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29 May 2024

2024 Guide to Georgia Solar Tax Credits, Incentives and Rebates

Georgia may be famous for its peaches, but it's also becoming a leader in solar energy! Ranking high at number seven in the nation, Georgia boasts ample sunshine, making it a prime location for solar panels to generate clean electricity. In fact, the state has enough solar capacity to power over half a million homes – that's a lot of sunshine harnessed!

Let's dive into the benefits of going solar in Georgia. We'll explore the available incentives, the typical cost savings you can expect, and how long it might take to see a return on your investment in solar panels. 

Here’s what you need to know.  

Cost of Home Solar Power in Georgia

While solar panels in Georgia cost slightly less per watt than the national average, the total system price might be higher. This is because Georgia homes typically require larger systems, around 11.7 kilowatts (kW) on average, to fully meet their energy needs compared to the 9 kW average in the US. So, you'll be paying for a bit more equipment upfront. A typical 5 kW solar system in Georgia costs $14,174 before the 30% ITC credit. 

Georgia Incentives & Loans

Central Georgia EMC Home Plus Loan Program

  • Incentive value: Green loans with 9.90% APR and a term of up to 96 months.
  • Frequency: One Time

If you’re looking to invest in solar panels or energy-efficient upgrades for your home in Central Georgia, the Home Plus Loan Program from Central Georgia EMC can help! This program offers financing up to $25,000 for eligible improvements, with manageable payments spread over eight years.

The benefit: While the initial loan payments might reduce your immediate bill savings, keep in mind that solar panels can last for over 25 years. Once the loan is paid off, you'll enjoy decades of free, clean energy and significant cost savings on your electricity bills.

Georgia Power Home Energy Improvement Program

While the Georgia Power Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) doesn't offer direct rebates for solar panels themselves, there's still a way to combine your solar installation with energy-saving upgrades in your home and earn some rebates!

The benefit:

  • By implementing energy efficiency measures that reduce your home's electricity use by at least 20%, you can qualify for a HEIP rebate. This covers 50% of the project costs, up to $1,100.
  • You can even combine multiple improvements over time to reach the annual maximum of $1,100.
  • And if you're an electric vehicle owner considering solar to power your car, Georgia Power also offers EV charger rebates.

This way, you can maximize your investment in both solar energy and home improvements, leading to a more efficient and potentially cost-saving setup.

Central Solar Easement Laws

These laws act like a legal shield, guaranteeing your solar panels continued access to sunlight.  In simpler terms, no new structures can be built that cast a shadow on your panels, hindering their ability to generate clean energy.

Solar easements aren't a financial incentive, but they offer incredible peace of mind. They ensure your investment in solar continues to pay off throughout the lifespan of your panels, which can be over 25 years! With these laws in place, you can rest assured that your sunshine-powered future remains bright.

Georgia Net Metering

Net metering is a system in which utilities and their customers, who generate their own electricity (for instance, through solar panels), enter into an agreement. This setup includes residential, commercial, or industrial energy producers. 

When these consumers generate more electricity than they consume, they can sell the surplus back to the utility company, receiving credits on future bills. Essentially, the utility company credits the consumer for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy that a home does not use and instead feeds back into the grid, leading to lower electricity bills.

Net Metering in Georgia

The Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act of 2001 allows, but doesn't require, utilities to adopt net energy metering. All utilities (investor-owned, municipal, and cooperatives) must offer metering to customers who generate their own energy, depending on their connection type. Eligible systems include solar panels, fuel cells, and wind turbines up to 10 kW for homes and up to 100 kW for businesses. The total capacity of these systems can't exceed 0.2% of the utility's peak demand from the previous year.

Temporary Net Metering for Georgia Power

Since July 2021, Georgia Power has offered a temporary net metering program for up to 5,000 rooftop solar customers or 32 MW of capacity, whichever comes first. Excess energy generated each month is credited at the utility's solar avoided cost rate.

Net Billing

Once Georgia Power reaches its net metering limit, it will switch to net billing. In net billing, any extra energy generated is credited to the customer's bill at a set rate. Customers can also opt to sell all the electricity their system generates.

Cooperative Net Metering

Net energy metering policies for cooperatives are available on the Georgia Public Service Commission's website. Customers should check with their utility to see if net metering is offered.

HB 57 - Solar Partnerships

Georgia's House Bill 57 lets homeowners and businesses partner with third parties to install, operate, lease, or finance solar systems. Homeowners can install up to 10 kW systems, while businesses can install systems up to 125% of their peak demand. Larger systems may face additional requirements but are not explicitly banned.

Federal Rebates

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit, is a nationwide incentive enabling individuals to receive a tax credit for expenses incurred from the installation of solar panels. This credit provides owners of solar systems a deduction of 30% off the total cost of their system. For instance, purchasing a 10 kilowatt (kW) system at $33,000 means you are eligible for a tax credit of $9,900.

How US Solar Supplier Can Help You Save on Your Next Project

Let US Solar Supplier guide your solar energy project! Consult with us today to find the perfect system for your needs.

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