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Solar Incentives

Depending on your state, available incentives can cover a significant portion of the cost of going solar.
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Illinois

Illinois solar incentives are available through the Illinois Shines program. These incentives get paid up-front for the SRECs your system is expected to produce.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin solar incentives are available through the Focus On Energy program and come in the form of a rebate check after your system is installed.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts solar incentives are available through the SMART program.  Get paid every month for the energy you produce!  And there’s also a state tax credit.

Federal Solar Tax Credits

The federal government also offers an incentive for residential solar, in the form of a tax credit. For systems installed in 2021, the credit is 26% of the cost of the system. It declines to 22% for systems installed in 2023.

A Tax Credit is Not a Tax Deduction

A tax credit is a direct reduction in the amount of tax you owe. If you have a $10,000 credit you would pay $10,000 less in taxes than you would otherwise owe. Many taxpayers are more familiar with tax deductions, which reduce the amount of income that is taxed. A tax credit is much more valuable.

Claiming the Solar Tax Credit

Unlike state-level incentives, which we usually can (and do) apply for on your behalf, you must claim the federal incentives on your own tax return.

There is one additional form involved: Form 5695: Residential Energy Credits. On line 1 of this form you enter the cost of your solar system. In our example, this is $20,000. The video here shows how to fill this out. After filling out the rest of form 5695, you take the result to line 53 of Form 1040.

Residential Solar Tax Credits and Estimated Taxes

If you are required to file quarterly estimated taxes, you can take advantage of the federal incentives almost immediately after installing your system. (If you are required to file estimated taxes, you already know who you are. If you don’t know what estimated taxes are, you can skip this section.) Estimated taxes are based on the amount of tax liability you expect to have for a given year. Let’s assume our taxpayer above is required to make estimated tax payments. Since our taxpayer would expect to owe $5,200 less in taxes than she otherwise would because of the tax credits, she could reduce her estimated payments by $1,300 each quarter.

The Inevitable Disclaimer

You had to know this was coming, right? Certasun is not your tax preparer, accountant, or lawyer. We are not giving you individualized tax advice. You should consult your own advisors about your particular situation.

Let Us Tell You More

Certasun would be more than happy to explain more about both the Wisconsin Focus on Energy rebate and federal tax credit. Sign up for a completely free, no-obligation consultation. We will provide a quote for a system for your particular home, calculate the value of the incentives, and clearly explain your financing options. Fill out the form below or call us at (312) 638-0800!

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