Sorapro - The Solar Monitor

New Jersey

New Jersey is one of our nation’s leaders, along with California, when it comes to state solar incentives. New Jersey’s RPS (Renewable Power Standard), including its “solar carve-out,” set the bar for Solar Renewal Energy Certificates (SRECs) which has led to significant solar project development in the State over the last several years.

The New Jersey Renewable Energy Incentive Program is somewhat different than many other state programs, in that it relies partly on up front rebates, and “Solar Renewable Energy Certificates” or (SRECs). Essentially, each time your solar panels generate 1000kWh of electricity, you get a Solar Certificate that you can turn in for cash. Rebates are no longer available for 2011, but you you can still sign up for Solar Renewable Energy Certificates. Check the njcleanergy.com website for updates for what’s in store for 2012.

Taxes & Net Metering
New Jersey solar power system purchases are exempt from sales taxes and can also be applied to your property taxes whether it’s for commercial, agricultural, or residential applications. The 30% Federal Tax Credit can be applied to your solar power equipment and installation costs. A net metering program is also in place, so you can get credits from your utility company for any excess your solar power system generates above and beyond your own power needs.

What’s in Store For the Future?
New Jersey’s SREC incentives, combined with other state and federal incentives, have made many more projects commercially viable. However, there has been concern within the energy industry over the State’s long-term commitment to continue the country’s leading SREC incentive program beyond the current 2016 SACP schedule. The Master Plan proposes a significant reduction (potentially 20%) to the SACP cost for 2016, followed by annual reductions to reflect the continuing downward trend in installed costs. Even with the proposed reductions, New Jersey’s intention is clear that it will continue to support behind-the-meter commercial and industrial solar projects through the use of solar credits.


California

Californians have been long time advocates for solar power. So much so, California has become the nation’s pioneer and leader when it comes to “going solar”. Other states look to California to see the trail that’s been blazed with their California Solar Initiative. They want to catch up, and they are following suit.

Governor Jerry Brown passed a law that requires California to get 33 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2020. No wonder the incentives from California’s utilities have been so great. Depending on your utility company, however, they may be running out quickly.

Still, all Californians can take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit, which will allow you to recoup 30% of your equipment AND installation costs for an unlimited amount.


Washington

Washington is one of the greener states in the land, and not just because it has so many trees. (How many does it have? Lots!) In 2011, it won first place by the American State Litter Scorecard for cleanest public spaces and highest-quality public environmental practices. Their hefty hazardous substance tax, or “gas tax”, which was recently upheld in the Supreme Court, has successfully been used to keep the state clean for more than twenty-four years. It’s also one of the first states in the nation to have banned highly toxic brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs from common household products.
With so many eco-friendly brownie points, it must follow that Washington is way ahead of other states in regards to renewable energy, right? Well yes as far as wind and hydro power go. During the Great Depression, a series of hydroelectric dams were constructed along the Columbia River. Today, Washington produces more electricity from hydroelectric sources than any other state and produced 29 percent of nation’s electricity in 2011. Washington ranked sixth in the Nation for wind generation.


Oregon
Does solar work in Oregon? Yes, solar works well in Oregon! Did you know it has the same amount of sun as the national average? And more than Germany, which has the most photovoltaic installations in the world? Solar panels are actually most efficient in cooler temperatures and still generate power on cloudy days. Oregon also has long summer days with many months of high solar hours.

Solar is also very affordable in Oregon. With Oregon’s very generous cash incentives and state and federal energy tax credits, you can recoup up to 80 percent of your initial investment. A reduced power bill over the next 25 to 40 year period will also add to your savings. If you’re a customer of Pacific Power, Idaho Power and Portland General Electric, you stand to earn thousands of dollars with bi-annual Feed-in Tariffs. Read more to the right.

Oregon solar incentives vary slightly for the two basic types of solar electric systems—offgrid and gridtie. If you’re unsure about the difference, read more about Offgrid or Gridtie systems.

Folks who invest in off-grid and grid-tie solar power systems can take advantage of:

The 30% Federal Tax Credit, which can be applied to equipment and installation costs for commercial or residential systems with no maximum.
A Personal Tax Credit for residential systems up to $6,000 or up to 50% of equipment costs. (An approved tax credit solar technician must be used in order to qualify.)
An assortment of energy efficiency rebates and loans.
(Reducing your energy needs translates into a smaller system with a better price tag.)
Property tax exemptions.


