Pay For Your Solar Energy System With These Government Programs

Posted on: 17 December 2014

Installing solar panels on your home can trim your energy bills by as much as 90 percent. However, it costs an average of $19,200 to install a small 2kW system, which can provide a decent amount of power for a 3,000 square foot home if you watch your energy consumption closely. If you want to install a solar energy system, but the price puts it out of reach for you, use one of these government programs to cut the cost of the system to a manageable amount.

Federal Programs

The federal government provides a couple of ways homeowners can reduce the cost of installing a home solar energy system.

+Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

If you install your system before December 31, 2016, you can take 30 percent of the cost off your taxes. Though systems installed between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 are only eligible for a $2,000 tax credit, that limit does not apply to systems installed after January 1, 2009. If you purchase a $20,000 system this year, for example, you can cut $6,000 off your tax liability. If the amount you're eligible for exceeds the amount you are required to pay that year, you can carry any balance left over to the following year.

The tax credit can only be applied to eligible expenditures such as:

  • The equipment
  • Costs associated with preparing the site
  • Installation cost
  • The cost of connecting the system to you home

Specific systems have additional eligibility requirements, so it's best to visit the Energy Government website for more information about this program.

USDA Rural Energy for America Grant

If you live in a rural area and own a farm or small agricultural business, you can apply to have up to 25 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system on your property paid for by this grant program. The money can be used to purchase and install the equipment, construct your own energy renewal system, or make energy-efficient improvements to non-residential buildings. This program also guarantees loans of up to $25 million.

To be eligible for the program, at least 50 percent of your gross income must be earned from the operation of your rural business and you must produce some type of agricultural product such as crops or livestock. Additional information about the program and eligibility requirements can be found at the USDA website.

City and State Programs

By no means is the federal government the only entity offering incentives for switching over to solar power. Many cities and states have programs that also provide money or tax credits for hooking your home up a solar energy system. For example, the Boulder Colorado ClimateSmart Solar Grant Program offers low-income families rebates of up to 50 percent of the project costs.

An easy way to find these programs in your area is to do a search on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website.

For more suggestions on ways you can reduce the cost of installing a solar energy system on your home or assistance with choosing and installing one, connect with an experienced electrician, such as Artisan Electric Inc, in your area.