + $50 with added smart thermostat
Heat Pump Water Heater: $350
Attic Insulation or Attic Air Sealing: $250
Duct Sealing: $100
Variable-Speed Pool Pumps: $300

NC GreenPower Production Incentive

Incentive Type:
Performance-Based Incentive
Varies by technology and system size
PV larger than 5 kW: must enter bid process
Wind up to 10 kW: $0.09/kWh
Wind larger than 10 kW: must enter bid process

Local Option - Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Incentive Type:
Loan Program

Local Option - Green Building Incentives

Incentive Type:
Green Building Incentive
Authorized by legislation for green buildings. Actual permit process to be determined by local government.

Catawba County - Green Construction Permitting Incentive Program

Incentive Type:
Green Building Incentive
New structures earning an approved green building certification: 25% rebate of blanket permit fees, up to $500
Existing structures installing geothermal heat pumps, PV, solar water heating, or gray/rain water collection: 50% rebate
Plan review for commercial buildings seeking LEED certification, Energy Star, and/or NC HealthyBuilt Homes: 50% rebate

Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

Incentive Type:
Personal Tax Credit
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

Source: https://www.dsireusa.org/


Solar incentives are meant to help mitigate the cost of installing a solar panel system on your home. This category of financial incentives is in place to encourage more people to switch to renewable energy. Various types of incentives, including discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill, might be available to you. Some incentives may be provided via the North Carolina government, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while other incentives are federal. Types of solar incentives might include:

  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for cash that typically becomes part of your taxable income. In most cases, there is a small threshold of energy production to meet before your solar system qualifies for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. These kinds of incentives are generally handled at the state level.
  • Net Metering: You can sign a net metering agreement with your Hickory utility company. This agreement may apply to all or a percentage of the excess electricity your solar panels generate. They will then subtract this value from your utility bill each month.
  • Tax Exemptions: Sales tax exemptions are applied at the point of sale for your solar panels. Property tax exemptions allow you to ignore the value that your solar panels add when you calculate the amount of property tax you need to pay.
  • Rebates: Solar rebates can be provided by your local utility company, or by your county or state. These rebates are essentially partial refunds that are applied after your purchase of a solar system and before tax credits are calculated.
  • Tax Credits: Different from tax deductions, tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of income tax that you owe the government.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

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

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries

Outstanding Regional Installer

Renu Energy Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

  • Excellent reputation
  • Many financing options
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • No leases or PPAs

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are probably the first thing that you think of when you think about solar incentives. A federal incentive many people are probably familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This incentive is a tax credit for a given percentage of your solar system's cost.

The ITC can be applied to solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 and under this program you can deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, labor, equipment and accessories. You can claim this credit for a solar panel system installed on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. The original claim amount was 30% of the total cost, although depending on when the project was completed, your credit may range from 26-30%. There is no maximum claim amount.

Speaking with your local Hickory solar panel installation expert is the best way to understand how the ITC could apply to your situation.

The ITC was both renewed and expanded by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. It's also now called the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit re-raises the credit up to 30% for solar installations undertaken between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2032. After this, the percentage will be reduced slightly each year until the program expires in 2035. The expansion to the program also makes credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim, beginning in 2023.

More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. Your local Hickory solar panel installation expert is the best person to answer your questions regarding the new Clean Energy Credit and how it may apply to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are not your only option; rebates, tax credits and more are often offered at the state and local level. These incentives might be distributed by the North Carolina government, or by your county or municipality. Some incentives may be available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Hickory

You can receive solar incentives from the North Carolina government and the federal government, as well as from your local utility company. The increased availability of solar initiatives over the last 15 years has helped increase nationwide solar energy use enormously. Speaking with your local Hickory solar panel installation company is the best first step towards getting the most money possible when you switch to solar energy.

EcoWatch's Hickory, NC Solar Incentives FAQs

What if I add solar panels to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property? Will I still qualify for incentives?

Many solar incentives apply to a property located within the United States that you own, and most secondary residences fall into this category. There may be other solar incentives available for commercial properties, depending on the specifics. We recommend speaking with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to best understand what incentives will apply to your specific situation.

If I already have a solar system installed on my house, can I still claim incentives?

If your solar system was installed after January 1, 2022, you may qualify for the recently increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. If you installed your system between 2006 and 2021, you might qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the year it was installed. Speaking with a representative from the company that installed your solar system, or any local Hickory solar installer, can help you learn more about what incentives you can apply for.

How much can I save on my electric bill annually if I install solar panels on my house in Hickory?

On average, homeowners in Hickory who install solar panels save approximately $940.50 per year, or approximately $17,869.42 over 20 years after making the switch.

What are the environmental benefits of switching to solar energy?

Solar energy is renewable — by switching where you get your energy, you can help lessen the strain on our planet's resources. You can also lower the CO2 emissions from your home by 300 pounds annually, or roughly 6,000 pounds in 20 years.

Can I use multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?

You can use multiple types of renewable energy, or a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy, to power your home. Be sure to go over your ideas with your local Hickory solar installation expert. They can help you plan your project and also help you understand the various incentives that you might or might not qualify for.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Solar incentive research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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