Idaho
Solar Power is a Viable and Timely Option for Idaho
We all know Idaho is famous for growing potatoes, but did you know that Idaho has 14 national forests that take up about 40 percent of the its land? That’s the highest ratio of any other state. It also has 3,100 miles of rivers—also more than any other state–and nearly every known gem. With such a vast amount of natural resources to protect, it makes sense for Idaho to draw upon renewable energy. And, in fact, Idaho bans coal power plants, and 80 percent of electricity produced within the state comes from hydro power. Idaho can boast the smallest carbon emission per person in the United States, although it still has to import 50 percent of its power from other states.

In the recent news (March 2012), Idaho Power, Idaho’s largest utility, recently requested but was denied a reprieve from a federal mandate [PURPA] that requires them to buy from alternative energy sources. Their claim was that they would be forced to increase rates. Read more.

Because Idaho is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, it will need to accommodate a growing power demand. With well above the national average for sunny weather, solar power is definitely a viable option for Idaho residents. It has plenty of state incentives to support it—whether you’re on or off the grid–not to mention the 30 percent Federal tax credit.

What types of incentives does the state of Idaho provide to “go solar”?

Personal Tax Deduction for Off-grid and Grid-tie Solar Power Systems
Idahoans can deduct 40% of the cost of solar power system in the year in which the system is installed. In addition, they can also deduct 20% of the cost each year for three years thereafter. The maximum deduction in any one year is $5,000. The total maximum deduction is $20,000. To get a better idea of what these percentages mean, take a look at our pricing for solar power grid-tied systems. Read more or email Idaho’s tax department at taxrep@tax.idaho.gov .

Net Metering
Idaho is one of the few states that allows but does not mandate a net-metering program for its utility companies. Its three investor owned utilities, Alta Vista, Idaho Power and Rock Mountain Power, have opted to offer this to their customers. What is net metering? Net-metering allows an owner of a grid-tied solar power system to sell unused power generated by their system back to their utility for credits on their power bill.


Nevada
Solar Utility Projects in Nevada
Nevada is fast becoming a force for the advancement of Solar Power. According to a January 2012 New York Times article, based on 2010 data, Nevada is rated 5th in the Nation. The Nevada Solar One project in Boulder City supplies energy for at least 14,000 Nevada households annually. The December 2010 opening of Sempra Energy’s 48 Megawatt Copper Mountain Solar Facility put Boulder City on the “Solar Map” again as the largest photovoltaic power plant in the United States, and that’s just the beginning. Sempra is planning to expand the Copper Mountain facility to 198 MW by 2015, enough to power 45,000 homes. This facility is providing jobs and revenue for Nevada and is contracted to provide energy to California’s PG&E for the next 20 years.

A Southern Nevada project under development is in Coyote Springs by BrightSource Energy that will provide 600 MW of solar thermal power. Tower one is slated to start in 2014 and Tower two in 2015.

Nevada will have another project that will be the first of it’s kind in the U.S., Tonopah Solar Energy’s Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. The Solar Thermal facility will use heliostats to focus sunlight on an approximately 640-foot tall solar power tower using molten salt in as the primary heat transfer and storage medium. The projected in service date will be in 2014 and the electricity produced will be enough to power over 43,000 homes.

Incentives Available in Nevada for Homeowners’ and Businesses’ Photovoltaic Solar Systems
Whether you want a grid-tied or off-grid system, with the average yearly percentage of sunshine over 79% in Reno and 85% in Las Vegas, Nevadans live in a perfect climate to take advantage of solar energy; and with an estimated population of 2,723,322, there is also plenty of room for individual consumers to step up to the green energy plate.

One-time cash incentives for solar photovoltaic systems are available each year to customers of NV Energy. This yearly lottery has a specific amount of reservations based on a step system, and the incentive rate is determined each year. The step completed in 2011 was step 4. As of January 17, 2012, the 2012 rates have yet to be determined, and the applications are not yet available. You can sign up to be notified of program updates. In the meantime the 2011 SolarGenerations Handbook and the NV Energy’s website are great places to start researching how to take advantage of this program. One important thing to be aware of with this program is NV Energy will have ownership of the system’s Portfolio Energy Credits (PECs).

