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Financing residential solar: what are my options?

Today, people are choosing solar for their homes at a rapidly growing rate and the opportunity to finance a solar project is better than ever before. Financing a solar panel system for your home is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are multiple good options for payment plans that can be structured to fit your needs. You might find that most solar companies don’t discuss how financing might affect the total cost. But at Southern Current, we are all about empowering through education. Your options depend on your access to capital and how convenient you want your financing to be.

 

For customers who do not want to or are unable to purchase solar panels with cash, there are $0 down payment plans that offer immediate returns on electric bills even as they are being repaid. With nothing out of pocket, you can reap the rewards of going solar – which is the only home renovation that pays you back immediately.

There are two $0 down payment plan choices:

  • Solar Loans: tailored to the customer and have structured financing with low monthly payments.
  • Bank Loans: such as Home Equity Lines of Credit or HELOC, are the ideal option for lowest fees and interest rates.

All loans offer no money down and no hidden contract terms which allow you to finance the total amount of the system with the same basic conditions as other home improvement loans. Additionally, these payment plans can be used at the time of building a new house or even rolled into a new mortgage. One of our solar experts can help you decide which is the best fit for you. Every form of financing includes a 10 year workmanship warranty and allows you to own your system and the tax credits.

 

We all know that if you are mortgaging a home or building a new home, remodeling can get expensive. But why add additional costs when you don’t have to? Solar isn’t like a kitchen rehab that won’t ever truly pay off. One assumption when you buy a home, is that you are automatically going to be paying for power with a utility company from day one. But why rent your power? It never goes away. It’s like taking a mortgage with a higher interest rate by choice simply by defaulting to the power company for electricity.

 

Data from EnergySage.com

Electricity rates are constantly rising.  Solar fixes these costs and then pays off with very minimum maintenance.

Solar is an investment that is worth it in the end – because the risk and exposure is twice as bad if you don’t go solar.

 

Also, if you are wondering what happens when you sell your home – read more here. 

 

net metering South Carolina

Solar Incentive Coming To An End In South Carolina

Changes are coming to residential solar in SC.

Two of South Carolina’s major utilities are changing the way clients benefit from the solar energy they produce on their home in 2019.  As of March 15th for Duke Energy customers, and when SCE&G clients hit their capacity cap, the terms of their offered rates for solar will no longer be as strong as they currently are.  System costs will remain the same and solar will still make sense for the long term, but, if no new net metering program is approved, the fall-back rate structures could add 6-8 more years to the payback period for the investment.  The current Net-metering that we all enjoy will be gone.

net metering South Carolina

Click to view nearby home solar panel installations in South Carolina!

So, What is Net-Metering?

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.”  Source: Solar Energy Industries Association.

The current South Carolina Net Metering program is a 1:1 credit. If a solar customer exports excess electricity back to the utility, the utility will compensate the customer at the same rate that the utilities charges them for electricity. For example, if a SCEG customer consumes 1 kwh of electricity, then SCEG will charge them $0.13.  If this same SCEG customer sends back 1 kwh of electricity to the grid, then SCEG will credit the customer $0.13.

When your usage is low, like a Wednesday afternoon when everyone is at work, surplus solar production is sold to the utility for the same price you pay for it, reducing your bill, and saving you money.  The utility can then instantly transfer this power to your neighbors to support their needs (selling it to them on the same power lines you are using!).

The image below represents net metering. It demonstrates when the sun is shining and the solar panels are producing more energy than being used in the home, the energy goes back to the grid. While at night, your home is pulling that excess energy back from the grid to light your home. 

net metering South Carolina

Image Credit: Energysage

 

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What is changing about the Net Metering policy in South Carolina?

Once the cap is hit for SCE&G and the date is hit for Duke, the tariffs (rates) in place will negatively impact solar clients.  The utility companies will cease giving a 1:1 ratio credit for the electricity produced and exported to the grid.  For instance from the above example were SCEG was compensating you a $0.13 credit for each kwh you sent to grid, they may only credit you $0.05 for that same kwh.  The utility will pay you less for a kW you produce than a kW they produce, even though they sell the one they get from you back to you or your neighbor for full retail.

SCE&G’s Program

SCE&G’s net metering program will end once their capacity cap is achieved. This cap can be hit at any time due to large commercial projects grabbing allocations of the program, but the expectation is currently March or shortly thereafter.

For net-metering applications approved prior to the capacity being reached, customers will be able to take advantage of the current net metering policy. This policy allows the customer to receive a 1:1 ratio for energy they sell back to the grid. They are grandfathered into the program until 2025.

The image below shows the capacity status of SCE&G’s net metering program as of 1/31/2019.

 

Image Credit: SCE&G

Duke’s Program

Duke Energy has already hit the cap they have set previously and then extended accepting applications out until March 15th.

Net-metering applications approved prior to March 15, 2019 will be able to take advantage of the current net metering arrangement. This arrangement ensures the customer will receive a credit at a 1:1 cost for each kW-hour exported to the grid. This also grandfathers them into the program until 2025.

Will my rates go up? How much?

