Are Solar Panels Worth It In South Carolina?

Solar panels are becoming very popular in South Carolina and across America because they allow homeowners to absorb sunlight and convert it into energy, which can be used within the home to power anything that runs on electricity. Chances are, you’ve probably driven down the road and noticed more and more houses with black and blue rectangular devices affixed to the roof…

So the question that then pops up is, “Are solar panels worth it in South Carolina?” This article is designed to give you an overview of the benefits of going solar, and ultimately lead you down the path to answer that question.

Solar Panels Allow You To Produce Power

If you are like most people, you purchased your house in order to stop spending money on rent, and to own property and living quarters. By that same notion then, we want to encourage you to own your energy, and to stop renting it from the local power company.

As we mentioned earlier, solar panels absorb sunlight and transfer it into the home to be used as electricity. When you produce your own electricity with solar, you buy less electricity from the grid. That is, you pay less money to the local power company because you buy less power from them.

Think about your power bills the previous summer. The sun gives off a strong amount of heat during the summer, so you could’ve easily spent $300, $400, even $500 dollars on power bills from running your air conditioning to keep your home cool.

If we assume an average power bill of $200 dollars each month, that adds up to $2,400 dollars spent on power each year, $12,000 over 5 years, $24,000 over 10 years, and a whopping $60,000 dollars spent on power over 25 years. That’s A LOT of money!

Savings With Solar Panels

Now, imagine if those same power bills were 50% lower thanks to a set of solar panels installed on the roof.

Instead of spending $2,400 for a year of power, you could spend just $1,200 and save $1,200. Sounds nice, right?

Over 25 years, instead of spending $60k on electricity costs, you could spend just $30k, and pocket the other $30k as savings thanks to solar.

Solar Rebates and Incentives

If saving money wasn’t enough motivation to look into solar, you should know that many power companies in South Carolina will pay YOU to produce your own electricity with solar.

Local power utilities Duke Energy, Santee Cooper, and SCEG all have Solar Rebates Programs for members in their service territories. The catch here is many of these rebate programs have a limited amount of funding and are designed to decrease over time, so the people who apply earliest get the best rebates.

This is in addition to a 30% federal tax credit AND a 25% state tax credit that are currently available to both home and business owners in South Carolina. That’s 55% of the total cost paid for by tax credits!!

Environmental Benefits Of Installing Solar Panels

On top of financial savings and financial rebates, going solar allows you to make a positive environmental effect by lowering your carbon footprint. Solar power produces ZERO carbon dioxide or other harmful carbon emissions, and it requires virtually ZERO water (aside from any used in the cleaning of the solar panels).


You can learn more by reading about the environmental benefits of going solar in South Carolina.

Solar Panels Increase Home Value

Another benefit from going solar is that the value of your home will increase. This is according to researchers at the Department of Energy who found that, on average, adding a new set of solar panels increases the value of the home by $15,000 dollars.


There are now more than 1 million solar power systems installed across America, helping homeowners save money and earn a higher resale value!

Solar Panels Make People Happy

Ok, so maybe this is just our opinion, but we can’t help notice how happy our customers are after they make the switch to solar.

If you don’t believe us, just check out our Home Solar Install Gallery and Customer Testimonials.

Conclusion

With everything mentioned above, it’s easy to see that yes, solar panels are definitely worth it in South Carolina! Going solar allows you to save money, increase the value of your home, and make a positive effect on the environment by decreasing your carbon footprint using clean, renewable energy provided by the sun.

#1 Solar Panel Installer In South Carolina

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top solar installers in the Southeast, with hundreds of installations across South Carolina. There’s never been a more affordable time to create your own energy! Contact us to request information about a solar panel installation for your home or business and see how much you can save with solar.

Do You Need To Replace Your Roof Before Installing Solar Panels?

You’re finally considering going solar on your home, but do you need a brand new roof before installing solar panels? There are a few items to account for when considering if you need to replace your roof before switching to solar: the roof’s age, its condition, and the costs involved for repairs or replacement.

Do you absolutely need a new roof just because you are installing solar panels? No – but from a financial perspective it is smart to keep these three conditions in mind before making the investment.

Provided there’s enough space and sun, solar can be installed on any roof. Even though a typical solar panel only weighs around 40 lbs., overtime a damaged or weak roof can end up sagging a little under the added weight of solar panels. Sagging can mean cracks and leaks, which leads to dry rot and plenty of other issues. Is it worth the risk? Definitely not.

The Condition of Your Roof

You can spot some easy signs of age before hopping on a ladder. First, check if there are any leaks or stains in the attic or walls. If you energy costs have gone up in recent years, it may be worth it to see if it’s due to excessive ventilation. From the outside you can check to see if there’s any mildew, or if their are dark “dirty-looking” spots on the roof.

