2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Pittsburgh, PA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Pittsburgh.
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 March 14, 2023
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What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Pittsburgh?
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
Duquesne Light Company - Residential Energy Efficiency Program
Central A/C / Heat Pumps: $100/ton
ENERGY STAR Certified Heat Pump Water Heater: $350
Solar Water Heater: $300
Ceiling/Floor/Wall Insulation: $0.23/square foot
ENERGY STAR Certified Dehumidifier: $20
ENERGY STAR Certified Refrigerator: $25
ENERGY STAR Certified Freezer: $10
ENERGY STAR Certified Room Air Conditioner: $25
ENERGY STAR Variable Speed Pool Pump: $200
Occupancy Sensor Based Control: $10
Smart Strip Surge Protector: $5
Furnace with High Efficiency Fan Motor: $100
Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump: $100
Refrigerator/Freezer Recycling: $35
Duquesne Light Company - Residential Solar Water Heating 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 range of financial incentives implemented to make installing and using solar panels more affordable. This is done to encourage people to switch to renewable energy. You might qualify for different types of incentives, such as discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits, depending on your situation. Certain incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the state of Pennsylvania and others from the federal government. Some solar incentives you might qualify for are:
- Net Metering: Make sure you talk with your Pittsburgh utility company about signing a net metering agreement. This allows you to receive credit towards your monthly utility bill for the value of excess energy your solar panels generate. You may receive either a dollar-for-dollar credit or a percentage of the value.
- Rebates: Solar rebates may be offered by your county or state, or by your local utility company. These rebates are essentially cash back that is applied after you pay for solar panels and before tax credits are calculated.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits lower, dollar-for-dollar, how much income tax you owe the government. These differ from tax deductions.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for cash that is generally considered part of your taxable income. Typically, you must meet a certain (small) threshold of energy production before your solar system can earn SRECs or other performance-based incentives. Incentives like these are typically handled at the state level.
- Tax Exemptions: Your solar panels could qualify for exemptions on both sales and property tax. Sales tax exemptions are applied at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions let you exclude the added value of the solar panels when calculating property taxes on your home.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal incentives are the type of incentives that you are most likely to have some knowledge of. An incentive that most people are likely to be familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This incentive is a tax credit for a certain percentage of the cost of your solar system.
The ITC covers solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 and lets you deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, accessories, labor and equipment. You can receive this credit for solar panels installed on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. The original claim amount was 30% of the total cost, although the amount you can claim may range between 26-30%. There is no maximum claim amount.
To better understand exactly how much money the ITC could save you, get in touch with your local Pittsburgh solar panel installer.
The ITC was renewed and increased in scope after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. It's also now called the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit bolsters the current credit, increasing it up to 30% for solar installations undertaken between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2032. At this point, the percentage will be reduced slightly each year until the program expires in 2035. Starting in 2023, it will also be easier to qualify for credits for energy storage systems with the new act.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Pittsburgh solar panel company is the best resource for answering your questions about the new Clean Energy Credit and how it will apply to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
There are often state solar incentives available in addition to federal ones. Tax credits, rebates and more may be available at a more local level. These incentives might be distributed by your county or municipality, or by the Pennsylvania government. Some are available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Pittsburgh
The variety of available solar incentives has contributed greatly to the increase in the nationwide adoption of solar energy over the past 15 years. You may receive solar incentives from the Pennsylvania government, the federal government or your local utility company. Contact your local solar panel installation company today to learn more and to save as much money as possible on a solar system for your Pittsburgh home.
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EcoWatch's Pittsburgh, PA Solar Incentives FAQs
How do I know if I qualify for certain solar incentives?
Broadly, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar system
- installed on a 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, may have additional qualifications. Get in touch with your local Pittsburgh solar installer to learn more about what incentives your project will qualify for.
If I already have solar panels, can I still claim incentives?
An excellent idea would be to talk to someone from the company that installed your system — or call a local Pittsburgh solar installer — to learn about which incentives you might qualify for. If your system was installed after January 1, 2022, you likely qualify for the newly increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. Solar systems installed between 2006 and 2021 may qualify for a tax credit of 26-30%.
What are the environmental benefits of switching to solar?
You can lower your carbon footprint by 400 pounds of CO2 a year when you install solar panels. This adds up to around 8,000 pounds over 20 years. Solar is also a renewable energy source, meaning that switching your home over reduces the drain on our planet's resources.
How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?
The federal solar tax credit, previously called the ITC and now titled the Clean Energy Credit, is set to end on January 1, 2035. The current 30% credit will end in 2032, replaced by a 26% credit in 2033 and a 22% credit in 2034.
Can I claim incentives both towards the initial cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can receive both tax credits and rebates towards the cost of solar panels. Depending on precisely which incentives you are receiving, 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 the correct incentives and getting the most money possible.
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.