Solar Panel

Solar Tax Credit Is Stepping Down in 2020

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Rooftop Solar Panels

Designed & Installed by LighthousSolar

What Is the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)? 

The solar Investment Tax Credit is one of the most important federal policies to support the expansion of solar energy in the United States. The ITC is a 30% tax credit for the solar system installed on residential, commercial, and large-scale utility solar farms which enables you to deduct 30% of the cost of solar installation from your federal tax liability and there is NO cap for that!

The most important benefit of the solar tax credit is to provide financial support for customers and make the process of shifting toward a solar power system more affordable, as well as providing market assurance for companies to develop long-term investments that drive competition and technological innovation, which result in lower energy costs for consumers.

How the Solar Tax Incentive Works? 

The most important consideration to be eligible for the solar tax credit is that you own your solar energy system. Either as a business owner or homeowner you can claim your tax credit directly. If you don’t have enough tax liability to claim your whole tax credit in the first year, don’t worry, you can rollover the remaining credits across the next 5 years. 

On average, American households use 11,000 kWh electricity per year and to offset all of that electricity use, we would recommend an 8 kW solar system. If installed by LighthouseSolar, this would cost you an estimated $20,000 (before tax credits and rebates) which makes you eligible to receive $6,000 solar tax credit. The net investment, without considering any local rebates, is thus $14,000.                                                                               

How Long will the Solar Tax Credit be in effect?

There has been a much debate on the expansion of solar tax credit. Congress passed a bill in 2015 and the tax credit is now available to homeowners and commercial sectors with different rates through 2021.

However, the full 30% tax credit WILL NOT be available after 2019 and will drop by 4% as of January 2020. The tax credit will thus begin a slow rampdown through 2022 as follows: 

2019: The tax credit remains at 30% of the cost of the system. This means that if you get your system before the end of 2019, you will have the opportunity to get 30% tax credit for your solar panel system.

2020: Owners of a new residential and commercial solar power system can only deduct 26% of the cost of the system from their taxes.

2021: Owners of a new residential and commercial solar system will be able to deduct 22% of the cost of the solar power system from their taxes.

2022 onwards: Only owners of a new Commercial solar PV system can deduct 10% of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is No Federal Tax Credit for Residential solar energy systems.

In summary, the solar Investment Tax Credit is applied to your solar power system cost and the amount you receive varies based on the solar system size you choose. A simple example of the differences in the solar tax credit in 2019-2022 for a 13-kW solar system size is shown below:

Changes in your savings as Solar Tax Credit changes in 2019-2022 

Year

Total Solar Cost before Tax & Rebates

Tax Credit

Credit Amount You Receive

Tax Deductible

% Change

2019

$28,448

30%

$ 8,534 

 

N/A

2020

$28,448

26%

$7,396

($1,137)

-13%

2021

$28,448

22%

$6,258

($1,137)

-15%

2022 onwards

$28,448

10%

$2,844

($3,413)

-55%

 

* No Tax Credit for Residential Sector by 2022 onward.

In 2020, the Tax Credit will drop 4%, which means you will earn $1,130 less than the previous year in terms of tax credit. So, if you are interested in going solar and have been waiting for the right time, you should act now to enlarge your savings.

LighthouseSolar Hints:

  1. Battery storage systems are also eligible for 30% solar tax credit when the battery system is charged at least 90% by a renewable energy source (solar) and is installed at the same time.

  2. It is important to understand your solar investment. To the extent that getting multiple quotes helps you understand the value and specifics of solar, we encourage you to pursue your options.

  3. Demand of your solar provider the level of experience and service proportionate to your investment. Solar has a claim on permanence that many other investments around your home cannot compete with. We recommend relying on the experience of your friends and peers as trusted sources of information and validation. The solar installation is an investment and you would like to have a company that supports you and provides great services when you need it.

  4. Working with local companies has many values. There is a community and economic value to supporting your local economy, but more importantly, your solar system will need support and or a tune up at some point in its life and it is very important to work with a company that is of this place. Based here, operates here - today and in the future.  

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Residential Solar System

If you’re interested in figuring out the value proposition that solar can offer, we provide Free Consulting. The LighthouseSolar professional sales team will be happy to answer any questions you might have.


- Nafi Shah

Communication Specialist

LighthouseSolar

What Else Can Solar System Do?

Given the number of installations we are performing to meet customer demand, it is easy to forget some of the powerful opportunities solar has for many of our customers. Solar is inherently modular, which leads us to think that every system is a slight variation on the same technology, values and long term impacts.

It is refreshing and very exciting when we can demonstrate through effective collaborations and a listen first approach that the integration of solar systems into our built landscape has immediate and latent effects that far exceed the obvious and measurable benefits of clean power, on site power, emission free power and water free power.

A project example illustrates this point clearly.

Several years ago, LighthouseSolar won a commission and ultimately an IREC design award to design and install solar classrooms at 15 middle and high schools in Austin, TX. We collaborated with Austin Energy, Austin Independent School District, and a curriculum developer to deploy a solar classroom at each location for the student and teacher communities to use.

To inform our design approach, we asked the question: What would it look like to have Stonehenge meet the IPhone? We are guided by the fundamental principles that solar is also technology of mythic proportions and eternal time scales, yet we live in a world enabled and pressurized by technologies of instant and distributed connectivity.

For this, our solar classroom needed to serve both real design guidelines.

First, the solar classroom is monumental in aspect. Not that it is so big that is can’t intimately hold the attention of a small class of students, rather it is informed by systems scaled beyond our local experience. The movement of the sun is an experience shared by everyone on earth and while each location on earth has a slightly different experience it is worth remembering that a Greek geographer, Anaximander, calculated very closely the circumference of the globe by looking down a well in Egypt. The global is in the local. This sort of expansive curiosity is available upon casual but pointed interest in a solar system. Our classroom makes this more apparent due to the design elements. The structural supports align with the altitude of the sun at the summer solstice. The depth of the room is defined by the lowest sun angle at the winter solstice. Sun angles are also reflected within the tapered angle of the bench foundations that ring the classroom. The student can feel the shape of the solar ecliptic through their feet.

This brings us back to the power and breadth of the connectivity that the iPhone generation is growing into. The expansive question occurs to us: What will the generation look like and be capable of having experienced the sense of the sun coupled with the tools that hand held computers offer? It is more exciting in what is possible than what is quantifiable.

The solar classroom is also equipped with tools of the modern era. Electronic teaching tools, QR Codes, skype conferencing, weather data monitoring and solar production monitoring set up the ability to run experiments, track results and test hypotheses. These are also tools of sharing, global connectivity all in the context of primary education.

Solar energy is more than a commodity, more than an economic opportunity and more than a switch in the dominant energy paradigm. If culture is where science and imagination meet, then perhaps solar holds a deeper proposition to recast our culture in ways that we are yet to discover.

We continue to ask the simple question: What else can solar do? We invite you to inquire accordingly.