8 States Offering Homeowners Solar Energy Rebates

Most states offer some sort of incentive for installing solar at this point, in the form of tax incentives, low-interest loans, grants or other means. But far fewer actually offer rebates for installing solar. According to DSIRE, the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, these states actually offer rebates for installing solar. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these states, your governor wants to pay you to install solar on your home. But hurry up! Funding for these programs are limited and they’re gaining popularity every year.

California
Photo from Courier Journal

California, As of 2010, offers four state-funded solar rebates for homeowners, drastically cutting the overall costs of installing solar on California’s homes. The rebates are part of the $3.2 billion California Solar Initiative.

Perhaps the biggest rebate is for low-income homeowners who can apply to the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes program. If the homeowners make less than 80% of the area median income (AMI) they can qualify for rebates under the program. If the homeowner makes less than 50% of the AMI they can qualify for a full (100%) rebate of a system up to 1kW. Other rebates include the Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) program for homeowners who Energy Suppliers are either PG&E, Southern California Edison, or SDG&E. When it began in 2007, it offered a $2.50 per watt rebate for systems smaller than 30kW (kilowatts). For a 7.0 Kilowatt system in Los Angeles one can expect an EPBB rebate of roughly $11,000.

As more people adopt solar in California, the payment level is being reduced, so you might want to think about adopting solar now instead of after the funding is gone. Learn more about the program at CSI. Through the New Solar Homes Partnership. Homeowners can also qualify for solar hot water heating installation rebates. Under the program homeowners can qualify for a rebate of up to $1,875 for installing a solar hot water heating system.

New Jersey, Home of the tamer of electricity, Thomas Edison, the Garden State offers three homeowner rebates for installing solar. The New Jersey Customer-Sited Renewable Energy Rebates offers up to $13,500 in rebates for residential photovoltaic (PV) systems on existing homes. On new homes it offers up to $8,000 in rebates.The program began accepting applications in early May and does so biannually, however the program saw more than 1,000 applications in the first two weeks. Because of its wild popularity, as of May 11, 2010, New Jersey temporarily halted taking new applications.

The state also offers homeowners a chance to qualify for Renewable Energy Manufacturing Incentives (for End-Use PV Installations). To qualify for this program, homeowners must apply for New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Incentive Program. Under the incentive program, homeowners purchasing solar systems and related materials built in New Jersey can qualify for rebates of up to $2,500 for photovoltaic panels and $1,500 each for inverters and racking systems. The state also offers rebates of up to $1,200 for homeowners who replace or supplement their gas or electric hot water heaters with solar hot water heaters through its Solar Domestic Hot Water Pilot Program.

Connecticut offers solar rebates to homeowners through the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF). Homeowners can qualify for rebates of $1.75 per watt for the first 5kW installed and $1.25 per watt for the next 5kW of installed photovoltaics. The state specifies that the rebates are based on system efficiency. Rebates are maximized by using an inverter more than 94% efficient, an installation unencumbered by shade that has south-facing panels with a proper tilt. Funds for the program are limited to $3 million for 2010 and, as of May, less than two-thirds of the funds remain.

Connecticut also will pay you to install solar thermal heating systems. Under its Solar Thermal Incentive Program, Connecticut offers up to $4,800 for installing a solar thermal system in a house of five to six people. Houses with one to two residents can qualify for a rebate of up to $2,400. The program is capped at $4 million in 2010.

Maryland
Photo from The Invisible Agent

Maryland, famous for its crab cakes, wants to pay you to put solar on your home. In addition to tax subsidies, Maryland’s Solar Energy Grant Program offers homeowners incentives for installing photovoltaics and solar hot water systems. The state offers homeowners up to $1.25 per watt for the first 2kW of PV, $0.75 per watt for systems larger than 2kW up to 8kW and $0.25 per watts for systems larger than 8kW up to 20kW. The maximum it will offer is a $10,000 rebate for a photovoltaic system. Under the same program, homeowners can qualify for a grant of up to 30% or $2,000 of a solar hot water system.

Massachusetts, through its Commonwealth Solar II Rebates program, offers rebates for up to $10,500 in state-financed rebates for a photovoltaic system. Projects that are at least 1kW in size and no larger than 10kW are eligible for the rebates.

So far, the program and the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus have helped the state add 23.5 megawatts (MW) of solar in Massachusetts over the past two years, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The initiative is part of Gov. Deval Patrick’s (D) goal of installing 250 MW of solar energy by 2017. The solar II rebates program makes $1 million available every quarter to finance photovoltaic installations.

Minnesota wants you to take advantage of its sun with three solar rebate programs. In a state like Minnesota, which can see extreme cold temperatures in the winter, its important to keep a home warm. To that end the state’s office of energy security offers a rebate for installing a solar thermal heating system. Under the program homeowners can qualify for a rebate of 25% for such a system, up to $2,000 for a single family home. The state offers a solar thermal water heater rebate under the same terms.

The state also offers homeowners photovoltaic rebates for installing PV systems. Under that program, new PV installations can qualify for up to $7,500 in rebates from the state. Rebates are offered at $1.50 per installed watt, up to 5kW. Projects completed by a NABCEP certified installer can qualify for up to $8,750 in rebates at $1.75 per installed watt.

Colorado
Photo from National Geographic

Colorado, the centennial state, has abundant solar resources in much of its regions. The state now offers a $1.50 rebate per watt of installed residential solar power, up to $3,000. The same applies for solar hot water systems. The rebates are offered through the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office. However, some of Colorado’s electric providers also offer rebates for solar installations. In such areas, government rebates are lowered by power company rebates.

the incentives for homeowners could go up in the near future. Recently passed laws will increase Colorado’s renewable energy, Including its 30% renewables requirement — at least 3% of which will come from building-based installations like homes. Other laws passed in 2010 will bring more solar financing opportunities to local communities and homeowners.

New Hampshire. This small, northeastern state is famous for its “Don’t tread on me” attitude and its commitment to solar reflects that. The small, mountainous state offers two different rebate programs through the state’s public utility commission, the first offers up to $1,650 for solar water heating or air heating. Up to $900 of the incentive is available from the state and the rest (up to $750) is offered through New Hampshire’s share of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

The granite state also offers a Renewable Energy Rebate Program of up to $3 per watt for photovoltaic or wind installations. The state will pay up to $6,000 or 50% of a system’s total costs, whichever is less.

If your state is not one listed here, don’t despair. As of this writing, at least 34 states offered incentives and rebates to pay for part and sometimes most costs related to installing a solar energy or heating system on their homes. To learn more about incentives for solar in any of these states or your states, visit DSIRE and click on your state. If you find your state is slacking, contact your legislators and let them know you want them to help make solar more affordable in your state.

Author: Chris Meehan

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Posted in: Solar Policy

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