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We know solar and want to help you know it too.

Ask us questions, we are here to help. At Sugar Hollow Solar, we are solar energy experts. We want our clients to become knowledgeable about clean energy and to share our passion for sun-powered solutions.

 

Tax Credits & Rebates         Financing         FAQs         Helpful Links



Tax Credits & Rebates

There are many state and federal tax incentives that make it a great time to buy solar.

Tax Credits Explained

Tax credits can dramatically reduce the net cost and payback period of a solar system. A tax credit is even better than a tax deduction. You don’t just subtract it from your income – you subtract it from the amount of taxes you owe. Every dollar of tax credit is a dollar you don’t pay in taxes.

The Federal solar tax credit can pay you back 30% of the installed cost of your system. If necessary, you can take the Federal credit over 2 years.

As long as your system is operational before the expiration dates listed above, you can continue using up the credits in subsequent years.

You will claim the tax credits when you file your taxes, but you may be able to receive some of the benefit right away by having your employer reduce the amount of tax withheld form your paycheck based on your new estimate of how much tax you will owe.

The following information here is from the DSIRE USA website. DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

Federal Tax Credit

Click here to read info on DSIRE

State: Federal
Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar-Electric Technologies, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Residential
Amount: 30%
Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximumSolar water heaters placed in service after 2008: no maximumWind turbines placed in service after 2008: no maximumGeothermal heat pumps placed in service after 2008: no maximumFuel cells: $500 per 0.5 kW
Eligible System Size: Fuel cells: 0.5 kW minimum
Equipment Requirements: Solar water heating property must be certified by SRCC or a comparable entity endorsed by the state where the system is installed. At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling’s water must be from solar. Geothermal heat pumps must meet federal Energy Star criteria. Fuel cells must have electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
Carryover Provisions: Excess credit generally may be carried forward to next tax year
Start Date: 1/1/2006
Expiration Date: 12/31/2016
Web Site: www.energystar.gov/taxcredits
Authority 1:Date Enacted:Date Effective:Expiration Date: 26 USC § 25D8/8/2005 (subsequently amended)1/1/200612/31/2016
Authority 2: IRS Form 5695 & Instructions: Residential Energy Credits

 

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Summary

 

Established by The Energy Policy Act of 2005, the federal tax credit for residential energy property initially applied to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 extended the tax credit to small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, effective January 1, 2008. Other key revisions included an eight-year extension of the credit to December 31, 2016; the ability to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax; and the removal of the $2,000 credit limit for solar-electric systems beginning in 2009. The credit was further enhanced in February 2009 by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.

A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the “placed in service” date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. The excess credit may be carried forward until 2016, but it is unclear whether the unused tax credit can be carried forward after then.

The maximum allowable credit, equipment requirements and other details vary by technology, as outlined below.

Solar-electric property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Solar water-heating property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • Equipment must be certified for performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.
  • At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling’s water must be from solar in order for the solar water-heating property expenditures to be eligible.
  • The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating property for swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Fuel cell property

  • The maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt (kW).
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The fuel cell must have a nameplate capacity of at least 0.5 kW of electricity using an electrochemical process and an electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
  • In case of joint occupancy, the maximum qualifying costs that can be taken into account by all occupants for figuring the credit is $1,667 per 0.5 kW. This does not apply to married individuals filing a joint return. The credit that may be claimed by each individual is proportional to the costs he or she paid.
  • The home served by the system must be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Small wind-energy property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2008, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Geothermal heat pumps

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2008, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The geothermal heat pump must meet federal Energy Star criteria.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Significantly, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 repealed a previous limitation on the use of the credit for eligible projects also supported by “subsidized energy financing.” For projects placed in service after December 31, 2008, this limitation no longer applies.

Contact

Public Information – IRS
U.S. Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20224
Phone: (800) 829-1040   Web site:  irs.gov

South Carolina Tax Credit

South Carolina Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit (Personal)

Program Overview

    • Implementing Sector:
      State
    • Category:
      Financial Incentive
    • State:
      South Carolina
    • Incentive Type:
      Personal Tax Credit
    • Web Site:
    • Administrator:
      South Carolina Department of Revenue
    • Start Date:
      01/01/2006
    • Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
      Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Hydroelectric (Small)
    • Applicable Sectors:
      Commercial, Residential
    • Incentive Amount:
      25% of eligible costs
    • Maximum Incentive:
      In any given tax year a maximum of $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer’s tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. If the amount of the credit exceeds $3,500 for each facility, the taxpayer may carry forward the excess for up to ten years.
    • Equipment Requirements:
      Solar-thermal systems must be certified by SRCC or a comparable entity endorsed by the S.C. Energy Office
    • Carryover Provisions:
      Excess credit may be carried forward up to 10 years

    Incentives

    This program has 1 Incentives

    Summary

    In South Carolina, taxpayers may claim a credit of 25% of the costs of purchasing and installing a solar energy system or small hydropower system for heating water, space heating, air cooling, energy-efficient daylighting, heat reclamation, energy-efficient demand response, or the generation of electricity in a building owned by the taxpayer. Effective July 1, 2009, SB 1141 expanded the scope of this credit to include small hydropower systems. Only hydropower systems installed after July 1, 2009 are eligible for the tax credit.

