Company News

Financial Incentives: Residential Solar Tax Credits

Politics can be unpredictable so take advantage of the tax credits available now. The federal tax credit of 30% will only be valid till 12/31/2019. After 12/31/2019 the federal tax credit will decrease to 26%. Then on 12/31/2020, the tax credit will be reduced to 22%. Now is the time to act in order to receive the tax credit advantage.

Before going solar contact your accountant to fully understand the tax credits impact on your financial situation.

Federal Solar Tax Credit*

The Federal Government offers a Tax rebate of 30% of your total solar system cost. There is no set cap to this rebate. It must be used on the same tax year that the system was installed.

State Tax Credit*

South Carolina has a state tax credit of 25% of the total cost of your solar system. This is capped at $3,500 or 50% of your tax liabilities. These tax credits can be carried out for up to 10 years.

How do I claim my residential energy credit?
Follow the IRS link to learn more:
IRS Residential Energy Credit

Energy Star

Solar Myths: Clouds Impact on Solar

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Solar panels operate on cloudy days, but the productivity will be lower. Clouds blocking the sun limit the amount of direct sunlight the solar panels can absorb. The decrease in sunlight absorbed by solar panels results in less electricity produced. Overall a few cloudy days won’t ruin your dream of a successful solar project. The determining factor of a prosperous system is the amount of sun your area receives over an entire year.

“Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. The rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. “


Solar Chief is a proud member of the Solar Energy Industries Association(SEIA).

Solar Chief install on cloudy day.

Contact Solar Chief for a free evaluation.

Your Solar Guide: Can I go Solar?

A solar panel investment can turn your aggravating electricity bill into a distant memory. Many home and business owners are looking to see if they have a suitable property for solar panels. Solar Chief offers Free Site Evaluations and Free Quotes, we are here to consult you through the entire process. We can go over a variety of solar options to find what fits your needs.

Click here to request a free quote from us today!

This is a loaded question that depends on many factors. Solar can produce enough energy to reduce your electricity bills, save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Below we will include many determinants of your solar potential.

Property Location
Solar panels operate in all climates but consider your location in the United States to receive the most efficient energy. Click here to view US Solar Resource Map

Roof Requirements
Roof mounted solar panels aren’t for every property but a great alternative for small properties or ascetics.

South-facing roofs are perfect for solar because they receive the most sunlight over the course of the day. However, a solar panel system facing other directions can still produce an adequate amount of electricity. Our free site evaluation can help arrange the efficiency of your panels.

Solar panels can be situated on roofs with a pitch within 15 and 40 degrees. You can still go solar with a flat roof by mounting your panels at a favorable angle.

Age/ Materials
Solar panels can last for over 25 years, therefore it is necessary to consider the longevity of your roof prior to the installation of your panels. Taking the panels off to install a new roof is a costly expense that should be avoided. Solar panels are compatible with most roofing materials, including composite, wood, cement tile, slate, tar and gravel, or metal. While you can install solar on slate, cedar, and clay tile roofs, they are more prone to breakage during solar panel installation.

Shading Concerns
Shading will hinder the efficiency of solar panel production. All obstructions near the panels will block sunlight and reduce the amount of electricity the panels produce. Our free site evaluation will determine trees, buildings, and roof obstructions that might create any issues.

*Most think of adding solar to their home’s roof, but a roof over a carport, garage, or porch that receives no shading from other buildings or trees will also work well. Solar Chief is committed to showing our clients all options to ensure they make the right financial and efficient decision.

Source: Energy Sage

Presidents Day: The White House and Solar Panels

The complicated relationship between the White House and solar panels began in 1979. President Jimmy Carter installed 32 solar panels on the White House roof amid the Arab oil embargo, which had caused a national energy crisis. About three years later President Ronald Reagan ordered the solar panels to be removed. In 1986, the panels were officially taken down. By 1992, these solar panels then took a journey to be installed at Maine College.

In 2003, solar panels make an official comeback when President George W. Bush ordered the installation of ground-mounted solar panels on the White House grounds. Rooftop solar installations were completed by President Barack Obama in 2014. Today the White House features rooftop and ground-mounted solar energy.

Image result for solar panels on the white house
Inside the White House: Solar Panels Video

Source: Thought Co.

Going Solar: Grid Connection

There are various factors to consider when going solar. The type of solar setup will determine your electricity connection to the local utility’s electricity grid. The type of system selected is decided by your needs.

Types of System Setups

Grid Connected Solar System is connected to the local utility’s electricity grid. Excess electricity generated can be exported back to the grid. Supplemental electricity can be transmitted from the grid to meet energy demands.

Grid Connected Solar and Battery System collect solar power from your panels to use and store in your battery for backup use. The system connects to the grid, which brings the advantage of net metering. Net metering is a solar incentive that allows you to store energy in the electric grid. The excess power your solar panels generate is sent to the grid, which is exchanged for the option of grid electricity if your system is under-producing like during nighttime.

Off the Grid Solar System is entirely self-sufficient and has no way to use the grid to supply the household with electricity. Off-grid systems are not joined to any utility power lines. Batteries store the unused solar energy for nighttime use.

Sources: Energy Sage

Your Solar Guide: Understanding Solar Energy

Solar power is the collection and conversion of the sun’s energy into electricity. The process begins when solar (or photovoltaic) cells are exposed to sunlight, this knocks the electrons in the cell loose and electricity is produced. A solar panel is a collection of solar cells, which convert the energy of photons, or light particles, from the sun into electricity.

