Category Archives for "Solar Panel Laws"
Solar Panel Laws in Connecticut
Also known as An Act Concerning Implementation of Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy and Various Revisions to the Energy Statutes, this law allows agricultural customers to run solar farms of up to 3 megawatts and sell the solar power they collect there to serve the needs of up to 10 other farms.
An RPS, or renewable portfolio standard, is a law that requires a certain amount of power be generated by renewable means by a certain date.
To further incentivize the use of solar power, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is supporting a measure that aims to create the first market for residential solar energy credits for the state.
So whether it’s through allowing agricultural customers to run solar farms and sell the solar power they collect there, providing customers with progressive RPS laws as well as net metering, or further incentivizing solar power through solar home renewable energy credits, electricity customers in the state of Connecticut have never had a better opportunity to save some green while going green!
Solar Panels in Maryland: What Laws Apply?
Whichever side you fall on, knowing major laws and regulations can come in handy when improving a home with solar power.
The exact laws and regulations vary depending on where you live. All of the following apply in Maryland. If you’re not from Maryland, that’s not a problem- some of these are mirrored in other states.
Only licensed electricians are allowed to install solar panels, and many municipalities require a permit before adding them to a property. Installing solar power as a DIY project is not recommended.
Groups like Home Owners Associations cannot prevent the installation of solar panels or prevent them from being installed in the most efficient location. An HOA also cannot force a homeowner to use a specific material if it increases the cost.
Some properties do not have these protection, such as properties in historic districts.
SRECs are used in sixteen states plus Washington, D.C. as part of a Renewable Portfolio Standard. Your solar panel will earn SRECs as it generates energy, which can then be sold to energy companies who need to meet their quotas for different types of energy.
The exact value changes throughout the year and between states because it depends on how much of their quotas the companies have filled.
Maryland offers several programs designed to increase the use of solar power.
There is no sales tax when buying solar panels and other solar power materials or when selling the SRECs earned. Maryland provides grant money to help pay for installing solar power.
Homeowners can also claim a state income tax credit based on how much power their panels produce, although the panels must generate at least 23,530 kWh a year (the amount necessary for a $1,000 tax credit).
While most of the benefits apply to homeowners, it is possible for renters and homeowners that cannot install panels to join the fun. Recent legislation created community solar projects so interested citizens can invest in the projects and reduce their electricity bills.
Solar power is a great way to save money, but laws can and do change. However, this list should be a good starting point when researching solar options. Be sure to research local building codes, zoning, and certified electricians thoroughly before building.
If you are looking into getting solar panels in your Maryland household, you can get a free quote here.
Rhode Island’s Solar Panel Laws Make Sustainable Energy Affordable
Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit
In Rhode Island, a state income tax credit encourages owners of homes and businesses to install solar power panels and systems. The tax credit is equal to 25% of the power system’s full cost, or up to $3,750 total. Systems that qualify for this credit must be at least 24 square feet in size.
Renewable Energy Tax Exemptions
The Rhode Island state sales tax is 7%, but solar electric and thermal systems, as well as mounting equipment and solar panels, are exempt from this tax.
Rhode Island’s net metering program allows solar power customers to produce up to 125% of the electricity they consume.
Rhode Island boasts the lowest per capita electric use of any state in the nation. Laws related to tax credits, tax exemptions, and net metering encourage the use of environmentally friendly power sources such as solar panels, and the more solar power people use, the less electricity they consume.
3 Solar Panel Laws in New York That Can Save You Money
For those looking to turn to the power of the sun for their energy needs, it’s important to stay informed when it comes to solar panel legislation in New York in order to take advantage of money-saving incentives.
The generation of solar electricity by individual homes is finally feasible thanks to New York’s adoption of net metering, which allows for excess electricity generated on sunny days to be returned to the electrical grid. Consumers can then receive credit or payment from the utility company for the amount of power generated.
To increase solar energy resources, New York offers financial incentives that help businesses, schools and homeowners defray the upfront cost of solar energy equipment. Among these incentives are:
An income tax credit for 25% of the cost of the system installed, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Exemption from sales tax for passive solar space heat, solar water heat, solar space heat and photovoltaics installed.
A 15-year real property tax exemption for the cost of systems installed in the state.
An RPS, or Renewable Portfolio Standard, is a state law that mandates that a certain percentage of all energy generation come from renewable sources by a certain date.
In an RPS, utility companies must meet these standards by either generating renewable energy or buying it from their customers.
With the nation’s seventh best RPS, New York boasts a renewable program that benefits the consumer in myriad ways.
So whether it’s thanks to net metering, state solar energy incentives, or the state’s progressive RPS laws, the Empire State offers many opportunities to save some green while going green.
Solar Panel Laws in New Mexico – Incentives and Protections
Rural electric cooperatives are required to obtain 10% from renewable sources by 2020.
New Mexico has a net metering program; however, it only applies to the three investor-owned utilities.
Municipal utilities are exempt.
The utility companies set the rates and pay out at the utility’s avoided cost rate.
Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are performance based incentives issued to generators who produce renewable energy.
This operates in addition to the net metering program.
Interconnected customers must complete an application, pay an application fee and comply with local and national standards.
Insurance may be required depending on the capacity of the system.
New Mexico offers a state tax credit on the purchase and installation of a solar power system.
The PACE program operates on a county level.
Under the Solar Rights Act of 2007, New Mexico determined solar energy to be a property right.
