30% tax rebate qualifying question

SkykoSkyko Solar Expert Posts: 121 ✭✭✭✭✭
What exactly is the bare minimum you need to do to qualify for the federal 30% tax credit for a solar installation?

If I buy two 140 watt panels from NAWS and install them myself on the roof of my house, wired up to a set of yard lights or something, does tht qualify?

If sometime next year I remove these from service (and put them on my sailboat ;) ), do I have to give back the tax credit?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,751 admin
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    Here is the IRS's five page form (PDF Download) for 2009.
    Qualified solar electric property costs. Qualified solar electric
    property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate
    electricity for use in your home located in the United States. This
    includes costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a
    roof or a portion of a roof. The home does not have to be your main
    home.
    But--What the government gives, the government can take away:

    Treasury Inspector General: 50% of Homebuyers Must Repay Tax Credit.
    The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today released A Comprehensive Strategy Is Being Developed to Identify Individuals With First-Time Homebuyer Credit Repayment Requirements (2010-41-086):
    Approximately 1.8 million taxpayers claimed a total of almost $12.5 billion in First-Time Homebuyer Credits in Calendar Year 2009. More than 950,000 taxpayers will be required to repay the Credits because their homes were purchased in 2008. Many more may have to repay the Credits if the homes cease to be the primary residences of the taxpayers within 36 months.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SkykoSkyko Solar Expert Posts: 121 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    hmmm, well based on that it does look like any panel you throw up on your roof that provides energy for your home does qualify (even if said panel is only powering a 12V yard light or shop light).
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,751 admin
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    I would be a little worried about taking a credit for solar powered landscape lighting... It does say "...electricity for use in your home..."

    -Bill "not a tax professional" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SkykoSkyko Solar Expert Posts: 121 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    maybe a 12V light in the garage (which is built into the home).
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question
    BB. wrote: »
    I would be a little worried about taking a credit for solar powered landscape lighting... It does say "...electricity for use in your home..."

    -Bill "not a tax professional" B.

    that might be splitting hairs, but i believe it says at your primary residence and i doubt they'd care if it included landscape lights to be using some of the power. (unless it was not primarilly from a gt system for state requirements)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,751 admin
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    I was trying to address actual stand-a-lone solar powered lighting getting the 30% credit as being a stretch.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question
    BB. wrote: »
    I was trying to address actual stand-a-lone solar powered lighting getting the 30% credit as being a stretch.

    -Bill

    as dinky and cheap as they are, i believe they should still be covered, but with only $3 or $4 invested per solar light it won't do much for you.
  • zeuspaulzeuspaul Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    I don't think stand alone landscape lighting would qualify. I read the tax credit form and they are specific about the panels being installed on a roof.

    The smallest Kyocera panel I could find with a Manufacturers Certificate of compliance with the IRS code was the 135 watt panel. I am guessing that panels smaller than that are generally not considered roof mount and are generally not qualified solar property.

    The IRS does seem to indicate that the Manufacturer's Certification can be used to determine qualifying solar property although it doesn't indicate that it is the only way.

    The way I read it a small not on the roof panel would not qualify.

    That made my decision easy. The 135 watt panel was the smallest qualifying panel I could find with a certificate and the same panel was the largest one I could find that ships UPS.

    Zeuspaul
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question
    zeuspaul wrote: »
    I don't think stand alone landscape lighting would qualify. I read the tax credit form and they are specific about the panels being installed on a roof.

    The smallest Kyocera panel I could find with a Manufacturers Certificate of compliance with the IRS code was the 135 watt panel. I am guessing that panels smaller than that are generally not considered roof mount and are generally not qualified solar property.

    The IRS does seem to indicate that the Manufacturer's Certification can be used to determine qualifying solar property although it doesn't indicate that it is the only way.

    The way I read it a small not on the roof panel would not qualify.

    That made my decision easy. The 135 watt panel was the smallest qualifying panel I could find with a certificate and the same panel was the largest one I could find that ships UPS.

    Zeuspaul

    if the roof requirement is true then pole mounts are disqualified.:confused:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,751 admin
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    I think they are trying to include the mounting system in the Rebate base value... Including hardware required to mount to a roof or if the structure ends up becoming a roof (i.e., a solar powered carport structure could be 100% of the base value, instead of just the panels, mounting racks, wiring, inverter, etc...).

    So I see nothing in from the tax instructions that would prohibit the costs of a pole / rack / tracking mount...