    The maximum credit a taxpayer may take in any one tax year is $3,500 for each facility or 50% of the taxpayer’s tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. Unused credit, or credit that exceeds the annual cap, may be carried forward for 10 years.

    The term “system” includes “all controls, tanks, pumps, heat exchangers, and other equipment used directly and exclusively for the solar-energy system.” The term “system” does not include any land or structural elements of the building, such as walls and roofs, or other equipment ordinarily contained in the structure.

    Solar-thermal systems must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the South Carolina Energy Office to qualify for the credit, unless the system was installed before June 19, 2007.

    The South Carolina Department of Revenue has issued forms and instructions for claiming the tax credit.

    Authorities

    Contact

    • Organization:
      South Carolina Department of Revenue
    • Address:
      301 Gervais Street
      Columbia, SC 29214
    • Phone:
      (803) 898-5709

      _________________________________________________________________

     

    South Carolina Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit (Corporate)

    Program Overview

    • Implementing Sector:
      State
    • Category:
      Financial Incentive
    • State:
      South Carolina
    • Incentive Type:
      Corporate Tax Credit
    • Web Site:
    • Administrator:
      South Carolina Department of Revenue
    • Start Date:
      01/01/2006
    • Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
      Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Hydroelectric (Small)
    • Eligible Efficiency Technologies:
      Tankless Water Heater
    • Applicable Sectors:
      Commercial, Residential
    • Incentive Amount:
      25% of eligible costs
    • Maximum Incentive:
      In any given tax year, $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer’s tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. If the amount of the credit exceeds $3,500 for each facility, the taxpayer may carry forward the excess for up to ten years.
    • Equipment Requirements:
      Solar-thermal systems must be certified by SRCC or a comparable entity endorsed by the S.C. Energy Office
    • Carryover Provisions:
      Excess credit may be carried forward up to 10 years

    Incentives

    This program has 1 Incentives

    Summary

    In South Carolina, taxpayers may claim a credit of 25% of the costs of purchasing and installing a solar energy system or small hydropower system for heating water, space heating, air cooling, energy-efficient daylighting, heat reclamation, energy-efficient demand response, or the generation of electricity in a building owned by the taxpayer. Effective July 1, 2009, SB 1141 expanded the scope of this credit to include small hydropower systems. Only hydropower systems installed after July 1, 2009 are eligible for the tax credit.

    The maximum credit a taxpayer may take in any one tax year is $3,500 for each facility or 50% of the taxpayer’s tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. Unused credit, or credit that exceeds the annual cap, may be carried forward for 10 years.

    The term “system” includes “all controls, tanks, pumps, heat exchangers, and other equipment used directly and exclusively for the solar-energy system.” The term “system” does not include any land or structural elements of the building, such as walls and roofs, or other equipment ordinarily contained in the structure.

    Solar-thermal systems must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the South Carolina Energy Office to qualify for the credit, unless the system was installed before June 19, 2007.

    The South Carolina Department of Revenue offers forms and instructions for claiming the tax credit.

    Authorities

    Contact

    • Organization:
      South Carolina Department of Revenue
    • Address:
      301 Gervais Street
      Columbia, SC 29214
    • Phone:
      (803) 898-5709

     

    South Carolina Solar Rebates

     

    South Carolina Duke Energy Carolinas Customer Scale Rebate Program

    Program Overview

    • Implementing Sector:
      Utility
    • Category:
      Financial Incentive
    • State:
      South Carolina
    • Incentive Type:
      Rebate Program
    • Applicable Sectors:
      Commercial, Residential

    Summary

    Duke Energy Carolinas’ Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program, a part of Duke Energy’s voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program,  was approved by an order issued on July 15, 2015.

    Program Details

    Duke Energy Carolinas will offer a rebate of $1.00 per DC watt for residential customers and nonresidential customers. Rebates are limited to 40 megawatts (MW), with 30 MW for distributed systems under 2 MW and 10 MW for systems under 20 kilowatts (kW). At the customer’s discretion, the rebate may be claimed by the customer or applied to companies installing or leasing systems.

    For each successive installation of 2 megawatts (MW) of residential solar and 6 MW of non-residential solar, Duke Energy Carolinas may review, evaluate, and propose new rebate amounts within 25% of the initial $1.00 per DC watt. Rebate modifications more than 25% of the current value must be approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission.

    The program is retroactive for customers installing systems after January 1, 2015.

    RECS

    The company shall intially retain ownership of renewable energy credits until all Distributed Energy Resource Program  (DERP) costs are recovered and DERP charges are removed from customer bills. Then, REC ownership will shift to customer-generators.

