Solar Installation Charleston, SC
How Much do Solar Panels Cost in Charleston, SC?
Solar panels in Charleston currently cost around $3 per watt, which is a bit on the high side. Most solar panels come in 250 watt sizes, meaning each panel is going to cost you around $750. When you do the math, considering you’re going to need from 20 to 28 panels to be completely self sufficient, your total cost for solar panels is going to be something like $15,000 to $21,000. But before you decide that’s too much, lets take a look at some of the incentives in place for citizens of South Carolina to go solar, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars in tax breaks and rebates.
What are the benefits of going solar?
South Carolina offers a number of really good incentives for citizens considering going solar.
- Renewable Portfolio Standards- The state of South Carolina mandates utility companies get 2% of their total energy output from renewable resources such as solar or they have to pay a fee. Most utilities will find ways to encourage customers to install solar panels and use other renewable energy sources rather than pay this fee, so check with your local utility to see what incentives they might offer.
- South Carolina Energy Rebates- In South Carolina, you can receive a lump sum payment or apply your rebate to the installation price of your system. Most installers are familiar with the paperwork etc and will handle it for you, but what it works out to is a $1 / watt rebate off the cost of your solar panel system from Duke Energy. Santee Cooper offers a rebate of $1.30 / watt of solar panels installed on roofs, up to $5,200.
- Net Metering- The state of South Carolina has net metering standards, which means it should be easier for your installer to get your solar system connected to the grid, likely saving you lots of time and money on your installation.
- State Tax Credit- The state of South Carolina offers a tax credit of 25% of the total cost of your installation. If your installation costs $20,000, you can see how valuable this incentive is.
- Federal Tax Credit- And don’t forget, the federal government offers a similar tax credit, this one of 26% of the total cost of your solar installation. Once again, you’re looking at as much as a $5,000 savings here.
How much will solar panels increase the value of my home?
There’s no hard and fast rule for how much your home’s value will increase due to the addition of solar panels. There are several schools of thought on the matter though, but in general what it comes down to is a $10,000 – $20,000 increase in the value of your home. Some potential buyers won’t be too excited about your solar panels however, and won’t be willing to pay more for a house with solar panels. It is well established however that homes with solar panels do tend to sell faster than other homes, so you should be in pretty good shape.
What are the effects of Net Metering?
Net metering is the process of measuring not only the output of your solar power system, but how much of that energy you use as opposed to how much is put back into the “grid”. Having strong net metering laws such as South Carolina’s is an absolute must for solar panels because accurate net metering is how the energy company knows how many kilowatt hours it should credit you toward future electric bills, one of the primary benefits of having solar panels.
How much solar power do I need to power my home?
Every home is different of course, but in general you’re going to need something between 5 and 8 kilowatts of solar panels to be completely energy self-sufficient, if that is your goal. This is a big span of course, but energy needs vary wildly from home to home based on the size of the home, number of residents, energy usage per month, etc.
What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in South Carolina?
So here’s the best news about solar panels in South Carolina- thanks to the great rebates and tax incentives, you can expect for your solar panels to “pay” for themselves in about 8 to 8 and ½ years. Once your panels have paid for themselves, you are looking at “free” electricity for the remainder of your solar panels’ lifespans- which could be anywhere from 12-17 years or possibly more. So despite being some of the most expensive solar panels in the country, SC also has one of the quickest pay back periods thanks to state incentives.
How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels last anywhere from 20-30 years depending on a number of factors. Most solar panels are warrantied for 20-25 years by the manufacturer, and your installation is often warrantied for up to 20-25 years by the company you use. Most solar panels pay for themselves in a relatively short time as well, so you can expect “free” electricity for the duration of your panels’ lives after they have done so.
Things to look for in a solar company:
Time in industry: Just like in any other profession, the more experience someone has at what they’re doing, the better work you can expect them to do. Now just because a company hasn’t been around very long doesn’t mean they don’t do quality work- it’s just one thing to consider when choosing a solar installation company.
Types of panels: Not all solar companies work with all kinds of panels. If you know what kind of panels you need or want, it would be wise to make sure the company you’re considering is willing or able to work with the kinds of panels you want, or you might be wasting each other’s time.
Payment options: Some companies offer payment plans, some don’t. Make sure you can meet whatever payment requirements the company you’re working with will insist on, or once again you may be wasting each other’s time.
Warranties: Make sure you understand your solar installation company’s warranty (if they offer one at all) before going through with your installation. Some companies claim to have a comprehensive warranty plan, but when you get down to the fine print you’ll see that their warranty only covers errors in installation and not defects in the product or damage to panels or anything else.
Reviews: Probably the most valuable tool you have in deciding on a solar company is customer reviews. Luckily, most companies have reviews out there on neutral 3rd party sites, so you can get a good picture of what kind of work a company really does.
