Charleston, SC goes solar with SunPower®
Holy City shines a light on solar energy
The state of solar in Charleston
Charleston is a national leader in using clean energy to power homes and businesses. This sunny city has made the cut as one of the top U.S. cities in solar capacity per person, coming in at No. 24.
A yearly average of 209 sunny days, along with state and federal incentives, make it easy for residents to go solar.* About 81% of buildings in Charleston have solar viability, further helping the city cement its role as a major solar producer.*
How much solar energy does Charleston produce?
According to the Shining Cities 2020 report, Charleston has a solar capacity of 55.52 watts of electricity per capita. Thanks to the number of solar-viable rooftops in Charleston, the city could potentially have a solar capacity of 617 megawatts and generate around 813,000 megawatt hours per year.* (A megawatt is one million watts, and a megawatt hour is the output of a megawatt for one hour.)
- *. Google, Project Sunroof data explorer (November 2018)
What are the advantages of going solar in Charleston?
People in Charleston can reduce their energy bills by going solar. The exact amount you could save depends on your home, location, solar energy system, and other factors. However, you can expect to see immediate savings as soon as a licensed solar provider installs your solar panels.
Retail prices for electricity in the country are rising this year. By investing in a solar system now, you will save long-term on energy costs. Your solar system investment could also boost your home’s value, making it more appealing to potential homebuyers whenever you’re ready to sell the property.
South Carolina’s legislature has encouraged clean, renewable energy production. Its landmark 2019 Energy Freedom Act opened many doors for solar energy production by individual consumers as well as communities. In May 2021, the governor signed a new law that amended the state’s property tax exemption codes to expand property tax exemptions for small solar energy producers.
If you are interested in green living, going solar in Charleston makes great sense because it is clean, sustainable energy. The solar panels on your home will generate no greenhouse gas emissions and contribute little to nothing toward air, water, or land pollution as they produce energy. Solar use also lowers the demand for polluting sources of energy, such as coal and oil.
How much does solar cost in Charleston?
The cost of a home solar system can vary due to a range of factors, even among houses in the same city. These factors include the:
Quality of the solar panels
Shaded roof space
To help you understand the price of going solar in your area, we’ve analyzed SunPower price quotes as well as quotes gathered by third-party sources for thousands of homeowners across the country.*
In Charleston, we found that the average investment to own a 5 kilowatt (kW) solar system—the system an average U.S. home can accommodate—ranges from $13,750 to $15,250. Or, in other words, it would cost from $2.75 to $3.05 per watt—and that’s before considering the benefits of any available tax credits or incentives.
A measure of energy output, a kilowatt-hour (kWh) is 1,000 watts (a kilowatt) producing energy for one hour. The average U.S. household uses just over 900 kWh per month.*
As a Charleston resident, you can participate in the federal solar Investment Tax Credit and receive a 26% federal tax credit for the amount you paid for your solar system. The credit applies to several expenses, including permitting fees, installation labor, and equipment.
South Carolina also has incentives to help you go solar. For instance, the state’s Solar Energy Property Credit program provides a 25% credit toward the cost of purchasing or constructing solar energy systems.
Utility companies serving Charleston residents may also offer net metering. This program allows people who own a system of 20 kW or less to sell back excess energy their system produces to the local power grid. In return, they receive credit on their utility bills.
Please note that tax credits and incentives are subject to change. Similarly, the availability of net metering varies by location and is subject to change. Visit dsireusa.org for detailed solar policy information.
What’s the best way to go solar in Charleston?
Please be aware that not every solar system will be suitable for your property. If you have specific energy goals you want to meet, such as installing panels that produce a surplus of energy without compromising your property’s appearance, it is in your best interest to work with a reputable solar provider.
Before meeting with a solar installer, use a savings calculator to quickly build a custom solar system design for your home. This virtual design will help you estimate how much money you’ll save on electric bills and the amount of power your system will produce.
Licensed solar providers have a wealth of experience and solar energy expertise. They will help you consider every factor in pairing you with the solar PV system that best meets your needs. These professionals will then guide you through the process of going solar from start to finish, all while keeping your budget in mind.