Solar Panels Charlotte, Carolina
How much do solar panels cost in Charlotte, NC?
Solar panels in Charlotte are actually a good bit below the national average of $3.00 per watt at around $2.25-2.50. Most solar panels are sold in 250 watt sizes, meaning you’re going to pay something in the arena of $560-$625 for solar panels. An average home is going to required between 6kw and 8kw of solar panels to be completely self-sufficient from the grid, meaning you’re looking at something between $12,500 and $17,500 for your panels. While this may seem cost prohibitive, read on, because there are a number of rebates, tax credits and other incentives available that will help whittle down the cost of a system significantly.
What are the benefits of going solar in North Carolina?
There are a number of incentives in place in North Carolina that make it a great place to go solar. As a matter of fact, all things considered, North Carolina is probably one of the most solar-ready states in the U.S. Let’s take a look at a few of the major benefits:
- North Carolina’s net metering laws are very good, which essentially means that your excess electricity is not going to go to waste. Net metering is the process by which your utility measures your energy production and the amount of electricity your system feeds back into the grid. This is the method by which your system will ultimately “pay” for itself, by selling electricity back to the utility, meaning you will receive either a cash payment each month for the electricity you “sell” them, or you’ll receive credits toward future electric bills. Either way, it’s a huge incentive for anybody considering installing a solar power system. North Carolina law calls for full 1:1 net metering, meaning for every kilowatt you put in, you get credit for 1 kilowatt, whether that’s in the form of a cash payment or as a credit toward future energy bills.
- North Carolina has state interconnection standards that mean it will be easier and cheaper to install a solar power system anywhere you choose to do it in the state. This also has the added bonus of usually making net metering more accurate, which is definitely something you’re going to appreciate.
– North Carolina has a couple of electric utility companies that offer rebate programs. Duke Energy Progress has a rebate program offering up to $250 per kilowatt, which with a normal home will come out to between $1500 and $2000, not a bad little rebate all things considered. For more information, search for :Duke Solar Rebate FAQ in google. The Tennessee Valley Authority on the other hand offers a flat one time payment of $1,000 upon installation of your solar power system, which is again not a bad little chunk of change, if that encourages you on going forward with your solar installation.
– North Carolina law prohibits the reassessment of a home’s property value due to a solar installation. In other words, your property taxes legally cannot go up because you added solar panels. So your property value will increase, but your taxes will not- win/win.
– The federal government offers the ITC (investment tax credit) which currently allows you to claim 26% of the cost of a solar power system as a credit toward your federal income tax liability. This could be a savings of anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 on most home systems- a huge bonus for going solar.
– North Carolina’s PBIS (Performance Based Incentive System) offers incentives to solar power producers whereby you may earn renewable energy credits depending on your system’s output as measured by your utility. This is where your state net metering laws help out- your utility has to measure your output the way the state says, and therefore they can’t creatively give you less credit than you deserve.
– The average home increases in value somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 with the installation of solar panels, which in and of itself is worth the price of installation in many cases if you are planning to sell your home sometime in the next 10-20 years. A realtor can help you get a better idea of exactly how much that might increase the value of your home.
– The “pay back” period for a solar panel installation in North Carolina is something in the range of 6-8 years, which is shockingly fast compared with many states (Some states have a payback period as long as 15 years). If your solar panels “pay” for themselves through savings, rebates, incentives, etc in as few as 6-8 years, you may as have as many as 20 years of “free” electricity ahead of you, not to mention the various credits you will earn along the way. So once again, while your initial investment is high, it will absolutely pay for itself given a long enough timeline, and more than likely will pay for itself many times over, with an estimated savings of $40,000 + over the lifetime of your solar panels.
How much solar power do I need?
This depends on a lot of factors, things like: Size of your home, number of residents, strength of your insulation, hot water usage, whether or not your home has natural gas lines, what temperature you prefer it to be, etc. Most American homes are going to require at least 6 kw of solar panels to be completely independent of the grid, while some may require as many as 8 kw or more. Your solar installer can give you a much better idea of what you need by looking at your past electricity bills.
How long do solar panels last?
Most solar panels used for home installations are warrantied for 20-25 years, and most solar installation companies offer warranties for similar lengths of time. So you can most likely expect your solar panels to last and remain productive for a minimum of 20 years, with a possibility of 25 years or more. In North Carolina, where your solar panels will most likely pay for themselves within 6 to 8 years, this means you can expect to enjoy “free” electricity for more than a decade, possibly even two.
Types of Panels & Inverters
Obviously solar panels are what we know about- panels that collect sunlight for use as energy to power your home- but what are inverters?
Inverters are the devices that actually convert that sunlight into usable electricity, and every solar installation will require them to work. So what types of panels and inverters are there out there, and which one is right for you? Below is just a very quick primer on what options there are available:
There are two basic types of panels used in home installations- Monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are the more expensive option, so many homeowners will shy away from them. But, they are smaller, more efficient and work with less direct sunlight, meaning they are good for areas that get more shade or cloud cover. Polycrystalline panels on the other hand tend to be bigger and are often installed on the ground. They need more direct sunlight to work so are best installed away from anything that may shade them.
