December 5, 2023

The state of North Carolina is an ideal place to go solar thanks to the states solar-friendly incentives and the states location to receive an abundant amount of sun year-round. 

Duke Energy, the primary electricity provider in the state, raised electricity prices by as much as 9.5% in 2022, according to WCNC. To help offset rising electricity costs in the Tar Heel State, tapping into a renewable energy source using solar is a great option. But a solar panel purchase comes with a hefty upfront investment. 

North Carolina gets more average daily peak sun hours than many other US states — 4.2 to 4.7 peak sun hours per day — according to Global Solar Atlas, an online resource that provides map-based solar information. 

Having abundant peak sun hours means living in North Carolina is an ideal place to maximize solar panel efficiency year-round therefore, making a rooftop solar panel purchase worth thinking about.  

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Here’s what you need to know about going solar and how to choose the best solar company in North Carolina. 

Average cost of solar panels in North Carolina 

Here’s a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from

North Carolina solar panel costs

System size (kW) Price per watt Total cost
5 $3.51 $17,550

How to pay for solar panels in North Carolina

The most popular way for state residents to pay for solar panels include the following:

  • Cash
  • Solar loans
  • Solar leases
  • Power Purchase Agreements 

Cash is often endorsed as the best payment method when installing solar panels because it’s interest-free and makes you eligible for all solar tax incentives and rebates. Solar loans also qualify for tax incentives and rebates, but the payback period is longer, and interest will accrue. Finally, solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements have a set monthly fee, but the homeowner has less control over the solar array, and incentives are unavailable.

You can also explore alternative financing methods such as personal loans, home equity loans or government financing programs such as the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. “PACE programs allow a property owner to finance the upfront cost of energy or other eligible improvements on a property and then pay the costs back over time through a voluntary assessment. The unique characteristic of PACE assessments is that the assessment is attached to the property rather than an individual,” according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

Read more: Just looking for an emergency backup? Check out portable solar panels and solar generators.  

North Carolina solar panel incentives and rebates

With these local and state solar incentives, North Carolinians have many opportunities to save on solar panel costs. The residential clean energy credit is perhaps the biggest opportunity for North Carolina residents to save thousands on a home solar system, allowing you to claim 30% of the total cost of your system back in tax credits. 

Here’s a look at solar incentives available in North Carolina.

Program Description
Blue Ridge Energy net metering Customers earn bill credits through solar energy generation “at an amount equal to the most recently approved rate schedule.”
Duke Energy net metering NC Duke Energy customers with a residential solar system can earn bill credits for sending excess energy generated by the array back to the power grid.
Duke Energy Solar Rebate Program This incentive is a one-time rebate for NC Duke Energy customers who own a solar array. The rebate amount is based on the solar system size. A 7-kilowatt system will generate a rebate of around $2,800. Homeowners must submit a Solar Rebate application within 90 days of installation.
Net metering programs Various North Carolina electric providers offer net metering programs. Check with your provider to confirm availability near you.
Property tax exemption Solar owners in the state can claim a property tax exemption for 80% of the appraised value of their solar system. Apply with the NC Dept. of Revenue here.
Residential clean energy credit This federal incentive, available for homeowners, offers a 30% tax credit for systems installed from 2022 to 2032. Apply through the IRS.

The best national solar companies in North Carolina

Here’s a look at the top national installers, according to our ratings, that operate in the Tar Heel State. 

ADT Solar

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ADT Solar is a nationwide brand that installs solar in North Carolina. Parent company ADT Security has been around for over 100 years, which may appeal to homeowners who want to stick with an established business. ADT Solar also offers a price-match guarantee, so shop around before signing an agreement. ADT offers batteries from Tesla Powerwall and Enphase IQ, financing through solar loans and a 25-year warranty agreement. 

Founded in 2010, South Carolina-based Palmetto Solar is a good choice for North Carolinians. Palmetto has a national footprint, assists you through the installation process and backs its work with a 25-year performance warranty. Palmetto offers several financing options, such as a solar loan, lease or PPA. You can add on a Sonnen battery for solar energy storage.

