Solar Energy

The Town of Nags Head is a unique, coastal community steeped in culture and history, and rich in natural resources.  The town recognizes the value of our coastal ecosystem and the role it plays in making Nags Head a great place to live, work, and visit.  The Town is seeking ways to become more resilient.    A resilient Nags Head is a place where our community, economy, and ecosystems are better able to rebound, positively adapt, and thrive amid changing conditions and challenges.  The Town strives to preserve and protect the Nags Head character, environment, economy, and sense of place in order to ensure a high quality of life for residents and visitors for present and future generations.  

Throughout its history, the town has been visionary in dealing with and planning for complex coastal issues.  Solar energy is no exception.  This webpage represents a collection of solar information and resources for the community. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options, and questions to ask solar professionals, read the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power (HERE) or Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar (HERE).  

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Solar energy uses a renewable energy source, the sun, and provides many benefits for individuals, the community, and the environment. Utilizing solar energy means less reliance on energy sources that contribute to carbon emissions and air pollution.  Ultimately, coastal communities like Nags Head are the first to feel the effects of sea level rise related to climate change.  So, working to reduce reliance on non-renewable energy sources is important!  Plus, utilizing solar energy ultimately means a cost savings on your electric bill! 

Nags Head Designated “SolSmart Bronze” for Advancing Solar Energy Growth

Nags Head is receiving a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and moreSolSmart-avatar-180x180 Opens in new window affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.  SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. This designation recognizes Nags Head for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. Learn more about SolSmart by clicking HERE

How to Choose a System

When purchasing a solar electric system, the right choice will depend on how much sunlight your area receives, your budget, how much conventional electricity you want to offset with solar power, how much room you have on your roof or in your yard, and where the solar panels will be mounted. The following factors may affect the performance of your system: 

  • Available space on your roof
  • Orientation of roof
  • Condition of roof 
  • Shading

To learn more about the types of systems, check out the Consumer Guide to Solar Electricity for the North Carolina Homeowner (HERE).  To learn more about the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator HERE

Permitting for Solar Systems

The Town allows solar energy facilities, as an accessory, in the R-1, R-2, R-3, CR, C-2, C-3, C-4, SPD-20, and SED-80 zoning districts.  To determine what zoning district you are in, click HERE

Permits are required in order to install solar energy facilities.  In order to submit for a permit, the following is needed: 

  • Completed, development permit application- HERE
  • A checklist for the application is available HERE
  • A licensed electrical contractor must apply for an electrical permit.  The application is HERE
  • Specifications for the proposed solar energy facility, including engineering for placement on the roof.  
  • Fee for permit (dependent upon project costs) 

The required permits can be applied for online through the Town's online permitting system HERE.  Staff are available to help walk applicants through the process.  So, please reach out with any questions at 252-441-7016.  Specific staff contact information is available HERE  

Other Solar Resources 

  • Consumer Solar Checklist – a checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
  • Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights – ensure a positive consumer experience by addressing important issues from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
  • Solar Customer Resource Portal – various resources from SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association.
  • Solar Owner’s Manual – information for current solar homeowners to ensure they are getting the most out of their system from Solar United Neighbors.
  • A list of certified practitioners can be found through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioner (NABCEP) portal HERE.
  • Visit EnergySage to obtain quotes from a network of pre-screen, local solar installers.  

Financing, Incentives, and Tax Exemptions

Typically solar installations are paid for through loans or cash, with Federal and State incentives available.

Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics – learn about the federal tax credit, eligibility, and other common questions & answers from the U.S. Department of Energy.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing – learn about different financing options from CESA, the Clean Energy States Alliance.