Updated: Jul 12
Solar energy can benefit homeowners in Georgia in many ways, such as lowering electricity bills, increasing home value, reducing carbon emissions, and gaining energy independence.
Homeowners can save money on their solar system by taking advantage of the federal solar tax credit, the Georgia solar equipment sales tax exemption, and the local solar incentives and programs available in their area.
Homeowners should also be aware of the challenges and barriers that still exist for solar energy in Georgia, such as the lack of state incentives, the limited net metering options, and the high upfront costs of solar systems.
Homeowners should also check their rights and responsibilities as solar homeowners under the Georgia Solar Rights Law and their covenants and agreements with their associations.
Did you know that Georgia ranks as the 7th highest state in total solar power production in the US? The Peach State isn't just known for its juicy, mouth-watering fruits but also its gloriously abundant sunshine and sustainable energy resources
If you’re a homeowner in Georgia, you might be wondering how you can benefit from solar energy. Well, there are many reasons to go solar in Georgia, such as:
Lowering your electricity bills by generating your own clean power
Increasing your home value by adding a modern and eco-friendly feature
Reducing your carbon footprint by avoiding fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions
Gaining energy independence by relying less on the grid and more on your own system
But that’s not all. You can also save money on your solar system by taking advantage of the available solar incentives, tax credits, and rebates in Georgia. These programs can help you reduce the upfront cost of your solar system and increase your return on investment.
Ready for more?
This article will act as your all-inclusive roadmap to the pricing, tax breaks, and rebates tied to solar systems in the good ol' state of Georgia for 2023. We're leaving no stone unturned... everything you need to navigate your way to an informed decision and score the best deal on your solar undertaking is right here.
The Rise of Solar Power in Georgia
Solar power is booming in Georgia. The solar energy wave is certainly washing over the Peach State. As the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports, Georgia is lighting up with over 6,000 active solar installations, pumping out close to 5% of the state’s electricity. That's enough juice to power a whopping 600,000 homes. Think that's impressive?
Georgia also nabs the 9th spot nationwide for solar capacity installed, sporting over 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar power as of 2022. But hold onto your hats—there’s more on the horizon. With 1.6 GW of solar capacity planned or under construction, Georgia’s solar footprint is set to grow even bigger.
You might be scratching your head and asking, "What's fueling Georgia's solar energy surge?" The answer lies in a few key elements:
Overflowing sunshine: With an average of 218 days of sun-kissed weather a year, Georgia is a dream come true for solar energy enthusiasts.
Plummeting prices: The past decade has seen the cost of solar panels drop by 50%, making solar more reachable for homeowners. The average cost of a 6 kW solar system in Georgia sits at $18,960 before incentives—lower than the national average of $20,520. Not too shabby, right?
Nurturing policies: Georgia's government isn't just sitting back—they've rolled out a suite of policies and regulations to fan the flames of solar energy development.
Rising demand: More and more Georgia homeowners are choosing to bask in the glow of solar energy, driven by both environmental and economic motives.
But wait... there's more! In the upcoming sections, we're diving into the top-notch programs and deals poised to shave dollars off your solar system.
Georgia Residents and Federal Solar Energy Tax Credits
If you are a homeowner in Georgia planning to go solar, there's a federal solar tax credit, which might just become your new best friend. This 30% investment tax credit enables you to slash your federal income tax burden by 30% of the total system cost—that's everything, from panels and batteries to installation expenses.
Here's how it works: If you harness the sun in 2023, you can claim 30% of the cost as a credit on your 2023 tax return. Picture this—you install a 6 kW solar system for $18,960. Thanks to this tax credit, you can claim $5,688, bringing your net cost down to $13,272. Sounds pretty neat, doesn't it?
Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, this federal solar tax credit is sticking around until 2034. But there's a catch—it starts to shrink from 30% to 26% in 2033, drops to 22% in 2034, and by 2035, it's lights out for residential solar adopters. So, the early bird gets the worm here. If you're looking to nab the most sizable tax credit, your move should be to install your solar system in 2023.
How to claim this federal solar tax credit? It's all about Forms 5695 and 1040 when filing your federal income tax return. You can unearth more details on the IRS website, or better yet, rope in a tax professional for assistance.
Don't let this chance to pocket major savings with the federal solar tax credit slip through your fingers. Reach out to us today for a free quote or consultation. We're here to guide you towards the solar system that's just the right fit for your home and budget.
Net Metering in Georgia
Want another way to cash in on your solar system in Georgia? Say hello to net metering. This billing trick lets you sell back, or pocket credits for, any surplus electricity your solar system whips up and shoots back to the grid.
Imagine this—you generate more electricity than you burn through in a billing cycle. Either your utility company pays you for this excess power at a certain rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or you receive credits to balance out your future electricity bills. Sounds like a win-win, doesn't it?
Just a heads-up, though—net metering isn't a state-mandated policy in Georgia, but some forward-thinking utility companies do offer it voluntarily. We're talking Georgia Power, Cobb EMC, Sawnee EMC, Jackson EMC, and more.
To paint you a picture of net metering savings, let's dream up a scenario. Say you install a 6 kW solar system that churns out 8,000 kWh annually. You consume 10,000 kWh per year. Your utility rate is $0.12 per kWh, and your net metering rate is $0.04 per kWh. Here's how your annual savings would shake out:
Electricity bill sans solar: 10,000 kWh x $0.12 = $1,200
Electricity bill with solar: (10,000 - 8,000) kWh x $0.12 = $240
Net metering credit: 8,000 kWh x $0.04 = $320
Net annual savings: ($1,200 - $240) + $320 = $1,280.
