I’ve just started a study of the numerous incentives, grants, tax credits, and rebates that are available at the federal, state, and local level for alternative and energy efficient products. I expect with the new administration in Washington this should get even more exciting over the next few years.
To get started, you might try this website which has links to both federal and state programs. Start by choosing your state: http://www.dsireusa.org/
You do have to read some of the details to understand the type of incentive, the qualifications and the limitations. Part of my service to the Enfield, NH community when I open the Energy Emporium store will be to point people to the incentives that apply to them and help them get through the process.
As an example of what is available from the federal government as well as for residents of NH, I have listed some of the incentives below.
Residential renewable tax credit – up to 30% of the project with caps for each kind of renewable. The residence must be the primary residence of the taxpayer. This tax credit was recently extended beyond solar systems to include geo-thermal and wind. Definitely look it up!
There is a similar business energy tax credit that provides 30% for solar, fuel cells, and wind renewables, and a smaller credit (up to 10%) for microturbines and geo-thermal.
Residential energy efficient tax credit – up to $500 for certain energy efficient improvements made in 2009 to a primary residence.
Personal exemption incentive –Energy conservation subsidies are non-taxable.
Also, don’t miss the Energy Star website to get more information on the US Department of Energy’s rating systems, products, energy audits and related information.
Renewable energy rebate (solar water, voltaics, wind) – $3 per Watt up to $6000 or 50% of cost of system, available in July 2009. This is the one everyone is talking about… be sure to look it up!
Property tax exemption for the cost of a renewable energy systems (has to be voted in town by town). Property tax should not increase due to upgrades in heating systems.
Low Income Energy Assistance – Grant program up to $3600 for increasing the efficiency of home or appliances. Need to meet income guidelines.
Utility Rebate programs – these come from the specific utility company that you are using and sometimes include a free energy audit of your home. Some examples are rebates for upgrading lights, improving insulation, upgrading appliances. Use the DSIRE link to find your utility company’s links.
For the Leviston House project (retail space on the first floor, two apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors), we will look into some of the small business incentives such as the Solar Thermal Rebate program for multi-family houses and the Small Business Energy Efficiency programs which offer both grants and 0% interest loans.