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Understanding Solar Tax Credits and Incentives

Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. It is a renewable energy source that is both eco-friendly and cost-effective. But with the cost of solar panels, installation, and related infrastructure, the upfront cost can be quite high. That is why many homeowners are taking advantage of NYSERDA solar incentives and credits to help offset the cost of installing a solar energy system.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The Federal Solar Tax Credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), is a tax credit for individuals and businesses that invest in solar energy. The ITC is one of the most important federal policies available to support the growth of solar energy.

The ITC allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The credit is available for both residential and commercial installations, and there is no limit on the size of the system or how much money you can save. The ITC will expire at the end of 2021 unless Congress extends it.

If you’re considering going solar, the ITC can help you save thousands of dollars on your investment. Contact a qualified solar installer to learn more about how the ITC can work for you.

State Solar Incentives

The solar industry is booming in the United States, with the number of solar installations increasing each year. Along with this growth comes an increase in the number of state solar incentives, which are designed to encourage homeowners and businesses to install solar panels.

Solar incentives come in many forms, including tax credits, energy rebates, and grants. The type and amount of incentive varies from state to state, so it’s important to research the options in your area before you decide to go solar. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular state solar incentives:

Solar Tax Credits: Many states offer tax credits for installing solar panels. The amount of the credit varies from state to state, but it can be as high as 30% of the cost of the installation.

Solar Rebates: Some utilities offer rebates for customers who install solar panels. The rebate is typically a certain dollar amount per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity produced by the system.

Solar Grants: A few states offer grant programs for solar installations. The grant may cover a portion of the cost of the installation, or it may be a lump sum payment that doesn’t need to be repaid.

These are just a few of the most common state solar incentives. To learn more about what’s available in your area, contact your local utility company or visit your state’s website

Net Metering

Net metering is one of the most common solar incentives in the United States. It is a policy that requires utilities to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. In other words, if you have a solar panel on your roof, and it produces more electricity than you use during the day, you can send that excess electricity back to the utility company and receive a credit on your bill for doing so.

This incentive makes going solar more affordable because it effectively reduces the cost of your electric bill. And, since utilities are required to offer net metering to their customers (with some exceptions), it’s available in most parts of the country.

How to Take Advantage of Solar Incentives

Assuming you’re talking about the federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), here are a few tips for taking advantage of this incentive:

  1. Know when the incentive expires. The ITC is set to step down at the end of 2021. So if you’re thinking about going solar, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later.
  2. Make sure your system is eligible. The ITC is only available for systems that are used for energy production, so things like solar water heaters and solar pool heaters don’t qualify.
  3. Be aware of the other requirements. In order to claim the ITC, you must own your system outright—it can’t be leased or rented from a third party. Additionally, your system must be placed in service before December 31st of the year you plan to claim the credit.
  4. Calculate your credit amount. The ITC is worth 26% of your total system cost in 2020 and will step down to 22% in 2021. So if you have a $10,000 solar PV system installed this year, you would be eligible for a $2,600 tax credit (26% of $10,000).
  5. File for the credit on your taxes. You’ll need to fill out IRS Form 5695 and submit it with your annual tax return in order to claim the ITC.


Solar tax credits and incentives are a great way to help offset the cost of a solar energy system. They are available at both the federal and state level and can help to reduce the upfront cost of the system. Homeowners should research the incentives available in their state and take advantage of them when installing their solar energy system.

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