North Carolina Solar Rebates, Incentives and Tax Credits


I imagine that this would be a great way to check out all the North Carolina solar power systems but before you rush out to book your flight lets talk about what is going on in the North Carolina solar industry. We are happy to report that North Carolina has been actively promoting renewable energy generation over the past several years. In 2007, North Carolina introduced Senate Bill 3, which overhauled the states renewable energy rules through the authorization of tax credits for solar power systems.  The bill also requires that the state generate at least 12.5% of its power from renewable sources by 2021. While this percentage is low (there are other states out there calling for 20% or even 25% generation from renewables) we should note that North Carolina is the first state in the Southeast to adopt a renewable energy standard so anything is better than nothing, right.

PACE Financing
In August 2009, North Carolina enacted legislation (S.B. 97) that authorizes counties and cities to make special assessments in order to finance the installation of “distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial, industrial or other real property.” Counties and cities that choose to adopt such programs may finance them by revenue bonds, general obligation bonds or general revenues.

As of April 2010, no counties have actually created any PACE programs – hmmm, time to get on the phone to your local authorities.

 

Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Personal)

North Carolina offers a tax credit equal to 35% of the cost of your home soalr power system. For residential solar power systems the maximum credit is $10,500 per installation.

Other fine print:

  • The allowable credit may not exceed 50% of a taxpayer’s state tax liability for the year, reduced by the sum of all other state tax credits.
  • Single-family homeowners who purchase and install a qualifying renewable-energy system must take the maximum credit amount allowable for the tax year in which the system is installed.
  • If the credit is not used entirely during the first year, the remaining amount may be carried over for the next five years.  

Production Incentives

NC GreenPower Production Incentive

Owners of small solar energy systems (10 kilowatts or less) may currently apply to receive program incentives at any time. If you are interested you can apply fill out an online application. Note that customer-generators who choose to net meter are not permitted to sell electricity under the NC GreenPower Program.
Details of the program:

  • Generators are required to enter into power-purchase agreements with their North Carolina electric utility and with NC GreenPower.
  • However, because premiums paid to NC GreenPower are funded exclusively by voluntary contributions from North Carolina electric customers, NC GreenPower does not provide guaranteed contracts to generators.
  • Owners of small solar electric systems enrolled in NC GreenPower receive $0.15/kWh from the program, plus approximately $0.04/kWh from their utility under the power-purchase agreement, for a total production payment of about $0.19/kWh.

 

TVA – Generation Partners Program

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and participating power distributors of TVA power offer a production-based incentive program to Valley homeowners and businesses for the installation of renewable generation systems from the following qualifying resources: solar, wind, low-impact hydropower, and biomass called Generation Partners. The energy generated from these renewable generation systems will count towards TVA’s green power pricing program, Green Power Switch.
Details:

  • TVA will purchase 100% of the output from a qualifying system at a premium of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on top of the retail electricity rate for solar
  • TVA will retain all rights to any renewable energy credits (including tradable renewable credits or green tags) or other associated benefits of energy generated from the renewable nature of the qualifying system.
  • Payment is made in the form of a credit issued by the local power company on the monthly power bill for the home or business where the generation system is located.
  • If a qualifying system produces more electricity than it consumes, payment for the excess generation will be issued either monthly or annually, at the discretion of the power company.
  • All new participants in the Generation Partners program will receive a $1000 incentive to offset the upfront cost of the qualifying system.
  • The contract term is 10 years.

As of October 2009, there are 91 distributors in the Valley that participate in the Generation Partners program; participation is at the discretion of the power company. Click here for a list of the participating utilities. For more information about the program, visit www.generationpartners.com or call 866-673-4340.
Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems

In August 2008, North Carolina enacted legislation that exempts 80% of the appraised value of a “solar energy electric system” from property tax.

 

Net-Metering

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) requires the state’s three investor-owned utilities — Duke Energy, Progress Energy and Dominion North Carolina Power — to make net metering available to customers that own and operate systems that generate electricity using solar energy and other renewables. You are free to net meter under any available rate schedule. However, if you choose to use another tariff other than a time-of-use (TOU) demand tariff you must surrender to the utility all renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the energy generation – with no compensation for you. Bottom line is, choose TOU.
Excess electricity generation is able to be carried forward to the following billing period at the utility’s full retail rate, however after that one time the credits are surrendered to the utility.