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

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

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 Wilmington 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 Wilmington?

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

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.

Duke Energy Progress - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Central A/C or Heat Pump: $300 - $400 + 50 with smart thermostat
Geothermal Heat Pumps: $400 + 50 with smart thermostat
Heat Pump Water Heater: $350
Attic Insulation & Air Sealing: $250
Duct Sealing: $100
Pool Pump: $300

Four-County EMC - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Heat Pump Water Heater: $300/unit
Clothes Washer: $50/unit
Clothes Dryer: $50/unit
Dishwasher: $50/unit
Refrigerator: $50/unit
Freezer: $50/unit
Heat Pump (16 SEER or higher): $100/ton
Solar Water Heater: $1,000/unit

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 encourage homeowners to switch to renewable energy by offering incentives that lower the financial burden of solar panel installation and use. Incentives could include things like discounts, cash back or credit on your utility bill each month. Some incentives are offered by the federal government, while others are handled by the state of North Carolina or by your specific utility company, county or municipality. Types of solar incentives might include:

  • Tax Credits: Tax credits lower, dollar-for-dollar, the total amount of tax you owe the federal government. These differ from tax deductions.
  • Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions can come in one of two forms. First, there is sales tax exemption, which is applied when you purchase solar panels. The second is property tax exemption, which allows you to exclude the added value of your solar system when paying property tax on your home.
  • Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are usually applied prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Rebates can be offered by your local utility company, by your state or by your county.
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar other performance-based incentives might be available to you if you have a solar system that produces more than a specified (typically small) amount of electricity. This category of incentives is normally handled by the state government. You can sell your SRECs to your utility company or other buyers, and the money you receive in return is normally considered part of your taxable income.
  • Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar panels are up and running. If you have in place a net metering agreement with your Wilmington utility company, it will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your utility bill each month. In some places, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in other places you may make back a percentage of the value.

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are likely to be the first thing that you think of when thinking about solar incentives. It's likely that you've heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This is a tax credit that reduces your taxes by a certain percentage of the money you spend on your solar system.

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

Contacting your local Wilmington solar panel installation expert is the best way to learn more about how the ITC may apply to you.

The ITC was renewed and increased in scope after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. It's also now called the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit is valid until 2035. Solar installation projects started after January 1, 2022 and completed by the end of 2032 may qualify for a 30% tax credit. The amount will be decreased slightly on a yearly basis until the end of the current program. The expansion also makes claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before, beginning in 2023.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Wilmington solar panel installation expert is the best person to answer your questions regarding the new Clean Energy Credit and how it will apply to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Rebates, tax credits and more can be provided at multiple levels. On top of federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones, too. Certain incentives are offered for only a limited time, while others are ongoing. These local incentives may come from the North Carolina government, or from your specific county or municipality.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Wilmington

Solar energy use nationwide has gone up significantly in the past 15 years, in part thanks to the growth in the number of solar incentives. You may get these incentives from the federal government, the North Carolina government or your local utility company. We suggest talking to your local Wilmington solar installation expert to learn more about these incentives and to ensure that you're getting all of the money you can for your solar panels.

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 Wilmington, NC Solar Incentives FAQs

How can I learn if I qualify for certain solar incentives?

It's a good idea to talk to your local Wilmington solar installer for a better understanding of which incentives your project may qualify for. Typically, solar incentives apply to new solar systems installed on property you own (in the U.S.) between the dates specified by the incentive. Some incentives, like those provided at the level of the North Carolina government, might have additional requirements.

My home already has solar panels installed. Are there any incentives that I qualify for?

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 may qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the year it was installed. Talking to the company that installed your solar system, or any local Wilmington solar installer, can help you learn what incentives you might want to apply for.

What are some environmental benefits of adding solar panels to my house?

Solar energy is renewable — by changing where you get your energy, you help lessen the strain on our planet's resources. A solar system can also lower your home's CO2 emissions by 350 pounds a year, or around 7,000 pounds over 20 years.

If I change out my appliances for ones that can utilize solar energy, are there any credits that I can claim?

Under the new Inflation Reduction Act, there are several new financial incentives that are available when you make eco-friendly improvements to your home. More details regarding these incentives, including information about incentives for purchasing new appliances, can be found here.

Can I claim incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?

The order in which incentives are applied might vary depending on which incentives you receive but typically yes, you can receive multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Get in touch with your solar installer or a local tax professional to ensure you are claiming all possible incentives and applying them in the correct order.

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.

Follow us