Types of Solar Panels & inverters
So what kind of solar panels are there out there and what are inverters? Here’s a quick primer:
1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels- These panels are the smaller ones. They tend to be much more efficient, hence their small size, but also more expensive. They also can work with less direct sunlight, so these are a good choice for homes that deal with a lot of shade at times. They also tend to last longer, so they make a better long term investment.
2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels- These are the bigger panels. They are more often than not installed on the ground. They are less efficient so they must be bigger to function. They don’t last as long as monocrystalline panels, but they are cheaper so many home owners prefer these.
String Inverters- Inverters are the device that actually converts solar energy into usable electricity for your home. String inverters are the standard inverter used in most home solar installations. They are cheaper than other inverters, and work well with no shade interference.
Micro-inverters: These inverters work well even when dealing with shade and allows monitoring of individual panels, which is great for making sure your panels are operating properly. They are good for rooftop installations, but also tend to be somewhat more expensive.
Power Optimizers: More efficient than string inverters and less expensive than microinverters, these kinds of inverters tend to be the most expensive, but also offer individual panel monitoring.
How does weather affect solar panels?
Though solar panels work in all kinds of environments, there might be some things to consider about your local weather patterns before making a decision on whether to buy solar panels or on what kind you might want.
* Fog / Cloud cover- Heavy fog or cloud cover can severely inhibit performance by solar panels- lowering their output to as little as 10-30% their usual.
* Rain- Cloud cover not withstanding, rain is actually good for solar panels, as it helps clean off some of the dust and grit that can accumulate over the course of time.
* Snow- Snow is a major problem with solar panels, as any significant accumulation can completely block your solar panels, and therefore stop production of electricity.
* Temperature- Higher temperatures don’t actually help solar panels produce power- in fact temperatures above 77 degrees fahrenheit reduce efficiency by as much as 1% per degree.
How do I get solar panels installed in Charleston, SC?
Great news, there are LOTS of solar companies in the state of South Carolina, many of whom are more than willing to travel significant distances in order to get your business. We are going to focus on the immediate Charleston area as much as we can in this article, but keep in mind that you can cast your net further.
Company: Sunview Solar
Address: 760 Travelers Blvd, Summerville, SC 29485
Years in Business: 7
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook ( 1 review), 5 / 5 Angi (2 reviews), 5 / 5 BBB (3 reviews)
Business Quote: “. Together we can build a brighter energy future for all South Carolinians that starts today.”
The Good: No bad reviews!
The Bad: 2 complaints with the BBB, only 7 years in business
Summary: All signs point to yes. Seems to be a solid young company, only red flags I found were the two complaints with the BBB, which no one is immune to. Give them a look.
Company: Yes Solar Solutions
Address: 9481 Industrial Center Dr, Ladson, SC 29456
Years in Business: 27
Reviews: 5 / 5 Birdeye (2 reviews), 5 / 5 BBB (3 reviews)
Business Quote: Yes Solar Solutions is proud to make solar simple, bringing the power of independence to North Carolina homeowners and businesses.
The Good: 27 years in business!!!
The Bad: Limited web presence, unclear situation
Summary: So 27 years in business is outstanding, hats off to these guys. I have previously reviewed this company in another article for Cary, North Carolina and found them to be very solid. They apparently have a field office in Charleston as well, so I’m not exactly sure how to get in touch with the Charleston office, so the exact situation is a little hazy. But don’t let that hinder you, give these guys a look.
Company: Raywell Solar
Address: 460 King St Ste 200, Charleston, SC 29403
Years in Business: 4
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook ( 8 reviews ),
Business Quote: “Tired of overpriced and poor quality solar installations, owners Matt Reynolds and Kasey Harwell took their expertise and started their own solar company using only the most experienced installers and best products. Using their combined 12 years of solar experience, the result is a competitive price from a small local company you can trust.”
The Good: No negative reviews that I can find
The Bad: Not BBB accredited, only 4 years in business, 2 complaints against them
Summary: Nothing wrong with this company that I can find! Couple of complaints over minor issues with the BBB, but that can happen to anybody no matter how good a service you provide. Biggest knock against these guys is that the company itself is very new, though the owners apparently have many years of experience in the industry. I see nothing holding you back on this one, give them a shot.
Financially, South Carolina has some of the best incentives in the U.S. for going solar. So if environmental concerns or just getting “off the grid” aren’t your jam, everybody loves saving money. Your up front cost may seem like a lot, but keep in mind the payback period in South Carolina is far shorter than in many states, so you’re going to get that money back and then some in short order. So if you’re interested in solar panels in South Carolina, don’t hesitate. Take the plunge.