Your rates will not change for power you use, but the price the utilities pay for the kWh of power you send back to the grid  could be cut in half. If the utility charges you $0.13kwh for power, why should they not PAY you a $0.13kwh for power? Especially if they are able to sell the power they just bought from you BACK to you or your neighbor for full retail.

Can I install a solar system after this date?

Yes!  You can still install a solar system after this date.  System costs and performance are not impacted. 

Why Go Solar Today?

  • Net Metering Policy is changing – utilities will give you less than a 1:1 ratio for energy you create
  • Federal Tax Credits are changing- tax credits will remain at 30% until the end of 2019, they drop to 26% in 2020, and to 22% in 2021.
  • State Tax Credits are NOT changing – we have one of the best tax credits in the country.

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net metering South Carolina

You can make a difference; contact your Legislator!

Solar net metering programs are due to expire in mid-March in the Upstate and in mid-2019 for most other areas of the state, eliminating the ability of customers to reduce their energy bills by going solar.  

Legislation is pending at the Statehouse. It will:

  • Remove the net metering cap and solar leasing caps and allow ratepayers freedom to choose their own energy source
  • Ensure fair compensation for what solar users generate and use by calculating the net energy used over the course of a month
  • Prevent non-solar customers from paying for revenue lost by a utility because of solar.
  • Prohibit utilities from setting discriminatory rates specifically for solar customers.

It’s time to take action!

Free-market competition in the energy sector will lower bills, create jobs, and increase energy independence. In the first 100 days of 2019, South Carolina lawmakers have the opportunity to create a better energy future for all South Carolinians by taking clear and decisive action on clean energy competition.

Contact your legislators today and ask them to strengthen your energy choices, support the Energy Freedom Act, and lower your power bill.

 

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Learn More About Southern Current

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with specialties in residential solar for homes, commercial solar for businesses, and utility-scale solar farms for property owners and utilities. Schedule a solar consultation today to receive a free analysis of how much money you could be saving with a solar!

Most NABCEP Certifications In South Carolina

Southern Current holds the most NABCEP certifications in the state of South Carolina. Coming in at 9 certifications, they hold 8 PV Installation Professional certifications and is the only company in the state to hold a PV System Inspector certification.

About NABCEP

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners® (NABCEP®) holds the highest standards for professionals in the renewable energy industry. Quality is the key focus of NABCEP and these certifications prove quality assurance of the companies and professionals who obtain them. They hold all certified employees to high professional and ethical standards.

NABCEP’s mission is ““to support, and work with, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, professionals, and stakeholders to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners.”

NABCEP’s goal is to develop voluntary national credentialing programs that will:

  • Promote renewable energy
  • Provide value to practitioners
  • Promote worker safety and skill
  • Promote consumer confidence

 

Southern Current 

At Southern Current, we value providing our customers with the highest quality. By obtaining these certifications, we want to prove to our customers and other companies that is what we stand for. We distribute the knowledge and expertise to all employees and hold them to the same standard as our top professionals.

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with specialties in residential solar for homes, commercial solar for businesses, and utility-scale solar farms for property owners and utilities. Schedule a solar consultation today to receive a free analysis of how much money you could be saving with a solar! 

Employees With NABCEP Certifications:

David Brueck PV Installation Professional
# 042013-17
John Brandon PV Installation Professional
# PV-102415-012142
Adam Eiserman PV Installation Professional
# PV-102117-017191
Michael Thompson PV Installation Professional
# PV-042217-012502
John Wilson PV Installation Professional
# PV-102216-014987
Greg White PV Installation Professional
# PV-042217-008136
Scott Wolfrey PV Installation Professional
# PV-042217-017151
Treanor Jones PV Installation Professional
# PV-060518-020563
Greg White PV System Inspector
# PVSI-090717-008136

 

 

Aiken County Solar

Industry Leader Invests In Aiken County Solar Project

Southern Current is about to launch a solar project in Aiken County within the next 18 months.  $20 million will be invested into the solar farm in Jackson, South Carolina. Solar farms and renewable energy have become a key driver in South Carolina’s economy and we are thrilled to be a part of the growing industry. In Aiken County, the 19 MW solar farm is estimated to bring the county an extra $95,000 a year. The Aiken solar project will help reduce the carbon footprint and will also be low maintenance.

“We are pleased that Southern Current chose Aiken County for its newest solar farm. This is a significant investment, one that highlights the attractiveness of Aiken County for green energy projects. I’m confident that this project will be a win-win for both Southern Current and Aiken County taxpayers.” –Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker

Southern Current’s Chief development officer, Paul Fleury said  “The economic development team has a strong track record for supporting the growth of the clean energy revolution, and we’re excited to become a part of the community. These types of partnerships are continuing to show the country what makes our state so great.”

Southern Current plans to invest 2 billion dollars and put in over 2 Gigawatts into South Carolina. Learn about another county Southern Current is investing in here.

 

Learn More About Southern Current

Producing your own energy with solar offers a lifetime of rewards including lower power bills, higher property value, and numerous environmental benefits. Southern Current is proud to be one of South Carolina’s leading solar installers, with residentialcommercial, and utility-scale solar services available across the Southeast. Contact Us to find out how much you could be saving with a solar project at your location!