Solar Panel Cost in South Carolina (2022 Local Savings Guide)
In this EcoWatch guide on the cost of solar panels in South Carolina, you’ll learn:
- What the average cost of going solar in South Carolina is
- How solar system sizes affect installation costs in South Carolina
- How South Carolinians can save money when going solar
This guide has helped thousands of South Carolina homeowners save time and money when going solar in the Palmetto State. Let’s get started!
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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in South Carolina?
The average cost of solar panels in South Carolina is $2.72 per watt, which is higher than the U.S. average of $2.66 per watt. An 11-kilowatt solar panel system is the most common system size to offset the average monthly utility bill of a Palmetto State resident.
Using these figures, an 11-kilowatt solar power system has an average price of $20,944 after factoring in the federal investment tax credit (ITC). However, these figures are just estimates. Several factors, including the solar system size, affect the total cost of a solar project for your South Carolina home.
Here are price estimates for the most common solar system sizes:
|Size of Solar Panel System||South Carolina Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
As you can see, the size (kilowatts) of your solar energy system is important, as it not only heavily influences overall costs, but also determines how likely you are to meet your energy goals. For example, if you’re hoping to eliminate your electric bills entirely, you will need to have an appropriately sized system that meets or exceeds your energy consumption.
If you’re not sure how big of a renewable energy system you need, we recommend consulting with a home solar panel installation company to get a free system estimate.
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in South Carolina?
South Carolina homeowners usually pay anywhere from $15,000 to $27,000 for solar panels after the federal tax credit is considered. It’s challenging to determine where within this range your system cost will fall because there are numerous factors at play that affect your pricing.
Below, we’ll take you through each of the primary cost factors along with some additional considerations for going solar in South Carolina.
Of all factors affecting cost, the solar equipment you install will have the greatest impact on the total tab for your system. Solar panels tend to range in price from around $1.60 per watt to over $3.00 per watt, depending on their quality, efficiency and included warranty.
South Carolina averages 216 sunny days per year — well above the national average of 205. The abundant and intense sun in the area means homeowners don’t generally need to invest in the high-efficiency, more costly equipment needed in less-sunny states. They’ll be well served by less-costly, lower-efficiency panels.
Unfortunately, though, South Carolina experiences more severe weather events, including hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes, than many other states.
This extreme weather makes SC prone to power outages, so many solar customers in the area choose to add solar batteries to their systems. Doing so provides electricity through blackouts, but it also adds thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to your total solar system cost.
Solar Financing in South Carolina
Prospective solar customers have four options for purchasing solar panels: cash, solar loans, solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Of the payment methods that leave you with panel ownership (cash purchase and solar loan), which one you choose will affect your all-in pricing.
Paying cash means making a large up-front payment, but also that you’ll avoid paying interest on your system cost. Because of interest payments, solar loans end up being the more expensive option overall — sometimes thousands of dollars more.
Unfortunately, South Carolina is one of the few states that don’t have state funding to make solar loans more affordable. There is no Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for residential customers in SC and no state options for affordable loans for low-income customers.
South Carolina Solar Installation Company
As is the case with any contractor, the solar installer you choose can affect your pricing. Prices naturally vary between installers due to differences in equipment charges, labor fees and warranties offered.
In most cases, these differences are minor (along the lines of several hundred dollars), but there can be variances in the thousands of dollars.
Significant price differences between two companies can exist because of the different equipment each offers. Looking at the two best solar installers in SC — Summit Solar and SunPower — you can see pricing vary by thousands based on equipment.
Summit installs panels made by LG, Sonnen and Tesla, all of which are relatively affordable and typically in the $1- to $2-per-watt range. SunPower only installs Maxeon panels, which are usually above $3 per watt but are some of the best panels available. Based on equipment differences alone, you can expect SunPower to be around $11,000 more expensive than Summit — but it’s important to compare companies based on value provided and not just cost.
Additional Considerations and Costs in South Carolina
Below are some additional things you’ll want to consider and get squared away before committing to a solar installer.
- Permits: All solar system installations in South Carolina require a building permit from your local jurisdiction. You should confirm with your installer that its team will handle the process for you, as is common practice in SC.
- Licenses: The State of South Carolina requires that all solar installation companies have a Certificate of Authorization for work related to electrical systems. Each company must also have a licensed electrician on board to be on site during installations and to complete system connections to the grid. Check to make sure your installer meets these requirements before you commit.
- Warranties: Solar warranties protect your investment in case of panel problems (such as physical damage and poor functionality), and some also protect you in case your home incurs damage during the installation process. It’s important to consider the warranty when deciding if the value provided by a company is worth the cost.
- HOAs: South Carolina is one of the few states that doesn’t offer residents the inalienable right to install solar panels — so if you live in an area governed by a homeowners’ association, you might need to get permission from the HOA before you move ahead with solar conversion.
- Environmental zoning: South Carolina’s zoning regulations rarely create issues for rooftop solar installations, so you shouldn’t have any issues.
South Carolina Solar Panel Incentives
South Carolina residents have abundant financial solar incentives at their disposal. The state is great for solar energy systems, as it has more than 200 sunny days every year.
In addition to energy savings and gaining energy independence, homeowners can also rake in the benefits of lower-cost solar energy systems by using the following solar incentives:
|South Carolina Solar Incentive||How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in South Carolina|
|State Solar Tax Credit||South Carolina’s state tax credit for solar energy allows residents to claim 25% of their solar costs as a tax credit.|
|State Property Tax Exemption||This law ensures residents with under a 20-kW solar system won’t pay increased property taxes due to the increase in home value after installing solar.|
|Net Metering Program||Net metering — also called net energy metering — allows South Carolinians to receive credits from their utility company for any excess power their panels produce.|
|Local Solar Rebates & Incentives||It’s worth looking up any additional rebates, credits or solar programs offered by your city or utility company. For example, Duke Energy and Santee Cooper customers are eligible for rebates up to $1.05 per watt of rooftop solar energy they install.|
|Federal Solar Tax Credit||This federal tax credit allows homeowners to claim a tax credit worth 30% of their installed system costs. In South Carolina, that’s an average of $8,976.|
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in South Carolina
The best solar panel brand for your home is one that can meet your energy needs and also fits your budget. The table below includes some top brands available in SC and pricing to help you decide which might work for your purposes.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
Want to see what size solar system you need and how much it will cost? Select one of our recommended providers below, and you’ll get a free, customized quote from a local installer.
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FAQs: Solar Panel Cost South Carolina
At EcoWatch, we get hundreds of questions every day about solar energy systems. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The average cost of installing solar panels in South Carolina varies based on several aspects. The size of the system, the particular solar equipment, and the solar installer you choose can all impact the total for your new solar energy system.
For example, let’s consider an 11-kilowatt system. On average, this system costs $20,944 to install in South Carolina (after the federal solar tax credit). If you end up paying more than $22,000, you’re likely paying an above-market price. On the other hand, if you pay $20,000 or less, you may be getting an outstanding deal.
South Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches and wonderful golf courses. As such, most South Carolina residents are probably not surprised that the state gets 216 sunny days per year on average.
This means that solar panels can definitely be a great investment for South Carolina homeowners seeking to save money on their electricity. The potential to eliminate your energy bills for your South Carolina home is there. However, several factors can impact how much you’ll actually end up saving.
For example, you need to have an appropriately sized system capable of producing your electricity consumption or more. South Carolina has an average of 216 sunny days throughout the year, higher than the national average.
So, yes, you can potentially eliminate your energy bills entirely with solar panels in South Carolina. Many homeowners with a system that meets or exceeds their energy consumption save tens of thousands of dollars over the system’s lifetime.