South Carolina is a state with lots of sunshine and some recent beneficial changes in solar policies are great news for South Carolina residents. Keep in mind that the Federal Government currently offers a 30% tax credit for the whole installed cost of your system That's a huge benefit available to you no matter where you live in the US!
South Carolina has a very weak RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard). This is a regulation that requires utilities to increase their production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal by a certain date. Utilities must meet the standards by either producing their own renewable energy or by purchasing it from customers. They must pay high fees if the standards are not met. Rather than paying high fees, utilities in strong RPS state offer solar incentives to homeowners. South Carolina's Renewable Portfolio Standard (passed in early 2016) mandates all utilities to produce 2% of their aggregate capacity from renewable energy by 2021.
Solar carve outs require a certain percentage of the Renewable Portfolio Standards to be met with solar energy. South Carolina has no solar carve out.
South Carolina's electric rates rank 18th out of fifty states. A state's electric rates are one of the key factors in predicting whether an investment in solar panels makes sense. The reason for this is simple: solar power is in direct contention with electric rates. Low electric rates make it hard for you to achieve significant payback from your solar power investment. Higher electric rates make an investment in solar energy much more feasible. South Carolina's lower electric rates make investing in solar power less attractive.
South Carolina offers net metering. Net metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred into the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility. When you generate electricity from your solar array for your home or business, it reduces the amount of energy you purchase from your electric utility. it also lowers your monthly electricity bills. If your system produces more energy than you need, the excess power is sold back to the grid. That amount of energy is deducted from your monthly bill or credited toward a future bill.
Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid. These rules apply to both electricity customers and utilities. South Carolina does not have statewide interconnection standards which makes the interconnection process in South Carolina complex and/or expensive. This can be a definite problem when trying to bring a solar energy system online and makes it more difficult for a solar power system to make financial sense.
Solar power rebates are incentives federal or state governments offer to reduce the cost of going solar. You can get a lump sum payment or your installer will take the amount off the final installed price. Rebates require paperwork to be filed. Many times installers will handle the paperwork. Duke Energy offers an excellent $1/watt rebate off the cost of a Solar PV system. Combine that with the 30% Federal rebate and South Carolina's 25% tax credit (see below) and you have a slam dunk for South Carolina residents!
South Carolina offers great state solar tax credits. As a credit, you take the amount directly off your tax payment, rather than as a deduction from your taxable income. You can claim the credit for your primary residence, vacation home, and for either an existing structure or new construction. South Carolina's Solar Energy Tax Credit, passed by the state legislature, lets residents claim a state tax credit of 25% of the whole installed cost of a Solar PV system. The largest credit that can be applied in a single year is $3500 or 50% of your state tax liability, whichever is less. Credits not used may be carried forward for ten years.
Georgia offers Solar Power Performance Payments, also know as production incentives (the state ranks 20th in the nation). Solar Power Performance Payments provide small cash payments based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by a renewable energy system. Payments based on a system's actual performance are much more effective than payments based on a system's rated capacity. Electricity produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). If you are a customer of South Carolina Electric and Gas you are eligible for performance payments through the SCE&G Customer Scale Solar Program.
There are no property tax exemptions for installed solar systems in South Carolina. Property tax exemptions allow businesses and homeowners to exclude the added value of a system from the valuation of their property for taxation purposes. An exemption makes it more economically feasible for taxpayer to install a solar system on a residential or commercial property.
South Carolina doesn't offer sales tax exemptions. A sales tax exemption means that homeowners and businesses would not have to pay any state sales tax on their solar panel system.
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