While solar is more inexpensive than ever, it still needs a sizable initial investment. Between $16,000 to $22,000 is the typical price for a six-kilowatt solar energy installation. Fortunately, several incentives and rebates are available to assist you in paying for the installation.
You may be eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit at the federal level (ITC). In 2021, the ITC will give a 26 percent tax credit on installation expenses if your taxable income exceeds the credit amount.
This equates to a 26% savings on the cost of your home solar energy system for most households. Thus, if your system costs $20,000, you may claim a solar tax credit of around $5,200 under the ITC.
The ITC is a 26% tax credit on solar systems installed on residential (Section 25D) or commercial (Section 48) property. Commercial solar credits under Section 48 may be used for both customer-sited commercial solar systems and large-scale utility-scale solar farms.
Table of Contents
How Does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Work?
Federal Solar investment tax credits are available as long as you own your solar energy system. Even if you do not have enough tax liabilities to claim the full credit in a given year, you may “rollover” any unused credits into subsequent years for as long as the credit is available.
Bear in mind, however, that if you enter into a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) with a solar installation, you do not own the system and thus cannot claim the tax credit. Finally, it’s critical to remember that the ITC program has no income cap, which means that taxpayers of all income levels may be eligible.
Solar Tax Credits at the State Level
Along with the federal tax credit, many states and Puerto Rico provide a number of state-level incentives. In New York, for example, you may be eligible for a 25% solar tax credit, which works similarly to the ITC. In California — the state that gives the most rebates and incentives for renewable energy than any other – you may be eligible for various state-administered incentives.
For instance, under the state’s property tax incentive, you may deduct the entire cost of your system from your property taxes. This implies that if you spend $20,000 on an average-sized system, you may deduct the total cost from your state property taxes.
Another significant sort of state-level incentive that you may come across is the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC), sometimes known as a Solar Renewable Energy Credit.
The method for acquiring SRECs varies by state. Still, you’ll typically need to register your solar system with the relevant SREC-granting body, which will then monitor your renewable energy output and offer you SRECs quarterly, depending on the amount of energy produced by your system.
The more energy generated by your system, the more SRECs you will get. You may then sell your SRECs to your local energy utility, which will utilize them to meet their renewable energy requirement under state law.
Tax Credits for Local Solar
At the municipal level, further financial incentives may be offered. For example, certain schemes provide homeowners with refunds on their energy bills based on a fixed dollar amount per watt of energy produced.
Additionally, extra energy may be exported back to the grid if your solar energy system generates more energy than you use. At the end of the month, if you generate more energy than you used, you’ll notice a credit on your energy statement for the excess.
In other words, your solar energy system may enable you to generate money in addition to reducing your energy costs. Numerous other states also provide this approach, termed net metering. (Of course, it’s worth noting that net metering is constantly evolving; it may not be available indefinitely, and specific incentives have already been eliminated in some locations.)
Is the Solar Tax Credit a One-Time Credit?
At the moment, the solar investment tax credit is a one-time credit. However, one of its more appealing advantages is that you may carry over any surplus to the next year if you cannot utilize it all when you file.
For instance, suppose you owed $4,000 in taxes but got the previous example’s $5,200 home solar credit. You would owe no taxes for the year you filed the claim. Additionally, you’d get to deduct the remaining $1200 from your following year’s taxes.
True, the situation is complex.
Because the same entity does not manage all solar financial incentives, determine which ones you qualify for. When you have your system installed, consult with your installer about any financial incentives.
Additionally, you may search for state financial incentives for renewable energy by visiting the DSIREUSA.org renewables incentives database, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center initiative. Additionally, you may want to consult an accountant or another financial specialist on possible tax deductions.
Several noteworthy asides
It’s important to remember that financial incentives such as those mentioned above are often accessible exclusively to homeowners who purchase solar energy systems outright or via a loan. If you lease your system from a third party, you will be ineligible for the ITC and a number of other financial benefits. Rather than that, the entity that rents you the system – the system’s actual owners – will gain financially.
Finally, a word on the ITC: you’d best move quickly if you want to take advantage of it. While it is now set at 26% in 2021 and 2022, it will drop to 22% in early 2021. Furthermore, homeowners will lose access to the ITC after 2023.
How to Claim the Solar Tax Credit
In order to claim the solar tax credit, it is recommended that you file your taxes using online tax software. It makes filing taxes easy, provides needed forms, and when filing your taxes electronically, your tax refund can be returned to you sooner.
How to File Taxes Online in 3 Simple Steps - TurboTax Tax Tip Video
Remember, with TurboTax Online Tax Filing we’ll ask you simple questions and fill out the right forms for you. We’ll find every tax deduction and credit you qualify for to get you the biggest tax refund, guaranteed!