How to Find Out About Local Solar Rebates

25 April of 2010 by

RebateBradleyOlin opt How to Find Out About Local Solar Rebates

Solar is becoming a lot more popular in a lot of states. Unfortunately, our crack staff of solar geeks analysts areoverwhelmed by all of the new rebate news that comes out every week. Wejust can’t update the state  pages fast enough.

So, we’re going to give you all a place where you can got to alwayscheck out what’s new in your city, state, or utility, and then plug inthe numbers of the examples that we give.

Of course,  the fastest way is to check out your solar costs isthrough our solar group purchasing partner, One Block off the Grid’s(1bog’s) solar online estimate tool.  It’saccurate and easy to use. The problem is that 1bog isn’t in every cityand state–yet.  So, now you’re looking for guidance about what rebatesand incentives apply to you in a non 1bog city.

First of all, know that everyone is entitled to the 30% Federal TaxCredit, no matter what city or state you live in.  Read more about how to calculate that 30% tax credit here.  It’s a little confusing,but we tried our best to explain it all.

Now, in addition to the 30% tax credit, you also may receive a staterebate, a city rebate, and or a utility rebate. Usually, it’s just oneof those three, but sometimes you can get a utility rebate andthe state rebate.

Unlike tax credits, the good thing about rebates is that theyautomatically reduce your upfront costs, which means you have to takeout a smaller home equity loan. There’s also the matter of Renewable Energy Credits or “RECs” or “S-RECS.” These puppies areworth a lot in states like New Jersey, but their value is different in every state.

Now, as to finding out exactly what rebates and other incentivesyou’re entitled to, you need to know not only your state, but sometimesyour utility. Then go to this  government sponsored website where you can look up the currentrebates offered in every state and utility. They have a huge staff, sothey’re almost always up to date.

Unfortunately, this database of incentives cannot tell you about thevalue of your state’s REC program. These can change from month to month, depending on your state, although sometimes the value is fixed for acertain time.

However, knowing the incentives offered is only half the battle. Forexample, you might discover that Los Angeles is offering a $3/wattrebate right now, but how much does that mean for you? Well, if yourinstaller estimates that you need a 4000 watt system to cover all yourelectric needs, that’s $12,000 off your cost.

Seems simple, but the problem is that you have to know how many solar panels you need in order to determine your actual rebate. Besides yourelectric usage, there are also certain local policies, such as time of use, tiered rates, and net metering that can also reduce the number of solar panels that youneed.

We won’t get into system sizing here.  The point here is that if youwant the latest information about rebates and incentives in your area,you can always check out the above site, or …. just get a free quotefrom an installer, who keeps up with the latest subsidies in yourarea. It’s free, so the only thing you have to lose is a bit of time.Worst case, you’ll learn a lot from a pro be able to benchmark your solar costs for a future quote.

Image: Flicker/BradleyOlin

Original Article on Solar Power Rocks

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