If you live in sunny North Carolina, you may want to consider investing in solar panels. With an average of 213 sunny days per year, North Carolina sees more sun than the national average. While electricity rates in North Carolina are some of the lowest in the area and below the national average, the hot summers and cool winters often mean high HVAC usage. This can lead to high energy bills for most of the year for many residents. You can offset these costs easily with solar panels, helping lower your energy bills.
The state average for solar panel installation in North Carolina is $13,440 to $16,380, with most homeowners paying around $14,910 for a 6 kW system using monocrystalline panels mounted on the roof. This project’s low cost is $4,480 for a 2 kW system using polycrystalline panels mounted on the roof. The high cost is $48,000 for a 10 kW system with battery backup using monocrystalline panels mounted on an array.
|Cost of Solar Panels in NC|
|National average cost||$14,910|
Most people associate solar panels with rooftop installations to offset your electrical usage. In this scenario, you are still connected to the local energy grid. This is called a grid-tied system, meaning you can access the local energy grid, such as at night or during inclement weather. Your system can be large enough to handle your energy needs or just big enough to handle your HVAC system while you rely on the grid for everything else. These systems are the most common and least expensive.
You can also have a system that disconnects you from the local grid. This is called an off-grid system and means you supply your own energy needs. For this system to operate, you need more solar panels and a full complement of batteries so that the system can provide you with power at night and during inclement weather. It is also common and recommended for you to have an additional backup system, such as a generator or windmill.
North Carolina has very few restrictions on off-grid living. You may be subject to more permits for your installation, but otherwise, you should have no issues with disconnecting from the power grid. Because of the added materials and system size, off-grid systems tend to be much more expensive than grid-tied installations. Below are the average costs to install both systems in North Carolina.
|Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Grid-Tied||$13,440 - $16,380|
|Off-Grid||$40,000 - $70,000|
Solar panel systems are typically sold and installed by the watt. Most solar panels can produce between 250 and 400 watts, depending on the size and type. The average cost per watt in North Carolina is $2.24 to $2.73. Costs vary depending on the panel type you choose, how it is installed, and your location. If you live in a more urban area like Charlotte or Raleigh, your costs are higher than if you live in a less populated area like Pinehurst or Boone. Installing the panels on your roof is less costly than installing them on an array on the ground. Below are the average costs for varying sizes of solar panel systems installed in North Carolina and the average number of panels you will need for a system of that size.
|System Size||Panels Needed||Average Cost (Installed)|
|2 kW||5 - 8||$4,480 - $5,460|
|3 kW||8 - 12||$6,720 - $8,190|
|4 kW||10 - 16||$8,960 - $10,920|
|5 kW||13 - 20||$11,200 - $13,650|
|6 kW||15 - 24||$13,440 - $16,380|
|7 kW||18 - 28||$15,680 - $19,110|
|8 kW||20 - 32||$17,920 - $21,840|
|10 kW||25 - 40||$22,400 - $27,300|
|12 kW||30 - 48||$26,880 - $32,760|
|15 kW||38 - 60||$33,600 - $40,950|
|18 kW||45 - 72||$40,320 - $49,140|
Many factors influence the cost of your solar panel installation. One of these is the system size, which can be directly correlated with the size of your home. While homes of all sizes can have varying energy needs, the larger the home, the higher your energy usage, and the larger the system you need.
That said, there can be an enormous amount of overlap in costs for homes of different sizes. That is because you can install a small system that offsets a portion of your energy costs or you can install a system that can handle all your energy needs with room to spare.
Some smaller homes may also have higher-than-average energy needs, while some larger homes may have lower-than-average needs. In general, the system size and its cost typically increase with the home size. Below are the average costs associated with installing solar panel systems on homes of varying sizes.
|House Size||Average Cost (Installed)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$4,480 - $21,840|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$5,460 - $26,880|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$8,960 - $27,300|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$13,440 - $32,760|
Solar panels come in several types. These can be loosely grouped into three categories - polycrystalline, thin film, and monocrystalline. Of the three, monocrystalline is the most common in North Carolina due to the above average number of sunny days. Monocrystalline panels work best in full sunlight.
Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive type. These panels are made with whole silicon crystals. They have a mid profile and a sleek black finish that gives them a more subtle appearance. They are also the most efficient of the three.
Polycrystalline panels are made with fragments of silicon crystals that are pieced together. This makes them less expensive than monocrystalline panels but also less efficient. They have a higher profile and are bright blue, so they tend to stand out more on the roof.
Thin-film panels have the lowest profile and a lower cost. They operate best when in indirect sunlight, meaning they are not seen as often in North Carolina as the other two styles. Below are the average costs to install a 6 kW system in North Carolina using the three styles.
|Cell Type||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Polycrystalline||$12,000 - $15,000|
|Thin-Film||$12,000 - $15,000|
|Monocrystalline||$14,000 - $17,000|
The solar panels and other materials make up a fraction of the cost of your installation. The labor makes up between $0.88 and $1.10 per watt of the installation. Labor costs can vary depending on the installation and where in the state you are located. Rooftop installations are less costly for labor than ground installations. This is because it is easier to connect the panels to your home’s electrical panel from the roof. From the ground, the wires must be run to the house underground, increasing labor costs.