    How far could you push it? New home construction where solar racks+roof structure+wall studs/structures that support the array all the way down to the foundation (say 1/2 the roof area) would be part of the 30% credit? Would the roof sheeting/tiles/shingles be excluded?

    Don't know...

    -Bill "The devil is in the details" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • zeuspaulzeuspaul Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    I agree the panels don't have to be mounted on the roof. I misinterpreted the instructions.

    Zeuspaul

    Qualified solar electric property costs. Qualified solar electric
    property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate
    electricity for use in your home located in the United States. This
    includes costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a
    roof or a portion of a roof. The home does not have to be your main
    home.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    Maybe It's time for me to go back and read the current code...

    I believe they have changed the "primary residence" requirement and extended the credit to second homes in the 2010 revision.

    I have not read that it required roof mounts only thet the costs of mounting could be included. I have stand alone panels and they qualified pre 2010, I added 2 last year and will add 4 more this year, so I'll go read up.

    The "intent" will likely be a court case at some point, if some one is putting up new panels each year and selling the replaced panels, the intent would appear to defraud the goverment. Not a situation you would want to argue in court.

    Indeed I have the other end of the arguement as I don't need the extra panels yet to charge my tiny battery bank, but the batteries are still good. So I'll add them to a second charge controller and flip it on on overcast days, So I will "use" them this year but have the intent of having a large battery bank to store the energy, perhaps next year.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • zeuspaulzeuspaul Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    Skyko

    Does your boat qualify as a second residence? If so you may be able to take the tax credit for PV on a second residence and skip mounting the panels on the first home.

    Also it seems like many interpret solar property as just about everything in the solar PV *system* which includes mounts, charge controllers, inverters and batteries.

    Zeuspaul
  • sub3marathonmansub3marathonman Solar Expert Posts: 300 ✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    I was wondering if you are limited to 1 tax break, or can you get another tax break if you add (for example) another PV panel in a different year?
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    You can add-on and take the 30% credit
  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question
    I was wondering if you are limited to 1 tax break, or can you get another tax break if you add (for example) another PV panel in a different year?

    There are choices you pick from for a 'one time" tax credit, but the wind/solar/hydro/etc. lets you add new equipment to what you started with. This link lays it out so you can see what expires as of December, 2010 and what keeps going.

    It also explains about energy saving roofing materials for residence's property.... It helped me better understand.

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

    Bill
    Bill
  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question
    There are choices you pick from for a 'one time" tax credit, but the wind/solar/hydro/etc. lets you add new equipment to what you started with. This link lays it out so you can see what expires as of December, 2010 and what keeps going.

    It also explains about energy saving roofing materials for residence's property.... It helped me better understand.

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

    Bill

    As a followup I was sent this answer when I questioned if the tax credits apply to buildings on my property that are not attached to my "Principle Residence".

    Question
    Do detached garages, barns, or other structures on your property, but not connected to your main house, count for the tax credit?


    Answer
    The law states that products are covered if "such component is installed in or on a dwelling unit located in the United States..."

    Detached structures may be considered part of the "dwelling unit" if you use them as part of your living space, for example, as a workshop, or an extra bedroom.


    From what I've found Energy Star rates only one solar product line: Solar hot water heaters. Here's the link that might save you some time:

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=WSE
    Bill
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    you can tell politicians made up these rules as now we'd need the definition in their eyes of what a structure is. are they only referring to building type structures like those you can walk into or can a pole or other such raised ground mount be counted as covered? imo it would be rather unfair to only be allowed to place them onto a building as i believe they should be more specific and flexible on the mounting requirement just as long as it is safe (no easy reach from the ground and not going to find dorothy {:roll: i know, bad humor:p} during the first storm that comes by).
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 30% tax rebate qualifying question

    Whereas we don't have any such tax credit here in B.C. (God forbid a tax payer should get any sort of break in this benighted Province) ...

    It should be an allowance for a solar electric power system to a residence, regardless of where or how the panels are actually mounted so long as it is used to off-set that residence's grid usage (which would include going or being totally off-grid, in my opinion). That would seem to be the intent of the tax credit; to defray capital costs incurred in reducing grid usage.

    As for Bill's questioning of how far you could go with claiming part of a structure as being integral to the array mount ...

    Any additional or supplemental structural requirements (id est extra roof bracing as per code to comply with weight/wind loading) might be considered part of the solar install. This should also extend to a poll mount and tracker if used.

    But that's just me being reasonable. :p

    No wonder lawyers make so much money. :roll:
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