It created protection against counties and municipalities restricting solar power by making void and unenforceable any codes, covenants or deed restrictions that prohibited solar use after July 1, 1978.
Solar Panel Laws in New Jersey – What Incentives Are Available?
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are performance payments issued to producers of solar power.
New Jersey has a net metering program.
New Jersey has a three-tier system of interconnection standards based upon the size of the energy system.
Solar energy equipment is exempt from the state 7% sales tax.
An exemption certificate must be completed and submitted in order to obtain the exemption.
New Jersey offers a property tax exemption on residential solar power systems.
Under this exemption, the value of a solar system will not increase the property assessment.
The New Jersey Clean Energy Program has discontinued the rebates on solar equipment.
The new focus for solar power generation incentives are on SRECs and net metering.
Solar Panel Laws in Washington DC – What Incentives are Available?
To accomplish these goals, Washington DC offers some incentives for alternative energy generators, but others are not available.
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) are performance payments issued for each megawatt-hour of solar power produced. The credits are sold through brokers and allow utilities to purchase credits as needed.
Utility companies must pay a Solar Alternative Compliance Penalty if they are not able to meet the RPS requirements. However, these penalties reduce each year until the District reaches its 20% goal in 2023. As a result, the value of SRECs will decrease over time.
Washington DC has a net metering program.
This program allows those who generate their own power through renewable energy systems to sell any unused power to the utility and receive credits in return.
However, there are no cash payouts for the credits and the program caps out at 1 megawatt.
Generators producing over 100 kilowatts receive credit at the generation rate which is much lower than retail.
Interconnection standards provide easy access for smaller systems. A residential system of less than 10kW can qualify for a simple interconnection.
Larger systems require liability insurance and a redundant external disconnect switch.
The Renewable Energy Incentive Program expired in 2012. The District has offered other programs and initiatives in the past but many are short-term and narrowly targeted.
At this time, the District does not offer any tax credits or incentives. However, Federal tax credits may be available (you can learn more about them here ).
The District does not have a sales tax. As a result, there is no sales tax exemption for renewable energy.
Take Advantage of Vermont Solar Panel Laws to Save Money
Renewable Portfolio Standard
Vermont’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious in the nation, second only to Hawaii’s. State law requires that, by 2017, an impressive 55% of all electricity come from renewable sources such as solar panels.
This law forces utility companies to help customers make the transition to solar power, because if they don’t meet these goals, they will end up having to pay fines to the state government.
Utility companies are required by law to monitor energy produced by their customers’ solar power systems. Any excess production is then credited to the customers’ electric bill at the going rate (retail price).
However, if the credits are not all used within twelve months, the customer loses them. They are not rolled forward to the next year or refunded. Credits are given for up to 500 kW, with a cap at 15% of peak demand.
Vermont law prevents utility companies from charging more than the standard fees on solar power systems. Thus, interconnection, standby, and capacity fees cannot be marked up.
Renewable Energy Credits
When your solar power system produces energy, you receive a renewable energy credit, or REC.
One unique law in Vermont is that, even if you get a performance payment from a utility company such as Green Mountain Power, you can still keep your RECs. You can then sell those RECs on the energy market in other states.
Despite Vermont’s high RPS and other favorable solar power laws, unlike many states, it has no solar power rebates or income tax credits.
There are many California residents who have questions concerning solar panel laws. Some want to know if their neighbor can legally block their solar panels with shading. Others want to know what codes restrictions and covenants place limitations on the use of solar energy and more.
California Solar Rights Act
This was passed into law in 1978. It established a legal framework for California residents to have solar energy.
Solar Shade Act
This act is part of the Solar Rights Act. It provides protection for solar energy system owners from different types of shading on adjacent properties.
This law must be in obeyed between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. This also applies to any shrubs and trees planted after the installation of the solar system.
California Government Code 65850.5 specifically addresses the authority of local agencies to create ordinances regarding solar energy systems. It prevents the enactment of unreasonable barriers to the installation and use of such systems.
This code forbids using the limitation aesthetic purposes as well as design for the reason of restricting solar energy systems. It also makes certain businesses, agricultural concerns as well as homeowners have the legal authority to install these types of systems.
In September of 2014, California bill AB 2188 was signed into law. This was designed to decrease the red-tape involved with obtaining a permit to install a solar energy system.
This bill mandated that all cities in California, as well as counties, create an ordinance to streamline the permitting process for residential rooftop solar energy systems.
California Civil Code 801.5
This is known as California’s solar access law. This makes it possible for neighbors to voluntarily agree to a solar easement.
The goal is to ensure adequate sunlight is possible for individuals who use solar energy systems for their energy needs.
California SB 43
This permits individuals who rent or those with shaded roofs to have access to the benefits of solar energy. It enables these individuals to purchase as much as 100 percent of their energy from a remote solar power plant.
Solar Panel Laws in Delaware – Incentives and Protections
To accomplish this, Delaware offers various incentives and protections for alternative energy producers.
The Green Energy Fund has several programs that offer grants and loans to support the use and development of renewable energy sources.
These programs include rebates and grants to homeowners, researchers and developers, as well as funding courses and curriculum on solar technology in Delaware high schools.
Many utility companies offer Solar Renewable Energy Credits.
These credits can then be sold to a utility company to meet their requirements under the RPS mandate.
Delaware is one of 43 states that has a net metering law.
A customer can receive a payout after a 12-month period or simply allow the credits to continue to roll over.
In addition to the incentives, Delaware law encourages the use of solar power by protecting residential solar energy systems.