In addition, urban areas tend to have higher labor costs than less-populated areas. These factors contribute to varying labor costs across the state. Below are the average labor costs to install solar panel systems of varying sizes in North Carolina.
|System Size||Average Labor Costs|
|2 kW||$1,760 - $2,200|
|3 kW||$2,640 - $3,300|
|4 kW||$3,520 - $4,400|
|5 kW||$4,400 - $5,500|
|6 kW||$5,280 - $6,600|
|7 kW||$6,160 - $7,700|
|8 kW||$7,040 - $8,800|
|10 kW||$8,800 - $11,000|
You should arrange your solar panels to face the south in North Carolina whenever possible. This gives you the maximum exposure to the sun over the course of the day. However, the sun is strong enough in North Carolina to position the panels to the southwest or southeast without losing much energy production. In some cases, you can also install them directly to the west or east, but you should discuss what the best position is with your installer to maximize sun exposure.
Solar panels are usually installed on the roof. This is the most common method because it is less expensive and easier to connect the panels to your home’s electrical system while using less space on your property.
However, you can also install them on the ground if your roof is in the shade, too small for the system you have, or cannot support the weight.
Ground-mounted systems are less common. They are more costly, harder to install, and use more space. They are mounted on a larger, ground-mounted racking system, which has higher material costs than a roof-mounted system. However, ground-mounted systems can allow you to get the solar energy you need for large off-grid systems and properties with special considerations. Below are the average costs to install a 6 kW system in North Carolina in both positions.
|System Location||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Roof||$13,440 - $16,380|
|Ground||$16,600 - $20,500|
North Carolina does not have a state tax credit for solar panel installations. However, residents can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit of 30% for 2022. This is claimed on your 2022 taxes and allows you to get a credit of 30% of the total cost of your system, regardless of whether you owe taxes. For a 6 kW installation, this credit equals $4,032 to $4,914 for the average installation. Some solar companies in North Carolina also offer rebates on some installations, which can further offset the cost of your installation.
In addition to the solar panels, your system requires solar inverters to work properly. Solar inverters convert the energy produced by your solar panels into energy your home can use. The number of inverters you need for the system can vary depending on the type you choose. For example, you will need at least one string inverter, while with microinverters you will need one for each panel, so you need 20 microinverters if you have 20 solar panels.
Several inverters are available on the market today. The most common and least expensive is the string inverter. Panels are connected in a string, which is where the system gets its name. The drawback to this system is that if one panel goes down, the entire stringstops working.
Microinverters circumvent this issue by not connecting. Microinverters are installed one per panel, connected directly to each panel, rather than being installed in the basement like a string inverter. They’re less expensive than string inverters, but you need more of them, which increases total costs.
Power optimizers are another addition you may want to consider. They are not inverters, but they work with string inverters to help optimize power output. If one panel is in the shade, the power optimizers can help optimize output from the other panels to make up for the drop.
You also need battery inverters if you have batteries with your solar panel system. These convert the energy from the panels into energy the batteries can store. You need one per battery. Below are the average costs for each inverter.
|Inverter Type||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Power Optimizer||$125 - $150|
|Micro Inverter||$150 - $215|
|String Inverter||$1,000 - $2,000|
|Battery-Based||$2,000 - $2,300|
Solar panels do not require much maintenance, but they need to be cleaned and inspected regularly. The average cost for this in North Carolina is $3 to $10 per panel for cleaning and a flat rate for inspection of $150 to $200. If your panels also require repairs, such as fixing loose wires or replacing chipped glass, the average cost in North Carolina is $650. This makes the average annual costs for maintaining a 6kW solar panel system $195 to $440 for cleaning and inspections plus repair charges.
If your roof needs to be replaced before you can install solar panels or you want a more subtle appearance than mounting the panels on your roof, you may want to consider a Tesla solar roof. Tesla roofs use a combination of photovoltaic and standard roofing tiles. They cover the entire roof, so they have a more aesthetic appeal than standard panels installed directly on the roof.
They are more costly than solar panels. If desired, you can also use their Powerwall batteries, which have a cost of $10,000 each. The average cost of a solar roof in North Carolina comes to between $50,000 and $60,000 for a 6kW system, depending on your roof size and complexity.
In addition to solar panels providing your home with energy, you can also install a solar water heater on your home. With the above-average number of sunny days in North Carolina, this is a popular addition to your home that can warm all the water your home needs. They have an average cost in North Carolina of $9,000 to $11,000 for the system installed.
Yes, it is worth it. The state sees more sunny days on average than the rest of the country, making these systems effective.
Your exact costs vary depending on the area and system size. The average cost to install solar in NC ranges from $13,440 to $16,380.
Not at this time, but some companies offer rebates, which lower the cost considerably with the Federal tax credit.
No, but residents are eligible for the Federal tax credit of 30%.
Yes, net metering is available across the state in North Carolina, regardless of which company you purchase your electricity from.
Yes, solar panels increase your home value by roughly 4%. You can get an exemption on this for property taxes in North Carolina.