Solar Panels in Myrtle Beach, SC
How much are solar panels in Myrtle Beach?
Solar panels in the state of South Carolina are generally around the $3 / watt mark, which is considered to be the national average. Most of the time solar panels are sold in 250 watt increments, which of course means that each solar panel will cost you something like $750. Each home is going to need between 20 and 30 solar panels to be fully self-sufficient from the grid, so your total cost for solar panels is going to be in the ballpark of $15,000 to $21,000. And that’s a lot of money, without a doubt. But before you give up, keep in mind that there are a number of incentives, credits and other goodies out there that may very well take thousands of dollars off your initial startup cost.
What benefits are there to going solar in Myrtle Beach?
So the state of South Carolina actually has a number of really big positives for citizens looking to go solar. Below we’ll go through some of the bigger ones.
- South Carolina’s “renewable portfolio standards” mandate that utility companies must get no less than 2% of their electricity output solar and other green sources, or they have to pay a fine. Rather than pay that fine, utility companies will often try to find ways to encourage their customers to install renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind mills, etc. So check with your local utility and see what sort of incentives they may offer for their customers who do add solar panels.
- South Carolina also offers energy rebates, payable in the form of lump sum payments or as credit toward the installation price of your solar energy system. Your solar installer will likely help you with the paperwork as they should be familiar with the ins and outs of the system, but what it breaks down to is a one dollar per watt rebate from Duke Energy, and of course your system will be several thousand watts. Santee Cooper offers a rebate as well of $1.30 per watt of installed solar panels, up to a total of $5,200.
- South Carolina has state-enforced net metering standards. Net metering is the process by which the output of a solar energy system is measured and credited. To put it plainly: There are state laws that say how the output of your solar energy system must be credited, so if you feed excess energy back into the grid, your utility company must credit you for it in some way or another. Sometimes this can come in the form of credits on future electric bills, other times it can come as cash payments. But either way, in South Carolina, your contributions to the electric grid will be rewarded.
- The state itself offers a tax credit of 25% of the cost of your solar installation. Essentially, this means that if you spend $20,000 on your solar energy system, the state will grant you 25% of that back in the form of a tax credit, which would obviously be a major bonus for you.
- Not to be outdone, the federal government offers a tax credit of 26% of your total solar panel installation cost that can be applied toward your federal income tax liability. So once again, this is a huge amount of potential savings when we’re talking about a $20,000 project.
- Your home’s value is projected to increase somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 or possibly even more depending on multiple factors, based on the addition of solar panels. So if you ever intend to sell your home, you will make back all the money you spent on your solar panels, possibly even more. A realtor can give you a better idea of how much of a markup you can expect in price due to your solar panels.
How many solar panels will you need?
Most homes require between 6 and 8 kilowatts of solar panels to be self-sufficient of the grid- meaning you will need somewhere between 24-32 solar panels. This is a rough estimate and could be more or less depending on a large number of factors, such as the number of people living in your home, how warm or cool you prefer to keep your house, hot water usage, etc. Energy needs vary from person to person and home to home, so this is another question you’ll need to discuss with your solar installer before proceeding with an installation.
What’s the “payback” period for solar panels in Myrtle Beach?
Based on current tax incentives, rebates, energy savings, etc., you can expect for your solar panels to “pay” for themselves in around 8 to 8 & ½ years. This is very very fast, almost twice as fast as in some other states. So regardless of how expensive your solar panels end up being, you will completely recoup that investment in less than 10 years.
How long do solar panels last?
Just like with anything else, your solar panels will eventually wear out and break down. But here’s the good news- solar panels are designed to last for 20-30 years. Most manufacturers and solar installers offer warranties of 20-25 years, which of course means that they expect them to last at least that long. So you can be reasonably sure that after your solar panels have paid for themselves, you’re going to have at least 15, maybe 20 or more years of “free” electricity for the rest of your panels’ lives.
Things to look for in a solar installer
So anytime you’re making a really big investment, such as with solar panels, you’re going to want to do some research on the company you’re considering. Here are a few things to look at when you’re making your decision:
- Time in the industry: As with most industries, solar installers with more experience tend to be better at what they do than those with less. Simple math here. A solar installer who has been at it for many years has the experience that will allow them to handle basically anything that comes up. Furthermore, companies that have been around longer tend to be the ones that have done good enough work and treated customers well enough to have kept getting business for a number of years.
- Types of solar panels: If you have your heart set on using a certain kind of solar panels or a certain company’s panels, make sure your solar installer is comfortable with using and willing to use your preferred panels. If you really don’t care what kind of panels you use, then don’t worry about it, but if you do, make sure you talk to the company you’re considering going with to make sure they’re on board with the plan.
- Payment Options: While some companies will offer in-house financing or some other form of payment options, many companies do not. Obviously, your solar panels are going to be very very expensive, so if your company doesn’t have any form of financing options available, you need to have a plan for where that money is coming from.
