Washington residential solar energy incentives

Northwest Solar Cooperative - Green Tag Purchase:

-Through December 31, 2009, the Northwest Solar Cooperative offers to purchase “Green Tags” (the rights to the environmental attributes) derived from grid-connected photovoltaic or wind energy for $0.02 per kilowatt-hour.
-At the start of December 2009 these contracts may be renewed for another three-year term.
-Residential and non-residential owners who install PV and wind-energy systems are eligible to participate in the Green Tag Purchase Program.
-Other states aside from Washington that are eligible to participate in this program include; Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
-An agreement with NWSC must be signed by participants. The agreement includes the following; Participants agree to sell their Green Tags, report system malfunctions or failures, and submit meter readings of AC production every year.
The NWSC will pay the participants by March 31 the following year of the Green Tag production.

Renewable energy sales and use tax exemption:

-Equipment used to generate electricity from renewable sources such as wind, sun, fuel cells, biomass, geothermal, anaerobic digestion or landfill gas are exempt from all sales and use tax in the state of Washington.
-Solar water heating systems will only be exempt up until June 30, 2009.
-Solar photovoltaics less than 10 kilowatts of capacity are tax exempt.

Utility-sponsored loan and solar rebate programs:

-Several utility loan and rebate programs are available throughout the state of Washington provided by municipal cities and utility companies.
-Information and details on all the different programs are available on the internet.
-Details and requirements for each program will vary.
-Loan and rebate programs are generally available for customers who install renewable energy technologies or make energy efficiency improvements.
-Loans are usually 0% interest or low interest loans to help with the purchase and installation of solar and other energy efficiency technologies.
-Rebate amounts will vary depending on the system, equipment or appliance.

Residential renewable energy tax credit:

-This personal tax credit allows the taxpayer to claim a credit of 30% of expenditures including labor costs and installation of qualified residential solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems or fuel cells. Small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps can also be accredited for.
-Solar-electric systems and solar water heaters have a maximum incentive of $2,000 if placed in service before 2009. There is no maximum incentive for systems placed after 2008.
-The excess amount of the federal tax credit may be carried forward to the next taxable year if it exceeds tax liability.
-This can be carried forward until 2016, but after that, it is unknown if the unused credit will be able to be forwarded.

Residential energy conservation subsidy exclusion:

-This is a personal exemption of 100% of energy conservation subsidies provided by public utilities.
-The value of a purchase or installation of any energy conservation measure by a customer such as solar water heat, solar space heat or photovoltaics will not be included in the customer’s gross income.
-Customers of an electric utility company, who participate in the utility’s energy conservation program, may receive a rate reduction of electricity furnished or a nonrefundable credit against the purchase price of the electricity on each monthly electric bill.

Energy-efficient mortgages:

-This is a federal loan program where homeowners can use EEM (energy-efficient mortgages) to finance renewable energy technologies in a home.

Net metering:

-Net metering is available to customers who have systems with a bi-directional meter that generate electricity through solar, wind, methane, biomass, hydropower or geothermal systems.
-The power produced by the renewable energy system is used to offset the kilowatt hours consumed each month. The incentive shows up as a credit on the customer’s monthly bill.
-Systems must have a capacity of 100 kilowatts or less to be eligible for net metering.