The solar industry saw many changes nationwide in 2017. Changes came in electric rates as well as incentives relating to purchasing solar panels for installation on residences or places of business.
For an update on incentives currently available in the solar industry, Kelly Curtis from Solaroo Energy, a South Jordan-based solar contractor, offered an overview.
Federal tax credit – 30 percent
The mainstay of solar incentives is the Federal Tax Credit for 30 percent of the total cost of the solar system. This incentive has remained unchanged and will continue in 2018.
"Solar has support on both sides of the political parties... . I think solar has become a mainstream asset to our national energy infrastructure, and all signs point to growth.”
“There was some discussion about whether the 30 percent federal tax credit would be changed in President Trump’s tax bill,” Curtis explains. “But ultimately, solar has support on both sides of the political parties, and it was decided to keep it rolling. I think solar has become a mainstream asset to our national energy infrastructure, and all signs point to growth.”
Utah state tax credit
There have been changes to the Utah state tax credit regarding renewable energy projects, including solar power. Last year a decrease and phase-out schedule was passed, and the first step down occurs in 2018, stepping down from a $2,000 max tax credit to a $1,600 credit. It is scheduled to decrease every year by $400 until it phases out.
That could be changing, however. Rocky Mountain Power, as a part of its published settlement a few months back, will use its political influence to try to keep the $1,600 tax credit from stepping down as dramatically.
“We expect the Utah State tax credit for solar to be changed so that we will have more years at the $1,600 amount, which will extend the step-down period,” Curtis notes. “I can’t imagine if RMP is on board, and solar is on board, that it won’t get done.”
Most utility driven incentives have expired. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t additional incentives to make the jump to solar. Battery backup systems are now becoming popular and qualify for the federal tax credit and additional incentives can be found from certain providers. Solaroo Energy offers a rebate of $500 to add any battery back-up to a solar system.
“Winter is a great time to purchase solar,” Curtis mentions. “I know for Solaroo, it is the time we offer the steepest discounts and rebates. January and February also have extended financing periods when you don’t have to make a payment. So there are several reasons to start the solar process in the winter.”
Curtis also says solar doesn’t need as many outside incentives to compete with utility power. Colorado, for example, has no state tax credit — only the federal tax credit — and is a top 10 solar market in the country.
“If solar power is cheaper than the utility, which it is, the added benefits of more energy independence, cleaner energy, and backup power will make it enticing for the masses,” Curtis explains.
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