Georgia State Senator Touts Tax Incentives for Solar Energy
A Partial List of Solar Energy Tax Incentives Now Available
(But watch out! One BIG one starts to expire in just three years)
State senator Jack Hill recently sent a message to his district introducing the currently available solar tax and rebate incentives. Hill says:
“Georgia has a growing solar industry, and as solar electricity prices continue to fall it will become more attractive for individuals and companies to install some panels of their own.” -Sen. Jack Hill, Sept 2016
In other words, in Georgia there’s never been a better time to go solar. The latest good news was the passage of the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act, which allows Georgia homeowners and businesses to use a solar energy buyback program to sell their excess solar power back to the grid. In other words, if your panels produce more power than you need, you can sell the extra power back to the utility.
This is commonly known as net metering, and while the bill didn’t require all local utilities to make it available to their districts, it does allow them to do so. As you’re about to see, several utilities have done just that, and depending on who your utility provider is, you can reap the benefits.
Take Action! Call your utility to see if they allow net metering.
The Financing Act limits participation in net metering to residential solar energy systems up to 10kW, and commercial ones up to 100kW. But most residences don’t need more than 10kW, and most small businesses will be under 100.
But regardless of whether your utility allows net metering, that’s just one of at least 10 various state, local, and federal incentives you might have access to when you install solar panels in Georgia. And, net metering is one of the lower-payout incentives anyway. Check these others out and see what else you qualify for.
More Solar Energy Tax Incentives and Rebates
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other incentives and rebates. Note: Some of these are federal, some are state, and some are local.
1. Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
This one is much bigger than net metering. It gives you an across-the-board 30% cut on your total installation costs. Not just the panels themselves, but the assembly, equipment, possibly the roof preparation depending on several factors (consult your tax professional), and more.
But don’t hedge too long on your decision to save money with solar. You might miss out on thousands of dollars in credits. The ITC is set to begin expiring at the end of 2019. After that, the credit drops to 26%, and then drops again a few years later. Click the link above to see full details.
2. Solar Easements – Georgia state incentive
With solar panels, you have to be concerned about continuous long term access to direct sunlight. If you spend thousands on new panels and then a big apartment building springs up and cuts off half your peak sunlight, that’s a big problem!
So Georgia created the Solar Easements Act in 1978, which allows residents to ensure in writing continued access to direct sunlight. Use this law to assure yourself a clear pathway to sunny savings.
3. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Green Power Providers
This is a performance-based incentive program from TVA, only available for homes and businesses with solar arrays under 50kW. How does it work?
First, they give you $1000 to offset the initial costs of installing your solar panels. (Noticing a trend here? You can add this money to your 30% Federal ITC savings… these incentives stack together like pancakes).
After installation, they monitor your system and pay you based on how much power it produces. For the first 10 years, you get $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. In years 11-20, you get $0.04.
How much is that? A 10 kW solar array can be expected to produce around 50 kWh per day, which works out to about 1500kWh per month. At 6 cents each, that works out to $90 per month. How big is your electric bill?
For the Green Power Providers program, there are some budgetary caps, so if you fall under the TVA’s jurisdiction, you should call them immediately to get the details for your home or business.
4. TVA Mid-sized Renewable Standard Offer Program
For larger businesses, a 50kW system is too small. So the Tennessee Valley Authority created a complimentary incentive program to the Green Power Providers one. This one applies to solar arrays between 50kW and 20MW.
The terms are different, and they vary for each contract. According to the Department of Energy solar tax incentives website, the average payout is $0.036 per kWh.
5. TVA Solar Solutions Initiative
Another one from the TVA – this one works in tandem with the Standard Offer Program for mid-sized businesses. It provides an additional 4 cents per kWh produced by your solar array.
Again, this one combines with the previous solar rebate incentive, and for mid-sized businesses your solar payback is starting to add up if the TVA is your energy provider.
6. Jackson Electric Membership Corporation – Local Rebate
The Jackson EMC now has a one-time rebate for any new solar energy installations of $450 per kW.
For a residence installing a 10kW system, this would be a $4500 rebate. And once again, this is in addition to the federal ITC and any other state and local tax incentives and solar rebates you qualify for.
If you are one of the 185,000 customers served by the Jackson EMC, this is a can’t miss opportunity, and you can maximize it if you act before the federal ITC begins to expire.
7. Central Georgia EMC – Local Rebate
Essentially the same rebate as the one offered by Jackson EMC, this one also requires an interconnected and net-metered system. Both these rebates work out for the utility too because what they’re basically doing is giving you a one-time advanced “net metering” payment, and then they’ll take your excess power and use it in the rest of the grid.
So rather than receive a small rebate each month for selling your excess power back to the grid, you’re getting a much larger one-time payment, and giving the utility permission to use your excess power.
It’s probably a lot simpler for them this way. And for you, it’s better too because it’s the upfront costs of solar that prevent most people from switching. This local rebate takes another sizable bite out of that large upfront bill.
8. Greystone Power – Photovoltaic Rebate Program
This is again the same basic structure as the Jackson EMC and Central Georgia EMC programs. Same conditions and same payouts. $450 per kW of installed solar power, and must be connected and net metered.
9. Georgia Power Solar Buyback Program
The state’s largest utility has gotten into the solar rebate act as well, but their much higher payouts have maxed their budget, and according to the DOE, this program is currently filling its waiting list as it waits for more capacity and investment.
The program pays out $0.17 per kWh generated – 3 or 4 times higher than the TVA’s similar program.
Check with Georgia Power to find out how to get on their waiting list.
Other Solar Tax Incentives and Rebates
The federal government has a few other options for recovering more of your solar investment funds.
And go here to learn more about REAP grants and loans, from the Department of Agriculture. These are programs designed exclusively for farms and rural businesses.
Don’t Forget! ITC Set to Expire at the end of 2019!
If you’ve been considering switching to solar – get the government’s credits while they’re still giving them out. Don’t miss out on thousands of dollars of tax credits!
Call Coastal Solar today and get started on your new solar installation.