As wars are being fought between nations over oil, the US government grants for solar panels for your home have set a new trend in the country. Solar panels generate power from solar energy which is renewable, clean and non-pollutant. Solar energy, once generated, can then be used to produce electricity, heat water and also your homes. The system is easy to set up and you don’t need to spend that extra money hiring anyone to install it.
Oil is a fossil fuel which is fast depleting, overuse of which led to and global warming, and whose cost is burgeoning. Governments are now encouraging its citizens to shift to renewable sources of energy. Solar power-driven households generate much lesser pollution and carbon footprint. As part of this initiative, government grants, which expire in 2016, are important since the initial installation costs of solar panels are quite high. Grants offset this expense, making it affordable and appealing to more and more households. They are the financial incentive for homeowners to invest in the technology.
The federal government gives a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the costs for installing solar electric systems. So if a citizen is liable to pay $1000 in taxes and has earned a $300 credit, he needs to pay only $700. However, he has to meet few criteria – minimum 0.5 kW fuel cells, panels must have efficiency of at least 30 percent, and 50 percent or more of the home’s heating must be via solar energy. As part of the federal grants program, the Department of Energy’s Tribal Energy Program is also a boon for tribal homes. It educates homeowners on tribal land about using renewable energy to reach energy sufficiency.
The homeowner must install a new solar power-generating system before applying for the federal credit. There is no grant for installation of used panels. However, not only house owners, condo and co-op owners are eligible for this credit too. However, those living in rented accommodation are excluded from the exemption. First submit IRS Form 5695 (instructions included), a worksheet which is used to calculate the tax credit one is applicable for. Submit your income tax sheet with the form. Then, the calculated credit amount is mentioned in line 52 of IRS form 1040. The entire process in to be done online and remember to save all your bills and invoices. The government claims to review and pay the grant within 60 days via wire transfers.
Other than this, there are grants for homeowners in rural areas and those under Housing Recovery Act. Such programs have different criteria from the federal scheme. However, don’t restrict yourself to applying for only the federal credit. Every state offers some incentives, which vary in degrees. For more specific information about your area, you can visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) and figure out the local and state-level programs.
With such financial backing from the government, solar panels are coming up fast on homeowners’ roofs as more and more people opt for such grants. Most see this an opportunity to earn the tax credit, but for those worried about global warming and pollution, an incentive to encourage usage of renewable energy is a welcome move.