North Carolina Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]

In this EcoWatch guide on buying solar panels in North Carolina, you will:

  • Learn about the price and process of installing solar panels in North Carolina
  • Explore how much energy you can generate from installing solar panels
  • Discover the best available solar panel brands in North Carolina

EcoWatch has helped thousands of homeowners make the switch to renewable energy resources by providing them with unbiased and factual information about solar installations.

Ecowatch Author Alora Rands

By Alora Rands

Updated 9/18/2022

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SunPower

  • Pros icon Most efficient panels on the market
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  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Con icon Expensive
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Blue Raven Solar

  • Pros icon Industry-leading in-house financing
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  • Con icon Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

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  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon System Monitoring

How to Get Solar Panels in North Carolina

The process for installing solar panels is similar to most other contracted home improvement jobs. Unless you have advanced electrical contracting experience, you will likely need to hire a solar company to design, plan and perform the installation. 

Although the exact process may vary depending on the company you choose to work with, it will generally undergo the following steps:
Man installing solar panels on a North Carolina home

  1. Contact a solar company of your choice and receive a free quote
  2. Choose your financing method and sign a contract
  3. Receive required licenses and permits (handled by the company)
  4. Order the solar equipment (handled by the company)
  5. Install the solar panels (handled by the company)
  6. Pass inspections with the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ)
  7. Receive final permission-to-operate (PTO)
  8. Turn on your system and begin generating renewable energy

For those wondering if solar energy is worth it in North Carolina, it’s actually one of the most solar-friendly states in the country. 

Some of the most appealing benefits of solar panels in North Carolina include:

  • Increased home value of up to 4.1%
  • Property tax exemption despite the increased value of your home when you install solar
  • An above-average amount of sunlight
  • Net metering opportunities to credit towards future electric bills
  • Below-average price of solar equipment
  • Above-average access to quality solar installers

What Is The Price of Solar Panel Installation in North Carolina?

After the federal tax credit of 30% is applied, the price of solar panel installation in North Carolina typically ranges from $15,037 to $26,314 with an average of around $20,675 for most North Carolina households. 

With so many companies competing for your business in the state, the price of installing solar panels in North Carolina is lower than the average state the United States. 

While the price tag of around $20,000 may come as a shock to some, this total seems far less daunting when compared to the cost of doing nothing. Without installing solar panels, the average cost of energy over 25 years in North Carolina lands around $46,705 (based on an average bill of $118 per month). 

But if you make the decision to install solar panels, you are projected to save nearly half of that total in avoided energy costs (we estimate savings of $20,035). 

Of course, the price of your system, as well as estimated savings, varies wildly. The range of solar panel costs is due to several factors, namely:

  • Components of your solar system (do you need a backup battery?)
  • The brand of your solar panels 
  • The installation company that you choose 
  • The quality of your installation

Solar Quick Tip - North Carolina gets 213 sunny days each year

Other unexpected fees, such as permits, licenses and liability insurance can also add to your totals. Luckily, many North Carolina residents can opt for smaller, more affordable solar arrays due to the above-average sunlight exposure, which can provide excellent bang for your buck.

After installation, your solar panels start to pay for themselves by offsetting the cost of your energy. In fact, it takes an average of just 13 years for NC residents’ solar systems to pay for themselves. 

Although the upfront cost of solar installation in North Carolina is important to consider, there are monthly benefits to going solar. In addition to the obvious savings on their monthly electric bill, homeowners in North Carolina are making the switch to solar energy so that they can increase their energy independence and contribute to a more sustainable future. 

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in North Carolina

As a homeowner, you want only the best options for your solar installation. The more reputable the company, the greater the quality of solar brands it will carry. 

Below, we have compiled a brief price comparison of the best solar brands typically available to those who reside in the Tar Heel State.

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

If you would like to learn more about these solar brands to determine which is right for your home, make sure to look at our guide to the best solar panel manufacturers

Regardless of your budget, we’d happily recommend any of the above brands above to help lower your electricity costs and contribute to a greener future.

If you are ready to take your solar panel search to the next level, make sure to review our recommended providers below and click the link to get your free, no-obligation quote. 

Is North Carolina a Good State For Solar Panels?

North Carolina has become one of the top states for solar installation. It even offers some of the most affordable solar equipment in the 50 states. 

According to our research, the average amount for each watt installed in North Carolina is about $2.54. At around 12 cents less than the national average, this ranks NC as the ninth-lowest state for solar panel prices in the country.

Further, North Carolina’s solar-friendly legislation makes solar projects even more affordable. With stellar solar programs such as net metering and other incentives, solar electricity has become the most cost-effective choice for North Carolina residents, businesses and utilities alike. 

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in North Carolina?

