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Solar Hot Water Incentives and Credits

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Solar Hot Water Incentives and Credits

Federal and State governments have began to recognize, and even assist, the growing move toward renewable energy, green living, and have instituted a wide ranging number of assistance programs to help prospective owners with the purchase of their systems.

Currently there are a number of Federal and State credits, incentives, and rebates for both Solar Hot Water (solar thermal) Systems and Photovoltaic (PV or Solar Electric) Systems.

Many states, similar to the Federal Government, offer tax credits on the purchase of Solar Hot Water and Solar Electric Systems.  However, states also provide incentives such as rebates, grants, production credits, sales tax exemptions, and more.  It is imperative that you have a firm understanding what incentives are available to you, and where, how, and when to apply before you purchase your Solar Hot Water System.

The most comprehensive database of Incentives, Credits, and Rebates for Solar Hot Water and Solar Electric Systems is:

DSIRE: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency The Federal Tax Credit Residential Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit

Incentive Type : Personal Tax Credit
Eligible Technology : Solar Hot Water, PV Systems, Fuel Cells, Other Solar Technologies
Applicable Sectors : Residential
Amount : 30%
Maximum Credit : $2,000 for PV and Solar Hot Water; $500/0.5kw for fuel cells
Carryover Provisions: Excess credit may be carried forward to succeeding tax year
Eligible System Size Not Specified
Requirements : Solar hot water heating property must be SRCC Certified, or certified by entity recognized by the state.  At least half of the energy used to heat the dwelling’s water must be from solar in order for the Solar Hot Water Heater’s expenditures to be eligible.
Legal Authority : 26 USC – 25D
Date Enacted : 8/8/2005
Effective Date : 1/1/2006
Expiration Date: 12/31/2008 (extended)


The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a 30% tax credit up to $2,000 for the purchase and installation of residential solar electric and solar water heating property. An individual can take both a 30% credit up to the $2,000 cap for a photovoltaics system and a 30% credit up to a separate $2,000 cap for a solar water heating system. A 30% tax credit up to $500 per 0.5 kilowatt (kW) is also available for

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