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 January 20, 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 help mitigate the cost of installing solar panels on your home. These financial incentives are in place to encourage more people to convert their home partially or fully to renewable energy. You may be eligible for various types of incentives, including cash back, discounts or credit towards your monthly utility bill, depending on your situation. Some incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the state of North Carolina and others from the federal government. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:

  • Net Metering: You can sign a net metering agreement with your Hickory utility company that will apply to all or a percentage of the excess electricity that is generated by your solar panels. Your utility company will then deduct this value from your utility bill each month.
  • Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions that lower the amount of income tax you owe the government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs are credits that can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for cash that normally counts as part of your taxable income. In most cases, there is a small threshold of energy production to meet before your solar system is eligible for SRECs or other performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are typically handled by your state government.
  • Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are normally applied prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Rebates may be provided by your local utility company, by your county or by your state.
  • Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions can come in two forms. The first is sales tax exemption, applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption, which allows you to exclude the added value of your solar system when calculating property tax for your home.

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about solar incentives. The solar incentive that you're most familiar with is probably the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which gives you a credit on your taxes equal to a predetermined percentage of the cost of your solar system.

The ITC can be applied to solar panels installed on your primary or secondary residence in the United States. The solar panels have to have been installed on a property you own after January 1, 2006 for you to claim the credit. The ITC originally paid out 30% of all system costs (panels, equipment, labor and accessories), although this amount has fluctuated slightly over the years between 26-30%. The installation date of your solar system will determine what percentage you are eligible for. There is no cap on the claim amount.

To better understand how the ITC will apply to you, get in touch with your local Hickory solar panel installation expert and request more information.

In August 2022, the ITC (now called the Clean Energy Credit) was bolstered by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. 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.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Hickory solar panel installation experts can answer your questions and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit may apply to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Some solar incentives may be provided by state and local governments. As with federal incentives, these can include rebates, tax credits and more. The incentives — which may be handled by the state of North Carolina, or by your county or municipality — might be offered on an ongoing basis, or for only a limited time.

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.

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 (coming 2022)

Outstanding Regional Installer

Renu Energy Solutions

★★★★★
4.5

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

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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