In order to be eligible for Nevada solar power incentives and net-metering, there are NRS (Nevada Revised Statutes) regarding contractor licensing and installation that need to be followed. For instance, a C-2 or a C-2g contractor is required to connect to the utility grid per SolarGenerations program rules. In Nevada, every worker on your roof doing anything other than securing racking and rails to the joists and trusses is required by state law to have an OSHA Photovoltaic Installer license. These requirements are also for the safety and integrity of system installation.
Net Metering
Net-Metering credits are applied to each month’s utility bill. Any unused kilowatt-hour credits (net excess generation – NEG) are carried over each month indefinitely. For each system, the credit is the lesser of 1 MW or 100% of the customer’s annual requirements for electricity. According to the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), if your system was paid for in part or whole by a utility, part or all of the portfolio energy credits (PEC’s or PCs, formerly called Renewable Energy Credit – REC) may be credited to the utility company. If you pay for the full amount of your system, you own the PCs. For a summary of how PCs are utilized and how you might be able to transfer (possibly sell) your PCs see the Nevada Tracks Renewable Energy Credits website.

For more information on Net Metering and Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard see the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s website. For the form to sign up for net-metering in Nevada


Massachusetts
Note: Only selected federal incentives are provided.
See All Summaries

Financial Incentives

  Corporate Deduction
  Corporate Depreciation
  Corporate Exemption
  Corporate Tax Credit

Texas

exas ranks 13th among the states for installed PV power and is quickly emerging as one of the nation’s leaders in solar. It already is the leader when it comes to wind development, and is, in fact, the home to the world’s largest wind farm, Roscoe Wind Farm. As the second largest state, Texas has plenty of room to expand, and plenty of sunshine to harness. Residents currently can get “per watt” funding for their PV projects through their utility companies, and can combine these with the 30 Percent Federal Tax Credit, various property tax credits, loans, and net metering in certain areas.

There are quite a few fantastic solar incentives out there. We’ve highlighted a few of them on this page… Wholesale Solar is encouraging Texans to research their utility companies rebates. Read further. If you don’t see your utility company, scroll down this page and find yours. If you find that rebates at your utility company are fully subscribed, this website is also good place to check for updates.

El Paso Electric, AEP-TCC, AEP-TNC and Swepco have generous 2013 rebates. AEP-TCC, AEP-TNC and Swepco are offering $1.50 per DC watt rebate for residential projects and $1.25 per watt for non-residential, with exception of Swepco, who offers $1.20 per watt for non-residential projects. El Paso Electric is offering $0.75 per watt rebates and giving priority to residential customers. Folks in the City of El Paso will receive $1.00 per watt rebate with priority given to commercial projects. Go to this website to read more on these programs.

Austin Energy customers can get up to $2.00 per watt for their system, but they don’t like to publish it on the website because the rate often changes. Read more. Austin Energy is also one of the few utility companies to offer a net metering program (for businesses only), and performance-based incentives for homeowners and business owners.

San Antonio’s CPS Energy Solar Initiative Rebate Program is offering tiered incentives ranging from $1.30 to $2.50 per watt based on the calculated expected performance of the system. With the exception of Tier Four, registered CPS Energy Installers must be used. Read more.

Tier One: Eligibility: Schools (private or public)
$2.50 per watt (W) for the first 25 kilowatts (kW) and $1.30 per watt for any additional capacity up to $100,000 maximum.

Tier Two: Residential Customers: $2.00 per watt up to $25,000 maximum.

Tier Three: Commercial customers: $2.00 per watt for the first 25 kilowatts (kW) and $1.30 per watt for any additional capacity up to $100,000 maximum.

Tier Four: Commercial Customers, who do not use local, registered CPS Energy Installers: $1.30/W up to $25,000 maximum.

Net metering programs in Texas are few and vary greatly among the utility companies. Some folks are lobbying for a consistent net metering program across the state. There are few out there:

  • Austin Energy offers net metering for business with systems up to 20 kW in size.
  • The City of Brenham offers net-metering to homeowners and business owners, as well as government sectors and schools. Systems can be up to 10 mW in size.
  • Green Mountain Energy offers net metering to their residential customers for system up to 25 kW in size.