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Fact Sheet: Solar Energy Use in South Carolina

South Carolina is home to vibrant natural resources. The state's Blue Ridge mountains, salt marshes, estuaries full of wildlife, and coastal beaches attract flocks of tourists each year. Consequently, an investment in solar energy can help keep South Carolina's clear waters and blue skies clean. South Carolina is currently making the necessary changes to support a thriving solar industry, making today the perfect time for homeowners to invest in solar power.
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CC-PD-Mark, source: WikipediaWith its sunshine and blue skies, South Carolina is an excellent state for solar energy. While the state has a long history of resistance to solar power, recent legislation is about to change this. In May 2014, South Carolina's House of Representatives voted unanimously on legislation to promote solar power. Read on to find out more about the resulting solar incentives and decide if a solar energy system is right for you.

Grid Connected Solar Power Systems in South Carolina (2012)

  • Residential Solar Power Systems: 0.3 Megawatt
  • Non-Residential Solar Power Systems: 0.2 Megawatt
  • Utility: NA
  • Total: 0.5 Megawatt
  • Cumulative: 4.6 Megawatt

South Carolina's recent Distributed Energy Resource Act aims to increase the number of the state's solar power systems. Under this legislation, larger utilities such as SCE&G and Duke Power must obtain 2% of their average 5-year peak power demand from solar energy. Of this 2%, 1% must be comprised of 1-10 MW solar projects. The other 1% must be comprised of solar projects under 1 MW.

Cost of Electricity in South Carolina

  • Electricity Price: $0.12 per kWh
  • Average Electricity Bill: $159.00
  • Average Bill after Solar: $68

Investing in solar power can substantially cut back on homeowners' monthly electricity bills. With an average payment of $48 for leased solar systems, homeowners can expect to save around $43 each month. A low payback time of 7.7 years for solar energy systems makes it even easier for homeowners to reap significant savings from solar power.

Solar Radiation

Average solar radiation in South Carolina is between 3 and 4 kilowatt per day over an area of 1 square meter (10.76 square foot). The state receives a yearly average of 211 sunny or partly sunny days in Charleston and 221 sunny days in Greer, which is plenty of sunshine to power solar energy systems.

State Solar Incentives and Rebate Programs

  • State Solar Tax Credit: 25% of eligible costs Maximum Incentive: In any given tax year, $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer's tax liability for that taxable year (whichever is less)
  • State Solar Rebate: None
  • Property Tax Exemption: None
  • Sales Tax Exemption: None

Although South Carolina currently lacks statewide solar incentives such as sales and property tax exemptions, homeowners in this state should expect big changes in the next few years. The recent Distributed Energy Resources Act also lifts the net metering cap on individual solar projects, changing it from 100 kW to 1 MW. This has the potential to make a big difference in homeowners' savings. Additionally, the Federal Tax Credit also applies.

Solar Installers in South Carolina

Solar energy contracts for $17,500 and over must be performed by a licensed contractor. Homeowners can research the license of their solar installer on the state's government website, or by calling (803) 896-4686.

Summary: Good Conditions for Solar Power Systems

The combination of abundant sunshine and exciting new legislation makes this the perfect time to invest in solar power in South Carolina. Residents who join the state's buzzing solar energy wave can benefit immensely from improved solar incentives such as the state's recently expanded net metering law. To calculate your costs and savings, please use our Solar Calculator , or contact solar installers in your area.

Fact Sheet Solar Energy Use in South CarolinaSolar Energy Fact Sheet: South Carolina, ©

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Written by: Oliver Behrla, Editor