Recent Updates

The following items have been recently added or updated:

Some Almost Forgotten Solar History

Berkeley Lab’s “Utility-Scale Solar, 2021 Edition”

Electrification of transportation sector = More Renewable Energy Needed

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to provide 70% of its energy from solar and wind by 2035

A link to a good article on What You Need to Know to make Sure Your Solar Rooftop is Properly Valued at Time of Sale: Is Solar Sexy When You Sell Your Home?

APS- Residential Battery Pilot Program

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Interesting Technology Updates -Click on a title below

  • - A radical idea to get a high-renewable electric grid

    This is an interesting approach to optaining very high penetration of renewables such as photovoltaics and wind.  At present most large installations operate under Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) wherein the economics are based on a sell all output at predetermined prices. This contrasts with standalone systems wherein the system size Read More
  • - Breakthrough Batteries Powering the Era of Clean Electrification

    - Breakthrough Batteries Powering the Era of Clean Electrification Battery Storage Costs Drop Dramatically, Making Way to a New Era. A recent Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) report continues to confirm that clean electrification through batteries is advancing at impressive rates. Very interesting report: Breakthrough Batteries- Powering the Era of Clean Electrification Read More
  • - Changes impacting photovoltaic (PV) installations in the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC)

    - Changes impacting photovoltaic (PV) installations in the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) A look at some of the more significant changes under consideration for the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) that will affect future distributed generation systems (solar electric wind, etc.). Article 690, Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems and Article 705, being renamed Interconnected Electric Power Production Sources, are specific to distributed generation. Read More
  • - Interesting Technology

    An assortment of links to interesting information   Semiconductor Nanowires Could Double the Efficiency of Silicon Solar Cells A p/n semiconductor junction is not the only way of converting sunshine into useful electrical energy.  Light consists of a flow of photons of various energy levels (colors).  See this article-Solar Cells.  Nanowires Read More
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Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits

(Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009)


Incentive Type:   Personal Tax Credit
State:   Federal
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:   Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies
Applicable Sectors:   Residential
Amount:   30%
Maximum Incentive:   Solar-electric systems placed in service before 2009: $2,000
Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Solar water heaters placed in service before 2009: $2,000
Solar water heaters placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Wind turbines placed in service in 2008: $4,000
Wind turbines placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Geothermal heat pumps placed in service in 2008: $2,000
Geothermal heat pumps placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Fuel cells: $500 per 0.5 kW
Carryover Provisions:   Excess credit may be carried forward to succeeding tax year
Eligible System Size:   Fuel cells: 0.5 kW minimum
Equipment/Installation Requirements:   Solar water heating property must be certified by SRCC or by comparable entity endorsed by the state in which 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 requirements. Fuel cells must have electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
Authority 1:   26 USC § 25D
Date Enacted:   8/8/2005 (subsequently amended)
Date Effective:   1/1/2006
Expiration Date:   12/31/2016
Authority 2:   IRS Form 5695 & Instructions: Residential Energy Credits

 



Summary:
Note: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does not allow taxpayers eligible for the residential renewable energy tax credit to receive a U.S. Treasury Department grant instead of taking this credit. 

Established by the federal 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(H.R. 1424) 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 (H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1122, p. 46), 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 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 on a new home, the "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for onsite 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 can 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. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service before January 1, 2009.
  • 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.
  • Note that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has published a five-page document that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal tax credits for solar energy.


Solar water-heating property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service before January 1, 2009.
  • 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.
  • Note that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has published a five-page document that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal tax credits for solar energy.


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 half kilowatt. 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. The maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt, not to exceed $4,000, for systems placed in service in 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. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service in 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 program requirements in effect at the time the installation is completed.
  • 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.  


History 
The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a 30% tax credit (up to $2,000) for the purchase and installation of residential solar electric and solar water heating property and a 30% tax credit (up to $500 per 0.5 kilowatt) for fuel cells. Initially scheduled to expire at the end of 2007, the tax credits were extended through December 31, 2008, by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.  

In October 2008, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 extended the tax credits once again (until December 31, 2016), and a new tax credit for small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pump systems was created. In February 2009, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.

