In recent years, solar energy has become a much more viable solution for our energy needs as the cost of non-renewable fuel has continued to rise. Solar energy grants exist to subsidize this move towards a more sustainable energy future for us all. Grants are offered by several departments of the federal government and are available to homeowners, businesses and local municipalities. If you’re thinking of making the move to solar, check out these sources for grant funding and find out how you can save money through tax incentives and grants to upgrade to solar solutions.
Residential Energy Property Tax Credits
The Internal Revenue Service provides two types of tax credits for individual homeowners making energy improvements to their homes. The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit will cover 30% of the cost of efficiency upgrades such as solar energy systems and wind turbines. The Non-business Energy Property Credit will cover 10% of the cost of upgrades up to $500. This second tax credit will also cover insulation, windows, roofing and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. To claim either credit, please fill out Form 5695 and include this with your yearly tax return.
Business Energy Property Tax Credit
Businesses can also get in on the act. The U.S. Department of the Treasury offers tax credits for the purchase of energy property by for-profit businesses. Purchases of solar energy systems are covered by the credit as long as they are used in the production of income. Homeowners, non-profit organizations and local municipalities are not eligible for this credit.
Green Retrofit Program
Another green energy program is offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for property owners of multifamily housing. This program offers both grants and loans to install energy-efficient technologies such as solar in multiple unit homes and apartment complexes. The size of each grant or loan that is available is determined by an audit of each property. Funding issued under the program must be spent within two years after it is awarded.
Rural Energy for America Program
Another source of federal funding for going solar is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s REAP or Rural Energy for America Program. Available for agricultural producers and small businesses located in rural areas, REAP offers both grants and loans to afford energy improvements such as the installation of solar panels and other energy-efficient upgrades. To apply for this program, you should contact the USDA Rural Development Area Office that serves your state. Click on your state on this interactive map to quickly find contact information for your local office.
Tribal Energy Program
Tribal governments looking to move to renewable energy sources such as solar or wind have their own program offered by the U.S. Department of Energy. The program provides both funding and technical expertise to work with tribal governments to make energy improvements. If you represent a tribal government and are looking to get started, fill out this information request form to start the process and to sign up for updates about current funding opportunities.