Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting the 30% Federal Tax Credit on a DIY Solar Water Heating System



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I've received several emails from people who would like to
build the $1K Solar Water Heating System, but who also don't want to miss the
30% federal tax rebate that is part of the new Energy Bill -- I think you can
do this.


The new federal rebate for solar water heating systems offers a 30% tax credit on the full price of the system.


One of the requirements is that the collectors used in the
system must be certified by the SRCC under their OG-100 program.  Since its only the collectors that must be
certified, you can
build and install your own system and get the tax rebate as long as you use a
commercial collector that is SRCC certified, as most commercial collectors are.


As an example, if you were planning to build
the $1K system with a homemade 40sqft collector, you could substitute (say) a
Heliodyne Gobi 40 sqft collector .  This
will make the entire system qualify for the rebate.  The numbers might work out like this:


The $1K system costs                      $1000
Delete homemade collector         -$200
Add commercial collector            +$1000
--------------------------------------------------
Total cost of system                       $1800


Minus 30% rebate                            $540
----------------------------------------------------
Cost after rebate                              $1260


So, this approach increases the cost of the system a bit, but you get a nice shiny commercial collector, and avoid the work of
making a collector.  You also end up with
a solar water heating system that is about 1/5th the cost of a professionally
installed commercial system, and that will pay back your investment in a fairly
short period.


So, this is a good deal for you, and an even better deal for
the feds in that they are paying a rebate of only $540 instead of a typical rebate
of $2400 on an $8000 system -- as Barack would say, win-win!


Another approach would be to buy off the shelf components
for the full system and install them yourself. 
You save the cost of the installation, and you get the rebate.  Lots of material on how to install a system here...

Most states also have a rebate or tax credit program that might further reduce the cost of the system.  For example, my state (MT) offers a $500 tax credit on solar water heating systems with no stings attached.  Information on state programs here...



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Disclaimer: I'm not a tax expert, so you might want to do
some checking of your own on this.


Gary

    

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