Rhode Island’s Solar Panel Laws Make Sustainable Energy Affordable
Rhode Island places a strong emphasis on clean energy. The state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires that, by the year 2020, at least 16 percent of all energy must come from renewable sources, including solar power and wind power.
Various other state laws provide incentives for individuals and business owners to make the switch to more sustainable energy choices and to install solar panels.
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.
Off-grid systems have to be tied to a battery back-up, and solar-heating systems must have a collector area that is at least 125-square-feet.
To claim the credit, homeowners and businesses must also obtain approval from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and attach that approval to their income tax returns.
Solar panel laws in Rhode Island
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.
Since 1980, Rhode Island has also allowed a property tax exemption for solar energy.
Municipalities are prohibited by law from assessing your solar power system at a greater value than that of a conventional system, which means solar panels will not increase you property tax assessment.
Rhode Island’s net metering program allows solar power customers to produce up to 125% of the electricity they consume.
Home and business owners will receive a credit for this excess production of electricity. The credit is applied to their future electric bills.
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.