2023 Solar Incentives Guide for College, PA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in College.
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.
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By EcoWatch Local Advisors
Data Analysis: James Savino
Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister
Updated May 04, 2023
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What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in College?
High Performance Buildings Incentive Program
Commercial loans/loan guarantees: $2 million
Grants: Lesser of 10% of project costs or $500,000
Wind and Geothermal Incentives Program
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
High Performance Building Incentives Program
First Energy (MetEdison, Penelec, Penn Power, West Penn Power) - Residential Solar Water Heating Program
FirstEnergy (MetEdison, Penelec, Penn Power, West Penn Power) - Residential Energy Efficiency Programs
Clothes Washer: $25- $50
Clothes Dryer: $50
Fridge/Freezer Recycling: $50
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
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
The phrase "solar incentives" refers to a wide range of financial incentives put in place to make installing and using solar panels more affordable. This is done to encourage people to switch to renewable energy. You may qualify for different kinds of incentives, including cash back, discounts or credit towards your monthly utility bill, depending on your situation. Some incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the Pennsylvania government and others from the federal government. Types of solar incentives might include:
- Rebates: Some solar companies will 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. The value of a rebate will usually come off your total price before tax credits are calculated.
- Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions may come in two forms. First, there is sales tax exemption, applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption. This allows you to exclude the value added by your solar system when calculating property tax for your home.
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar panels are up and running. If you have a net metering agreement in place with your College utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your utility bill each month. In some places, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other places you might make back a percentage of the value.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): In most cases, solar systems that produce over a specific (usually small) amount of electricity qualify for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are typically offered at the state level. SRECs can be sold to your utility company or another buyer, and generally the money you make is normally considered part of your taxable income.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits decrease, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of income tax you owe the government. Tax credits differ from tax deductions.
Federal Solar Incentives
When someone says "solar incentives," you likely think of federal incentives first. The solar incentive that you may be most familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which gives you a credit on your taxes equal to a predetermined percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC applies to the value of a solar system installed on your primary or secondary residence in the United States. The solar panels have to have been installed on a property you own after January 1, 2006 for you to claim the credit. The ITC initially covered 30% of all costs (panels, labor, accessories and equipment), although the amount has fluctuated slightly over time between 26-30%. The amount you qualify for will depend on when your solar system was installed. There is no cap on the amount you can claim.
To better understand exactly how much money the ITC could save you, talk to your local College solar panel installation expert.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act made revisions to the ITC, now titled the Clean Energy Credit. For solar system installations that begin after January 1, 2022 and are completed by the end of 2032, homeowners may be eligible for a credit equal to 30% of the total cost. After 2033, the percentage will decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit ends in 2035. The expansion also makes credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim, starting in 2023.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. The easiest way to fully understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you is to reach out to your local College solar panel company with your questions.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Tax credits, rebates and more might be provided at multiple levels. In addition to federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones as well. These incentives might be offered by the Pennsylvania government, or by your county or municipality. Some incentives may be ongoing, while others are available for a limited time.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in College
You can receive solar incentives from the Pennsylvania government and the federal government, as well as from your local utility company. Growing availability of solar initiatives over the last 15 years has helped increase nationwide solar energy use enormously. Reach out to your local solar panel installer today to discover more about the various programs and to save the most money possible on solar panels for your College home.
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EcoWatch's College, PA Solar Incentives FAQs
How can I find out if I qualify for certain solar incentives?
Broadly, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar panel system
- installed on property that you own
- within the U.S.
- within the date range specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including those run by the Pennsylvania government or by your county/municipality, might have additional qualifications. Speak with your local College solar installer to discover what incentives your project will qualify for.
Who installs solar panel systems near me?
To find the top solar panel installers near you, take a look at our article on College's top solar panel companies.
How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?
The Clean Energy Credit (previously called the federal solar tax credit, or ITC), is slated to end on January 1, 2035. Currently set at 30%, the credit will drop to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.
Can I claim incentives both towards the initial cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can claim both tax credits and rebates towards the cost of your solar panels. Depending on precisely which incentives you are applying for, they may apply in a different order. Be sure to speak with your solar installer or a local tax professional to confirm that you are claiming incentives correctly and getting the most money possible.
Can I use solar and another type of renewable energy in combination to power my home?
You can use multiple types of renewable energy, or a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy, to power your home. Be sure to discuss your plan with your local College solar installation expert. They can help you with the plan for your project and also help you understand the various incentives that you may or may not qualify for.
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.