SunPower is a major player in the residential solar installation landscape. The company was founded in 1985. SunPower prices are higher than other solar installers because the California-based company uses high-efficiency Maxeon brand panels and its own branded SunVault battery. If you choose SunPower, you can pay with cash, a solar loan or a lease. You’ll get a 25-year system warranty and a 10-year battery warranty. 

Tesla Solar

Instantly estimate your solar cost and savings. Pick a provider later.

In addition to being a huge name in electric vehicles, Tesla is a major player in the solar industry. It’s known for its sleek, relatively affordable solar panels and its popular Tesla Powerwall battery. Tesla offers price matching, making it an affordable national option. The company has a reputation for lackluster customer service, however.

If you live in the Carolinas, Renu offers equipment from well-respected manufacturers and has indicators that its customers are, overall, quite happy. Some of it’s warranties — 10 years on workmanship and 5 years against leaks — are a bit shorter than others in the industry, where they can reach twice as long. Customers gave it an average rating of 4.79 out of five at the Better Business Bureau, which is higher than most companies on the list.

Read the full CNET review here.

Other Local North Carolina solar installers

While national brands get a lot of the attention, the solar industry is full of small, local companies that can install and maintain your panels. Here are a few we identified through our research that operate in North Carolina.

8M Solar

8M Solar is a local company founded in 2009. 8M has locations in over a dozen North Carolina cities, including Charlotte, High Point, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. The company has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau and is endorsed by Duke Energy. 8M offers batteries from top brands such as the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen, a 25-year warranty on solar energy systems and financing options through a third-party lender. 

Yes Solar Solutions

Founded in 2009, Yes Solar Solutions is a family-operated solar business based in Cary, North Carolina. Yes Solar Solutions doesn’t rely on subcontractors, instead opting to invest in its employees through ongoing training and development. Yes financing assistance uses its network of partners to help customers find a low solar loan rate. For solar storage solutions, the company has certified Tesla Powerwall installers on staff, and solar panels come with a 25-year guarantee.

Installation factors to keep in mind

Consider these five factors before deciding on a solar panel solution for your North Carolina home, so you don’t have any surprises before or during installation.

  1. Rent or own: Homeowners typically have more free rein to make changes to their property. Renters, however, may be ineligible to install solar without landlord approval, but community solar programs, can be a solar alternative. 
  2. Roof condition: A trusted solar installer will determine if your roof requires maintenance before installation. Based on the condition and age of your roof, you can anticipate whether repairs may be necessary before solar installation.
  3. Home location: North Carolina residents typically have plenty of sunlight to generate solar energy all year. However, homes with ample tree cover or facing away from the southern sky could produce less-efficient solar systems.
  4. HOA and neighborhood rules: Consider your HOA rules or neighborhood restrictions to avoid complications before or during installation.
  5. Home insurance policies: Most home insurance companies can add a solar system to your policy. Start communicating with your insurance company before getting solar panels to notify them of your home upgrade.

The companies we listed above as “the best” are curated from CNET’s best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we’ve completed a full review on a company or not, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

North Carolina solar power FAQs

Does North Carolina offer solar incentives?

Yes. North Carolina solar incentives include net metering programs, property tax exemptions and state and federal rebates for installed solar panels. 

What direction should solar panels face in North Carolina?

Typically, south-facing solar panels are best because they absorb the most sunlight overall. However, homes that receive ample sunlight can opt for west-facing panels because they produce more energy during peak times, even if overall energy generation is less. 

Can an HOA ban solar panels in North Carolina?

According to WFAE, “The state’s 2007 solar access law prevents HOAs from banning solar panels, though it allows rules that restrict their placement.” However, a June 2022 lawsuit between residents who installed solar panels on the front of their roofs and their HOA has relaxed solar panel rules. The court determined that the front-facing panels were allowed. “Since neighborhood covenants did not explicitly prohibit solar panels, the court ruled that a review committee cannot enforce a ban,” per the WFAE article.

What are the benefits of going solar in North Carolina?

Getting solar panels for your home can have significant benefits, both for you and for the world around you. Solar panels can significantly reduce or even eliminate your electric bill, protecting you from rising energy costs. If connected with a battery, they can also guard you against blackouts. Meanwhile, you’ll be getting your energy from a clean, renewable energy source, rather than from dirty fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

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