2022 Wisconsin Solar Tax Credits, Rebates & Other Incentives

Here’s a quick look at the solar incentives in Wisconsin:

  • Federal Solar Tax Credit
  • Net Metering
  • Sales and Property Tax Exemptions
  • Additional City and Federal Rebates and Loan Options
Ecowatch Author Karsten Neumeister

By Karsten Neumeister, Solar Expert

Updated 9/18/2022

Why You Can Trust EcoWatch

Our solar experts have sifted through hundreds of local governments’ and utility companies’ websites to find accurate information about current solar incentives in each state. We’ve also unbiasedly ranked and reviewed hundreds of solar installers to empower you to make the right choice for your home.

How Much Can You Save With Solar Incentives in Wisconsin?

In this article, we’ll discuss the solar incentives and rebates available to Wisconsin homeowners. When you’re ready to speak with a qualified professional, follow the links below. Each of these companies can help you identify and apply for incentives available in Wisconsin.

Jump to Section:

  1. Solar Rebates, Tax Credits and Incentive Programs in Wisconsin
  2. Net Metering in Wisconsin
  3. Federal Solar Tax Credit
  4. FAQ: Wisconsin Solar Incentives
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Solar conversions in Wisconsin are more affordable than in most other states, given the below-average per-watt cost of $2.60 and the much smaller solar energy system size required to offset electric bills. Still, WI homeowners pay an average of $18,200 to go solar, so many residents understandably look for ways to reduce upfront costs and to get a better return on investment over time.

Luckily, there are some solar incentives available from the state and federal government that help make solar conversions more accessible in Wisconsin. We’ll discuss each of these incentives below and provide some insight into how each makes going solar a better and more affordable option.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

Current Solar Rebates, Tax Credits and Incentive Programs in Wisconsin

The table below provides an at-a-glance look at the solar incentives available to all Wisconsin homeowners. We’ll provide additional information about each below, along with some local incentives from specific municipalities and individual utility companies.

Wisconsin Solar Incentive Description
Federal Solar Tax Credit The federal solar tax credit is available to all WI homeowners as a credit to the federal income taxes owed the year the PV system is installed. The credit is for 30% of the total solar panel system cost1, which, in Wisconsin, comes out to an average of $5,460.
Net Metering Net metering is a billing policy that lets you reduce your energy bills by sending excess energy produced by your system to your electric provider2. We’ll include a full breakdown of Wisconsin’s net metering program below.
Sales Tax Exemption In an effort to reduce upfront costs of going solar, the state waives sales tax on all solar equipment. With an average sales tax rate of 5%3, the average savings is around $910.
Property Tax Exemption Most home improvements increase your property taxes because they bump up the assessed value on which your property taxes are based. Wisconsin’s property tax exemption prevents your non-educational property taxes from increasing from your conversion, even though solar panels bump up home value.
Focus on Energy Program The Focus on Energy Program in Wisconsin provides residential solar customers with up to a $500 rebate for their solar panel installation cost. This program applies to customers of most — but not all — local utility companies.

Wisconsin Solar Rebates

Some states offer a state tax incentive in addition to the federal solar tax credit, but Wisconsin does not currently provide one. Instead, the state promotes solar to reach its Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) goals via net metering, highly accessible solar loan programs and a number of rebates that can help reduce your upfront costs of converting to this renewable energy source. Below are three of the most valuable rebates you can take advantage of in Wisconsin.

man installing solar panels on roof

FOCUS ON ENERGY®: Focus on Energy is a state-wide energy program that partners with local Wisconsin utility companies. Homeowners throughout Wisconsin can get rebates of up to $500 for qualified solar installations. Rural residential customers can receive an additional $500 per solar project from the program.

Greenpenny: Greenpenny is a virtual bank dedicated to renewable energy financing. It offers solar loans to homeowners installing renewable energy systems in Wisconsin, as well as Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. The loans are highly accessible and often come with low interest rates to keep long-term costs as low as possible.

Clean Energy Credit Union: Similar to Greenpenny, Clean Energy Credit Union offers solar financing and loans up to $90,000 to Wisconsin residents who are installing solar panels, along with other clean energy equipment. Many of the options come with below-average interest rates and are widely accessible.

Other Wisconsin Solar Incentives

Unfortunately, there are no additional solar incentives in Wisconsin aside from everything mentioned above and detailed in the following sections.

Wisconsin Solar Sales and Property Tax Exemptions

Wisconsin is considered relatively solar-friendly, and to that end, it provides two appealing tax exemptions to keep the upfront and ongoing costs of converting to solar as affordable as possible.

Wisconsin property tax exemption: Your non-educational property taxes are based on your home’s assessed value, so home improvements that increase the value of your property will also bump up your property taxes. Although installing solar panels will boost your home value, Wisconsin provides a property tax exemption to prevent your taxes from going up as a result. Over the lifespan of your solar equipment, this exemption could be worth thousands of dollars.

Sales tax exemption: Wisconsin also takes measures to keep the upfront costs of going solar as low as possible, including a sales tax exemption on solar equipment. You won’t have to pay any sales tax for your photovoltaic system. With an average system cost in Wisconsin of $18,200 and a state tax rate of 5%, most homeowners will save an average of $910. This exemption is not a rebate, so your estimate for going solar will include these savings already. Larger systems increase this amount and also lead to greater energy savings overall.

Net Metering in Wisconsin

Net metering is a policy that incentivizes solar by allowing you to reduce your electricity bills and, in some cases, eliminate them altogether. Most systems include inverters, which, through interconnection, can send and receive energy to and from the grid. When your panels don’t produce enough energy to meet your needs, the grid sends the additional energy needed. When you produce more than you use, the excess energy is sent to the grid. Net metering is a billing policy that lets you deduct a certain charge per kilowatt-hour of overproduction from what you’d normally pay for power from the grid, leaving you with just net energy costs to pay.

Net metering is mandatory throughout the state according to Wisconsin State law, so every utility company must provide its customers with the option. However, the rate at which your electric provider buys back excess energy your system produces will vary depending on your utility company; some companies buy back at lower electricity rates than you pay for electricity. Make sure to check with your provider before committing. There is a cap on system size at 20 kW, but most Wisconsin homeowners only need a 7-kW system anyway.

Local Incentives

There are some local incentives available in Wisconsin as well, so you might get some additional benefits from your municipality or your power company, depending on where you live.

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For example, the City of Milwaukee provides low-APR solar loans to homeowners within the city up to $20,000. This is offered through the Milwaukee Shines solar program. There could be additional incentives available from your city, so check the DSIRE database and with your local utility company to see if there are any you can take advantage of.

See also: Calculate the costs and savings you can get from installing solar panels

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Finally, the federal government provides all Wisconsin homeowners the opportunity to take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). This is one of the most substantial incentives, and the credit totals 30% of your entire system cost. With the average system price of $18,200 in Wisconsin, that’s a typical credit of $5,460. This credit is applied to any federal income taxes you owe for the year in which your solar equipment is installed.

The 30% tax credit is available to U.S. homeowners through 2032. The credit will decrease to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before it expires in 2035. 

Read More About Going Solar

FAQ: Wisconsin Solar Incentives

The EcoWatch team regularly gets questions from Wisconsin homeowners about the solar incentives available throughout the state. Below are the questions we see most often, which you might have as well. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at solar@ecowatch.com.

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Karsten Neumeister

Solar Expert

Karsten is a researcher, editor, writer and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.