Solar without tax benefits?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
Topic Author
dm200
Posts: 22419
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Solar without tax benefits?

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:59 am

In this area (Washington DC and suburbs), rooftop solar (both residential and organization) is becoming more common and popular. I believe that the financial benefits are driven a lot by tax savings and credits.

For residential, without any tax benefits, is rooftop solar financially worthwhile?

cadreamer2015
Posts: 903
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:52 pm
Location: North County San Diego

Re: Solar without tax benefits?

Post by cadreamer2015 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:08 am

It all depends. What is your price for electricity? How many kWh of electricity do you use per year? How much sun hits your roof (influenced by potential shade trees, roof orientation, climate, latitude)? Do you have an electric car or will you be purchasing one? How long do you plan to stay in your home? How old is your roof?

Without answers to these questions it is impossible to say. If you use little electricity, it’s cost is $0.10 per kWh or less, live in a cloudy climate with an old roof, then probably not a good idea even with tax benefits. If you are paying $0.50 per kWh, use a lot of electricity, live in a sunny place, then maybe it makes sense even without tax benefits. You need to run the numbers for your own individual situation.
De gustibus non est disputandum

smitcat
Posts: 4393
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Solar without tax benefits?

Post by smitcat » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:51 am

dm200 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:59 am
In this area (Washington DC and suburbs), rooftop solar (both residential and organization) is becoming more common and popular. I believe that the financial benefits are driven a lot by tax savings and credits.

For residential, without any tax benefits, is rooftop solar financially worthwhile?

Washington DC solar incentives including rebates and net metering information is here:
https://www.energysage.com/solar-panels ... ntives/dc/

Valuethinker
Posts: 39078
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Solar without tax benefits?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:45 am

dm200 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:59 am
In this area (Washington DC and suburbs), rooftop solar (both residential and organization) is becoming more common and popular. I believe that the financial benefits are driven a lot by tax savings and credits.

For residential, without any tax benefits, is rooftop solar financially worthwhile?
Depends on:

- installation cost
- solar insolation & site-specific issues (south facing roof etc.)
- requirements on utility re net metering (sell back to grid) etc.
- local power prices

Thus in southern California it might well work given the very high domestic power prices. Similarly, I gather, in Connecticut?

Hawaii it is such a no brainer that the electricity company has restricted new solar connections I believe - too many people have already done it (Hawaii generates much of its electricity from fuel oil, domestic price 40c/ kwhr plus).

TBillT
Posts: 799
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:43 pm

Re: Solar without tax benefits?

Post by TBillT » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:04 pm

They call us the DMV (DC Maryland Virginia)
So I think you are trying to protect your location.
To date Virginia has been less proactive, preferring utility owned solar.
But there are programs...some are doing, I think there is some net meter to a low level of households.

chw
Posts: 712
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: Solar without tax benefits?

Post by chw » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:16 pm

Without tax incentives (federal or state) it comes down to:

1) Your cost of electricity.
2) Are SRECs, or similar type of incentives offered?
3) Net metering availability, and rules on how it is applied.
4) Your commitment to renewable energy, and reducing your carbon footprint

Generally for most markets, without at least the federal tax credits now in place, the payback for a solar installation even with SRECs (or similar programs), and net metering could be well above 10 years. IMO, I feel it's still worth considering if you have a newer south facing roof, and can get a quality installation. The systems are relatively maintenance free, and it seems that the panels installed nowadays are more efficient with longer lifespans.

curmudgeon
Posts: 1916
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: Solar without tax benefits?

Post by curmudgeon » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:27 pm

chw wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:16 pm
Without tax incentives (federal or state) it comes down to:

1) Your cost of electricity.
2) Are SRECs, or similar type of incentives offered?
3) Net metering availability, and rules on how it is applied.
4) Your commitment to renewable energy, and reducing your carbon footprint

Generally for most markets, without at least the federal tax credits now in place, the payback for a solar installation even with SRECs (or similar programs), and net metering could be well above 10 years. IMO, I feel it's still worth considering if you have a newer south facing roof, and can get a quality installation. The systems are relatively maintenance free, and it seems that the panels installed nowadays are more efficient with longer lifespans.
I think this hits the key points. Whether your roof is well-suited for solar (direction, shading, angle, etc) is another factor. If you don't normally have much of a federal tax liability, then the non-refundable credit is of limited use, though it does roll over from year to year (so far). I figure it will likely take me 5 years to work down my solar credit (if it weren't for staying under the ACA cliff, I'd just do more Roth conversion and use it sooner).

Post Reply