 


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

Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (2)

(Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009)


Incentive Type:   Personal Tax Credit
State:   Federal
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:   Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies
Applicable Sectors:   Residential
Amount:   30%
Maximum Incentive:   Solar-electric systems placed in service before 2009: $2,000
Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Solar water heaters placed in service before 2009: $2,000
Solar water heaters placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Wind turbines placed in service in 2008: $4,000
Wind turbines placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Geothermal heat pumps placed in service in 2008: $2,000
Geothermal heat pumps placed in service after 2008: no maximum
Fuel cells: $500 per 0.5 kW
Carryover Provisions:   Excess credit may be carried forward to succeeding tax year
Eligible System Size:   Fuel cells: 0.5 kW minimum
Equipment/Installation Requirements:   Solar water heating property must be certified by SRCC or by comparable entity endorsed by the state in which 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 requirements. Fuel cells must have electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
Authority 1:   26 USC § 25D
Date Enacted:   8/8/2005 (subsequently amended)
Date Effective:   1/1/2006
Expiration Date:   12/31/2016
Authority 2:   IRS Form 5695 & Instructions: Residential Energy Credits

 



Summary:
Note: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does not allow taxpayers eligible for the residential renewable energy tax credit to receive a U.S. Treasury Department grant instead of taking this credit. 

Established by the federal 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
(H.R. 1424) 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 (H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1122, p. 46), 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 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 on a new home, the "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for onsite 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 can 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. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service before January 1, 2009.
  • 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.
  • Note that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has published a five-page document that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal tax credits for solar energy.


Solar water-heating property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service before January 1, 2009.
  • 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.
  • Note that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has published a five-page document that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal tax credits for solar energy.


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 half kilowatt. 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. The maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt, not to exceed $4,000, for systems placed in service in 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. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service in 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 program requirements in effect at the time the installation is completed.
  • 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.  


History 
The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a 30% tax credit (up to $2,000) for the purchase and installation of residential solar electric and solar water heating property and a 30% tax credit (up to $500 per 0.5 kilowatt) for fuel cells. Initially scheduled to expire at the end of 2007, the tax credits were extended through December 31, 2008, by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.  

In October 2008, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 extended the tax credits once again (until December 31, 2016), and a new tax credit for small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pump systems was created. In February 2009, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.

 


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

Solar Leasing & Lending

Updated Feb. 16, 2014

In 2014 solar adoption makes up a very small percent of the electrical generation mix in Arizona. But the trend is accelerating in favor of solar utilization not only in Arizona, but across the country.

What is the driver behind this growing trend? Most point to financial (business model) innovation. And one only needs to consider that it was not a technology innovation, rather a financial innovation, that fueled the automobile market in the U.S. in the 1910s, to understand why solar adoption rates are soaring.

The introduction of financing through GMAC finance took the American auto market from 7.7 percent adoption to 80 percent adoption in less than a decade.

A financial innovation unlocked the car market 100 years ago and is having a similar impact in the solar marketplace today. A new business model innovation (leasing) has fueled an increased adoption rate for solar electric which in turn is pushing costs down and further fueling the market.

In 2008, a company called SunEdison introduced a version of what is known today as the solar lease. Residential and commercial solar customers no longer need to invest capital in purchasing solar rooftop systems.

SunEdison offered to finance, install, own and maintain the solar panels on the rooftop of its customers. Homeowners did not have to take any risks. At the end of the (20-year) contract, the customer had a choice of purchasing the equipment at deep discounts or having them taken off the roof.

Soon after SunEdison, Solar City started offering a Solar Lease option and the solar market exploded. The concept caught on and other companies such as Sungevity and SunRun as well as local and regional companies joined the long list offering 'Solar Leases' or 'Solar PPAs'.

Partly as a result of these financial innovations, the solar market in America quadrupled from 2008 to 2012. Since 2012 the market has expanded even further as about 80 percent of all residential and commercial installations nationwide are now financed by third party-companies. In Arizona the number is closer to 90 percent.

But the economics of a lease versus out-right ownership is different in many ways. The lease is a contractual document that sells the property owner the solar output of the system. The 3rd party (system owner) in a lease maintains the RECs, and is the recipient of any rebate and tax incentive. A property owner that chooses to purchase their system outright receives all of the upfront incentives of a system but is also responsible for any maintenance of the system over its life.

