When compared to other places around the US, Georgia solar incentives are simply not as widely available as in other states.
Still, this has not stopped Georgia from ranking as the 7th highest state in total solar power production, with nearly 5% of local electricity generated by solar power. When you take a closer look at the 6,000+ active solar installations in the Peach State, however, you will quickly notice that the majority of them are large, multi-megawatt utility-scale developments.
So is it possible for homeowners to go solar in Georgia and save money on their electricity expenses?
The answer is yes. With prices falling by 50% over the past 10 years, Georgia property owners can save even more by taking advantage of all of the federal and locally available incentives, tax credits, and rebates for photovoltaic (PV) solar power.
As a state with a bright future in renewable energy, let’s explore all of the Georgia solar incentives that are available in 2023.
Available Solar Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentives in Georgia
With Macon, Savannah, and Atlanta ranking as three of Georgia’s cities among the top 100 sunniest in the US, there is certainly no shortage of sunlight in the state, especially in its most populous areas. What Georgia is lacking, unfortunately, is a significant amount of state-specific solar tax credits.
While many states have their own credits for income tax, sales tax, or property tax when you install a solar energy system, Georgia currently does not offer any of the three. Despite this, there is still a handful of valuable Georgia solar incentives to keep in mind when installing your renewable energy system in the Peach State.
(Note: Your eligibility can depend on your location, electric utility provider, income level, interest in battery storage, and more. This is not tax advice, and you should always consult a tax professional.)
1. Federal Solar Tax Credit
First and foremost, the most important tax credit to know when going solar is the Residential Clean Energy Credit. Also known as the solar tax credit, the Residential Clean Energy Credit allows renewable energy system owners to reduce the total upfront costs of their installation by up to 30%.
Originally enacted in 2005, the solar tax credit was recently extended by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. With the passing of the IRA, a 30% investment tax credit is now available for residential solar energy systems installed between 2022 and 2032. The credit will then be lowered to 26% for systems installed in 2033, and 22% in 2034, before ultimately expiring for residential solar adopters.
At 30% of total system costs (including panels, batteries, and installation expenses), solar buyers can significantly reduce their federal income liability with a dollar-for-dollar credit towards taxes owed in the same calendar year. Even without a solar energy system, the Inflation Reduction Act has also introduced a standalone storage tax credit for homeowners who choose to purchase a backup battery for energy resilience.
2. Georgia Net Metering Availability
In 2001, the Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act was passed, allowing utilities in the state to offer net energy metering programs for solar power systems. While this did not make net metering mandatory in Georgia, as it is in many other states, the Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act has opened the door for several electric utilities to incentivize solar power generation.
If you’re unfamiliar, net metering (or net energy metering) allows homeowners to “sell” the excess electricity produced by their solar panels to the grid in exchange for reduced utility bills. To learn more about how it works, feel free to read our complete guide to net metering for home solar.
Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility serving over 2.4 million customers, was the first energy company in the Peach State that was required to establish a net metering program. Enforced by the Georgia Public Service Commission, Georgia Power established the Renewable & Nonrenewable Tariff (RNR) program in 2019, open to 5,000 residential customers. As of July 2021, the program is now full and is no longer accepting applicants.
With the net metering program completely full, new solar energy system owners are still eligible for net billing with Georgia Power. Here, system owners are credited at a Solar Avoided Energy Cost Rate per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity sent to the grid, which is much lower than the retail rate offered by net metering programs. As a result, solar advocates in Georgia are encouraging the utility to “Scrap the Cap” and reopen net metering eligibility for new customers.
Other Georgia Electricity Utilities
While Georgia Power is the largest utility in the state by a landslide, several smaller electric membership corporations also offer solar buyback programs in Georgia. Although it can be very difficult to locate a true 1-to-1 net metering program in Georgia, most GA utilities will credit solar energy system owners for all of their excess energy produced and sent into the grid at a reduced buyback rate.
For more information about your utility’s net metering or net billing policy, please visit their dedicated solar page below:
In areas without 1-to-1 net metering programs, solar energy system owners can get the most value out of their systems by using as much of the electricity they produce as possible. For homeowners who want to avoid purchasing utility power overnight (or whenever else new solar energy is unavailable), this is typically achieved by adding a storage battery.
3. Central Georgia EMC & Jackson EMC Rebates
On an extremely localized level, several Georgia utilities offer clean energy rebates when you install a new photovoltaic (PV) electric solar panel system and connect it to the grid. While availability is subject to change, both Central Georgia EMC and Jackson EMC currently offer solar power rebates in 2023.
- Central Georgia EMC Solar Rebate Program: Up to $450/kW for residential systems 10 kW and less.
- Jackson EMC Solar Power Home Rebate: $250/ kW up for residential solar energy systems up to10 kW
To qualify for solar home rebates in Georgia, customers must be the owners (rather than renters or lessees) of their solar energy systems. Rebates are only available for specific EMC members, and Palmetto will continue to monitor their availability if any changes are made to these programs.
4. Georgia Environmental Finance Authority Solar Program
Although it is not available for homeowners, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Solar Program is one of the state’s leading incentives for large-scale renewable energy development.
At an astounding reimbursement rate of up to $50,000 or 50% of total project costs, the GEFA Solar Program is designed to help entities that cannot qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC). Notably, the GEFA rebate incentives solar energy adoption for cities, counties, and K-12 public schools.
Let Palmetto Be Your Georgia Solar Power Partner!
From fine-tuning the technical aspects of your solar energy system to determining your eligibility for Georgia solar incentives, allow Palmetto to be your solar partner in the Peach State. We want to make your installation as valuable and stress-free as possible, which is why our experts can design the perfect system to suit the energy demands of your property, and guide you through the entire process of going solar.
Want to know how much you can save by going solar today? Get started with our Free Solar Design and Savings Estimate Tool to learn more about your solar potential in Georgia!