RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina is striving to reduce greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, thanks to an executive order Gov. Roy Cooper signed on Jan. 7. That order includes incentives for drivers to switch to electric and other zero-emission vehicles.

As the state works toward greener goals, one couple from Cary is doing their part, while saving money in the process.

What You Need To Know

  • The state of North Carolina has a goal to reduce greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050

  • That includes incentives for drivers to switch to electric cars

  • A Cary couple made the switch to solar and got an electric car while managing to save money in the process

  • Rebates and tax incentives are available for switching to solar

Steve McLeod and his wife, Lori Medlin, decided to install solar panels on their home the summer of 2020. They had been searching for a home that provided good sun exposure for about six years.

“This home is really nice because we have a lot of area for the panels, and we feel very fortunate in that regard,” McLeod said. 

They installed 30 panels through NC Solar Now, each generating about 300 watts of electricity. The panels save the couple approximately $100 a month on their electric bill.

“It becomes a good conversation piece,” McLeod said. “What I did for my home actually increased the resale value of the homes around me, because my home is now worth more.”

When the couple went solar, they were able to take advantage of a federal tax credit and Duke Energy rebate for a total installation of less than $15,000.

Today, folks can take advantage of a number of different incentives including:

  • Federal solar tax credit: you can reduce the cost of your PV solar energy system by 26%
  • Duke Energy solar panel rebates: varies per homeowner and system
  • State property tax exemption: for all N.C. solar homeowners using their systems for residential purposes
  • Building permit rebates: depending on the city you live in
  • Net metering in North Carolina: get credit for all the power your system generates  

While the couple enjoys the savings and benefits from their solar panels, for them, the ultimate benefit is knowing they’re making a difference for the environment.  

“I see North Carolina as kind of a climate change bubble,” McLeod said. “We don’t have the freezing, the droughts, the burning of all the trees. I don’t know how long that’s going to last.”

In an effort to make even more of an impact, McLeod swapped out his work truck for an electric vehicle. He now drives a Tesla for his company, Indoor Environmental Systems, Inc.

The couple also began using a Garden Tower in their backyard to compost and grow a variety of food. 

"It feels good to me that I feel that I’m part of an example for what’s important,” McLeod said.