2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Plains, PA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Plains.
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 Plains?
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
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Solar incentives are designed to mitigate the cost of installing solar panels on your home. Financial incentives like these are designed to encourage more homeowners to switch to renewable energy. You might qualify for various kinds of incentives, including discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill, depending on your situation. Certain incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the Pennsylvania government and others from the federal government. Some solar incentives you might qualify for are:
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions that lower the amount of income tax you owe the federal government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar other performance-based incentives may be available to you if the solar system on your home produces more than a specified (generally small) amount of electricity. These types of incentives are usually handled by the state government. You can sell your SRECs to your utility company or other buyers, and the money you receive in return is generally considered part of your taxable income.
- Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions may come in one of two forms. The first is sales tax exemption, which is applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption. This allows you to ignore the added value of your solar system when paying property tax on your house.
- Net Metering: You can sign a net metering contract with your Plains utility company that will apply to all or a percentage of the excess electricity your solar panels generate. Your utility company will then subtract this value from your utility bill each month.
- Rebates: Solar rebates can be offered by your local utility company, or by your state or county. These rebates work as cash back that is applied after you pay for solar panels and before tax credits are calculated.
Federal Solar Incentives
When someone says "solar incentives," you likely think of federal incentives first. A federal incentive many people are likely to be familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This incentive is a tax credit for a specified percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC can be applied to the total cost of installing a solar system, including the panels themselves as well as equipment, accessories and labor. You can claim this credit for panels installed after January 1, 2006 on a primary or secondary residence that you own and that is located in the United States. Originally set at 30% of total costs, the credit has fluctuated over time, and you may qualify for different amounts depending on when your project was completed. There is no maximum claim amount.
Have questions about how the ITC applies to your specific situation? Reach out to your local Plains solar panel installation expert to get more information.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act made revisions to the ITC, now referred to as the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit has increased the current credit up to 30% for solar systems installed between 2022 and 2032. After 2032, the percentage will be reduced slightly each year until the program expires in 2035. The expansion to the program also makes credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim, starting in 2023.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. To understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you, reach out to your local Plains solar installers.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives are often also provided by state and local governments. Like with federal incentives, these might include rebates, tax credits and more. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are only available for a limited time. They might be given by your county or municipality, or by the Pennsylvania government.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Plains
Nationwide solar energy use has gone up significantly in the last 15 years, in part thanks to the increase in availability of solar incentives. You may get these incentives from the Pennsylvania government, the federal government or your local utility company. It is a good idea to talk to your local Plains solar installation company for more information about these incentives and to ensure that you're getting the largest number possible for your solar system.
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EcoWatch's Plains, PA Solar Incentives FAQs
If I already have a solar system installed on my house, can I still claim incentives?
You should plan to talk to someone from the company that installed your system — or get in touch with a local Plains solar installer — to better understand 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 highest-rated solar panel installation companies near me?
To learn about the top solar panel installation companies near you, take a look at our article on Plains' top solar panel companies.
How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?
The federal solar tax credit, formerly known as the ITC and now named 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.
I want to change out my appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any incentives I can get?
Under the new Inflation Reduction Act, there are several new financial incentives for making eco-friendly improvements to your home. More details on these incentives, including information about incentives for purchasing new appliances, can be found here.
Can I apply for incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
The order that incentives will be applied in may vary depending on which incentives you are claiming but in most cases yes, you can claim multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Check with your solar installer or a local tax professional to confirm you are claiming all the incentives you are eligible 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.