- Warranties: One of the most important things to do is make sure you understand your solar company’s warranty- Almost every one of them has a warranty of some variety, but not all warranties are the same. While some companies are happy to come out and fix any problem you might have, often for free, other companies are going to charge you a service fee, plus parts and labor for any work they do. So whether this is a dealbreaker for you or not, just make sure you know what you’re getting into, because your solar panels will inevitably need service.
- Reviews: Perhaps the greatest tool we have in modern times for really getting to know what a company is about are reviews. The internet is a brutally honest place and people will let you know how they really feel about the work a company does on neutral 3rd party sites, such as with the Better Business Bureau. So while one bad review may not scare you away from a company, if you find dozens of bad reviews, you may want to think twice before giving these people your money.
Solar Panels and Inverters
So we all know what solar panels are, but what are inverters? Inverters are the devices which actually take the captured sunlight from solar panels and convert it to electricity usable in your home.
There are two basic kinds of solar panels that are typically used in home installations- Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are the smaller kind that you usually see installed on roofs. They are more efficient than other panels, but also more expensive. They can work with less direct sunlight than other panels and also last longer, but again, you don’t see them as commonly because they are more expensive than other panels.
Polycrystalline panels are the bigger panels, the ones you most often see installed in open fields and on the ground. They need more open spaces to operate because they require direct sunlight to function. They do not last as long as monocrystalline panels and are much bigger, but again, they are cheaper.
As far as inverters go, there are three major kinds that get used in home installations- String inverters, Power Optimizers and Micro Inverters. However, you do not have as much choice with inverters as you do with solar panels, because the type of panels you use and the locations they are in typically dictates what kind of inverters you’re going to have to use. So don’t worry too much about what kinds of inverters you need to use, your solar installer will probably tell you which kinds you’ll have to have to complete the job.
A Note About Weather
We all know that solar panels require sunlight to operate- that’s obvious, it’s in the name. And Myrtle Beach has lots of that, averaging more than 200 sunny days a year. But how does weather really affect your solar panels? Here’s a few quick points to consider when looking into solar panels and considering how the weather in Myrtle Beach might affect your choices.
- Fog / Cloud Cover- Heavy cloud cover and thick fog can severely hamper your solar panels. On days with these obstacles, your solar panels may produce only 10-30% of their usual electrical output.
- Rain- Believe it or not, rain is actually good for your solar panels. Yes, the cloud cover will slow down their production, but the rain itself is actually good for your panels, helping to wash away the dirt and dust that will naturally gather there over time.
- Snow- Snow is an issue for solar panels, because it can completely block them from receiving sunlight, and therefore stop production of electricity entirely. That being said, you aren’t going to see a whole ton of snow in South Carolina, and certainly not on Myrtle Beach, so I wouldn’t worry too much.
- Temperature- So the warmer it is the more solar power being produced, right? Actually no. Your solar panels don’t care if it’s hot, cold or in the middle. All they know is they’re getting sunlight (or not). One thing that is worth knowing, however, is that your solar panels actually lose a small amount of efficiency (1%) for each degree that temperatures rise above 77 fahrenheit.
Where can I get solar panels installed in Myrtle Beach?
Myrtle Beach isn’t very big. There aren’t a whole ton of solar companies in town, but we’re going to direct your attention to a few of them. But keep in mind, many solar companies are very happy to travel across the state if necessary to get your business. So don’t limit your search to just the companies in the immediate vicinity of Myrtle Beach, feel free to check out companies in the rest of the state, you never know who will be willing to come to you.
Company: Monarch Solar
Address: 4336 Waccamaw Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
Reviews: 5 / 5 Yelp (1 review), 5 / 5 Angi (3 reviews), 5 / 5 Facebook (13 reviews)
Company: East Coast Solar
Address: 3834 Wesley St, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
Reviews: 3 / 5 Facebook (2 reviews), 1 / 5 BBB, 3.1 / 5 Solarforyourhouse (17 Reviews), 3.3 / 5 Bird eye (21 reviews)
Company: Green Photon
Address: 415 2nd Ave S, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Company: Carolina Energy Conservation
Address: Somewhere in Myrtle Beach, SC
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (36 reviews), 2.5 / 5 Yelp (3 reviews), 5 / 5 BBB (2 reviews), 4.8 / 5 Angi (87 reviews)
The Final Word:
So let’s review- South Carolina has very fine weather for solar panels, outstanding incentives and reasonable up front costs. So yes, solar panels are a big investment, but your panels will also pay for themselves far faster than in most states, and they’ll last a whole lot longer after that- Which means you’ll basically be getting free electricity (and actually getting “paid” for the extra electricity you produce) for many years after they’re paid off. So it’s very simple- if you can afford the investment, solar panels in Myrtle Beach will pay off in the short term.