It’s good to know the warranty on your roof and how many remaining years you have left before needing to replace the shingles. If you are near the replacement time, then you need to get this taken care of before officially installing solar panels.

Yes, this does cost more at first – but it would cost even more in labor to remove the solar panels in order to replace or repair your roof after the solar panels are installed.

Having solar panels on your home will actually reduce some of the wear on the shingles. Solar panels block rain and protect the roof from years of consistent sunlight. Though, unless you plan to get solar powered roofing tiles (photovoltaic shingles), solar panels are not a replacement for your roof. Photovoltaic shingles are known as “BIPV” or Building Integrated Photovoltaic tiles.

 

The Solar Timeline Explained

Modern solar panels come with 20-25 year warranties, guaranteeing that the panels will produce at least 80% of the rated power after 25 years of use.

SunPower Warranty

LG Warranty

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) performed tests on today’s more common solar panels, and determined that the degradation of the panel is less than 0.4% for panels made after the year 2000.

The cause for solar panel degradation is typically due to the extremes of weather conditions, depending on where you are living. For example, panels in extremely hot climates will have higher UV exposure, and conversely, cold climates, snow, or heavy winds will do just as much damage. In moderate climates, degradation rates can be as low as 0.2% per year – retaining 96% of the solar panels production capabilities after 20 years.

So if you’re about five or more years away from a roof replacement, go ahead and add solar panels. But don’t be afraid to take precautions – you will get your money back with what you save from switching to solar power!

If you still aren’t sure about the condition of your roof or just want to learn more, Contact Us today to set up a FREE consultation.

About Southern Current

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top solar installers in the Southeast, with hundreds of installations across South Carolina. There’s never been a more affordable time to create your own energy! Contact us to request information about a solar panel installation for your home or business and see how much you can save with solar.

The Environmental Benefits Of Going Solar In South Carolina

Many homeowners in South Carolina are interested in going solar because they want to minimize environmental issues and carbon emissions associated with fossil fuel based power plants. But just how much environmental benefit does going solar provide?

Here Are The Environmental Benefits Of Solar Energy In South Carolina

According to the EPA, the average household emits approximately 20 metric tons of carbon pollution each year. By installing a solar power system, a typical two-person household in South Carolina can eliminate 3 to 4 tons of carbon annually.

Environmental benefits of solar power

Water

In the United States, 90 percent of electricity comes from thermoelectric power plants—coal, nuclear, natural gas, and oil—that require cooling. The remaining ten percent is produced by hydroelectric and other renewable energy facilities.

The percentage of water used by traditional power plants to make electricity is a significant amount. In fact, thermoelectric power plants make up 53% of all water consumption in the U.S. according to the EPA. This is more than Irrigation & Livestock, Industrial Mining, and Domestic & Commercial water consumption combined!

Nuclear power plants use the most water, followed by coal, oil, and combined cycle power plants. The table below was provided by the California Energy Commission:

By contrast, power produced from photovoltaic (PV) solar sources requires virtually zero water because solar power does not require water cooling.

Carbon Emissions & Air Quality

A byproduct of the power production process of burning fossil fuels like coal, oil & gas is greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases block infrared (long-wave) radiation from leaving the earth’s atmosphere. This greenhouse effect traps radiation from the sun and warms the planet’s surface. As concentrations of these gases increase, more warming occurs than would happen naturally. The biggest greenhouse gases are Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous oxide (N2O).

The EPA provided the following table showing the number of pounds of CO2 produced from burning different fossil fuels:

By producing your own clean energy with solar, you are reducing the amount of dirty power used from fossil fuel-based power generation. Solar power has ZERO greenhouse gas emissions! And keep in mind that solar energy is a renewable resource, meaning once it is used, it will replenish itself (unlike fossil fuels which will disappear once they are used).

Plus, by driving an electric vehicle, and powering it with solar, you essentially use sunlight for fuel, and drive with ZERO emissions!

A Closer Look At Reducing Carbon Emissions With Solar At Home

The 11,807 kWh produced each year by an 8 kW solar energy system in South Carolina is the environmental equivalent to 8.1 metric tons of CO2 NOT being emitted into the atmosphere. It is also equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 209 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or 6.7 acres of U.S. forests in 1 year according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

 

Large Scale Solar’s Environmental Benefits

So above we discussed the environmental benefits of going solar at home, but we must not forget how powerful it can be to install large scale solar farms.

For example, 1 megawatt (MW) of new solar power capacity installed in the state of South Carolina (that’s 1 million watts of new solar power) is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 17,681 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or 565 acres of U.S. forests in 1 year according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

The South Carolina sun goes to work each day…Why not put it to work for you?!

Schedule a FREE solar consultation with Charleston-based solar installer Southern Current today! Ask us how to power your home with solar for under $150/month!

