SOLAR FAQ

YOUR SOLAR PV QUESTIONS ANSWERED
BY THE SOLAR PROFESSIONALS OF RHINO RENEWABLES

About Solar Rebates & Tax Credit

There are two major incentives available to residents of North Carolina who install a solar PV system. Those being the Duke cash rebate and the Federal ITC. Check out the next two questions to learn more about how those solar PV incentive programs work.

The Duke solar cash rebate program is a lottery-style, bi-yearly cash rebate program provided by Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress. The program is separated into three sections:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Non-Profit

The structure of the rebate is a cash grant calculated off of the total system size in AC output from the inverter. It is structured as:

  • $.40 per Watt for residential
  • $.30 per Watt for commercial
  • $.75 per Watt for non-profit

The program is capped out at:

  • 10,000 Watts for residential
  • 100,000 Watts for commercial
  • 100,000 Watts for non-profit

Therefore the max rebate potential is:

  • $4,000 cash for residential clients
  • $30,000 cash for commercial clients
  • $75,000 cash for non-profit clients

The rebate program is currently split into two separate application periods per year, one in January and a second in July. This program is available until 2022. Give us a call and one of our solar professionals will help guide you through the application process, and how it can assist in reducing your solar PV system ROI. Click here to check out Duke’s website and learn more about the program from them.

A few words from Duke,

The next enrollment period will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 7, 2021. The application will remain open until 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Duke Energy received a commission order changing some of the terms of the program. This enrollment period has the following changes:

  • Rebate acceptance will be a random selection process
  • Residential customers, who are accepted into the program, will receive 40 cents per watt, or $4,000 maximum rebate.
  • Commercial customers, who are accepted into the program, will receive 30 cents per watt, or $30,000 maximum rebate.
  • For the July 2021 enrollment period only, customers who installed their system from October 6, 2020 to January 6, 2021, are also eligible to apply.
  • For the July 7 to July 14, 2021 enrollment period, customers who installed their systems on or after April 8, 2021 (90 days prior to July 7, 2021), would be eligible to apply at any time during that week.

Link to the duke webpage with this info – NC Solar Rebate Program for homes (duke-energy.com)

The Federal ITC solar tax credit is a guaranteed federal tax credit program for solar PV as well as other renewable energy projects. The program has recently been extended to the year 2022 and is calculated as 26% of the total system cost with no limit on system cost. Through this program clients who purchase a solar PV system will be guaranteed a federal tax credit based on the cost they pay for their solar system. An average solar PV system costing $20,000 would therefore be applicable for a federal tax credit of $5,200. We strongly advise clients to seek guidance from a tax professional to find out how the credit can help them.

This will depend on several factors, but our clients are typically able to save somewhere between 40%-50% on their solar system through these two rebate programs. Give us a call and our solar professionals will put together a custom quote for you, so you can see how your potential savings stack up.

About Solar PV Systems

In short, yes. While it is not always possible, and is not always the most cost effective option, it is usually possible and advantageous to offset the total usage of a home with solar PV energy. Our solar professionals are excellent at analyzing the specific site conditions of your home or business and will advise on the best solution, custom fit to your needs and solar goals.

Solar Net Metering can be a little bit different depending on a utility company’s policies, but in general it means that any energy production will be returned to the producer on a credit for credit basis. In solar PV system generation, this usually means that any kWh you produce will be directly redeemable as a kWh credit for future use. For example, if your home uses 7,000 kWh per year and has a solar PV system that produces 7,000 kWh per year, you would be able to reduce your monthly bill from kWh to zero. This does have some caveats, so it is important to have a solar professional advise how a net metering program will work with your utility provider, and how it can affect the ROI on your system.

There are two major electrical currents used in our modern world, AC and DC. AC stands for Alternating Current, this is the primary form of electricity that is used around the world in building applications. It has two major iterations in single phase (split phase) and three phase. Homes are constructed with single phase AC and larger businesses are constructed using three phase AC. DC stands for Direct Current, this is not commonly used in building applications. It is however used in Solar PV Modules, commonly referred to as solar panels, as well as batteries among other things. Due to the electrical grid and buildings being built to use AC current, any solar output will need to be inverted from DC current to AC current in order to be used in the building, hence the use of an inverter. Check out below to learn about inverters.

As mentioned above, solar modules, commonly referred to as solar panels, produce DC current. Because building applications are constructed using AC current, any solar DC output will need to be inverted to AC before tying into the electrical system of the building. This is where the inverter comes into play. The inverter is essentially the brain of the solar PV system. The two major types of inverters are string inverters and micro inverters. Both are great options depending on the site specifics and the clients solar goals. Check out below to learn about the difference between the two.

A string style inverter is a single unit that will invert all of a solar PV systems DC current to AC current. In a string inverter, the solar modules are typically connected to each other in series strings. The number of solar panels per string will depend on the Wattage of the panels and the voltage of the system. The number of solar strings will depend on the size of the inverter, the system voltage, and the available string inputs in the inverter. These strings are then routed from the solar array to the inverter, which is generally either mounted on the exterior of the building near the meter, or on the inside of the building near the main service panel. At the solar inverter, the DC current of the modules will be inverted to AC current, and then the outgoing AC current will be connected to the main service panel for the building. String inverters will usually house the solar systems monitoring system, and main solar or DC disconnect. Check out below to learn more about monitoring.

A micro inverter is a unit that works similarly to a string inverter, but instead of one main unit inverting the solar DC current to AC current, there will be multiple units inverting the current. Micro inverters are typically designed to connect with a single solar panel, so there will usually be a micro inverter for every solar panel in a system. In this system type, the micro inverters will be installed right under the solar modules, either mounting to the solar racking, or to the solar modules themselves. Instead of DC solar strings, the solar array will have AC solar strings. The string sizes will be determined by the micro inverters power output levels, and system design specifications.

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