South Carolina Solar Rebates And Incentives

Rebates list

South Carolina Rebates and Incentives Summary

South CarolinaAlthough South Carolina does offer some seemingly good incentives on paper, not enough renewable producers are able to fully take advantage of the few available incentives that can make or break green industry, primarily due to the lack of standards and legitimate regulation.

Utilizing the federal tax credits for solar and small scale hydropower installations is the leading way environmentally conscious power consumers are making good on their green investment. Also, buying into the non-profit Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE) program is giving renewable producers a reason to rejoice, but consequently is taking away from the South Carolina Public Service Commission’s (PSC) mandated net-metering program, because of the vagueness of realistic incentives and benefits that investor owned utilities (IOU) are required to offer.

Without any kind of Renewable Energy Standard (RES) South Carolina has left themselves at a disadvantage to make their claim in the green revolution taking place across the nation. As compared to neighboring states, and the example of the nation’s leader in renewable industry, California, a RES may at first be controversial, but after a few years could be South Carolina’s golden ticket to a championship caliber green economy and busy local solar installers.

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Aiken Electric Cooperative Inc - Residential Water Heater Rebate Program

Aiken Electric Cooperative offers residential members rebates for installing high-efficiency electric water heaters and/or timers in their homes. Customers have four rebate options: 

  1. A member may choose a free, new high-efficiency 50-gallon or 80-gallon electric water heater from AEC without a timer and pay a $200 installation fee. You can either pay the installation fee up front or take up to 36 months to pay by having a monthly payment amount added to your electric bill. A 9.9% interest rate will apply.
  2. A member may choose a free, new high-efficiency 50-gallon or 80-gallon electric water heater from AEC with a
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Association of South Carolina Energy Managers - Energy Manager Programs

The ASCEM offers both an Accredited Commercial Energy Manager and Certified Energy Manager (CEM) programs. The Accredited Commercial Energy Manager program provides energy managers with a thorough overview of the many factors that affect commercial energy consumption as well as a foundation for identifying energy-saving investment opportunities. The CEM program recognizes individuals who have demonstrated high levels of experience, competence, proficiency, and ethical fitness in the energy management profession.
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Berkeley Electric Cooperative - Energy Efficiency Loan Programs

Berkeley Electric Cooperative provides HomeAdvantage Loans to qualifying homeowners for energy efficiency upgrades to residences. Measures typically include air infiltration measures, insulation measures, duct work leakage, air flow improvement and HVAC system upgrades.  Loans of up to $15,000 are available through this offering and must produce a reasonable return on investment as determined by Berkeley Electric Cooperative. Typically, measures must produce adequate savings to repay the loan within 6 years. The program web site contains a loan calculator that interested customers can use to determine a projected monthly loan payment. 

Energy auditors will review the home and create a recommended plan for weatherization and

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Berkeley Electric Cooperative - Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Berkeley Electric Cooperative (BEC) offers several rebates to residential customers for energy efficiency upgrades. The H2O Advantage Water Heater Rebate Program offers a rebate of up to $400 for energy-efficient electric water heaters with a load management switch. BEC must inspect the water heater and install the load management switch prior to awarding the rebate. A rebate of $500 is also available to customers who purchase and install a dual fuel heating system.

Berkley Electric Cooperative also provides residential rebates for geothermal heat pumps through the Earth Connect Program. Residents who install geothermal heat pumps in either new or existing

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Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative - Heat Pump Loan Program

Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative (BREC) offers low interest loans to help members finance the purchase of energy efficient heat pumps. Loans under $1,500 can be financed for up to 42 months, and loans above $1,500 can be financed for up to 60 months for houses. Loans must be at least $1,000. Qualifying heat pump must have a SEER Rating of 15 or higher for houses and 14 for mobile homes. In order to qualify for the rebate, the customer must own their home or property.

Contact BREC for more information on this program.

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Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative - Residential Water Heater Rebate

Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative offers up to $300 for the purchase of an electric water heater. The rebate amount varies based on the size of the water heater purchased. Only one rebate will be paid per home. Blue Ridge Co-op must be allowed to inspect the water heater at any time to ensure program compliance and proper operation. Blue Ridge may end this program without notice at any time. Visit the program website for more information.

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Building Energy Code

Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP websites.