There are a number of loan vehicles that a property owner may tap in order to purchase and own a solar system outright. These programs offered through lending institutions and government entities (i.e. property assessments) have been subject to considerable change. Please contact individual institutions to learn of any current financing options.

Federal Tax Incentives

Updated April 10, 2021

Federal Tax Credit and Incentives:

As part of its effort to encourage the use and utilization of renewable energy, the federal government provides taxpayers with tax incentives to purchase solar, wind and energy-efficient technologies for residential, commercial and corporate applications.

On this page we summarize a few of the more common federal incentives and provide a link at the bottom of this to a database for a complete listing of federal incentives, policies and programs.

Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit is a Federal personal tax credit. The tax credit amount was 30 percent up to January 1, 2020. The renewable technologies eligible are Photovoltaics, Solar Water Heating, other Solar Electric Technologies, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal and Heat Pumps.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 bill extended the 26% investment tax credit through 2022. Here are the specifics:

  • 2016 – 2019: The tax credit remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system. This means that in 2017, you can still get a major discounted price for your solar panel system.
  • 2022: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2023: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2024 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.

The IRS, via Notice 2018-59 (6/25/18), has modified the Investment Tax Credit to allow solar projects to begin construction by the end of the periods below, and still get the designated percetage – versus being in service by that date.

For instance, this means that instead of your solar project having to finish by December 31st, 2022, it must now begin on or by that date to qualify for 30%. This same logic applies to the follow two years and their 26% and 22% tax credits.

The maximum incentive varies by technology and according to when the system was placed in service:

  • Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximum
  • Solar water heaters placed in service after 2008: no maximum
  • Wind turbines placed in service after 2008: no maximum
  • Geothermal heat pumps placed in service after 2008: no maximum
  • Fuel cells: $500 per 0.5 kW


For more information see:US Code 26 – Internal Revenue Service

Tax Form: IRS Form 5695 & Instructions: Residential Energy Credits

Federal Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Personal)

This incentive is a Federal Income Tax personal exemption. The key element is that energy conservation subsidies provided to customers by public utilities, either directly or indirectly are non-taxable. Photovoltaics, Solar Water Heat, and Solar Space Heat, are eligible technologies as well as unspecified energy efficiency technologies. It applies to residential and multi-family residential properties. One hundred percent of the subsidy is exempt. There are specific rules and provisions and the customer should consult a tax professional.

For details and more information visit: www.irs.gov/publications/p525/index.html

Federal Energy-Efficient Mortgages (EEMS)

This incentive is in the form of a Federal Loan Program. Photovoltaics, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Passive Solar Space Heat, and Daylighting as well unspecified Energy Efficiency technologies are eligible.

Homeowners can either finance energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, including renewable energy technologies, or to increase their home buying power with the purchase of a new energy efficient home when taking advantage of EEMs. The U.S. federal government supports these loans by insuring them through Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) programs. This allows borrowers who might otherwise be denied loans the ability to pursue energy efficiency implementation, and it secures lenders against loan default. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have EEM programs.

For details and more information visit: www.resnet.us/ratings/mortgages

For a complete listing of all federal incentives and policies for renewable and energy efficiency, see the Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Energy Efficiency.

As with the other incentives summarized by the Arizona Solar Center, the customer should consult with authorities such as their utilities, qualified contractors, and accountant.

For details and more information contact:
   Public Information - IRS
   U.S. Internal Revenue Service
   1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
   Washington, DC 20224
   Phone: (800) 829-1040
   Web Site: www.irs.gov

About

  • Welcome to the Arizona Solar Center

     This is your source for solar and renewable energy information in Arizona. Explore various technologies, including photovoltaics, solar water heating, solar architecture, solar cooking and wind power. Keep up to date on the latest industry news. Follow relevant lectures, expositions and tours. Whether you are a homeowner looking to become more energy efficient, a student learning the science behind the technologies or an industry professional, you will find valuable information here.
  • About The Arizona Solar Center

    About The Arizona Solar Center Arizona Solar Center Mission- The mission of the Arizona Solar Center is to enhance the utilization of renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the state of Arizona. About the Arizona Solar Center- The Arizona Solar Center (AzSC) provides a broad-based understanding of solar energy, especially as it pertains to Arizona. Registered Read More
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