If you’ve been thinking about installing solar panels, with or without home battery backup storage, now really is the time!

A series of stacking tax credits could cover up to 50% of a home system’s installation costs, and a system on a low-income-serving residential building could have up to 60% covered. Whether you’re looking to reduce your electric bills, achieve personal energy independence, or contribute to carbon-emissions reduction, it just became a lot more affordable to do so.

How is this possible? The 2022 IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) established three non-refundable credits (you won’t get a check in the mail) to help citizens cover the upfront costs of installing renewable energy on their properties. It is important to mention that if you don’t owe enough on your tax bill to use the whole credit in one year, the balance does carry over to the next year until the credit is all used.

The base credit, the Residential Clean Energy Credit, is available to everyone regardless of location, covering 30% of system and installation costs. On top of that, in recognition of our history of fossil energy production, the Appalachian region qualifies for an additional 10% Energy Community credit. To these two credits, we can add the recently announced Low-Income Community Bonus Credit program (48e), which adds another 10-20% credit, with eligibility based on location (see the map linked below), system size, and whether the installation serves low and middle-income households. More information for the latter is available on the Low-Income Community Bonus Credit webpage.

Lastly, the incentives don’t stop at renewable energy. Efficient updates to a home or facility may qualify for rebates or credits, too! For more details, please review DOE’s Energy Tax Credits webpage. Some of the credits will soon be available as point-of-sale rebates for those meeting certain income thresholds. We will be sure to update you once the details are published!

Have some questions? Rural Action’s Sustainable Energy program is currently recruiting participants from small communities (<10K) in Meigs and Athens counties to take the Sustainable Energy Pledge at no cost. Learn more about conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and community-scale projects. Receive one-on-one support for your personal energy goals, and become eligible for mini-grants to achieve them! For more information, contact our Sustainable Energy program Director, Jess Fritz at jessf@ruralaction.org