Prior to 1997, South Carolina's local governments adopted and enforced the building codes. In 1997, the law required statewide use of the most up-to-date building codes, which then required the adoption and enforcement of the 1995 MEC (Model Energy Code). The MEC has since been published as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). On November 28, 2007, the

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City of Charleston - CharlestonWISE Program

CharlestonWISE is an energy efficiency program for homeowners within the City of Charleston. The program offers rebates on completed home performance improvements for qualified residential customers on top of rebates available from local utility companies. Home performance improvements must be performed by a participating contractor.

CharlestonWISE is supported by partnerships with the City of Charleston, Abundant Power, and the Sustainability Institute.

This program is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Program. The DOE has awarded over $500 million in federal funds to more than 40 states, local governments, and organizations to administer local programs targeting

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ConserFund Loan Program

The South Carolina Energy Office offers the ConserFund Loan Program to fund energy efficiency improvements in state agencies, local governments, public colleges and universities, school districts and private non-profit organizations. The ConserFund Loan Program will fund a variety of efficiency improvements, but priority is given to projects that have a fast energy savings payback. Generally, ConserFund loans are to be used on retrofits of existing buildings. However, ConserFund may be used to finance energy recovery systems, ground source heat pumps, biomass, solar, and other renewable energy systems in new construction facilities.

Organizations may finance one or multiple projects, covering up

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Distributed Energy Resource Program

Note: A series of orders issued on July 15, 2015 in  Docket 2015-53-E, Docket 2015-54-E, and Docket 2015-55-E approved the incentive programs for South Carolina's Distributed Energy Resource Program. All incentives are retroactive to January 1, 2015.

In June of 2014 S.B. 1189 mandated the creation of a voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program and mandated that the Public Service Commission develop new accompanying net metering rules. The legislation allows participating utilities to recover costs connected to meeting a 2021 target of 2% aggregate generation capacity from renewable energy sources. Facilities sized between 1 MW and 10 MW

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Dominion Energy (Electric) - Residential EnergyWise Program

Dominion Energy provides energy efficiency incentives to home owners in its service territory through its EnergyWise program.

Applicants must be the registered owner of a separately metered, detached, or attached single-family residence where the product/equipment is installed. A licensed contractor must install the equipment and a rebate form and invoice must be submitted within 90 days of installation. View the program web site for additional details.

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Duke Energy (Electric) - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

The Smart $aver® program offers incentives for residential customers to increase residential energy efficiency. All incentives are paid after completion of the services. Interested customers should contact Progress Energy or visit the program website for more information.

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Duke Energy Carolinas (Electric) - Energy Star Homes Rate Discount Program

Duke Energy Carolinas encourages residential customers to buy energy-efficient homes through the utility's Energy Star Homes Program, which awards a rate discount to customers living in Energy Star homes. To earn the Energy Star label, homes are tested by a third-party inspector to ensure they meet the U.S. Department of Energy's criteria. Generally speaking, a home must be at least 30% more efficient than the national Model Energy Code for homes or 15% more efficient than the state energy code, whichever is more rigorous. The home test is the responsibility of the customer and/or the builder, and the cost

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Duke Energy Carolinas Customer Scale Rebate Program

Duke Energy Carolinas' Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program, a part of Duke Energy's voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program,  was approved by an order issued on July 15, 2015.

Program Details

Duke Energy Carolinas will offer a rebate of $1.00 per DC watt for residential customers and nonresidential customers. Rebates are limited to 40 megawatts (MW), with 30 MW for distributed systems under 2 MW and 10 MW for systems under 20 kilowatts (kW). At the customer's discretion, the rebate may be claimed by the customer or applied to companies installing or leasing systems.

For each successive installation of 2

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Duke Energy Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program

Residential and Non-residential Customer applications for solar rebates have reached the 2019 program capacity limit. All additional Residential and Non-residential Customer applicants will be placed on the rebates waiting list.

Duke Energy's Solar Rebate Program, a part of Duke Energy's voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program, was approved by an order issued on July 15, 2015. This program is offered by both Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas.

