With an abundance of sunshine and growing solar policies and incentives programs, South Carolina is home to an expanding solar power industry. The state is looking to triple its solar capacity between 2015 and mid-2016, with many programs underway to make solar panels in South Carolina easy and affordable to consumers.

South Carolina’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

South Carolina Electricity Costs: at a Glance

More than half of South Carolina’s electricity generation is supplied by its four existing nuclear power plants. The cost of electricity in South Carolina is about on par with the national average at $0.13/kWh. The state is eighth in the country for electricity sales, largely to meet air conditioning needs during hot summers. However, that South Carolina sun can result in huge energy bill savings with the help of solar energy systems.

Cost of S.C. Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

South Carolina
Solar Library

Incentives & Policies in S.C.

In 2014, South Carolina changed its solar policies and introduced the Renewables Portfolio Standard and updated their net metering rules. These new policies brought in a good number of solar rebate programs and tax credits. Usually a solar energy system costs around $20,000, but with federal and state tax credits and other rebate programs, the cost can be reduced by up to 50 percent, giving the system a payback time of around nine years.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

Duke Energy Progress Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program:

Duke Energy Progress offers a rebate of $1.00 per DC watt for residential and nonresidential customers. The rebates have wattage ceilings and are retroactive for customers who installed systems after January 1, 2015.

SCE&G – Customer Scale Solar Program:

SCE&G offers performance-based incentives to residential and nonresidential customers, each with its own set of limitations.

Santee Cooper – Renewable Energy Resource Loans:

Low-interest loans are available to Santee Cooper residential customers who licensed a contractor to install PV systems. A home energy audit is required prior to purchase and installation. Maximum loan amount: $40,000, with a maximum term of 10 years.

SouthCarolinaSAVES Green Community Loan Program:

The SouthCarolinaSaves Green Community Loan Program offers low cost financing to South Carolina commercial properties for solar photovoltaic systems. Projects can receive between $500,000 and $5 million of low cost financing.

POLICIES

Net Metering:

South Carolina customer generators can receive net energy metering at the full retail rate, free from additional fees, until January 1, 2021 from investor-owned utilities. Independently owned utilities (IOUs) can install renewable systems of 20 kW or less and nonresidential customers can install systems with a cap of either 100 percent of demand of 1 MW, whichever is the lesser.

Interconnection Guidelines:

South Carolina has interconnection guidelines for small distributed generation (DG). The guidelines apply to renewable-energy systems and other forms of DG with a capacity of up to 20 kilowatts (kW) for residential systems and 100 kW for non-residential systems. Application fees and proper insurance coverage required.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

None

Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit (Personal)

South Carolina taxpayers can claim a credit of 25 percent off purchasing and installing a solar energy system or small hydropower system. The maximum credit is $3,500 a year for each facility or 50 percent of the taxpayer’s liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. The systems must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity.

Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit (Corporate)

South Carolina taxpayers can claim a credit of 25 percent off purchasing and installing a solar energy system or small hydropower system. The maximum credit is $3,500 a year for each facility or 50 percent of the taxpayer’s liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. The systems must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity.

TAX EXEMPTIONS

None

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Solar Panel Contractors & Installers

There are many solar companies across South Carolina that offer systems to homebuyers. Here is a list of some of the solar contractors and installers available.

Mr. Central Home Services, LLC

Mr. Central offers home solar panel installation and repair services.

Where it operatesAiken, SC; North Augusta, SC; Johnston/Edgefield, SC; Lexington/Columbia, SC

Year of opening1959

South Coast Solar

South Coast Solar offers solar PV services to residential, commercial and governmental customers. The company has installed more than 1,500 solar panels with its services backed by a 10-year labor warranty and power production guaranty. Additional services include solar thermal, backup generators and LED lighting solutions.

Where it operates State of SC

Year of opening2007

Sunstore Solar

Solar energy is Sunstore Solar’s specialty. The company designs and installs PV systems for residential and commercial buildings.

Where it operatesGreer, SC; Mt. Pleasant, SC

Year of opening1970s

Solar Energy USA

This national company’s two locations in South Carolina will help customers convert to solar energy with solar PV and solar thermal heat systems.

Where it operatesGreenville, SC; Mt. Pleasant, SC

Year of opening2008

Tablerock Technologies, LLC

Tablerock Technologies provides small- and large-scale turnkey solar energy systems for residential and commercial buildings.

Where it operatesPickens, SC

Year of opening2002

Carolina Cooling

Carolina Cooling offers solar energy systems and various maintenance agreements to go with them.

Where it operatesSurfside Beach, SC

Year of opening2007

Southern Atlantic Solar, LLC

Southern Atlantic Solar is a source for solar PV and solar thermal systems for commercial and residential buildings and industrial and agricultural applications.

Where it operatesJohns Island, SC

Year of opening2009

Baker Renewable Energy

Despite their North Carolina address, Baker Renewable Energy designs and installs solar panels for businesses and homeowners across South Carolina.

Where it operatesRaleigh, NC

Year of opening2009

Hannah Solar Government Services, LLC

A veteran-owned company, Hannah Solar provides solar energy system installation for government services as well as businesses and utilities.

Where it operatesNorth Charleston, SC

Year of opening2010

Alder Energy Systems

Alder Energy Systems provides solar panel installation services throughout the Southeast.

Where it operatesMt. Pleasant, SC

Year of opening2008

Southern Current

Southern Current designs and installs custom solar panel systems for residential and commercial buildings.

Where it operatesCharleston, SC

Year of opening2015

More Information

For more information on the energy and electricity policies, rebates, governing bodies or utilities in South Carolina, here are a few resources that can help get you started:

South Carolina State Energy Office:

This site offers an array of useful information about energy and electricity programs and saving strategies in South Carolina.

Public Service Commission – State of South Carolina:

Learn about the South Carolina’s electricity rates and services regulations.

South Carolina Legislature:

Stay up-to-date on current and pending solar energy legislation in the state.

DSIRE Incentives Database- South Carolina:

Look up all the incentives that South Carolina offers for solar energy.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – South Carolina State Profile:

Here you can find specific energy and electricity data and statistics compiled by the U.S. government.