Skyward Solar

Incentives & Rebates

There are many incentives, rebates, grants, and loan programs available. These are just a few of the most compelling. Skyward will help you through the process of selecting and applying for any applicable incentives. Plus, we'll help you figure out what your solar energy system will cost upfront—and after any rebates or tax credits.

Federal Tax Credit
Don't lose that big chunk of income to taxes this year, when you could spend the same money on a solar energy system that would reduce your costs for years to come.

The federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit on solar energy systems for commercial applications, with no cap on system cost. A tax credit is more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a credit reduces the amount of federal taxes you owe—dollar-for-dollar—whereas a deduction only removes a percentage of the tax that is owed.

Spending more on your system than you owe in taxes? This credit can be spread out for up to 20 years.

Federal Rebate Option
Alternately, businesses can opt to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury equal to 30 percent of the cost of their solar energy system, payable within 60 days of the completed application.

USDA Rural Energy for America Program Grants
USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants and loans are available to agricultural producers and rural small businesses who purchase solar electric systems. The grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project's cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. Approximately 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less.

Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS)
Under the federal Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS), businesses may recover investments in solar energy systems by taking depreciation deductions on their federal income taxes over a five-year period. Special for systems installed in 2011 - 100% Bonus Depreciation! That means a company may claim the entire depreciation amount in year 1.

North Carolina Tax Credit
In addition to the federal tax credit, North Carolina offers a 35 percent tax credit for commercial solar applications, which must be taken in equal installments over a five-year period. Certain caps and limitations apply.

Because the state tax credit must be subtracted from your federal deduction of state taxes paid, the combined federal and state tax credits are typically around 50% of the cost of the solar energy system.

North Carolina Green Business Fund
Grants of up to $100,000 are available for commercial investment in solar energy systems and other renewable technologies. North Carolina-based businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees, as well as state and local governmental entities, are generally eligible.

The Energy Improvement Loan Program
The Energy Improvement Loan Program (EILP) funds energy efficiency improvement projects and renewable energy systems in North Carolina. EILP provides low interest loans for energy conservation measures for industrial, commercial, local governments, community colleges, K-12 school
systems, and nonprofits. The maximum loan amount is $500,000 with a 1% interest rate for a 10-year maximum term.

Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction
A federal tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot is available to owners of new or existing buildings who install heating, cooling, ventilation, or hot water systems that reduce the building’s total energy and power cost by 50 percent or more in comparison to a building meeting minimum requirements set by ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001.

North Carolina Property Tax Abatement
North Carolina allows organizations who install a solar electric system to exempt 80 percent of the systems appraised value from property tax assessment.

Net Metering
During certain times of day, many solar electric systems generate more electricity than a business needs. In North Carolina, businesses with solar electric systems can actually sell the surplus electricity to the local for-profit power company, by opting into the net metering program. Business owners receive payment in the form of a credit on their utility bill, but it does not roll over at the end of the year.

SunSense Commercial PV Incentive Program
Progress Energy Carolinas pays $0.18/kWh for the electricity and renewable energy credits generated by their non-residential customers' solar electric systems for a period of 20 years. Participating systems cannot net meter. Participants must sell all the electricity and credits generated by the system, and purchase all the electricity their facilities consume.

Green Power Switch
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Green Power Switch Generation
Partners program gives businesses the option to sell all the electricity generated by solar energy systems to the TVA—rather than use it—at a rate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour as a premium payment above the retail rate.

So, if you pay your power company 10 cents per kWh for electricity, the TVA will pay you an additional 12 cent premium (for a total of 22 cents) per kWh for 100 percent of the green energy generated from your solar electric system.

In addition, you receive a $1,000 incentive payment when you enroll in the program. This program is only available in Western North Carolina.

Other incentives
There are many other local incentives and loan programs available for solar energy systems. Visit the Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to search for additional ways to save.