What Kinds of Solar Power Incentives are Available in the U.S.?

*Note – This is a guest blog post from Shannon Bell from ResidentialSolarPanels.org.  Thanks Shannon!  I’ve always wondered how government credits work with residential solar panels, now I know.

Over the years, you have seen your power bills increase for a variety of reasons. Sources are inconsistent, and methods to generate power are becoming more expensive. Ultimately, many of the resources we use are
non-renewable.

Coal, gas and oil are finite commodities. To encourage people to reduce their dependency upon non-renewable types of power, the U.S. government initiated a number of tax incentives for using solar power when it introduced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

This legislation helped to extend several “green power” incentives that were originally launched in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Currently, the government offers a 30 percent tax credit to consumers for installing solar energy systems in their homes. This credit is available through December 31, 2016. The types of systems eligible for credit
include systems that power solar electricity as well as solar water heaters.

For example, if you choose to have solar panels installed on your roof or another location on your property this year, you will receive a credit representing 30 percent of the panels’ cost and installation fees when you
file federal income taxes for 2010.

If you plan to install a solar-powered water heater, the heater must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation, or a similar organization sanctioned by your home state. Also, at least 50 percent of the energy that will be used to heat your residence’s water must be solar energy.

In addition to tax credits available from the federal government, individual states offer many different types of enticements for the installation of solar power systems. The Database of State Incentives for
Renewables and Efficiency website, dsireusa.org, includes listings of renewable energy incentives on a state-by-state basis.

Depending upon the state in which you live, incentives for installing solar power may include income tax credits, as well as property tax credits and even rebates on approved items.

If you own a company and are considering adding solar power to your business property, there are many federal and state-based incentives. Many counties and cities offer their own rewards for companies that “go green” with solar energy.

About the Author
Shannon Bell writes for Residential Solar Power Systems, a non commercial blog focused on her Photovoltaic experiences to help people understand how and why they should save energy investing in solar power. She writes on Solar Panels for Homes to help people learn how to start save energy from the scratch and then
apply those experience to the next level.

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