Program Details

Duke Energy offers a rebate of $1 per DC watt for residential and nonresidential customers. Residential customers are limited to a maximum of 20 kW per year and nonresidential

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Duke Energy Progress - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Progress Energy provides incentives for residential customers to increase home energy efficiency. To qualify, the equipment must meet the efficiency requirements outlined on the program web site and the home must be at least one year old. Customers also must use a contractor approved by Progress Energy to participate in the program. Customers must submit an application form, including equipment cut sheets and original contractor invoice, within 90 days of completion of the work. More details and a list of approved contractors are available on the program web site. Contact Progress Energy for further information on this program.

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Duke Energy Progress - Residential New Construction Rebate Program

Progress Energy's residential new construction program provides cash incentives of up to $9,000 to builders and developers who build new energy-efficient homes and multi-family residences that meet program requirements specified on the program web site. Equipment rebates up to $725 per home are available for heat pump water heaters and high efficiency HVAC equipment. Visit the program website for more information.

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Duke Energy Progress- Rate Discount for Energy Star Homes

Duke Energy Progress offers an incentive to residential customers for improving the energy efficiency of homes. To qualify, the home must meet the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star-labeled home program and be verified by a registered third party. Customers with eligible houses will receive a 5% discount on monthly electric bills from Duke Energy Progress. Contact Duke Energy Progress for more information on this incentive program.

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Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes Incentive Tax Credit

During the 2008 legislative session, South Carolina legislators passed SB 1141, creating the Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes Incentive Program, effective July 1, 2009. This bill created an income tax credit, with the goal of encouraging consumers to purchase energy efficient manufactured homes.

To qualify for the nonrefundable $750 tax credit, an individual must purchase either: 1) a manufactured home that meets or exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's and the U.S. Department of Energy's energy-saving efficiency requirements; or 2) a manufactured home that meets or exceeds energy efficiency requirements under the ENERGY STAR program. In addition, the individual

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Fairfield Electric Coop - Energy Experts

The Energy Experts at Fairfield are ready to answer member’s questions concerning electric safety, energy efficiency or any one of the many programs the cooperative offers. They also provide educational programs for schools and civic organizations. Energy Experts will perform basic “walk through audits” to help determine how energy-efficient businesses are and to make recommendations for improvements.
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Interconnection Guidelines

The South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted simplified interconnection guidelines for small distributed generation (DG) in December 2006. These guidelines address renewable-energy systems and other forms of DG up to 20 kilowatts (kW) in capacity for residential systems, and up to 100 kW for non-residential systems. Provisions for three-phase generators are not included.

South Carolina's interconnection guidelines apply to Progress Energy, Duke Energy, and South Carolina Electric and Gas.

There is a $100 application fee for residential systems and a $250 application fee for non-residential systems. Utilities may not require residential customers to carry liability insurance beyond the

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Net Metering

In April of 2014 the South Carolina legislature unanimously passed S.B. 1189 to create a voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program. In March 2015 the Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement agreement among  solar stakeholders detailing how the new net metering mandates laid out in S.B. 1189 would be fulfilled.

The settlement agreement approved by the Public Service Commission stipulates that utilities will offer net energy metering at the full retail rate.. Additionally, no new charges or fees distinctly separate from new net metering rates will be imposed upon customer generators until the expiration of the agreement on January

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Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE) Program

PaCE funding comes from the customers of participating utilities who voluntarily choose to support the program through an additional charge on their monthly utility bills. Of the $4, $3.50 goes to the generators and 50 cents goes to PaCE for marketing the program. The utilities collect these customer contributions and remit the funds to PaCE, a non-profit corporation, to administer the program.

All PaCE approvals of renewable generator applications, and premium payments, are subject to sufficient funding. This program is modeled on a similar program -- NC GreenPower -- in neighboring North Carolina.

* Contact the South Carolina Energy Office

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Palmetto Electric Cooperative - Buried Treasure Rebate Program

Palmetto Electric Cooperative offers rebates for its members who install ground-source heat pumps (also known as geothermal heat pumps) through the Buried Treasure Rebate Program. Rebates are in the amount of $200 per ton up to a maximum of $1,000 per household. Visit the program website for more information.