Source: SHEIR

A solar power system is made of three main components:

  • Solar Panels
  • Inverter (converts DC to AC)
  • Monitoring System

*Adding a solar battery is becoming an increasingly popular option for additional energy freedom

Duke Energy Set to End Net Metering In March

Do not miss out on solar for your home

Earlier this year Duke Energy reached its capacity for net-metering rooftop solar power in South Carolina when it began sourcing 2 percent of its energy from distributed solar arrays. Now it’s taking the relatively unusual step of asking regulators if it can add more net-metering in.

Most utilities have opposed the idea of net-metering, which helps incentivize rooftop solar installations by paying or reimbursing rooftop solar customers for electricity they put back on the grid at retail electric prices. Many contend that this practice costs them more but many studies are showing this isn’t true as solar power generates the most energy when utilities need to add in power from more expensive peaker plants. Apparently Duke Energy is understanding that’s not the case.

In a petition that Duke Energy filed with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina it requested that the commission extend the net-metering program and asked for expedited relief. In its petition it was joined by the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, SunRun, the Alliance for Solar Choice, and the South Carolina Solar Business Alliance.

The petition is for a temporary extension of the program through March in 2019. The extension will allow those involved to work to create longer-term solar incentives in upstate South Carolina, explained the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“The success of this program to date shows that solar is working for South Carolina families,” said Lauren Bowen, staff attorney for Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC). “Extending the timeline for Duke Energy Carolina’s net metering program gives more of its customers the ability to install solar as a way to manage their energy costs while collaborative discussions are underway.”

Under South Carolina’s current regulations, which were enacted four years ago, Duke Energy’s net-metering program would be capped when 2 percent of its retail peak demand was met by distributed solar power. That threshold was met earlier this year, closing the program to new applicants. Solar incentives have proven popular in the state. In just one year, for instance, it funded $12 million in solar incentives beating expectations quickly.

“Duke Energy Carolina’s net metering program has played a crucial role in reaching the state’s renewable energy goals,” said Eddy Moore, the Coastal Conservation League’s Energy and Climate Program Director. “The rapid expansion of rooftop solar put South Carolina residents to work, providing stable jobs to more than 3,000 workers across the state – jobs that are now in jeopardy due to program limits. Current laws allow utilities to change the rules for customer solar when it reaches two percent of the utility’s peak demand. Duke Energy Carolinas customers recently became the first to hit this threshold.”

-by Chris Meehan on 09/07/2018, SolarReviews

Charge Your Devices, Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With These Awesome Solar Powered Gadgets- From Forbes

Image: SunPort


‘Tis the season we start preparing the list of tech-related things we’d like to buy for ourselves and others, plus the excuses we make for buying them. All the latest tech gadgets have been announced this fall, and more will come in waves until the new year. Most tech products aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, so I compiled a list of solar-powered or solar-related gadgets for your next business trip, vacation, or for your home or office to help you offset some of the carbon emissions we all contribute by buying in to the latest tech hype.


1. SunPort

This $80 gadget was made to make solar power more accessible to people who don’t necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend on rooftop panels. The SunPort goes into a wall outlet, and then an appliance or device is plugged into the SunPort so it can track its energy usage. SunPort turns the energy into solar by using renewable energy certificates, or S-RECs. One of these is equal to a megawatt-hour of solar energy that is put into the grid. Energy users can purchase S-RECs through utility companies. SunPort has partnered with a nonprofit, ReChoice, to purchase those certificates and break them down into “SunJoules” that give users solar credit. ReChoice commits a matching dollar to the installation of new solar panels too, so consumers are contributing to the solar scene at large. SunPort was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter earlier this year, and is available for pre-order now.

2. Waka Waka Base 5

Waka Waka has a plethora of solar devices to sell, but the latest is its Base 5, which is a solar charging pack for people on the go or who are off the grid. It has a 5,000mAh battery that charges after five to 10 hours in the sun, it can fully charge two smartphones, and has two LED lights,a 7.5 watt solar panel, and is made of recycled plastic. It runs at $159. Also, as with all Waka Waka products, if you buy one, you send one to someone in a humanitarian crisis around the world who is in need of power.

3. KudoSol

KudoSol, is a maker of one of the more well-known solar powered phone and iPad cases. The company makes iPhone and gear chargers as well. The classic iPad case has a built in solar panel that can charge to offer you up to 10 days of use, plus it has a plug that can charge an iPhone along with it. Depending on intensity of light, KudoSol cases can provide 30 minutes of iPad use for every hour of sunlight. There’s also a battery storage component built into the case to store unused power overnight. Right now, the iPad case is about $40.

4. Goal Zero

Goal Zero has a solar charger pack that comes in three sizes: compact, which charges low-power devices like phones; mid-size, which is good for laptops and DSLR cameras; and heavy-duty, which can power televisions, small refrigerators, and more. You can buy the solar panels, and charge directly from there, but the company recommends buying the battery pack to charge from because the system works more efficiently with it. Basically, you can power your devices off the grid depending on how much or how little you need to use. The solar panels start at $80, and the battery pack prices vary.

5. Solio Charger

Solio is a solar gadget company that’s been around the block a few times. They were one of the first to introduce hand-held solar chargers, and continue to improve their technology. Now, they offer solar products as well as products like speakers and headlamps that are powered by Solio chargers. The battery pack plus solar charger runs at $100 and can power smartphones, tablets, bike lights, water purifiers, and more. It has a 3200mAh capacity battery and the company states on its website that it can hold a charge for up to a year, so you can be prepared in case of emergencies.

6. Solpro Chargers

Solpro makes some of the most powerful and affordable solar powered smartphone chargers out there. The Gemini is only $39, small enough to fit in your pocket, and has a 2800mAh battery. There’s also the Helios power bank, which is about $120 and stores enough energy for a 3x charge in 4.5 hours. It has a 5,000mAh battery and can charge smartphones, tablets, and music players.