Solar Incentives for Green Energy and Green Pockets
Switching to solar energy not only makes your home or business more environmentally-friendly, but can help fill your pockets with a little more green thanks to numerous federal, state and local incentive programs.
Federal Incentives for Solar Power
The U.S. government offers a broad array of incentives for residential and commercial renewable energy users. Depending on the type of property owned or solar product installed, you could be eligible for tax deductions or exemptions, tax credits or federal grants or loans. A complete list of available federal incentives and policies for renewable is available at the U.S. Department of Energy | Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy website.
Maryland State Incentives for Solar Power
In addition to enjoying state tax-exempt status on the sale and use of solar energy equipment, Maryland residents are eligible for a variety of state and local incentives when switching from traditional energy systems to renewable energy systems.
Put Green In, Get Green Back
The state incentives include:
Grants and rebates – Homeowners, businesses, local governments and nonprofits choosing to install renewable energy systems may qualify for financial incentives from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).
- The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) administers a Solar Energy Grant Program providing a maximum rebate of $10,000 to homeowners, businesses, local governments and non-profit organizations that install solar water-heating systems or solar-electric (PV) systems up to 20 kW. Both grid-connected and off-grid PV systems are eligible for support.
- The MEA also offers a Mid-Size Solar Energy Grant Program for mid-sized photovoltaic (PV) systems sized between 20 kW and 200 kW and solar water heating systems (SWH) with an area of at least 100 square feet installed by businesses and non-profits.
- In addition to renewable energy grants, the state administers the EmPOWER Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The State of Maryland has been allocated approximately $52 million in funding for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. The ten largest Maryland counties and the ten largest Maryland municipalities, based on population, are eligible to receive EECBG grants directly from DOE.
SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) – SRECS can be sold to electric companies or other buyers in order to increase the economic value of installing a solar panel system. By law in Maryland, electric utilities companies must use renewable energy sources to provide electricity. A portion of this requirement often comes from the purchase of SRECs. 1 SREC is equivalent of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh).
Clean Energy Production Tax Credit – The state of Maryland offers a Clean Energy Production Tax Credit for electricity generated by wind, geothermal energy, solar energy, hydropower, hydrokinetic, municipal solid waste and biomass resources. Available as both a corporate and personal tax credit.
Loans – Local governments, non-profits, businesses and homeowners who install energy efficiency improvements may also qualify for low interest rate loans offered through various state programs.
According to the Maryland tax code, local jurisdictions can offer property tax credits for the installation of solar and geothermal devices that improve energy efficiencies as well as for buildings that meet certain high performance building standards outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC.
Current local tax credits include:
- Arundel County offers a one-time Solar Property Tax Credits for residential dwellings that use solar for water heating and electricity generation and a High Performance Dwelling Property Tax Credit for buildings built on or after July 1, 2010 that meet or exceed USGBC LEED Silver standards.
- Baltimore County also offers a one-time Solar and Geothermal Equipment Property Tax Credits Property Tax Credit for High Performance Buildings and Homes for new and existing residential and commercial buildings that meet certain high performance building standards or provisions for energy efficiency improvements.
- Carroll County offers a Green Building Property Tax Credit for buildings used for business, commercial or industrial purposes that meet certain green building standards.
- Harford County offers a Property Tax Credit for Solar and Geothermal Devices used to heat, cool or generate electricity for on-site consumption for both residential and nonresidential buildings.
- Howard County offers a Residential Solar and Geothermal Property Tax Credit for county property owners who install certain renewable energy devices and a High Performance Building Property Tax Credit on new and existing multi-family residential and commercial buildings that meet certain high performance building standards.
- Prince George’s County offers a Solar and Geothermal Residential Property Tax Credit on residential structures equipped with solar and geothermal systems.
- Montgomery County offers property Residential and Commercial Solar and Geothermal Tax Credits on owner-occupied, modified multi-family and commercial buildings that meet high performance building standards.
- You can find a comprehensive list of available Maryland incentives at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency website.
Is Solar Right for You?
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