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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in South Carolina? (2023 Guide)



South Carolina had a slow start in the solar energy game. It wasn't until 2016, a whole decade after enacting its first solar policy in 2006, that the state saw a significant surge in solar development.


Interestingly enough, despite this late start, South Carolina has been making quick and steady progress... dare I say, it might even become the national leader of the movement. As of March 2021, the state ranked as the 12th most solar energy-generating state in the U.S., and today, more than 2% of the state’s energy needs are met by solar power. This consistent progress was and is only possible due to a few specific factors, one of which is a pretty affordable solar panel installation cost.


So you do the maths of... As of August 2023, the average solar panel cost in South Carolina is $2.86/W. For a 5 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system, the installation cost ranges from $12,155 to $16,445. But even at this, we haven’t factored in some discounts which are made available by the government. Let's dive in further to discover what you get to pay to install solar panels in SC.

 

Key Highlights

  • The average cost of solar panels in South Carolina is $2.86 per watt, but federal and local incentives can significantly reduce this cost.

  • Investing in solar panels in South Carolina is worthwhile due to the financial savings, environmental benefits, and increase in property value.

  • Factors influencing the cost of solar panels include system size, panel quality, roof complexity, and installation company.

  • To get the best price on solar panels, get multiple quotes, understand your energy needs, consider different financing options, and take advantage of all available incentives.

 

Cost of Solar Panels in SC

Cost of Solar Panels in SC

It's hard to talk about solar energy without mentioning the costs involved. After all, the financial aspect is often a deciding factor for many homeowners.


The average cost of solar panels in South Carolina as of 2023 is $2.86 per watt. This means that for a typical 5 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system, you're looking at a cost ranging from $12,155 to $16,445, with the average gross price hovering around $14,300. This cost includes everything - equipment, installation, and permits.


Now, here is a backdrop. This cost doesn't account for the federal investment tax credit (ITC) and local incentives, which can significantly reduce the overall cost. The ITC, for example, reimburses 30% of the cost. So, if you're installing a system that costs $14,300, the ITC would reduce your cost by $4,290, bringing your net cost down to $10,010. And that's before any local incentives!


Let's break it down further. The cost of a solar panel system includes (but certainly not limited to):

  • Equipment: The solar panels, inverter, and mounting hardware.

  • Installation: The labor costs associated with installing the equipment.

  • Permits: The fees associated with getting the necessary permits.

So you do the maths of... a 5 kW system costing $14,300 could typically break down as follows:

  • Equipment: $8,000

  • Installation: $4,800

  • Permits: $1,500

In contrast, after accounting for the ITC and any local incentives, your net cost could be significantly lower. It's just a friendly reminder that while the upfront cost might seem high, the actual cost you'll end up paying can be much more affordable.


Average solar panel cost by system size in South Carolina

Panel Size

Panel Cost

Panel Cost (after ITC)

3 kW

$8,580

$6,006

4 kW

$11,440

$8,008

5 kW

$14,300

$10,010

6 kW

$17,160

$12,012

7 kW

$20,020

$14,014

8 kW

$22,880

$16,016

9 kW

$25,740

$18,018

10 kW

$28,600

$20,020


Are Solar Panels Worth It in South Carolina in 2023?

If you struggle with high electricity bills, you may be wondering... Are solar panels worth it in South Carolina in 2023? The short answer is, yes! Solar is worth every bit in South Carolina, and here's why.


First up, the payback period. This is the time it takes for the savings on your electricity bills to equal the cost of your solar panel system. In South Carolina, the payback period is around 8.43 years. Over 20 years, you can expect to save $30,246 by installing an average-sized solar system (assuming you pay upfront with cash). If you choose to finance your system with a $0-down loan, you can start saving on day one, although your long-term savings will be less.


Now, let's compare this with other investment options. The stock market, for example, has an average annual return of 7%. A solar panel system, on the other hand, can provide a return on investment (ROI) of more than 20% over its lifetime. It's hard to talk about investments without mentioning the risks involved. But interestingly enough, solar panels have a relatively low risk compared to other investments.


But I wonder if, when considering the worth of solar panels, you're also thinking about the environmental benefits. Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of energy that can help reduce your carbon footprint. Additionally, installing solar panels can increase your property value by up to 4.1%.


So, collectively, the financial savings, environmental benefits, and increase in property value make solar panels a worthwhile investment in South Carolina in 2023. Ready to make a smart investment? Get a free solar quote today!


What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in South Carolina?

The cost of solar panels in South Carolina is influenced by several factors, including (but certainly not limited to):

  1. System Size: Most South Carolina homeowners need larger solar systems, around 11 kW, to completely cover their energy usage. This need for larger systems is one reason why many SC residents pay more for their solar panels. It's essential to perform an energy audit and analyze your monthly energy usage to determine how much energy you need to power your home. Your solar contractor will be your greatest resource for determining the appropriate size for your solar system, so always consult with your contractor.

  2. Panel Brand and Quality: Like any product or appliance, solar panels come in varying quality, which can be highly dependent on the brand.

  3. Panel Type: The type of panel you install (typically monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film) directly impacts the overall quality of your installation. Higher quality = higher prices.

  4. Your Roof: The complexity of your roof can affect the cost of your solar panel installation. If you have a complex roof, your system may cost more.

  5. Installation Company: Solar companies all charge different labor rates for their work. You may opt to pay more for a more reputable company with better reviews and a shorter time period until installation.

  6. Permitting and Interconnection: While it’s not a large factor, paying for permits and your interconnection fee to the grid will add a little to the top of your total solar installation price.

Tips on How to Get the Best Price on Solar Panels

  • Get Multiple Quotes: Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Get quotes from multiple solar installation companies to compare prices and services.

  • Understand Your Energy Needs: Perform an energy audit to understand your energy needs and avoid paying for more solar capacity than you need.

  • Consider Different Financing Options: Explore different financing options, such as solar loans or leases, to find the most cost-effective solution for you.

  • Take Advantage of Incentives: Make sure to take advantage of all available federal, state, and local incentives to reduce your overall cost.


Remember, the cheapest option is not always the best option. It's important to consider the quality of the panels and the reputation of the installation company. To wrap this up, if you're considering making a smart investment that will save you money in the long run, reduce your carbon footprint, and increase your property value... then solar energy is a viable and beneficial option for you. Ready to take the plunge? Get a free solar quote today and start your journey towards a brighter, greener future!


FAQ

How much does it cost to install solar panels in South Carolina?

The average cost of solar panels in South Carolina is $2.86 per watt. For a typical 5 kW system, the cost ranges from $12,155 to $16,445 before incentives. However, the federal investment tax credit (ITC) and local incentives can significantly reduce this cost.

Can I get solar panels for free in South Carolina?

Does South Carolina have a solar tax credit?



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