Rebates, Tax Credits, and Other Incentives for Installing Solar Energy Systems
Last updated December 2021
Here are the tax credits and other incentives we could identify in December 2021 for the Delaware Valley area. Keep in mind that at that time Congress was considering legislation that would improve the federal tax credit for residential solar projects. Check with your utility company and dsireusa.org for up-to-date info.
Note that if you lease, rather than buy, incentives usually go to the leasing company that installs and owns the panels on your roof, not you.
Federal tax credit: Uncle Sam will reimburse you 26 percent of what you paid for panels, equipment, storage devices, installation, and permits. The current credit is in place through 2022; in 2023, the credit is scheduled to decline to 22 percent, and then in 2024 it disappears for residential solar projects, if the program isn’t renewed.
Net metering: If your system produces electricity that you don’t use, it’s pushed onto the grid, your meter spins in reverse, and your utility gives you a credit for it at the same retail price you pay.
Even if you produce a lot more electricity than you use, you won’t get rich as a solar-electricity generator. Delaware limits your generating capacity to no more than 110 percent of the electricity you used in the previous 12 months, and New Jersey home solar systems are sized so energy production does not exceed the home’s annual usage. While there are no such restrictions in Pennsylvania, at the end of your annual billing cycle, you’ll get paid a less-than-retail price for any surplus that has accumulated. The same is the case in New Jersey. In Delaware, you’ll get paid full price.
Solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs): You get one credit for every megawatt hour of electricity your solar system produces, plus 10 percent price bonus if your system is built with parts made in Delaware and another 10 percent if the installers are based in-state. SREC prices vary, based on supply and demand, but these certificates, which are usually sold via an annual online auction, went for a weighted average $26.50 each in 2021.
Grants: The Green Grant Delaware program, open only to customers of Delmarva Power, pays homeowners who install solar $0.70 per system watt up to $6,000. Grants typically take eight weeks to process. The City of Newark Electric Department also offers Municipal Green Energy Grants for home solar installations at a rate of $1 per watt for the first five megawatts up to $3,500. Because of budget limitations, grant funds may not be available right away.
New Jersey Incentives
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC-II’s): You get one SREC-II certificate for every megawatt hour your system generates. The state’s new Successor Solar Incentive (SuSI) program pays homeowners a fixed $90 for each SREC-II for 15 years. That works out to more than $600 a year for a 5.7kW system. Thanks to the fixed rate set by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, homeowners no longer have to hire brokers and pay them commissions to sell them on the open market.
Property tax exemption: Any increase in your home’s value as a result of installing solar panels is exempt from property taxes.
State sales tax exemption: You won’t pay sales tax on your system.
Rebates: As of December 2021, the Philadelphia Solar Rebate program was closed due to budget cuts, but Philadelphia homeowners could still put their applications on a waitlist for one-time incentive payments worth $0.20 per watt of installed capacity, or $1,100 for a 5.7kW system, if and when program funding is restored.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs): Pennsylvania calls them Solar Alternative Energy Credits, and you get one credit for every megawatt hour of electricity your system produces. Prices vary, based on supply and demand, but these electronic certificates, which can be sold through brokers, were fetching about $40 each in summer 2021.