TOGETHER

We must hang together or surely we will hang separately (Ben Franklin)

Climate Change, Photovoltaics and Electric Cars

by John Howard

WORKING TO SEE IF A 35 YEAR OLD HOUSE CAN BE CARBON NEUTRAL?

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Climate Change
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South Hadley
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Moss garden in Koyoto

So overused that it was closed to the public in order to save it.

 

QUICK LIST OF INCENTIVES

Federal

https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/2017_non_business_energy_property_tax_credits

For appliances, windows, doors and roof

https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/2017_renewable_energy_tax_credits

30% off solar PV till 2020

https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/the-ins-and-outs-of-electric-vehicle-tax-credits.html

Up to $7,500 tax credit list by car

MA state

http://www.masscec.com/commonwealth-woodstove-change-out

New stove for old assistance 

https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/energy-assessments/homeowners/

Energy Audits and upgrades for Columbia Gas customers only

https://www.mass.gov/guides/home-mvp

Energy Audits and upgrades for all South Hadley residents till November 18

http://www.masssolarloan.com/

State pays off 10%-30% 

https://mor-ev.org/

Up to $2,500 for an EV

https://www.massenergy.org/drivegreen

$1,000s off an EV

SHELD

https://www.sheld.org/pages/residents/energy-rebates/

Appliances to heat pumps amounts vary

http://www.munihelps.org/wp-content/uploads/2018_vSouth_Hadley_EStar_Application.pdf

Appliances to heat pumps amounts vary

http://www.munihelps.org/rebates-incentives/ev-charger-incentive/

Free level two EV charger for EV owners

 

More details as of July. 2018

Renewable energy tax credits and rebates seem to come and go in a very arbitrary way. A check of federal, state, town, seller, installer and utility web sites (some of which are listed below) is the best before any purchase. Also get several estimates and talk to equipment owners. The qualifications, rules and paperwork are also a moving target.

Why should you get tax credits and rebates for renewables? For the same reason we get them for children, education, major illness, business expenses and so on. The credits and rebates are an attempt to get folks to do things that will help society as a whole.

There are now five things which make PV solar a money and life saving idea. They are: the 30% federal tax credit, the partial loan repayment from the Mass solar loan program for folks in certaim income groups, the SREC/SMART payments (mine was $2,177 last year for a 5KW system in 2017), the end, or nearly so, of an electric bill and, most important, the step toward ending the Climate Change spiral. The incentives are changing all the time.

Mass Clean Energy Center Programs - Not available to South Hadley (or any MUNI) residents only as we have not joined the Renewable Energy Trust

DOER list of Hundreds of Energy and Environmental Incentives

Residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations get a 30% federal tax credit which will start declining in 2020. The work must be done by a professional in order to get incentives. If the tax credit exceeds your tax, the credit can be carried over to the next five tax years. The Mass. state rebate has ended and been replaced by very low interest loans which one can arrange from some banks and credit unions. Some installers who offer loans included in their estimates may have higher interest rates or charge more for the panels and hide the extra cost in the loan. As a benchmark, in 2016 I paid $8,625 for a 2.3kwh PV system. The SMART program (which replaces SRECs) will get you a check several times a year for ten years. The amount depends on the size of your system and a very complicated formula.

http://energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit

http://www.seia.org/policy/finance-tax/solar-investment-tax-credit

 

Electric and hybrid electric cars get up to a $7,500 tax deduction depending on the battery size. These expire after the manufacturer sells 200,000 cars. If the deduction exceeds your tax for the year of purchase you loose the excess. Switching retirement money from a tax free IRA to a Roth IRA can increase your taxes. Massachusetts offers a $2,500 rebate at the time of the electric car sale. The MA drive green program offers dealer incentives up to $10,000 depending on the car, the year and the dealer.

MA Rebate https://mor-ev.org/

https://www.massenergy.org/drivegreen 

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1085549_when-do-electric-car-tax-credits-expire

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/IRC-30D-Plug-In-Electric-Drive-Motor-Vehicle-Credit-Quarterly-Sales

There are also rebates or credits for all manner of home appliance from air conditioners and hot water heaters to furnaces and all sorts of heat pumps. Check your utility first. In South Hadley SHELD offers $25 rebates on the following - clothes washer, refrigerator, freezer dishwasher, room a/c, dehumidifier, and air purifier. A heat pump hot water heater nets you a $300 rebate. These currently end on December 31, 2015 but have been renewed in the past. Massachusetts has many programs via the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The IRS offers tax credits on a host of items but watch the rules. A heat pump water heater is another $300. The in the last few years IRS was often slow in posting the needed tax forms on line. As a result you may have to wait till March to do your taxes.

Sheld Programs

Muni Helps Click on South Hadley

Woodstove Changout Program - http://www.masscec.com/

http://www.irs.gov/Credits-&-Deductions/Individuals/Residential-Energy-Efficient-Property-Credit

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Home-Ownership/Energy-Tax-Credit--Which-Home-Improvements-Qualify-/INF12111.html

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/programs/liheap

Mass Solar Loan Program

as of 1/1/18 the program has changed
see website for updates

There has been much talk that only the rich can afford photovoltaic solar upfront costs. That is changing. The Mass Solar Loan Program will funnel 30 million dollars in state funds for solar installs via local banks and credit unions to lower interest rates. South Hadley residents are eligible for these loans. The loan money will buy down the bank interest rate by 3%. Customer rates have been as low as 1.25%. As we found in 2008 it is always good to look carefully at several banks. The best I've heard of is North Brimfield Bank at 866-711-6272. A list of preapproved installers and financial institutions with a description of procedures is available at: www.MassSolarLoan.com. Below are some of the important points from the site. NOTE: You can only get one loan so if you think it possible that you might get an electric car, heat pump water heater, mini split, etc., oversize your PV install.

Direct Contacts: Savannah 617-315-9325
Fax: 617-315-9356 solarloan@masscec.com
informational resources: Program Manual and FAQ

The Mass Solar Loan Program is designed to make solar PV more affordable. It is administered through local banks. If you earn less than $66,866 annually the program will pay 30 percent of your loan. If you earn less than $80,240 annually the program will pay 20 percent of your loan. These figures may change. The federal tax credit is 30 percent for the next few years. Massachusetts has a one time 15 percent tax credit up to $1,000.

Here is a concrete example or two as of 2017. Lets say you earn less than $66,866 annually. The Solar Store of Greenfield installed an additional 2kw PV system for $9,000 on my house two years ago. The loan program would pay for 30% or about $3,000, the IRS tax credit is 30% or roughly $3,000 and the Mass tax credit is $1,000. That brings the cost to $2,000! in 2017 a friend installed a 5kw rooftop system for $5,500 after incentives.

In Mass you will receive checks from the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) but I cannot say what the amount of the SRECs will be as the third generation of the program (called SMART) is now being created. Both are for ten years from the date of installation. You will also enjoy a reduction of your electric bill. Installers can give you a better idea of these amounts and look at your roof's sun situation. Get three estimates. It is a free education.

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