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What Does Solar Panel Installation Costs in South Carolina?

What Does Solar Panel Installation Costs in South Carolina

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If you’re considering installing solar panels in South Carolina, then you’re probably curious about the solar installation costs in South Carolina. Can you afford to make the switch to renewable energy? Will it save you money in the long run?

Let’s take a look into solar installation costs in South Carolina, so you can get a ballpark figure of how much a solar installation might cost you!

Average Solar Installation Prices in South Carolina

Let’s begin by taking a glimpse at the average costs. First, it’s important to note that when it comes to solar installation costs, people look at prices in a couple of different ways. Sometimes people consider the cost per watt, whereas other times, they’ll look at the total cost instead. We’ll look at both. 

According to South Carolina’s Government Energy Office, solar energy systems cost between $3-$5 per installed watt on average. So, if you had a solar panel system installed that was 5 kilowatts, your total price would be $15,000 to $25,000. (Remember, 1 kilowatt equals 1000 watts).  

However, solar technology has advanced quite a bit in the state since it was introduced, and experts around the web estimate that South Carolina’s average installation costs are actually closer to $2.67 – $3.61 per watt installed  

For the average system in South Carolina, the total cost sits around $13,350 to $18,050. This total is calculated using the national average residential solar system size of 5 kWh. 

These figures are just averages, of course, but the average price per watt gives you a quick and easy way to do simple calculations. You can easily use your expected system size and the cost per watt averages above to figure a closer price to your total. 

If all that math makes your head spin, no worries. Just know that if your system is larger than 5kWh, expect to pay more than the totals above. If it’s smaller, expect to pay less.

Ultimately, your system’s size will be one of the most critical indicators of the total price. However, it’s not the only element at play. There are many other things that contribute to the actual cost of solar panel installations in South Carolina. 

One of the most pivotal things to consider is incentives and rebates, as these significant bonuses can help reduce the costs of going solar in South Carolina

Solar Incentives and Rebates in South Carolina 

There are several solar rebates programs in South Carolina. Each of them can significantly reduce the cost or help you pay for the cost of installing solar panels. These incentives include: 

Federal Tax Credit 

The federal tax credit is called the ITC, an acronym that means “investment tax credit.” This credit equates to 26% of the total cost of your solar panel system, installation, and equipment included. (Quick note here. this rate will be decreased to 22% in 2021 and completely eliminated by 2022, so it’s crucial to take advantage of it now.)  

The South Carolina State Tax Credit 

South Carolina also offers a generous 25% state tax credit (up to $3,500 or 50% of your liability each year). This can also help mitigate the total costs. 

South Carolina Net Metering 

While this perk won’t help you right away, it does help you save more on energy in the long run. South Carolina allows you to save up credits for all that excess energy that your solar panel generates, and at the end of the year, you get paid for it! There’s no cap on how much extra you can earn either until June 2021. 

Utility Rebates 

A couple of utility companies in South Carolina offer rebates to their customer for installing solar. Duke Energy customers can get $1.00 for every watt of solar panel installed on their home. Santee Coopers provides a $1.30 per watt up to $5,200 rebate towards the cost of the install.  

When you consider these incentives, it’s easy to see how that total can quickly dwindle down. Plus, when you take into consideration how much electricity your solar panels generate, you can also see the potential to earn money and multiply your savings with net metering.

Related article: How Much Electricity Can Rooftop Solar Panels Generate in South Carolina

Most people earn back their investment and start saving money really quickly. How quickly? Let’s take a more in-depth look into South Carolina’s solar payback period. 

Solar Payback Period 

Solar payback refers to the length of time that it takes for homeowners to recover their initial investment in installing solar panels on their homes. In the United States, the average solar payback period hovers right above eight years. But for South Carolina residents, it’s even shorter than that! 

That’s right! For homeowners in South Carolina who get solar panels, the approximate solar payback period is 7.95 years. So, the payback period is right below eight years – even better than the national average.  

There are a few things that can impact the payback period; these include: 

  • The total cost of the system
  • The value of the incentives
  • Your personal average electricity use
  • How much power your system generates 

You can assess an estimate for how long it will take to pay back your system with a few simple steps. 

  • Step one: Figure out the combined cost of your system. (This is the cost of the system minus the incentives. In other words, how much you actually pay for the total system).
  • Step two: Calculate the yearly benefits. (Add up all the financial benefits, which include net metering, and how much you save in electricity costs, etc.). 
  • Step three: Divide your total cost by your yearly financial benefits. (This will give you a basic estimate of how many years it will take to pay off the total cost of your system, a.k.a., your personal solar payback period).  

After the payback period, your system has paid for itself. After that, any cost savings or other incentives go straight to you – giving you the possibility to save thousands of dollars over the course of the solar system’s lifetime. 

Other Factors that Contribute to Solar Installation Costs 

The total average above took everything into consideration, including equipment and labor. However, these two factors and a few others can contribute quite a great deal to the final price of your South Carolina solar installation. 

Here are a few things that can increase the total cost of your solar panel installation: 

Type of Solar Equipment

The solar industry is innovating all the time, so the type of equipment used in your installation can dramatically impact the installation costs. For instance, there are three different types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Each of them is priced at different points and offer varying degrees of efficiency. 

There is tons of equipment required for solar panel installation, including inverters, roof anchors, key lock systems, and more. All of the equipment can range in their base prices, thus hiking or lowering your total cost.  

Installation Fees 

The quality of the installer will also play a factor in the total cost. For instance, installers who have a track record of success, or those who have an electrician on hand, will charge more than a handyman who doesn’t specialize in solar. Like, most services, the installer’s quality, and expertise will impact the overall cost of the installation itself. 

Equipment Manufacturers 

We already talked about equipment type, but equipment manufacturers will also impact the price of the solar panel installation as well. For instance, Tesla or LG equipment is going to run you more than unknown manufacturers.  

Performance Monitoring Systems

Most solar panel installations will include a performance monitoring system, which allows you to monitor your solar system’s effectiveness. They typically measure how much electricity your panels are producing each hour. These systems can vary in complexity and price, and as a result, they can also increase or decrease the total cost of your solar panel installation. 

Solar Batteries 

If you’re planning to install solar batteries as well, the battery storage installation costs can also impact your overall price. Solar batteries and their installation have a completely separate set of costs. So, if you’re planning on getting a solar battery installed as well, expect to spend more. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, the average cost of a solar panel installation in South Carolina sits between $13,350 to $18,050 – before incentives and rebates. Incentives and rebates can dramatically impact that final cost and result in the solar payback period being right under eight years. 

No matter how much the exact cost of solar installation, there are numerous affordable ways to pay for your solar panel installation in South Carolina. Cash is by far the best way to pay for it because you won’t pay any interest fees. You’ll just start working towards the system paying for itself over time. 

However, if you can’t pay for your solar system in cash – no worries. There are tons of financing options out there, including solar loans, home refinancing loans, and more. So, don’t let the fear of financing stop you from taking advantage of all the benefits of going solar in South Carolina. 

A dedicated and skilled installer will be able to help you navigate the incentives and costs, and ultimately, make sure you get the best system for the best price possible.

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