Curious about whether you're eligible for net metering in Georgia? The best step forward is to reach out to your utility company, enquire about their net metering program, and get the lowdown on the requirements. And of course, don't hesitate to contact us for additional info and guidance on how to squeeze every drop of benefit from net metering with your solar system.
Georgia Solar Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
Another incentive for homeowners who go solar in Georgia is the Georgia solar equipment sales tax exemption. This is a state-level incentive that exempts you from paying the 4% state sales tax on your solar equipment purchase. The exemption applies to solar panels, inverters, batteries, mounting hardware, wiring, and other components of your solar system.
This means that if you buy a solar system in Georgia, you can save 4% of the cost in sales tax. For example, if you buy a 6 kW solar system for $18,960, you can save $758.40 in sales tax with the exemption ($18,960 x 0.04).
The Georgia solar equipment sales tax exemption was enacted in 2018 and will expire in 2024 unless renewed by the state legislature. So if you want to take advantage of this incentive, you should act fast and buy your solar system before it expires.
To claim the Georgia solar equipment sales tax exemption, you need to fill out Form ST-5M and present it to the solar equipment seller at the time of purchase. You should also keep a copy of the form and the receipt for your records.
Don’t miss this opportunity to save money on your solar system with the Georgia solar equipment sales tax exemption.
Local Solar Incentives in Georgia
In addition to the federal and state incentives, there are also some local solar incentives available in Georgia. These are additional incentives, rebates, or programs offered by local governments, utility companies, or community organizations to promote solar energy adoption in specific areas or regions.
Some of the local solar incentives available in Georgia are:
The Solarize Georgia program: This is a community-based initiative that organizes group discounts and bulk purchases for homeowners who want to go solar in participating cities or counties. The program offers up to 20% off the market price of a solar system, free site assessments, and pre-screened installers.
The Cobb EMC Solar Rebate program: This is a utility-based program that offers a one-time rebate of $450 per kW of installed solar capacity for Cobb EMC customers who install a solar system up to 10 kW. H
The Jackson EMC Right Choice Sun Power Rebate program: This is another utility-based program that offers a one-time rebate of $450 per kW of installed solar capacity for Jackson EMC customers who install a solar system up to 10 kW. Homeowners must apply online and submit their invoice and proof of installation within 90 days of installation.
To see how much you can save with local solar incentives, let’s look at another example. Suppose you participate in the Solarize Savannah campaign and buy a 6 kW solar system for $15,168 instead of $18,960, saving $3,792 with the group discount. If you are also a Cobb EMC or Jackson EMC customer, you can also get a rebate of $2,700 ($450 x 6 kW), reducing your net cost to $12,468.
Local solar incentives can help you lower the upfront cost of your solar system, increase your return on investment, support local businesses and jobs, and foster community engagement. To check your eligibility for local solar incentives in Georgia, you should contact your local government, utility company, or community organization and ask about their solar programs and requirements.
Georgia Solar Rights Law
If you want to go solar in Georgia, you should also be aware of the Georgia Solar Rights Law. This is a state-level law that protects your rights to install and use solar energy systems on your property. The law prohibits homeowners associations (HOAs), condominium associations (COAs), or other covenants from banning or restricting solar installations without reasonable justification. The law also allows you to appeal any unreasonable restrictions or denials by your associations.
The Georgia Solar Rights Law was passed in 2015 and applies to all residential properties in Georgia. The law states that no covenant or agreement can prevent or unreasonably restrict you from installing a solar energy system on your property, unless it is necessary to protect public health and safety.
The Georgia Solar Rights Law can benefit you in many ways. It can protect your rights to go solar, increase your property value, reduce your energy costs, and support renewable energy development. However, the Georgia Solar Rights Law can also create some challenges. It can cause conflicts or disputes with your associations, require legal action or mediation, or result in compromises.
To avoid any problems with your associations, you should check your covenants and agreements before installing a solar system on your property. You should also communicate with your associations and explain the benefits of solar energy for you and your community. If you face any unreasonable restrictions or denials by your associations, you can appeal them through the Georgia Superior Court.
Don’t let your associations stop you from going solar in Georgia. Contact us today for a free quote or consultation. We’ll help you find the best solar system for your property and budget.
Does Georgia have tax credit for solar?
Georgia does not have a state-specific tax credit for solar, but homeowners can still claim the federal solar tax credit of 30% of the system cost until 2034. The federal tax credit will gradually decrease from 30% to 26% in 2033, to 22% in 2034, and then expire for residential solar adopters in 2035.
What are the tax incentives for solar farms in Georgia?
Solar farms in Georgia can benefit from the federal solar tax credit of 30% of the system cost until 2034, as well as the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS), which allows them to deduct the depreciation of their solar assets over five years. Solar farms can also qualify for the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which pays them $0.023 per kWh of electricity generated for the first 10 years of operation.
Is solar power worth it in Georgia?
Solar power can be worth it in Georgia depending on several factors, such as your electricity consumption, system size, system cost, utility rate, net metering rate, and available incentives. Solar power can help you lower your electricity bills, increase your home value, reduce your carbon footprint, and gain energy independence. However, you should also consider the challenges and barriers that still exist for solar power in Georgia, such as the lack of state incentives, the limited net metering options, and the high upfront costs of solar systems.
How much do solar panels cost in Georgia?
The average cost of solar panels in Georgia is $2.60 per watt, which means that a typical 6 kW solar system would cost $15,600 before incentives. However, you can reduce the cost of your solar system by taking advantage of the federal solar tax credit, the Georgia solar equipment sales tax exemption, and the local solar incentives and programs available in your area.