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Solar Savings Showdown: Comparing State-Level Incentives

By Josh Lederer, Chief Revenue Officer, Senior Managing Director - Tax Credit Group, Fallbrook Financial Services Company

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The sun’s relentless energy isn’t just reserved for powering beach vacations; it’s a potent potential fuel source for businesses across the United States. But navigating the labyrinthine world of state-level solar incentives can be daunting. Fear not as this “Commercial Solar Savings Showdown” demystifies the incentive landscape, helping you determine how much your business can shine by embracing solar in your specific state.

Unveiling the Incentive Arsenal:

While navigating the nuances of each state’s policies is crucial, understanding the main types of incentives can serve as a helpful roadmap:

  • Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC): A 30% tax credit for the cost of installed solar equipment (valid through 2032, gradually decreasing afterwards). Remember, this applies to both developers and buyers of commercial solar systems.
  • State Tax Credits: Some states offer additional tax credits on top of the federal ITC, further lowering the upfront costs for developers and potentially offering cost-sharing benefits for buyers.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): Some states have REC markets, where developers selling surplus energy generated by their solar systems earn RECs, which can be traded to businesses or utilities to meet renewable energy requirements. This translates to additional revenue for developers and potentially lower costs for buyers.
  • Net Metering: Where available, net metering allows businesses to sell excess solar energy generated back to the grid, potentially offsetting their electricity bills. Policies regarding net metering compensation vary by state.
  • Other Incentives: Some states offer additional solar-friendly policies like grant programs, low-interest loans, or property tax exemptions, particularly for specific sectors like agriculture or manufacturing.

Comparing the Contenders:

Let’s take a closer look at how these incentives translate to potential savings in different states:

StateFederal ITC (30%)State Tax CreditREC MarketNet MeteringOther Incentives
California26%YesYesProperty tax exemption for systems under 1 MW
New York25%YesYesLow-income solar loan program
Texas0%Yes (limited)YesProperty tax exemptions for some systems
MassachusettsUp to 14%YesYesPerformance-based incentives for solar development

Estimating potential savings depends on several factors, including:

  • System size: Larger systems generate more energy but require higher upfront costs.
  • Energy consumption: Businesses with higher energy needs stand to benefit more from solar power.
  • Specific state policies: Different credit rates, REC markets, and net metering policies impact savings potential.

However, here’s a rough example:

  • In California, a 1MW commercial solar system costing $500,000 could qualify for a combined federal and state tax credit of around $175,000 and generate REC revenue, potentially leading to a payback period of under five years.

Remember, embracing commercial solar extends beyond cost reduction. It translates to:

  • Enhanced Brand Image: Demonstrating an environmental commitment attracts eco-conscious consumers and investors.
  • Energy Independence: Reduce reliance on fluctuating utility rates and gain greater control over energy costs.
  • Long-Term Savings: Solar energy systems have high upfront costs but offer significant savings over their lifespan (typically 25-30 years).

Armed with this knowledge, businesses can:

  • Research state-specific solar incentive programs and policies.
  • Consult with professional solar developers and installers for accurate savings estimates.
  • Participate in industry events and conferences to stay updated on policy changes and best practices.
  • Contact Fallbrook Financial Services Company to get more information on the green energy incentive program that works best for you and your company.

By harnessing the power of the sun and navigating the state-level incentive landscape, businesses can illuminate the path to energy independence, cost savings, and a brighter future for both their bottom line and the planet. So, embrace the commercial solar revolution, and choose your state’s sunshine savings.

For more information on what green tax credits are best for you, reach out to me, Josh Lederer, directly at JLederer@fallbrookfinance.com.

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