Guide to Solar Incentives

Our guide below helps you find solar incentives by state and shows how you can claim the 26% federal solar tax credit.

What state incentives I am eligible for?

Find out how much state solar incentives will save you

Find out how much state solar incentives will save you

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federal solar tax credit form

What is the federal solar tax credit?

A law, extended by the legislature in December 2015 that allows a taxpayer to claim a credit of 26% of qualified expenditure for a solar 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.

Eligible expenditure include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. Put simply this means that generally the entire value of your quote from a solar company to install solar panels is eligible for the tax credit.

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What is net metering?

Net metering is where the amount of energy you buy in from the grid and the amount of excess solar energy you export to the grid are recorded separately and you are only billed for the net of these two numbers. So if you buy in 1000 kWh of electricity over a month at times when your solar is either not generating (night time), or not generating enough energy to cover all of your needs (say a cloudy day) but you export 500 kWh of energy to the grid in the same month at other times when your solar is producing more energy than your house is using, then you would be billed for only 500 kWh.

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power plant infrastructure

What is a solar carve out?

A solar carve out is a requirement within an overall renewable portfolio standard that a certain percentage of the utility companies requirement to buy power from renewable sources must come from solar power specifically. Some states even have a requirement that a small percentage must come from small scale distributed rooftop solar.

Where there is no solar carve out in a renewable portfolio standard then most of the requirement usually comes from wind and so there is usually not much value in SREC's in that state.

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What is a solar feed-in tariff?

A solar feed-in tariff is when a specific rate of payment is applied to solar power that is exported to the public grid by a grid connected solar system.

A feed-in tariff may be higher or lower than the retail rate of power. Some states such as Rhode Island offer solar feed-in tariffs well above the retail rate of power but in many other states and in specific utility territories there are what is known as avoided cost solar feed-in tariffs where an amount is paid for solar energy exported to the grid that is less than the retail rate of power.

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coloured letters surrounding a solar panel

What are SREC's?

SREC's means Solar Renewable Energy Certificates. They are a certificate that recognizes that 1 MWh (Megawatt hour) of electricity will be generated by solar power. They are an instrument created by statute. The statute that creates them is called a Renewable Portfolio standard.

Read more about SREC's