Although the average solar system in North Carolina generates enough energy to cover the cost of your household energy needs, several factors impact your solar energy generation including:

  • Solar panel efficiency. Higher efficiency means more energy, so solar panels that convert more sunlight into electricity produce more energy for your home.
  • Number of solar cells on your panels. The more solar cells you have on a solar panel, the larger that panel will be and the more energy it will be able to convert. Although 60-cell solar panels are typically used for homes, larger 72-cell panels are more suitable for larger and commercial buildings. 
  • Hours of sunlight per day. Solar panels need the sun in order to work, so more hours of sunlight means more energy. So, states with more hours of sunlight will produce more energy.
  • Shading on your property. If panels are covered in shade, they will not perform as well as panels that have access to constant direct sunlight.
  • Orientation of your solar panels. Orientation of your solar system matters because if the panels are not angled towards the sun, they may not perform optimally.

The most accurate way to determine how much energy your home solar will generate is to have a professional solar installer estimate your home. However, below you will find estimates of the average solar energy generated from a well-designed solar system in your area.

Size of Solar Panel System Estimated kWh/Year Generated
6 kW 9,497 kWh
7 kW 11,080 kWh
8 kW 12,663 kWh
9 kW 14,245 kWh

As so many factors contribute to the overall efficiency of your solar energy system, many homeowners want to know just how much energy they can produce with their solar investment. With the EcoWatch Solar Calculator, you can figure out just how much energy solar panels could produce from your roof.

Solar Panel Policy History in North Carolina

Because North Carolina does not have its own energy resources — such as coal, uranium or natural gas — it has historically relied on the rest of the United States to supply its energy. Yet, the need to rely on other states for energy has its financial drawbacks, which is why North Carolina has turned to solar energy as a power source.

NC has become a leader in the solar market, especially since the introduction of North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard in 2007, and is second only to California in its installed solar energy capacity1

More recent legislation has further mandated the switch to renewable energy and has a goal set to reduce 40 percent of statewide greenhouse gas reduction, which has made solar energy even more popular in North Carolina. 

To help homeowners and businesses alike, North Carolina offers several incentives and programs to offset solar system cost, such as public solar loan programs, tax exemptions and rebate programs. 

What Are The Solar Panel Incentives in North Carolina?

With so many solar panel incentives, the upfront cost of solar installation does not have to scare homeowners away from solar systems. From financing options to investment tax credits, it has never been so easy to go solar in North Carolina.

  • Property Tax Abatement: Since 2008, North Carolina has offered tax exemptions for homeowners who opt to install their own solar panel system. Not only do solar energy systems help North Carolinians save money on their electric bills, but they can also increase the value of their homes without impacting property tax.
  • North Carolina Net Metering Policy: For home solar power systems up to 1,000 kW in size, North Carolina offers a net metering policy that allows homeowners to credit any extra solar energy towards their next electric bill. Learn more about net metering in the video below!
  • Duke Energy Solar Rebate: If you are a Duke Energy customer, you could qualify for the company’s solar rebate program which will assist with the upfront cost of installing a solar system. Eligibility is determined by state residency, so only those who live in North Carolina, South Carolina and a few other select states can qualify.
  • Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: City and county governments in North Carolina must offer low-interest loans and financing for solar systems in both homes and businesses.
  • Local Incentives: Depending on your location, there may be other NC solar incentives available. So, make sure you research any solar programs in your area.

Making it even easier to go solar, the government offers a federal solar tax credit for those who make the switch to green energy. When combined with local incentives, the cost of installing solar energy becomes a lot less intimidating. To learn more about solar incentives, check out our guide to North Carolina solar incentives.

Find a Local Installer in North Carolina

The solar experts at EcoWatch have done all the research for you so that you can choose from a reliable list of top solar installers and brands. We dive deep into each company’s services provided, years in business, price, industry affiliations and more. 

To get a quote to determine the next steps for installing solar power, look for the best local solar companies in your city or town.

greensboroGreensboro fayetevilleFayetteville high pointHigh Point caryCary wilmingtonWilmington
durhamDurham greenvilleGreenville concordConcord apexApex winston-salemWinston-Salem

Whether you are located in Raleigh or Garner, there are reliable solar companies ready to help you with your next solar project. Make sure to check out some of the best solar companies in North Carolina to find a solar installer near you.

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Alora Rands

Based in the Minneapolis area, Alora is an avid writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Alora has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in child, family and school psychology, but she has always had a love for biology and environmental studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Alora spent her days working with children with disabilities and nights as a freelance writer of commercial, blog and technical content. When she is not at the workplace, Alora can be found hiking with her dogs, chasing sunsets with her camera or plotting her next novel.