Piedmont, South Carolina Homeowner Discusses Going Solar With Southern Current

The following interview was conducted with Laura S., recent Southern Current residential solar customer who lives in Piedmont, South Carolina. Find out how much money you could be saving on electricity costs by contacting Southern Current today!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have lived in South Carolina since 2003. I moved here from Delray Beach, Florida. I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri.

Why did you decide to switch to solar energy?

I have been interested in solar energy for a long time. I like the idea of cleaner energy. The sun isn’t going to go away any time soon. My husband says it is to make up for all of the dinosaurs that he burns in his cars. We were purchasing a new home so it seemed like the right time.

How much did you know about solar energy?

Not a whole lot, but I know that it is clean and that it works!

What kind of system did Southern Current install for your home?

We have a 15.60 kW roof array with 52 300-watt panels spread out over our main roof and on the attached garage/workshop roof.

View of the solar powered home in Piedmont, SC.

Southern Current sales representative Paul Hayden gives thumbs up in front of solar install.

What made you choose Southern Current for your solar installation?

I chose Southern Current because our rep., Paul Hayden, was the only person willing to work with me and provide an estimate prior to my husband and I closing on our house.

What was the process of going solar like?

There was a process? LOL, It was very easy. Paul had worked up a preliminary estimate. After we closed on the house, he came out, took photos, looked around, and went over our options. We decided on the panels, and filled out paperwork. Once everything was in place, Eric came out to go over the installation. That was on a Friday. The installation crew showed up on Monday, and were finished by Wednesday. Everyone was extremely professional.

What was the most difficult part of the process for you?

Waiting for Duke Energy to come through with the rebate. Southern Current went the extra mile to ensure that we were guaranteed the rebate BEFORE the install. That way we had an out if we didn’t get the rebate. Duke was discontinuing the program. We got in at the very end.

What benefits have you seen since the installation?

Well, we just received our first bill since making the switch to solar. Know how much it was? $8.96! And that was the monthly meter fee, so we actually didn’t have any electricity costs!

What would you say to someone who is interested in going solar?

I would say do it, there’s really no reason not to!

Want to learn more about solar power in South Carolina?

Southern Current is proud to be one of the leading solar companies in South Carolina, with services available throughout the Southeast. Contact us TODAY to schedule a FREE consultation, and find out how much you could be saving with solar!

Here’s How To Claim The Solar Tax Credits On Your Tax Return

Disclaimer: While we are one of South Carolina’s top solar installation companies, we are not tax experts. Our suggestions on this page about filing for your solar tax credit are exactly that – suggestions. Because individual situations may vary, please consult a tax professional before filing for your solar tax credit.

Tax time is here, and depending on your paycheck it could be a rewarding time, or a time of frustration. For South Carolina home and business owners who installed solar panels last year, a special solar tax credit is available.

How to claim the tax credits for solar panel installations

The US federal government offers a tax credit to both home and business owners who install solar power systems. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit is a federal tax credit worth 30% of the total system cost including installation.

As a credit, you take the amount directly off your tax payment, rather than as a deduction from your taxable income. A tax credit is more valuable than a tax deduction because a tax credit reduces the tax you pay dollar-for-dollar whereas a tax deduction simply lowers your taxable income.

You can claim the 30% solar tax credit for your primary residence, and for either an existing structure or new construction (new home).

To claim the federal solar tax credit, you must file IRS Form 5695 as part of your tax return; you calculate the value of the solar tax credit on the form, and then enter the result on Form 1040.

If you end up with a bigger credit than you have income tax due, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year (2017).

25% South Carolina Tax Credit For Solar Energy Systems

The state of South Carolina offers an additional tax credit for home and business owners who go solar, worth 25% of the total cost including installation.

To claim the South Carolina tax credit for solar, you must file Form SC1040TC as part of your state tax return. The corresponding code is 038 SOLAR ENERGY OR SMALL HYDROPOWER SYSTEM CREDIT: For installing a solar energy system or small hydropower system in a South Carolina facility (TC-38). Make sure to include this amount and this form with your 2016 Individual Income Tax Return Form SC1040.

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.

Note: If you installed solar panels after December 31, 2016 you will apply for the solar tax credit next year when you file your 2017 income taxes.

If you haven’t gone solar yet, you still have until the end of the year to install solar panels so that you can take advantage of these incredible solar incentives! Learn more about solar solutions for the home, or Contact Us to schedule a FREE solar consultation and find out how much you could be saving with solar!

Disclaimer: While we are one of South Carolina’s top solar installation companies, we are not tax experts. Our suggestions on this page about filing for your solar tax credit are exactly that – suggestions. Because individual situations may vary, please consult a tax professional before filing for your solar tax credit.