• North Carolina Goes Solar with SunPower®

    Solar savings shine bright in North Carolina

With over 200 days of sunshine per year throughout the Tar Heel State, home solar is a smart choice for home energy savings in North Carolina. Find out how the state encourages North Carolina homeowners to go solar.

What is the cost of solar in North Carolina?

The average cost of solar per watt installed  in the U.S. is $3.16. The average size of a home solar system is five to eight kilowatts, so going solar can cost from $14,000 to more than $30,000. Keep in mind that you may get some of that investment back if you are able to apply the 30-percent federal residential renewable energy income tax credit (ITC),* so the cost ends up being $10K to $20K. But don’t put off buying solar for too long, the tax credit will continue at 30% through 2020 but will begin dropping until the tax credit is over in 2022. 

The great news is that solar will pay for itself over time, and there are zero-down lease and loan options for qualified customers. Often, your combined lease or loan payment is less than your previous electricity cost. Learn about the different ways to pay for solar.

For more details, visit our blog post How Much do Solar Panels Cost.

What is the average payback time of solar in North Carolina?

According to the 2017 State Solar Power Rankings, North Carolina has an average payback time of 14 years on a five-kilowatt (5-kW) system and an investment rate of return of 6.7%. So if you were to buy a home solar system in North Carolina today, it could pay for itself in about 14 years.*

What are the rebates and financial incentives for solar in North Carolina?

If you pay federal income taxes and you purchase a solar system for your home, you may be eligible to receive the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).* It’s currently a 30% federal tax credit you can claim against your tax liability, which is a tremendous boon to most households. But be aware that the ITC is set to step down to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021. After 2021, the residential credit will drop to zero, so it’s a really big reason to go solar sooner rather than later.

In addition to the Federal ITC, North Carolina has established a variety of public policies that encourage solar adoption. For example, it has a Renewable Portfolio Standard in place, with the goal of having 12.5% of electricity production coming from renewable energy sources by 2021. In support of that goal, North Carolina has a modest solar carve-out (which means a percentage of all new energy must come from solar in the coming years) and a pretty good property tax exemption for solar homeowners, as well as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and net metering. With SRECs, you can earn credits for the solar energy you produce and receive SRECs that you sell to utilities for cash. The state also requires utilities to offer net metering, which means you can get a credit on your next utility bill for any surplus energy you produce (with limitations).

There may also be local and regional incentives available in North Carolina as well, depending on the utilities. To find out what’s available to you, search the US Department of energy database. Or you can consult with a knowledgeable solar dealer in your local area who can provide a quote that includes local incentives. Our Solar Advisors can match you with a SunPower-certified installation contractor with experience in your city.

Is solar popular in North Carolina?

More than 427,000 homes are powered by solar in North Carolina, making it an energy choice that’s growing in popularity—particularly since electricity prices are expected to continue rising in the future. North Carolina currently ranks 2nd in the nation in solar power capacity (up from 4th in 2016). 4.12% of the Tar Heel State’s electricity comes from solar (that may not sound like a lot, but trust us, it is since many states get less than 1% of their energy from solar). Visit the Solar Energy Industries Association for more information on solar in North Carolina.

Should I go solar now?

As soon as your solar system is turned on, you will start generating electricity from the sun, which can lower your electricity bill. And while there are many factors that can influence your savings, such as location, shade, system size, utility rates, weather and local policies, the overarching principle is the same: The more solar energy you produce, the less electricity you must buy from the utility company. The sooner you install your solar system, the sooner you can start saving on your electric bill. Those are savings you won’t get if you wait.

You may be asking yourself, “If solar prices keep falling, shouldn’t I wait for even lower prices?” You could, but consider this. Residential solar prices fell by 8.6 percent in 2016. So, if a solar system in your area cost $17,000 today you could save $1,462 by putting off solar for another year, assuming current cost declines continue.

However, you will delay the immediate solar energy benefits, known as “opportunity cost.” Let’s say you have a $200 per month energy bill—if your system covers 100% of your electricity costs, you could potentially save $2,400 a year in expenses that solar could eliminate (depending on several factors including system size, available roof space, and others). Paying $2,400 for electricity this year to save $1,462 next year puts the cost of waiting at almost $1,000. And when you factor in the time value of money concept, along with a potential utility rate hike, waiting makes even less sense.

Visit our blog post, Why Go Solar Now, for even more reasons to go solar now.

Where can I buy solar panels in North Carolina?

You’ll want to find a good solar installer with experience in your city, such as one of our SunPower-certified installation contractors, who will provide the solar panels, as well as the other needed equipment, and then install the solar system.

It’s important that you hire a professional solar installer who knows what solar works best in your specific geographic region. There is a reason you wouldn’t hire a contractor in Arizona to work on your house in North Carolina, and these reasons hold true for solar installations. Weather and sunlight vary from region to region, so you want to hire an installer who can design a system that works well in your climate.  Plus, every local municipality has different permitting and building code standards, and they change frequently.  If your installer has a strong relationship with the local permitting offices and inspectors, it can help your installation go smoothly, avoiding potential hold-ups caused by changes in local codes or utility requirements.

Our Solar Advisors can match you with a SunPower-certified installation contractor with experience in your city.

  • *. *tax credits subject to change | SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its partners or customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.
  • *. Average payback time will vary, depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to: electricity rates, shading, orientation, financing selected, ability to qualify and apply for local, state and federal incentives.
  • *. *tax credits subject to change | SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its partners or customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.

Why North Carolinians Choose SunPower


more energy*

for greater savings

  • *. SunPower X-Series panels produce 55% more energy in the same space over 25 years: SunPower 400 W, 22.6% efficient, compared to a Conventional Panel on same-sized arrays (280 W multi, 17% efficient, approx. 1.64 m²), 8% more energy per watt (based on PVSim runs for avg US climate), 0.5%/yr slower degradation rate (Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018).


in durability*

for peace of mind

  • *. Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018.

25 Year  


complete system warranty*

  • *. 10-year coverage for monitoring hardware

Going Solar with SunPower
easy to go solar with sunpower

Going solar is as easy as 1-2-3

Our experts do the legwork. From determining whether your home is a good candidate for solar to matching you with a local solar installer, going solar is easy with SunPower.

Steps to going solar

Residential home solar financing

Zero-down Financing

Start saving with solar with as little as zero-down,* and we offer several financing options from loan to leasing, so you can choose what’s right for you.

Explore payment options

  • *. for qualified customers
Going solar with SunPower residential solar panel systems

SunPower Equinox™ home solar

A complete home solar system where every component is designed to work together perfectly—from sun to switch. Plus, it offers the industry’s only complete-system warranty.

Explore SunPower Equinox™

Energy prices are on the rise again. Why wait to install solar on your home?

Learn more about home solar