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Pee Dee Electric Cooperative - Energy Resource Conservation Loan Program

Pee Dee Electric Cooperative offers financing for members through the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Loan Program. Loans of up to $7,500 can be used for a number of measures including:

  • insulation for the attic, ducts, floors, walls, water heater and water piping
  • storm windows and doors
  • replacement thermal windows and insulated doors
  • attic ventilation systems
  • clock/programmable thermostats
  • high efficiency electric heat pumps
  • dual fuel systems (heat pump/fossil fuel combined systems)
  • ground source heat pumps
  • caulking and weatherstripping

Members must first have a PDEC marketing representative conduct a home energy audit, a credit check, and project approval. After the audit, the

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Pee Dee Electric Cooperative - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Pee Dee Electric Cooperative offers a variety of programs for residential members to save energy in participating homes. Rebates are available for dual fuel heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, and electric water heaters. 

Other requirements not listed in this record may apply. Interested customers should contact Pee Dee Electric for more information.

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Piedmont Natural Gas - Residential Equipment Efficiency Program

Piedmont Natural Gas offers rebates on high-efficiency natural gas tankless water heaters, tank water heaters and furnaces. This program is only available to current Piedmont residential and commercial customers in North Carolina and South Carolina who are replacing existing natural gas equipment with qualifying high-efficiency natural gas equipment. New construction customers and customers replacing existing electric and/or propane equipment are not eligible for the rebates. Customers must provide specific information regarding equipment purchases and installation contractors on the application form. Contact Piedmont Natural Gas for more information on this program.

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Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Property Tax Exemption

South Carolina provides a property tax exemption for renewable energy systems with a rated capacity of not more than 20 kW-AC. The exemption applies to the renewable energy equipment and all components that enhance the operational characteristics of the generating equipment, such as an advanced inverter or battery storage device, and equipment required to meet all applicable safety, performance, interconnection, and reliability standards established by the commission, the National Electrical Code, the National Electrical Safety Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Underwriters Laboratories, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and any local governing authorities.

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Renewable Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit

South Carolina offers a ten percent income tax credit to the manufacturers of renewable energy operations.*

In order to qualify, a business must:

  • manufacture renewable energy systems and components in South Carolina for solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable energy uses
  • invest a minimum of $50 million in a Tier IV county, $100 million in a Tier III county, $150 million in a Tier II county, and at least $200 million in a Tier I county in new qualifying plant and equipment expenditures the year the tax credit is claimed
  • create one full-time job that pays 125% of the state's annual median
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Rock Hill Utilities - Water Heater and Heat Pump Rebate Program

Through the SmartChoice program, Rock Hill Utilities offers rebates for water heater and heat pump replacements. Information on financing for heat pumps can also be found on the web site listed above. 

Customers who qualify as all-electric may be eligible for the Great Rate program. The Great Rate program qualifies the customer for a discount of up to 4 cents per kWh. To qualify for the Great Rate program, the water heater must be equipped with a Smart Switch and a minimum 16 SEER. This controls the flow of electricity to the heater during peak periods of demand. Contact Rock

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Sales Tax Incentives for Energy-Efficient Manufactured Homes

In July 2008, SB 1141 (known as the Energy-Efficient Manufactured Homes Incentive Program) was enacted, which amended the sales tax cap to provide for a full sales tax exemption for manufactured homes purchased between July 1, 2009, and July 1, 2019, if the home has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy as meeting or exceeding each agency's energy saving efficiency requirements or has been designated as meeting or exceeding such requirements under the federal Energy Star program.   Homes that do not meet Energy Star standards but still meet certain state
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Santee Cooper - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Santee Cooper provides rebates to its commercial customers. These rebates are for certified and non-certified retrofit lighting, lighting controls, and underwater LED lighting. Rebate amounts are different for new construction versus retrofits. Contact the utility for more information. 


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Santee Cooper - Renewable Energy Resource Loans

Santee Cooper offers low-interest loans to residential customers who have a licensed contractor install photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind energy systems, micro-hydropower systems, biomass energy systems, or solar water heaters. 

The maximum loan amount is $40,000, and the maximum term is 10 years. Under Santee Cooper's "net billing" program, a renewable-energy system may not exceed the estimated maximum monthly kilowatt (kW) demand of the residence or 20 kW, whichever is less. A home energy audit is required prior to the purchase and installation of a system, and customers must submit an interconnection application to Santee Cooper prior to installation.