    Authorities

    • Name:
    • Date Enacted:
      07/15/2015
    • Effective Date:
      01/01/2015
    • Expiration Date:
      12/31/2020

    ____________________________________________________________________

    South Carolina Duke Energy Progress Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program

    Program Overview

    • Implementing Sector:
      Utility
    • Category:
      Financial Incentive
    • State:
      South Carolina
    • Incentive Type:
      Rebate Program
    • Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
      Solar Photovoltaics
    • Applicable Sectors:
      Commercial, Industrial, Residential
    • Incentive Amount:
      $1.00 per watt

    Incentives

    This program has 1 Incentives

    Summary

    Duke Energy Progress’ Customer Scale Solar Rebate Program, a part of Duke Energy’s voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program, was approved by an order issued on July 15, 2015.

    Program Details

    Duke Energy Progress will offer a rebate of $1.00 per DC watt for residential customers and nonresidential customers. Rebates are limited to approximately 13 megawatts (MW), with 10 MW for distributed systems under 2 MW and 3 MW for systems under 20 kilowatts (kW). At the customer’s discretion, the rebate may be claimed by the customer or applied to companies installing or leasing systems.

    For each successive installation of 375 kW of residential solar and 1,125 kW of non-residential solar, Duke Energy Progress may review, evaluate, and propose new rebate amounts within 25% of the initial $1.00 per DC watt. Rebate modifications more than 25% of the current value must be approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission.

    The program is retroactive for customers installing systems after January 1, 2015.

    RECS

    The company shall initially retain ownership of renewable energy credits until all Distributed Energy Resource Program (DERP) costs are recovered and DERP charges are removed from customer bills. Then, REC ownership will shift to customer-generators.

    Authorities

    • Name:
    • Date Enacted:
      07/15/2015
    • Effective Date:
      01/01/2015
    • Expiration Date:
      12/31/2020
 
 


FAQs

 Are the tax credits still available?

The the 30% federal tax credit is set to expire on 12/31/21 and the 25% South Carolina tax credit has no expiration date.

 Do solar electric systems require batteries?

The majority of the PV systems we install don’t require batteries. They are installed under a system known as Net Metered, which means that you will have one electric meter and one account with the utility company. When you are producing more power than you are consuming, you generate credits (and spin the meter backwards). When you are consuming more power than you are producing, you use those credits or buy power when you are out of credits.

Does solar add value to my house?

According to recent independent studies, solar-powered homes on average garner $17,000 more than comparable homes without a solar energy system. Compared to other home renovations, solar can often recover 100% of the original cost, where some home improvements can recover as little as 4% of the original cost. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, a home with solar energy sells twice as fast as a home without solar energy – even in a depressed market (http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-4476e.pdf) As the industry continues to mature, the value of solar will only increase.

What is the payback time for solar electric and solar hot water?

Approximately 11 to 12 years for residential systems and 5 to 7 years for commercial.

Can my electric bill really be $0?

Some solar systems produce more electricity than is used each month, bringing net electricity costs to $0. However, there is still a minimal connection fee (typically about $100 per year) to remain connected to the electrical grid.

How does a solar system affect my roof integrity?

With proper design and installation following industry best practices, your roof should maintain all its pre-solar integrity. Our design crew will assess any unusual circumstances.

How much maintenance does a solar system need?

With no moving parts and at least a 25-year expected life-span, solar panels require very little maintenance. They remain relatively clean as long as they are exposed to rain or a quick rinse with a garden hose every few months.

How does snow affect a solar system’s performance?

While snow will decrease production while it is on your panels, it should not damage your system when designed and installed properly. Given the angle of the panels and their tendency to produce some heat, the snow will fall off your panels faster than it would fall off your roof, quickly returning your system to its full potential.

Will my system still generate power during a blackout?

For the safety of workers attempting to fix power outages, solar systems that are connected to the electrical grid are required by utility regulations to shut off during blackouts. For people who want power during power outages, we recommend battery backup systems or traditional generators.

Can I take my home off the electrical grid?

Yes, provided you install a battery-backup system to provide power when your demands exceed your production, such as at night.

Can my HOA or neighbors prevent me from installing a solar system?

In a lot of cases, no. Currently, 39 states have solar access laws that provide varying degrees of protection against restrictions that can be imposed on you.

 
 


Financing

Financing Options

More than 50 percent of solar powered homes are now financed loans or leases. We know that financing can be complicated – there are lots of programs to compare, paperwork to complete and approvals to navigate through.

Financing options available locally through:

Self-Help Credit Union

Admirals Bank

 
 


Helpful links

Solar tax credits: www.dsireusa.org

Solar info: www.solarabcs.org

Radiant Heating info: www.heatinghelp.com

North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association: www.energync.org

Nabcep info: www.nabcep.org