Going solar just got a boost with new federal credits & incentives

mtvSolar is excited to learn of new levels of federal support for clean energy projects, adding another layer of incentives for residential and commercial customers to install solar as their power source. These investments in growing the clean energy economy will have special impact around rural coal communities and on sustainable energy projects in low-income communities. Details of these programs were released just last week by the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Department of Energy and the IRS.

mtvSolar has a long track record of building out solar in underserved communities, and working with partners to boost solar in low-income areas.

Danny Chiotos, mtvSolar Director of Product Delivery, said the U.S. government’s new funds for clean energy create “stacked incentives” to offset the costs of solar panels, battery systems, smart electric panels and related electrical work.

Commercial solar projects have access to the widest variety of federal credits, said Danny. Businesses can receive the standard 30% federal tax credit for solar energy project costs, can apply for the USDA and Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants to possibly cover up to 40% of the cost of commercial projects, plus the new location-based incentives that can add 10% additional credits for projects in coal-affected communities, and in low-income communities.

“When you start adding those together, we can be talking about covering nearly all of the costs of a commercial solar energy installation,” said Danny.

Residential solar projects can still receive the 30% federal tax credit for new systems, plus applicable depreciation on a homeowner’s taxes each year. Other credits may be available from individual state tax departments for energy efficiency work, using American-made clean energy components and more.

Customers are encouraged to consult their tax advisors as they work with our PV Consultants to make the most of these new federal incentives to power a business, farm or home with solar.

And it’s worth remembering that all tax credits and financial incentives are added to our customers’ main savings – free electricity generated by their solar panels harnessing the power of the sun.

Get in shape for summer – prep solar plans in winter to maximize energy payback all year

The sun shines year ‘round, so why does timing matter when it comes to designing and installing a solar energy system for your home or business? As Danny Chiotos, our Director of Product Delivery, explains, cold weather months are the best time to take steps towards adding solar to your home, farm or business. The goal, he said, is to be ready to generate electricity when the sun is shining brightest.

Danny Chiotos

Summer offers the most solar generation potential from your panels, giving you a chance to “overproduce” energy – generate more energy than your home, farm or business needs. 

In areas where homeowners can sell Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), that extra energy can generate funds over and above the free energy you gain for your own use. But even in states that don’t offer that benefit, covering your own energy usage through solar generation translates to instant savings. In summer, our customers see their panels working at their top performance, building up the “energy bank” to offset lower production months.

Sizing a solar energy system, setting up financing, securing permits and installing the components doesn’t happen instantly. “The process is months long,” Danny explains. The ideal time to get in touch with mtvSolar is when winter has settled in. That will allow solar panels to be installed early in the year, and turned on to capture the sun as production capabilities start to rise.

“There are noticeable rises in production from March to September and October,” Danny said.

Production graphs show the monthly solar output of a 9.45-kilowatt roof-mount system in Jefferson County, WV.

As he explains, if a home solar energy system produces more than a customer’s electricity demand in a month, a customer has no energy costs (other than the fixed fee from the electric utility) and can have additional kilowatt hours that roll into the next month. In mild months like September, a home system could still be “building the bank” of excess energy, since there is generally lower energy demand – less need for air conditioning a home and only occasional days that require heat.  Even with lower solar energy production of fall, the system has still put the homeowner ahead.

Solar production is at its lowest rate in the winter and energy demand goes up. It’s a predictable cycle, and one that mtvSolar’s consultants build into their custom plans for each home, farm or business.

If solar energy is on your list of priorities for the year, now is the optimal time to get in touch with us. Tell us your energy goals, and we will design a system that can meet them. Taking a few steps now will make it possible to capture the full potential of the summer sun, and put it to work for you as the seasons unfold.