Consumers can produce clean energy and save money with solar panels. Adding panels to a home is a big decision. Consumers should educate themselves first before signing any papers. Consumers should not sign if they do not understand everything. It is okay to wait and ask questions before signing.
“The government will pay to put solar on your home.”
Despite claims in the media, no government programs exist that pay for solar on private homes.
“You’ll automatically get a 55% tax rebate from the government.”
Those “rebates” are actually tax credits. Consumers only get a tax credit if they file state or federal tax returns and owe taxes. The South Carolina tax credit is limited to $3,500 per year and no more than 50% of owed taxes but can be extended up to 10 years.
“Those trees won’t be a problem- we’ll just add more panels.”
Shade is shade, and adding more panels to a shady roof will not increase solar output.
“You’ll never have another utility bill.”
Even if the solar panels meet electricity needs during the day, consumers are going to need electricity at night. Also, consumers are required to pay basic utility charges.
“The South Carolina tax credit is going away! You have to sign the contract today!”
No sunset date exists for the South Carolina tax credit. No sunset date exists for the 25% South Carolina tax credit. The federal tax credit is currently 26% and will be reduced to 22% in 2023.
“I’m handy around the house, so I’ll just install the system myself.”
Solar electric systems must be connected to wiring and the electrical grid by a licensed electrician. An incorrectly installed solar electric system could endanger life and property.
“Homeowners associations can’t tell me what to do!”
If the consumer is a member of a homeowners association (HOA), the bylaws may give the HOA authority to limit the ability to install solar. If a consumer agreed to abide by HOA design decisions, the HOA can enforce the agreed-to covenants. It is currently the law in South Carolina.
“My utility doesn’t want me to install solar.”
Electric utilities have been supportive of solar and are allies in making sure solar is right for consumers. Contact the utility for questions about solar in its service area.
“The installer gave me a pretty good quote! I’m just going to go with them.”
Just like shopping for a car, it pays to look at the options. Consumers should make sure to do their homework, ask the right questions, and obtain bids from at least three installers.
“I saw a billboard ad for this solar installer, so they must be good!”
Contact the South Carolina Solar Council, Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association, or the SCDCA. Each organization maintains lists of reputable, professional, licensed installers.
“I’m not saving as much on my power bill as I was told, and I’m having an issue with my utility. What can I do?”
Visit the Who to Contact with Issues and Questions page for contact information on who to call with specific issues and questions.