Solar Tax Credits & Other Incentives Heat Up Energy-Efficient Demand in South Carolina Construction
Posted on Aug 08, 2017 by R. Taylor Speer, Thomas M. Kennaday
With an abundance of sunshine in South Carolina (August’s total solar eclipse notwithstanding), developers and builders are jumping on ways to take advantage of the sun’s rays to provide energy-efficient construction.
Solar panels provide cheap energy, but a major obstacle to mainstream use is the upfront installation cost. The most common residential solar installation – a 5-kilowatt system – costs about $20,000 to install in South Carolina, but generates only about $500 to $1,000 in annual energy savings.
Federal and state tax credits are the most significant tool to offset initial costs, along with rebates and other incentives from private utilities in South Carolina. A lucrative rebate for Duke Energy customers was exhausted at the end of January after falling victim to its own popularity. The utility offered a $5,000 annual rebate for the average household by paying $1 per watt of energy generated from solar panels. Another program for South Carolina Electric & Gas customers offered performance payments of up to 4 cents for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated from solar panels. It expired at the end of 2016.
Still, South Carolina users enjoy some of the best tax credits in the country and may be able to take advantage of new legislation pending in the House.continue reading