Generous Subsidies Make Solar Panels a Great Investment
There are many great reasons to install solar panels on your home; however, right now almost all levels of government are offering incredibly generous financial incentives for doing so. In addition to government incentives many local utility providers offer rebates and other motivations in an effort to increase the percentage of energy in their grid coming from renewable sources.
U.S. Government will Pay for 30% of Your Solar System
At the moment the U.S. government is offering either tax credits or grants for 30% of what is described as "qualified property," meaning any properly installed solar system. These solar installation financial incentives apply to photovoltaic panels, solar water heaters and solar space heaters. Essentially the only solar technology that is excluded is passive solar (understandably because such an incentive could be applied to an entire remodel!).
California Solar Incentives
In California there are several different loans, rebates and tax exemptions that basically anyone looking to do a solar installation will qualify for. With the inception of the California Solar Initiative at the beginning of 2006 it became clear that California was fully embracing alternative energy sources, solar especially. The California Solar Initiative gave California a budget of over 2 billion dollars for both expected performance based incentives (which are paid up front before installation) and performance based incentives. These incentives can save you an additional 10% to 20% depending on your utility provider.
In addition to rebates, loans and tax credits a few of California's counties have Green Building Initiatives which give homeowners fast-tracked permitting and design assistance for homes that will be built to efficiently harness solar energy. The financial incentives in California are quite a bit more complex than most other states, but they are a result of country or city government catering to the needs of specific localities as opposed to a product of top-down regulation creating one policy for a large state with a diverse set of needs.
Nevada Solar Incentives
Nevada also has very generous financial incentives for solar installations. First, solar panels are tax-exempt. Second, their owners are eligible for a graduated rebate beginning at $2.30 per watt (payable up to $11,500). Finally, Nevada utility providers offer rebates of around $0.10 per kWh returned to the power grid by solar panels.
New Jersey Solar Incentives
In New Jersey solar systems are also tax-exempt. However, unlike basically all other states, New Jersey extends this exemption to include passive solar heating. In addition homeowners looking to install solar panels can receive loans from both the state and from their utility provider. Additionally, New Jersey recently released a Renewable Energy Incentive Program that offers rebates to solar system owners for their surplus energy.
Arizona Solar Incentives
Lastly, Arizona has also done a great deal to encourage the installation and use of solar technologies. Arizona, like California, has a "Green Building Initiative" that provides many of the same benefits to homeowners that are looking to remodel or update their home. Like the previous few states, solar systems in Arizona are tax-exempt and homeowners can receive loans from the state (usually for up to 25% of the cost of the project) and rebates starting at $0.50 per kWh. The DSIREUSA webpage for Arizona has a full list of the numerous incentives in Arizona. Similar to California Arizona has locally specific incentives that depend mainly upon a person's utility provider.