Charleston, South Carolina’s oldest and second-largest city, is a great place to live for its rich history, incredible architecture, world-class restaurants, and beautiful coastlines. But how does it measure up in terms of being a sustainable energy city?
With a favorable net metering policy, solar tax credit incentives, and the decreasing cost of solar installation, it seems as though the City of Charleston and its residents have been actively warming up to utilizing the power of solar.
One of the first moves that helped usher in the solar power movement was the state’s new net metering policy. Net metering is a billing system that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. When a solar power system homeowner is able to take advantage of net metering, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at periods where the home's electricity use exceeds the system's output. Customers are then only billed for their “net” energy use. In April 2014, the South Carolina state legislature passed a bill to stipulate that utilities will offer net energy metering at the full retail rate. Score! Therefore, when a homeowner generates more electricity consumed in a month, excess kilowatt-hour credits roll over to the user’s next month’s utility bill. Utilities also must annually pay out for any excess electric production to zero-out electric bills and re-start the monthly carry-over process. This means that users can hook up to the grid and actually make money with the energy they produce, paying off the initial costs of solar power installation in Charleston much faster! Unfortunately, net metering is not available in every state, so Charleston residents should take advantage.
To help Charleston residents off-set the initial costs of installing a solar power system, there are two tax credits available, on both a federal and state level. These tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of tax that’s owed. The federal credit is 30 percent of the cost of the system. So if you install a system that costs $20,000, you will get a $6,000 federal tax credit. The state tax credit is worth 25 percent of he cost. But each year it can only be used to offset $3,500 in tax liability or 50 percent of the tax owed. The difference can be carried forward up to 10 years.
If you’re lucky enough to live Mt Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, or on the Charleston peninsula itself and thinking about generating your own free energy with solar power, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to be a homeowner. If you can check that off, then it will be important to evaluate how much unshaded roof space you have. Solar installation experts will usually come out and assess your home if you’re not sure. You can request free solar quotes and speak with solar panel installers in Charleston by filling out the short form below.
Next, you may need to check with your homeowners association. Charleston and the surrounding areas are so unique because of their historical integrity, which means that there are some architectural regulations you may have to abide by. There may be some red tape to cut, but many homeowners’ organizations have begun to embrace the adoption of solar systems within their subdivisions. According to The Daniel Island News, “While we are supportive of alternative energy solutions, we seek to balance these solutions with the aesthetic expectations as set forth in our Design Guidelines,” said Jane Baker, Vice President of Community Services for the Daniel Island Property Owners Association. Sounds like a step in the right direction!
There are many benefits of solar energy in homes in any state. You can protect the environment by reducing your carbon emissions, save money on your monthly utility bill, and get a greater return on your home by installing solar panels. What is the cost of solar energy? Check our solar power calculator to configure how much it would cost you and how much you could be saving each month. It’s a great time to adopt residential solar in Charleston and solar power in South Carolina in general has been gaining exciting momentum.