Cost of Solar Panels in South Carolina: Local Solar Installation Prices (2022)

Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in South Carolina:

  • Average Cost Per Watt: $2.72
  • Cost of Average System: $22,141*
  • Cost of Energy Without Solar: $54,481
  • Payback Period: 12 Years**
  • Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $24,561

*Average system size is calculated using data from the Energy Information Administration. This price is after tax credit.
**Payback period is calculated assuming the system is purchased in cash.

Ecowatch Author Karsten Neumeister

By Karsten Neumeister, Solar Expert

Updated 5/17/2022

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Find Cost Savings on Solar in South Carolina

As a homeowner in South Carolina, you may be wondering: How much do solar panels cost in your area? In this article, we’ll discuss the average cost of a solar installation, how much that can save you on energy for your home and what incentives are available in your region. If you want to jump straight to getting a quote for an installation, you can follow the links below to speak with a verified professional.

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SunPower

  • Pros icon Most efficient panels on the market
  • Pros icon National coverage
  • Pros icon Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Con icon Expensive
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Powerhome Solar

  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
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  • Con icon Quality of installation may vary by location
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Summit Solar

  • Pros icon Comprehensive service offerings
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  • Pros icon Outstanding customer service
  • Con icon Expensive
  • Con icon Relatively young company

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  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon Roofing Services
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Cost of Solar Panels 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 $22,141 after factoring in the federal solar tax credit

However, these figures are just estimates. Several factors, including the solar system size, affect the total cost of a solar power system for your South Carolina home. 

Solar Panel System Installation Cost in South Carolina

The table below shows the average costs of solar systems in South Carolina before and after the federal solar tax credit. 

Size of Solar Panel System South Carolina Solar Panel Cost Cost After Federal Tax Credit
8 kW $21,760 $16,102
9 kW $24,480 $18,115
10 kW $27,200 $20,128
11 kW $29,920 $22,141
12 kW $32,640 $24,154
13 kW $35,360 $26,166
14 kW $38,080 $28,179

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?

Several factors play into the cost of solar panels for your South Carolina home. They fall into three primary categories: equipment, financing and the installer you choose to help you go solar. 

Solar Equipment

Like most items, some solar panels are of higher quality than others. Most solar providers offer a variety of solar panel and inverter brands and sizes to accommodate the needs of any project, regardless of how big, small or unique it is. 

The solar equipment you choose greatly impacts your overall cost. For example, if you opt for high-efficiency, high-wattage panels, you’ll contend with a higher upfront cost. However, many homeowners find the extra cost worth it in the long run, as it further reduces their utility bills. 

Suppose you’re a homeowner working with limited installation space, or you have electric vehicles and power-hungry appliances. Since you have a higher energy usage, you may find that high-efficiency panels are the best option. However, if you have a lot of roof space or aren’t concerned about offsetting 100% of your energy costs, you could go with a lower-efficiency, lower-cost model.

Solar Financing

Most solar providers offer several financing options to accommodate the needs of various homeowners’ budgets. Generally, you have three main ways to acquire solar: making a cash purchase, taking out a loan or signing a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). 

Choosing to pay cash for the system upfront, you eliminate the need for monthly payments or added interest. Opting for a cash purchase upfront is typically the most cost-effective solution. 

Solar loans aren’t a bad choice, but you often incur interest over the payback period. Although you accrue interest over your loan time frame, it’s a great option for homeowners who can’t afford the total cost of a solar investment all at once. 

Solar leases/PPAs are an option for residents who can’t commit to a cash purchase or secure a loan with a reasonable interest rate. Through a lease, you’re essentially renting the panels from a solar company. You don’t own the system, so you can’t cash in on incentives like the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) or any state tax credits or rebates. We typically do not recommend solar leases, as they prevent you from maximizing your savings. 

Solar Installation Company

The installation company you choose also plays a considerable role in the final cost of your clean energy system. As you sift through reputable solar providers in your area, you’ll probably notice the price and value variations from company to company.

For example, a solar contractor in Charleston may quote you a higher price but offer a better warranty than a competitor in Columbia. 

While the fluctuation may be minor in some cases, other companies may cost a few thousand dollars more or less than their competitors. Generally, solar providers with higher prices have higher overhead costs, which reflects in the price you pay. 

You should always go with a trustworthy solar provider that you are comfortable with rather than picking based solely on price. We recommend South Carolinians get free quotes from multiple solar installation companies to compare prices, warranties, features, etc. 

South Carolina Solar Incentives

South Carolina residents have abundant financial 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 the potential for eliminating their energy bills, 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 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, Santee Cooper customers are eligible for a rebate of up to $1.05 per watt of rooftop solar energy they install.
Federal Solar Tax Credit The solar ITC allows homeowners to claim a tax credit worth 26% of their installed system costs. In South Carolina, that’s an average of $7,779.

Best Solar Panel Brands and Installed Solar System Costs in 2022

As mentioned, the brand of solar panel you choose will impact your costs. By how much, you may wonder? The table below compares average costs for some of the best solar panels on the market. 

Solar Panel Brand Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)
LG Solar $$$
Canadian Solar $$
JA Solar $$
Mission Solar $$
Panasonic $$
Q Cells $$
REC $$$
Silfab $$$
SunPower $$$$$
Tesla $$
Trina Solar $$$

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People Also Ask 

EcoWatch FAQ: Solar Panel Cost South Carolina

At EcoWatch, we get hundreds of questions every day about solar energy systems. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions from South Carolina residents.

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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.