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Stuart Dubbs
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Stuart Dubbs
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Incentives Help Homeowners Go Solar

October 4, 2016 2:21 am


Solar energy is economical, effective and efficient—and solar incentives today, according to a recently released report, make it even easier to adopt.

The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA)’s “Incentivizing Solar Energy: An In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Solar Incentives” is a comprehensive quantification of solar incentives that analyzes the cost for a typical solar facility in 15 states. The publication also details the federal, state, and local incentives available for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

In many states, the incentives collectively exceed the total cost of installing a solar PV facility, particularly for third party-owned (TPO) facilities, according to the report. When a homeowner leases a solar PV facility (or purchases its energy output through a long-term contract), the TPO receives the federal ITC and 5-year accelerated depreciation, based on the fair market value of the facility, rather than its installed cost.

Balancing cost versus return continues to be a challenge, the report cautions—the non-incentivized cost of producing a kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy with residential solar PV is much higher than the non-incentivized cost of producing a kWh of energy with a large-scale solar PV; consequently, incentivizing residential solar PV may not be as economical as it should be.

For example, net metering programs, which pay homeowners with solar PV systems high rates for their excess electricity production, shift fixed utility infrastructure costs onto non-solar homeowners, who are typically less affluent than those with a solar PV system.

Still, on a dollar-per-kWh basis, even the least-incentivizing package exceeds the incentives provided for large-scale solar PV projects, the report shows.

More information on the incentives can be found at SolarEnergyFuture.org.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.