When it comes to inverters, the kind you use will largely be dictated by what kind of panels you use and where your panels are arranged. Generally speaking, there are three kinds- string inverters, micro-inverters and power optimizers. They all come with different costs, pros and cons, but the kind of inverters you use are generally going to depend on what sort of panels you’re using, where they’re located and how they’re arranged, so your installer will be able to give you a better idea of what kind you need.
How does weather affect solar panels?
Weather is a major consideration when considering a solar installation. Some parts of the world are simply better suited to solar power than others, though solar panels can be productive nearly anywhere on Earth. The state of North Carolina certainly falls into that category, averaging well over 200 days of sunshine per year. A few things to think about:
- Fog / Cloud Cover- On days of heavy cloud cover or fog, your solar panels could
produce as little as 10-30% as much power as they usually produce on a sunny day.
- Rain– Aside from the obvious negatives of cloud cover, rain is actually a positive for solar panels, as it helps wash away the dirt and grime that will naturally accumulate on them over time.
- Snow- Areas that experience regular heavy accumulation of snow will see a decrease in production during times of heavy snow. As long as snow sits on the panels, they cannot receive sunlight to produce electricity with, so if you’re from a place that gets regular heavy snow, be prepared to go out and de-snow your panels from time to time.
- Temperature- Solar panels operate best in sunny environments, but not necessarily *hot* ones. Solar panels are most efficient in temperatures at or below 77 degrees fahrenheit, and lose an estimated 1% efficiency for every degree temperatures rise above that mark.
Things to Look for In a Solar Company
Just like with anything else, before you make a big investment you’re going to want to do your research. Solar companies, like any other company, come in all varieties, good, bad and everything in between, so it is to your benefit to make sure that you’re sure about them before sinking your money into them. A few questions to ask about:
Time in Industry: Obviously, like with most things, the longer the better. Companies that last longer are usually better companies. Though not foolproof, you can usually assume a company that has been around for 20-30 years or more knows how to keep customers happy.
Types of Panels: Some solar companies only work with certain kinds of panels, and they may not be the kind you want. So if you have a preferred type of solar panel, it would be best to confirm with the company you want to use that they can and will work with that type before going forward with the installation. If you have no preference, then skip this one!
Payment Options: Solar panels will absolutely pay for themselves eventually, but until they do, you are on the hook for a sizable bill. Some companies offer in-house financing of some variety, but others don’t offer any help at all- they expect you to figure that part out on your own. So whatever the case, make sure you know what it is before going too far along in the process, and make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with and able to do.
Warranties: Almost every solar company offers some kind of warranty, but the devil is in the details. A “warranty” can simply mean that the company will definitely come work on your solar panels anytime something breaks, provided you pay the tiny insignificant service fee every single time.
Reviews: Perhaps the best method we have of really evaluating a company is checking out their customer reviews. The internet has made it easier than ever to see what people really think about a company, and people will quite often be brutally honest about their experiences with a business. This can usually give you a good picture of not only what people think about the company but also how the company deals with people, as many companies will respond to complaints online.
How do I get solar panels installed in Charlotte, North Carolina?
So great news, Charlotte has a ton of solar installers to choose from. This is great news from a consumer standpoint because competition always breeds a buyers market. When businesses compete for your dollar, you’re more likely to get better prices and services. Below are a few of the higher rated Charlotte solar companies, though by no means is it an exhaustive list. Also, keep in mind that many solar companies are willing to travel to complete an installation, so don’t be afraid to check out nearby towns for competing companies.
Company: Renu Energy Solutions
Address: 801 Pressley Rd Ste 100, Charlotte, NC 28217
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Facebook (113 reviews), 4.8 / 5 SolarReviews (168 reviews), 4 / 5 Yelp (10 reviews), 4.9 / 5 Homeadvisor (65 reviews), 4.7 / 5 Birdeye (513 reviews),
Company: Sirius Power Inc.
Address: 2215 McClintock Rd, Charlotte, NC
Reviews: 5 / 5 Better Business Bureau (2 reviews)
Company: Tayco Electric & Solar
Address: 1506 Turring Dr, Indian Trail, NC 28079
Reviews: 5 / 5 Yelp (3 reviews), 5 / 5 Facebook (14 Reviews)
These are just a few of the available companies, but there are literally dozens of them to choose from. So my recommendation to you would be to start checking their reviews online, do your research and see what you can find out.
The Final Word:
Clearly, North Carolina has a lot going for it in terms of solar power. Solar panels pay for themselves quicker in North Carolina than just about any other state, and you won’t find much cheaper prices on solar panels anywhere in the U.S. There are great incentives in place and your solar panels will 100% pay for themselves multiple times in their lifetime. So if you were wondering, now you know- North Carolina is ready for solar power.