South Carolina Solar Power Rebates And Incentives

In addition to decreasing solar costs, individuals interested in going solar in South Carolina have the opportunity to take advantage of some remarkable solar rebates and incentives which decrease the overall cost of installing a solar power system.

30% Federal Solar Power Tax Credit

The US federal government offers a tax credit to both home and business owners who install solar power. A tax credit worth 30% of the total system cost and installation is available. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year.

25% South Carolina Solar Power Tax Credit

The state of South Carolina offers an additional tax credit for home and business owners who go solar. The South Carolina solar tax credit is worth 25% of the total cost including installation. The maximum incentive for the SC state tax credit is $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer’s tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. This credit has no expiration date and any excess credit may be carried forward up to 10 years.

Electric Utility Solar Power Rebates & Incentive Programs

Many utilities in South Carolina offer additional solar rebate programs that provide an extra incentive for going solar. Speak with a Southern Current representative for more details on the specific programs available in your area. Contact Us today!


Important Solar Legislation On Hold With State Lawmakers

South Carolina solar industry members are holding their breath. An important piece of legislation has been introduced to state lawmakers that, when approved, will open the floodgates on construction of renewable power plants and billions of dollars in additional tax revenues for counties all across the state.

Tax Reform Bill Would Benefit Everyone In South Carolina

Sun-rich states all over the U.S. have realized the economic potential that solar energy brings with it, and have aggressively pursued the opportunity to harness this resource. For example, in 2008 the North Carolina legislature enacted a renewable energy property tax exemption. In less than seven years, North Carolina went from a state with solar power being nearly nonexistent to ranking second for solar energy capacity. North Carolina has been called the “South’s leader in solar power.” To our southwest, Georgia is making significant strides as well, landing just outside the top five nationally in solar capacity.

In 2015, a paltry $10 million went towards investment in solar installations in South Carolina, compared to $311 million in Georgia and a whopping $1.69 billion in North Carolina.

But South Carolina lawmakers have the power to change this state of affairs. The Renewable Energy Jobs and Economic Development Bill (S. 44/H.3079) would allow unused or agricultural land to be turned into utility scale solar farms and similarly exempt the value of renewable energy resource property for residential use. The South Carolina Senate has already passed the bill, but action needs to be taken in the House to allow our state to unleash the potential for solar investment that can come to South Carolina.

Estimates indicate that within three years of the bill becoming law, more than 90 solar projects could be installed across the Palmetto State, over $1 Billion dollars of investment.

A higher tax base means more revenue for counties all across our state. The open fields where solar farms are built currently pay about $50 a year in property taxes, while in the first year alone an average solar farm would generate $35,000 that could go towards our schools, roads and local services in the community.

Solar investments will also bring quality jobs to South Carolina. A recent report on the solar industry in North Carolina identified a “value chain” spanning over 450 companies which arose as a result of similar legislation. Taken together, this chain employs over 4,500 people. With over 1,000 solar jobs added in South Carolina in 2016, imagine what our state could do with a solar-friendly framework!

South Carolina’s lawmakers have before them an opportunity that will truly revolutionize the way South Carolina does business. By putting the state’s solar industry on equal regulatory and tax footing as our neighbors, the Renewable Energy Jobs and Economic Development Bill will create thousands of solar industry jobs, generate revenues for local communities, and attract new investments, and convince business to set up shop and expand existing business in South Carolina.

While there may be many legislative items vying for the attention of the South Carolina House, this is one that cannot and should not be ignored. Solar energy technology has been improving steadily, and the time is now for South Carolina to harness that opportunity.

Speak Up For More Solar In South Carolina

Speak up if you want MORE SOLAR in South Carolina! Tell your representatives to support S.44 TODAY! Click the link below, type in your address, and contact your legislators to let them know you support S.44/H.3079 and want MORE SOLAR!

Contact Your South Carolina Legislator

What Happens To A Solar Power System During A Grid Blackout?

A frequently asked question that we receive about solar is, “Will my system provide electricity during a storm or hurricane if there is a power outage?”

While you might assume that your solar system will still power your lights and electricity when the grid is down, the truth is, it depends on the specific type of system that you own. To shed some light on this important topic, here’s our analysis of what happens with solar when there is a blackout.

Solar Power During Storms, Hurricanes, And Blackouts

The most likely result is that, if and when the grid goes down, the solar array shuts down as well. This is due to a National Electric Code (NEC) which says that the system must shut down rapidly for safety.

NEC was put in place to protect first responders and utility line workers from electric shock in the event of an emergency. If the power source – your photovoltaic solar panels – continued to be energized when the sun was shining, it could generate and send solar electricity into the power grid and potentially electrocute persons working to restore power after a blackout.

So per the NEC code, the inverter is designed to shut down during a blackout or loss of grid power. Without a functioning inverter, not a single electron will flow in to or out of the house.

