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A quick review
You can save a lot with Federal, State, and Local Solar Incentives
If you are looking at setting up solar panels you will defiantly want to look into any kind of renewable energy incentives the government has to offer. By taking advantage of these programs you can dramatically reduce or in some cases even eliminate your costs all together.
There is a growing push for clean renewable energy. Despite the debate whether we need to or not the fact is that there is a growing movement towards this technology. This debate will probably continue for many years and will continue still when most of our power comes from clean renewable resources which at current estimates will be around 2050.
In the long run regardless of your point of view it is hard to argue, cleaner is better whether you concerned about the earth as a whole or your local air pollution, to the soil around your home, It’s a fact that fossil fuels pollute at the very least on a local level if not globally. For more information about the push to go with renewable energy go to:
Regardless of your reasons for wanting to go with renewable energy the fact remains that right now prices are at a all time low and as production increases and new technology is improved the cost will get cheaper still. In addition to the falling prices you can take advantage of federal, local and town level programs that are designed to get you setup with renewable energy solutions for a substantially lowering price even further. Specifically if you want to go with solar power as many programs are specifically targeting solar panels and solar heating systems since solar power is the technology that is gaining the most ground, both publicly and technologically.
Your immediate benefits you’re looking at for going with solar panels are these.
- You will immediately increase your homes value
- You will immediately lower your energy bill
By taking full advantage of all the programs that you may be eligible for, you can significantly lower your initial cost and cut down the return time to recover your investment and it may even be possible to remove your out of pocket costs all together.
Some people, after setting up there systems will actually start making money by selling power back to the power company. For Examples of this you can check out the Maine Solar House and the Hydrogen Home.
Government Solar Incentives
The Feed in Tariff
In a lot of countries the incentive of choice is the FIT or Feed in Tariff. This is a program where private people get paid by the electric companies simply for having produces their own electricity.
That’s right people get to have solar panels, use all the electricity and the government is requiring the electric companies to reward the home owner for doing it.
However this program has not been largely adopted by the US. So there is no federally mandated Feed in Tariff program here:
However there are a number of other programs that are.
These incentives include
30% Federal Tax Credit – This is a direct reduction against taxes you owe that is equal to 30% of you total out of pocket express for setting up solar power system:
Federal Solar Expense Deduction – This is reduction of your taxable income based on a portion of your out of pocket expense to setup solar or other renewable energy.
Federal Solar Grant – Some improvements may qualify for a grant from the government, this where money is just given out by the government to help with a certain project.
Rebates – Some companies will offer up a certain amount of money to be returned to you in the form of a rebate if certain requirements are met. They are in turn reimbursed by the government.
State Solar Incentives
Now as we mentioned there are no federally mandated Feed in Tariff programs but many states have enacted there own renewable energy initiatives, with a special attention to Solar Power.
At the heart of the states push is the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
List of State Programs
The RPS or Renewable portfolio standard – This is a state mandate that requires energy companies to produce a certain amount of energy from renewable sources. These requirements vary from state to state and not every state has adopted this plan but many states have:
Solar Carve Out – This is the percentage of the Renewable Portfolio Standard that must come from solar power:
SCREC or Solar Renewable Energy Credit – This is a trade-able credit that is acquired by producing power with renewable energy.
Net Metering – The ability to sell power back to the electric company you are connected to:
State Rebates – State funded return for setting up renewable energy systems.
State Tax Credit – Similar to the Federal tax credit some states offer a tax deduction based on the cost of your renewable energy system. This varies from state to state
State Sales Tax Exemption – This applies to states that normally have a sales tax but that tax will not be applied to many states that do have a sales tax.
Local Town Incentives
Now I’m not sure about all towns and cities but it is worth asking the question if your community offers any program for renewable energy. A lot of towns have at least one.
Property Tax Exemption – This would be an exemption from the state taxing the solar power improvement or other renewable energy setup.
Keep in mind not every state has a Renewable Portfolio Standard. Nor is it a guarantee that your state has any energy incentives at all. But regardless the Federal Government does for the next 2 years so you still have time to get in on the solar revolution and still save a bundle.
If you’re not happy with the incentives you have available I encourage you to get involved with your local government and see if there is anything that can be done at the state or town level. Even pushing for the property tax exemption would be great. And even if no incentives exist in the long run going with solar still makes sense. You will stabilize your electric bill, eventually eliminate it, and add value to your home.
Company Incentives also known as the
Free Solar Panels Option,
Zero money down
Power Purchase Agreement
We’ve covered most all the other main incentives there are from the government but there is also the incentives that companies themselves are promoting.
The Power Purchase Agreement, this is the plan that has everyone saying “I can get solar panels for free.” Solar City’s CEO Lyndon Rive even called his companies power purchase agreement as a plan for you to get free solar panels just not free energy.
The Power Purchase Agreement again is basically you allowing a company to install solar panels on your roof at no cost to you. The panels are installed, monitored and maintained free of charge for the life of you agreement generally 20 to 25 years.
Now you do still need to purchase electricity that is being produced. So it might not sound all the great of a deal until you compare this new utility company compared to your regular electric company.
Basically the cost of energy from the solar panels on you roof is going to be an immediate saving every month. Plus the rate of increase is set in stone for the life of the agreement. Immediately you will save a little on your electric bill, but as time goes by that savings will continue to grow compared to the cost of energy from the grid. At one point one company was even offering a sign on bonus of $1000.00 for anyone who signed up.
So as you can see there are a number of incentives out there to help get people going with solar power. And right now it is making a lot of sense to get setup with some solar panels, whether you buy them outright, do your own financing or going with a Power Purchase Agreement. You are going to save money, especially over time. You will increase the value of your home and be helping the environment at the same time.