Homeowners, solar companies, and industry advocates alike were given a big Christmas gift in 2015 when Congress approved the 2016 federal spending bill and extended the solar panel tax credit. The December 18 bill contained a 5-year solar tax credit extension, which makes solar more affordable for all Americans. Wondering how this impacts you? EnergySage has the answers.
PG&E rate schedule changes are happening across the utility’s entire coverage area in 2017. Whether you have solar panels on your roof, are considering solar, or don’t have any plans to generate your own electricity, the upcoming switch to time-of-use (TOU) rates will have an impact on your monthly electricity costs. Currently, all PG&E customers have the option of switching to TOU rates or remaining on their existing rate schedule. However, if you are a new PG&E customer or move to a new address, you’ll have to choose a new TOU plan. The best option for your home depends on your electricity use habits.
Newer, more efficient solar panels and inverters have been in the news recently, but advancements in solar technology aren’t limited to standard equipment. Energy storage is also moving closer to mass-market adoption, and more installers are offering solar batteries and solar panel battery banks (a.k.a. solar-plus-storage) as an option for homeowners. Solar-plus-storage systems include a battery that captures and stores the excess energy generated by the system’s solar panels, opening up the possibility of going “off the grid” – a tempting proposition for homeowners who want to sever their connection with utility companies by using renewable energy.
Since solar battery technology is relatively new to the solar market, there isn’t significant solar storage capacity deployed in the U.S. That won’t be the case for long though: between utility and residential installations, solar battery deployment is expected to increase twelve times over in 2015. As solar batteries become cheaper and more accessible for homeowners, more people are wondering, “Can I use solar batteries to go off the grid with my solar panel system?”
“…The economic benefits of net metering actually outweigh the costs and impose no significant cost increase for non-solar customers. Far from a net cost, net metering is in most cases a net benefit—for the utility and for non-solar rate-payers.”
You may have heard an endorsement like this before from renewable energy advocates and representatives of solar installers. But those words didn’t come from SolarCity or from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) – they came from the Brookings Institute, one of the country’s most respected nonpartisan think tanks.
When you think of Massachusetts, you may think of the historical city of Boston, its championship sports teams, or distinctive pronunciation of the letter “R”. Now, it’s time to add a new association to the list because Massachusetts solar incentives and programs are now considered some of the best in the country. In this article, we break down these incentives and explain why solar panels are such a great investment in Massachusetts in 2016.
If you’re considering solar, you’ve probably heard about the federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Federal ITC makes solar more affordable for homeowners and businesses by granting a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction equal to 30% of the total cost of a solar energy system.
What does 30% actually mean for the average solar shopper? According to EnergySage marketplace data, the average national gross cost of installing a solar panel system in the first half of 2015 was $29,225. At that price, the solar tax credit can reduce your federal tax burden by $8,768 – and that’s just one of many rebates and incentives that can reduce the cost of solar for homeowners.
There’s plenty of information out there about the value of the residential ITC, but figuring out how to actually claim the credit when it comes time to file your taxes is another story. We’ll walk you through the process step by step from Form 5695 to Form 1040.
If you have a homeowner’s association (HOA) for your property, you’re probably aware that you need to get their permission for certain renovations and alterations to your home.
Can My HOA Prevent Me From Installing Solar Panels?
An HOA will only prevent you from installing solar panels if your state requires approval for the installation and then rejects the proposal. In some cases, an HOA may deny you for aesthetic reasons. The key is to check your state’s solar access rights to see if it can prevent you from going solar.
Renewable energy is a particularly hot issue in this year’s presidential election. At the end of 2015, the U.S. joined 195 other nations in signing a UN agreement that committed to an aggressive climate change reduction strategy. Additionally, the Obama Administration is now in the process of defending its much-discussed Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Congress also extended solar and wind tax credits and lifted the U.S. oil export ban in the 2016 spending bill – two controversial policies for today’s candidates with their eye on the presidency.
If you’re starting to believe that 2016 might just be the #YearofSolar, you’ll love the news out of the solar industry this week: IHS forecasted that solar installations will grow by 60 percent in 2016, Sunrun and SolarCity announced significant investor backing and Massachusetts unveiled $15 million of funding for solar in low-income households. Find these exciting developments and more in this week’s Solar News Roundup.