Summer Means Solar

Posted by Daniel S. Sharabi on Jul 1, 2019 10:27:00 AM

How Tesla Could Change the Conversation on Solar Power

Tesla made headlines last month when it announced that it would slash prices on its solar panels and streamline its processes in a bid to bring in more customers.

Sanjay Shah, who heads up Tesla’s solar business, told the New York Times that the industry has made the process of buying and installing solar panels too complex, and that standardizing and simplifying were key to reducing costs. He also said the company would begin producing its long-anticipated “solar shingles” in the later part of this year. 

If Tesla actually follows through on these technologies—as we know, the company better known for its high-end electric cars is big on promises, but not timeliness—it could be a game changer for the industry. Solar often makes sense as a long-term investment, not to mention supporting a sustainable future. But not everyone is convinced, so any innovation or cost savings is vitally important in bringing more property owners into the (sun)light. 

—Daniel S. Sharabi


Federal Solar Incentive Phase Out Begins in 2020

In 2015, Congress approved the extension of the investment tax credit, giving an extra five years to previously approved federal solar tax incentives. However, those tax credits are about to start phasing out—barring some late-game legislative change.  

From 2016 to 2019, owners who installed individual OR commercial systems could deduct 30 percent of the cost from their federal taxes—with no cap. In 2020, that rebate drops to 26 percent and in 2021 it drops to 22 percent. In 2022, it drops to 10 percent and even that deduction will only be allowed for commercial systems. 

Property owners considering adding a solar system would be wise to do so before these incredible incentives are gone. The claim can come as soon as construction of the system is complete, not, as in previous legislation, when it is fully operational. However, the rebate only applies to those who own their systems outright and is not valid if the system is leased through a solar installer.  

In addition to the federal tax rebate, local utilities offer rebates up to $1.25 per watt created, depending on the municipality. Check with your local energy supplier to get up-to-date incentives in your area. 

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