Category Archives: Policy

How do I claim the solar tax credit (ITC)?

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How to Claim the Solar Tax Credit EnergySage

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 2018 is $18,840. At that price, the solar tax credit can reduce your federal tax burden by $5,652 – 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.

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Can I go off the grid with solar batteries? Excess solar energy explained

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Going off the grid with solar batteries

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 solar energy generated by the PV system, 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. 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?”

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California Net Metering: Everything You Need to Know About NEM 2.0

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California net metering 2.0 overview

Net metering in California is part of what makes the Golden State the undisputed leader for solar in the country. In fact, California saw 20,163 megawatts (MW) of solar installed as of the end of 2016, more than five times as much as #2 state North Carolina.

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Are Massachusetts’ Solar Incentives the Best in the Country?

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Massachusetts solar incentives with energysage

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 2018.

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How will the 2017 tax bill impact solar?

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 2017 tax bill solar

The tax bill that Congress passed at the end of 2017 is now officially in effect, and there are changes that impact many industries across the country. Early versions of the bill contained provisions that had the potential to harm renewable energy industries. Luckily, the financial incentives that reduce the cost of installing solar are intact. Below are some of our top takeaways from the recent tax bill.

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Congress extends solar tax credit – everything you need to know about the federal ITC

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federal solar tax credit itc extension

Congress has voted to extend the solar tax credit for homeowners through 2021.

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.

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Which PG&E rate schedule is best for solar? Understanding peak hours

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PG&E rate schedule increase and solar

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.

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Net Metering Battles: Brookings Institute Says “Net Metering is a Net Benefit”

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Brookings Institute net metering EnergySage

“…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.

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Installing Home Solar Panels with an HOA

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hoa solar panels energysage

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.

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Grading 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates on Renewable Energy Policies

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2016 presidential candidates renewable energy

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.
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