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How to Get North Carolina Solar Incentives for Free Solar Panels

North Carolina is the leading energy center with abundant sunshine, little danger of severe weather, and affordable solar panels. Solar Energy Industries Association ranks North Carolina 6th for solar installations. 

North Carolina doesn’t give many incentives to install solar panels since people know it will cut their utility rates. The federal tax credit, net metering schemes, and solar incentives may lower North Carolina solar installation prices.

The price of solar power has diminished by 70% in the past ten years, and there are still solar subsidies and incentives to cut the cost further. The first and most significant solar incentive is the federal solar tax credit, which may recoup 26% of the cost of installing solar panels the year following installation. States and utility providers offer solar incentives, and whether you qualify depends on your location and tax status. Below explains homeowner solar incentives. 

What Are the Available North Carolina Solar Incentives?

North Carolina solar incentives have various national incentives. Here are a few ways to minimize solar panel costs and shorten payback periods:

Federal Tax Credits

The federal solar tax credit, or Investment Tax Credit (ITC), grants new solar owners in the U.S. a tax credit equivalent to 26% of their solar installation expenses. The ITC will drop to 22% in 2023 and 10% for commercial solar projects. ITC incentives will be withdrawn from households on January 1, 2024.

State Tax Credits

Many states provide solar tax credits. Solar installers in qualifying states get a tax credit the following year. States may claim varying solar tax credits added to the federal investment tax credit, but generally, a percentage of the system cost. Almost all state tax credits have a limit, ranging from $500 to $5,000.

Solar Panel Rebates

State, utility, and solar panel manufacturer rebates reduce installation costs. Rebates are dollar-for-dollar reductions in solar costs, given to installers and passed on to consumers.

Net Metering

Residential solar panels help homeowners via net metering. Your panels produce every kilowatt-hour (kWh) decreases your bill by one kWh.

Solar panels produce the majority of their electricity during the day when most people are not at home. Extrasolar energy is put into the grid and delivered to your neighbors. Net metering provides complete solar credit.

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)

Some states employ SRECs as an incentive for sustainable energy production. Each SREC is “proof of generation” for a 1-megawatt hour (MWh) of solar power, and utility companies need them to fulfill regulatory regulations.

SRECs are sold by brokers that purchase from energy producers (solar owners). Few states have SREC markets, and most solar owners may only sell SRECs 5-10 years after installation.

SRECs, vary in value per state, dependent on fines utility companies face if they don’t comply. SREC sales revenue must be remitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Performance-Based Incentives (PBIs)

PBIs are performance-based incentives for producing electricity. These incentives are given directly to the solar owner on their electricity bill as a “bonus” payment for every kWh their solar panels generate.

PBI payments are minimal (under $.30/kWh) and set out in long-term contracts. Solar owners must hand over their SRECs to the utility.

Tax Breaks for Installing Solar Panels

This category includes non-direct solar tax incentives. Several states exclude solar homeowners from sales and property taxes. These tax advantages don’t save solar owners money over time but help them avoid taxes.

Sales tax exemptions minimize the initial cost of solar panels, while property tax exemptions prevent solar owners from further taxes on their houses.

Who can qualify for solar incentives?

Solar incentive eligibility relies on many criteria, including:

  • Availability of State Incentives
  • Tax Obligation
  • Annual Income

Some states provide no solar incentives. Solar may still be economically viable in some states but not because of state legislation.

Everyone who owes taxes may get the federal tax credit, “Tax liability” means how much you owe in taxes.

You may claim federal and state solar tax credits if you earn enough (and owe enough, after other credits). If your tax due is less than the credits, you may claim them across numerous years.

Low-Income Solar Incentives

Your income might also qualify you for reverse incentives. In certain areas, if you earn less than the average, you may qualify for low-income incentives and rebates that make solar almost cheap.

Do Solar Leases and PPAs Qualify You for Incentives?

Rarely do people who lease or buy solar panels qualify for financial incentives. Instead, solar installation companies may claim tax credits and SRECs.

People who pick a solar lease or power-purchase agreement (PPA) in a state with incentives will likely pay less per kWh than in states without incentives.

PPAs rarely make more financial sense than purchasing solar with cash or a loan, but they may help those on low or fixed incomes who want solar but can’t qualify for tax advantages.

Solar Incentives Available to Businesses

Some solar incentives are exclusively for businesses. Businesses installing solar may claim the federal tax credit and some capital expense deductions.

Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) and bonus depreciation are tax deductions; Both enable companies to deduct solar costs from income, reducing their tax burden.

Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) and bonus depreciation (MACRS) and bonus depreciation may help companies recover the cost of a solar energy installation faster.

Other Solar Incentive Resources

Check out The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for additional information about solar incentives, or seek local North Carolina solar incentives activists in your state who are campaigning to implement excellent legislation to assist people in going solar.

Local installers that have experience dealing with state and local governments are the greatest source for up-to-date information on solar incentives. They can help you apply for all available incentives.


According to Solar Energy Industries Association, Solar installation costs have fallen by more than 60% in the last decade, allowing the sector to grow into new markets and deploy thousands of systems worldwide. A typical residential system cost $40,000 before incentives in 2010 and is now about $20,000, while utility-scale pricing varies from $16/MWh to $35/MWh, comparable with other generation sources. Consult an expert to help you make the best decision when opting for North Carolina solar incentives.