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Santee Cooper - Residential Energy Efficiency Existing Homes Rebate Program

Santee Cooper provides rebates to residential and multi-family residential customers. Rebates are available on  air source heat pumps, solar water heaters, weatherization measures, programmable thermostats, duct sealing, and water heaters. Rebates require that recipients live in a single-family, all electric home. Existing Home incentives are determined by specified standards and must be verified with Santee Cooper. Santee Cooper also provides financing for energy efficient improvements to existing homes. Contact Santee Cooper for more information on this program.

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Santee Cooper - Smart Energy Loan Program

Santee Cooper provides low interest loans to residential customers to improve the efficiency of homes through the Smart Energy loan program. Customers can apply for energy efficient improvement loans ranging from $500 to $20,000 with up to 60-months to repay loans over $1,000. Renewable energy resource loans are also available up to $40,000, with up to 120-months to repay the balance. These loans require no down payment. Combined maximum outstanding loans per customer cannot exceed $40,000.

To qualify for the loan, customers must first schedule a free energy audit with Santee Cooper. The Santee Cooper representative will recommend the most

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Solar Energy, Small Hydropower, and Geothermal Tax Credit (Corporate)

In South Carolina, taxpayers may claim a credit of 25% of the costs of purchasing and installing a solar energy system, small hydropower system, or a geothermal system for heating water, space heating, air cooling, energy-efficient daylighting, heat reclamation, energy-efficient demand response, or the generation of electricity in a building owned by the taxpayer. Effective July 1, 2009, SB 1141 expanded the scope of this credit to include small hydropower systems. Only hydropower systems installed after July 1, 2009 are eligible for the tax credit. HB 3874 of 2016 expanded the scope again to include geothermal energy projects installed between

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Solar Energy, Small Hydropower, and Geothermal Tax Credit (Personal)

In South Carolina, taxpayers may claim a credit of 25% of the costs of purchasing and installing a solar energy system or small hydropower system for heating water, space heating, air cooling, energy-efficient daylighting, heat reclamation, energy-efficient demand response, or the generation of electricity in a building owned by the taxpayer. Effective July 1, 2009, SB 1141 expanded the scope of this credit to include small hydropower systems. Only hydropower systems installed after July 1, 2009 are eligible for the tax credit. HB 3874 of 2016 expanded the scope again to include geothermal energy projects installed between January 1, 2016

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South Carolina Municipalities - Green Power Purchasing

Santee Cooper's Green Power Program was launched in September of 2001. All of the state's 20 electric cooperatives and the City of Georgetown participate in the Green Power Program, which is Green-e accredited. The renewable resources sold under the Green Power Program are comprised of landfill gas (methane), solar energy and wind energy systems.

Participating residential customers are able to purchase this green power for $3 per 100 kWh block. Commercial participants are able to purchase the power for $6 per 200 kWh block.

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SouthCarolinaSaves Green Community Loan Program

The SouthCarolinaSAVES™ Green Community Loan Program affords low cost financing to South Carolina governmental, institutional, and commercial and industrial properties for qualified conservation measures, including lighting, HVAC, controls, envelope, process improvement upgrades, solar photovoltaic systems, and LNG/CNG or propane fleet conversions. A below market rate is enabled through the use of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds allocated by the South Carolina Energy Office and issued through the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA).

Projects are eligible to receive between $500,000 and $5,000,000 of low cost financing and must have a payback period of 15 years.

For more information about the SCSAVES

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State Building Energy Standards

In June 2007, South Carolina enacted legislation (the Energy Independence and Sustainable Construction Act of 2007) to promote effective energy and environmental standards for construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of buildings in the state; to improve the state's capacity to design, build and operate high-performance buildings; to create new jobs; and to increase the state's energy independence. In June 2008, the state enacted additional legislation, H.B. 4766, requiring state agencies and public school districts to develop energy conservation plans towards an ultimate goal of a 20% reduction in energy use by 2020, as compared to 2000 levels.

In May 2013

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York Electric Cooperative - Dual Fuel Heat Pump Rebate Program

York Electric Cooperative, Inc. (YEC) offers a rebate to members who install a dual fuel heat pump in homes or businesses. The rebates are for primary residences, commercial, and industrial locations. Rebates apply to both existing and new construction. The incentive is for the property owner only, meaning that renters/tenants are not eligible. For owners of manufactured homes to receive incentives they must own the home and the property on which it is located. Rebates are available for up to two systems per household. 

See the program website for application form.

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