2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Altoona, PA - Tax Credits & Rebates

In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Altoona.

You'll learn about:

  • Local & State Solar Incentives
  • Federal Tax Credits (Updated for 2023 and beyond)
  • Ways to optimize your solar investment

Solar installers are experts in maximizing your solar tax credits and rebates.
Get a free quote from one of our trusted Altoona solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

Why you can trust EcoWatch

We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Altoona?

High Performance Buildings Incentive Program

Incentive Type:
Loan Program
Residential loans/loan guarantees: $100,000
Commercial loans/loan guarantees: $2 million
Grants: Lesser of 10% of project costs or $500,000

Wind and Geothermal Incentives Program

Incentive Type:
Loan Program
Manufacturer loans: $40,000 per job created within 3 years
Manufacturer grants: $5,000 per job created within 3 years
Loans for geothermal systems: $3 per square foot of space served up to $5 million; also limited to 50% of eligible costs for residential systems.
Loans for wind energy production projects: $5 million
Grants for wind energy production projects: $1 million
Grants for feasibility studies: 50% of cost up to $175,000
Loan guarantee grants: Up to 75% of deficient funds up to $5 million

Solar Alternative Energy Credits

Incentive Type:
Solar Renewable Energy Credit Program
Varies based on market conditions; during 2015 the market price for PA-sourced SRECs has ranged from approximately $32 - $55/MWh ($0.032 - $0.055/kWh) although individual trades have taken place at substantially lower and higher prices.
Learn more:

High Performance Building Incentives Program

Incentive Type:
Grant Program
Vary by project, but program generally requires matching funds at least equivalent to DCED funding

First Energy (MetEdison, Penelec, Penn Power, West Penn Power) - Residential Solar Water Heating Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program

FirstEnergy (MetEdison, Penelec, Penn Power, West Penn Power) - Residential Energy Efficiency Programs

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Appliances
Refrigerator: $75
Clothes Washer: $25- $50
Clothes Dryer: $50
Freezers: $25
Dehumidifiers: $25
Fridge/Freezer Recycling: $50

HVAC
HVAC tune up: $50
Furnace Fan Motor: $150
Ductless Minisplit AC : $200
Central AC: $100 - $200
Air Source Heat pump: $250 - $500
Geothermal Heat Pump: $600
Packaged Terminal AC: $75
Packaged Terminal Heat Pump: $150
Programmable Thermostat: $25

Others
Solar Water Heat: $500
Heat Pump Water Heater: $500
Home Energy Audit: $250
Lighting: Available as in-store discount in participating stores

Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

Incentive Type:
Personal Tax Credit
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

Source: https://www.dsireusa.org/


Solar incentives are meant to encourage homeowners to switch their home over to renewable energy by providing financial incentives meant to lower the burden of solar panel installation and use. Incentives could include things like discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits. Some incentives are handled federally, while others are offered by the state of Pennsylvania or your specific utility company, county or municipality. Types of solar incentives might include:

  • Tax Exemptions: These might come in the form of property tax exemptions, which allow you to ignore the value of your solar system when paying property tax on your house. You may also qualify for an exemption on sales tax at the time of purchase.
  • Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the federal government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and other performance-based incentives may be available to you if you have a solar system that produces over a specified (generally small) amount of electricity. These types of incentives are normally handled at the state level. You can sell SRECs to your utility company or other buyers, and the money you make is usually considered part of your taxable income.
  • Rebates: Your solar installer might help you claim a rebate, or partial refund of your purchase, for your solar system. States or counties will also offer limited-time rebates at various times. If you receive a rebate, that amount will usually come off your total price before tax credits are calculated.
  • Net Metering: Net metering is an incentive you can get after your solar system is up and running. If you have a net metering agreement in place with your Altoona utility company, they will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your utility bill each month. In some locations, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other areas you may make back a percentage of the value.

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal incentives are the kind of incentives that you are most likely to have heard of. A federal incentive that most people are likely familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC is a tax credit for a specific percentage of your solar system's cost.

The ITC applies to solar panels installed after January 1, 2006 on a primary or secondary residence that you own in the United States. The credit initially covered 30% of the total cost — for panels, accessories, labor and equipment — although it may range from 26-30%, depending on when your solar project was undertaken. There is no cap on the amount you can claim.

Speaking with your local Altoona solar panel installer is the best way to learn more about how the ITC may apply to you.

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, expanded and extended the ITC (as well as renaming it to the Clean Energy Credit). The Clean Energy Credit lasts until 2035. Your solar installation project undertaken between 2022 and 2032 may qualify for a 30% tax credit. This amount will then decrease slightly on a yearly basis until the current program ends. Starting in 2023, the program expansion will also make claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before.

More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. Your local Altoona solar panel company can answer any questions you have and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit may apply to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are not your only option; rebates, tax credits and more may be offered at the state and local level. These incentives may be distributed by the Pennsylvania government, or by your county or municipality. Certain incentives are available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Altoona

The variety of available solar incentives has contributed greatly to the increase in the adoption of solar energy nationwide over the past 15 years. You can get solar incentives from the federal government, the Pennsylvania government or from your local utility company. Your local Altoona solar panel installation company can help you learn more about which incentives you should apply for, and get you started on the path to switching to renewable energy today.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Altoona, PA Solar Incentives FAQs

Can I get any financial incentives when I add solar panels to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property?

Many solar incentives apply to a property you own that is located within the United States; most secondary residences fall under this distinction. Other solar incentives may be available for commercial properties, depending on the specifics. We recommend speaking with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to better understand what incentives apply to your specific situation.

How do I learn if I qualify for specific solar incentives?

Broadly, solar incentives apply to:

  1. a new solar system
  2. installed on property you own
  3. within the U.S.
  4. between the dates specified by a particular incentive.

Specific incentives, including ones handled by the Pennsylvania government or by your county/municipality, could have additional qualifications. Talk to your local Altoona solar installer to discover what incentives your project may qualify for.

How much can I save on my electric bill annually if I install solar panels on my Altoona home?

On average, Altoona homeowners who install solar panels save about $894.21 per year, or about $16,990.08 over 20 years after they make the switch.

Who installs solar panel systems near me?

To learn about the best solar panel installation companies near you, read our article on Altoona's best solar panel companies.

Can I claim incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?

The order in which incentives are applied may vary depending on which incentives you are eligible for but generally yes, you can claim multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Check with your solar installer or a local tax professional to be sure you are claiming all of the incentives you qualify for and applying them in the correct order.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Solar incentive research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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