This is the case with grid-tied solar power installations, which are about 99% of the systems installed in America. However, there are exceptions.

Exception 1: Battery Backup With AC Coupling

AC coupling is a method whereby the energy generated from solar can be stored in a battery and used independently from the grid. Enphase Energy can be used with the addition of an AC coupled inverter to provide an energy storage solution. Not only can this be implemented on new installs, but this can also be done as a retrofit to existing Enphase systems. Enphase is a name you might recognize if you own a solar system that uses microinverters, or the small inverters located at the back of each solar panel.

AC coupling is a relatively new technology, but will become more and more popular in the future as utilities change the way they charge their users for power, like with time of use (TOU) billing tiers being implemented in California and Hawaii. In this scenario an AC coupled solar power system could be programmed to store solar energy when rates are low, using it to power the home when utility rates are at their highest later in the day (a term referred to as ‘peak shaving’ or ‘rate arbitration’).

Primed For Savings: How Amazon Is Going Big With Solar And Wind Power

We’ve previously reported about the huge amounts of renewable power being used by large corporations across America, including AppleWalmart, and Target, and today we’d like to turn the attention to pledges made by a prominent online retailer and cloud computing company: Amazon.

Founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, Amazon has grown tremendously to become the largest Internet-based retailer in the world. Unfortunately, so too have their energy appetite and electricity bills, so Amazon is making some BIG energy moves to save even BIGGER amounts of money!

Here’s What Amazon Can Teach You About Solar Power

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of the parent company, Amazon Inc., and is primarily involved in the business side of things related to “the cloud,” like data storage and content delivery (think processing power to deliver all of those Amazon Kindle downloads, etc.).

According to the AWS website, the company has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint, including a goal of being powered by 50% renewable energy by the end of 2017.

As of April 2015, the latest data available from their website, approximately 25% of the power consumed by the AWS global infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources. Current and future renewable energy projects include:

Amazon Wind Farms – US Central

Expected to launch in May 2017, the Amazon Wind Farm US Central-1 is a 100 megawatt wind farm under construction in Paulding County, Ohio. Once completed, it will be large enough to power the equivalent of over 29,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Wind Farm US Central-2 is a 189 megawatt wind farm in Hardin County, Ohio that will have the capacity to generate as much energy used by 53,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Wind Farm – US East

Amazon Wind Farm US East is a 208 megawatt wind farm. When completed, it will be the first utility-scale wind farm in the state of North Carolina and will produce the equivalent energy used by more than 61,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Wind Farm – Fowler Ridge

Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge is a 150 megawatt wind farm in Benton County, Indiana with the capacity to generate as much energy used by 46,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Solar Farm – US East

Amazon currently uses an 80 megawatt solar farm that operates in Accomack County, Virginia. Comprised across roughly 1,000 acres, Amazon’s US East Solar Farm can generate approximately 170,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually, or enough to power 15,000 US homes in a year.

In November 2016, Amazon announced it would develop five additional solar farms with a total capacity of 120 megawatts. The new projects include four 20 MW solar farms and a 100 MW facility, all to be located in Virginia.

These new solar farms are expected to start generating by the end of 2017, with the capacity for over 400,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually, the equivalent to power over 36,000 US homes in a year.

The Takeaway On Amazon’s Commitment To Clean Energy

In total, these ten renewable energy projects will deliver approximately 2.6 million megawatt hours (MWh) of energy annually. 1 megawatt hour is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh).

*Assuming a retail rate of $0.10/kWh, Amazon’s wind and solar installations have the ability to produce $260 million dollars* worth of electricity each year!

When they reach their 100% renewables goal in future years to come, they will be saving over half a BILLION dollars* on energy costs, and doing so in a manner that produces ZERO carbon emissions!

Decrease Costs, Increase Profits

While it may seem extraordinary that Amazon is going to such measures, remember that they, like many other businesses, are motivated to cut costs in attempt to increase profits.

Since their products are largely digital (there is no physical shipment or transfer of a book when you purchase a digital download for your Kindle), they have very little ability to find a cheaper substitute.

But when it comes to operational costs, specifically energy, they have a tremendous opportunity for savings by producing their own energy and/or procuring it from solar panels and wind turbines.

Learn How To Save Money With Solar Power In South Carolina

Whether you’re interested in lowering home energy costs with a solar install on your roof, or increasing profits like Amazon by producing the power required for your commercial organization, Southern Current has a solar solution that can help you save money!

Costs have dropped dramatically over recent years — Down more than 45% since 2012 according to the Solar Energy Industries Association — which means now more than ever is a great time to consider going solar on your home or business!

Contact Southern Current for a free solar consultation and learn more about saving money with a solar power investment! And if you’re a land owner, read about making money with a Solar Farm.