Posts Tagged ‘Tax Credits’

New Orleans is A Solar America City: Take Advantage Of It

The U.S. Department of Energy has a “Solar America Cities” program, whereby it works in partnership with U.S. cities to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner, more secure energy future.  There are 25 major U.S. cities on the list, and New Orleans is one of them.

If you’re in or around the city, it’s hard not to notice that we’ve got a vibrant market for solar energy technologies.    Here are just a few companies offering solar products and installations (and doing well at it):

Why so much hype about solar energy products?   Well, for two reasons really.

First, solar energy is cheaper than the energy you get from Entergy because you’re getting it from the sun.   Second, government tax rebates and credits make it super affordable and practical to invest in solar technology for your home or business.

The State Tax Credit

What’s great about the state tax credit is that Louisiana will actually write you a check if the credit results in an overpayment of your state income taxes.

Right now, the credit applies to residential and apartment projects, and provides a credit of 50% the cost of the system & its installation.  The available credit is maxed out at $12,500.00, but you can install multiple systems on the same building and claim an additional credit.

How To Apply for State Tax Credit

Applying is a synch.  You’ll need to fill out Louisiana Department of Revenue form R-1082, and file it.

You also need to provide the Department of Revenue with the following “proof of purchase:”

  1. type of system applying for the tax credit;
  2. output capacity of the system:
    1. Solar Electric System: total nameplate listed kW of all installed panels;
    2. Solar Thermal Systems: listed SRCC annual BTU or equivalent kWh output;
    3. Wind Electric Systems: total rated kW of all alternators and generators;
    4. Wind Mechanical Systems: shaft horsepower as rated by manufacturer, licensed contractor or licensed professional engineer.
  3. physical address where the system is installed in the state
  4. total cost of the system as applied towards the tax credit separated by:
    1. equipment costs;
    2. installation costs;
    3. taxes;
  5. make, model and serial number of generators, alternators, turbines, photovoltaic panels, inverters, and solar thermal collectors applied for in the tax credit.
  6. name and Louisiana contractor’s license number of installer.
  7. copy of the modeled array output report using the PV Watts Solar System Performance Calculator developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and available at the website www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts. The analysis must be performed using the default PV Watts de-rate factor.
  8. copy of a solar site shading analysis conducted on the installation system using a recognized industry site assessment tool such as a Solar Pathfinder or Solmetric demonstrating the suitability f the site for installation of a solar energy system.

It Matters Who Installs Your System

Not just anybody can install your renewable energy system.   The Notice of Intent Letter from the Louisiana Department of Revenue regarding these credits provides the following requirement about contractor qualifications:

All installations must be performed by a contractor duly licensed by and in good standing with the Louisiana Contractors Licensing Board with a classification of Solar Energy Equipment and a certificate of training in the design and installation of solar energy systems from an industry recognized training entity, or a Louisiana technical college, or the owner of the residence

You Can Get Federal Credits Too

In addition to the 50% Louisiana Tax Credit, you can also apply for the 30% federal tax credit for the same system.   The details for this is for another time and place, but for now, take a look at the Legal Guide I published on Avvo.com in March 2010 here:  How to Claim A Federal Tax Credit for Solar or Renewable Energy.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Green Building Law Blog.

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Obama Wants To Double The Amount of Renewable Energy in 2010

President Obama unveiled an aggressive clean energy program that should be music to the ears of those in the green building / solar energy industries.

Armed with the goal of doubling the amount of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2010, Obama stated that the government will provide $2.3 billion in tax credits for the clean energy manufacturing sector.   The cash will come from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will provide a 30% tax credit for qualifying projects.

There is promise that this program will have fast effect, as 1/3 of the projects are expected to be completed this year.

Now, for those green builders out there, it’s important to note that this program is from clean energy manufacturers.   Thus, it won’t reach many installers or property owners (who already have these incentives).

However, more manufacturing likely equals more installations.

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Louisiana the Greenest??? It Certainly is the Brightest

Well we may not be the most “green” state in the union; but according to Green Scene Magazine we are the most favorable and offer the best rebates on solar additions to your home.

According to the magazine the Louisiana Legislature in 2007 enacted some of the most progressive legislation in the country giving up to a 50% rebate on your taxes on solar and wind systems installed (up to $25,000 per system).  The best part is that if you reach how much you owe in taxes, then the state will send you a check for the rest. This is truly remarkable and seems almost too good to be true.

For more information See La. R.S. 47:6030 and its subparts.

This 50% savings from the Louisiana government can be lumped with the 30% by the Federal government as provided by the recent economic stimulus bill.

There are two Louisiana companies that are leading the way in this solar revolution, Gulf South Solar and South Coast Solar. These two leaders are experienced with the technology and they can aid in the paperwork regarding the refunds.

WWL recently wrote an article on the Louisiana Legislature offered refund.  According to this article the new legislation opened the door, not only to residents but to developers and third parties to get the credit. WWL describes somewhat of a lease to own system whereby you lease and pay the solar company a monthly bill until a certain amount then you simply purchase the system for a dollar.

This is an effort to help spur developers when they are planning communities in the future. Who would have ever thought that Louisiana would be a pioneer in re-useable and renewable resources. The only way that we will ever see the benefits of this legislation is to get out and take advantage of it before it is too late. So instead of complaining about the heat all the time, try making it work for you and let the Sun save you cash.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Green Building Law Blog.

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"Green Building" Senate Bill 91 Pending in Louisiana Legislature

A May 2009 press release from Louisiana Senator Neil Gautreaux’s office explains that the proposal of Senate Bill 91 gained unanimous support after a group of fifth graders testified on behalf of the legislation and urged state legislators to “go green.”

While still pending in Baton Rouge and not yet on its way to the governor’s desk, the “green building” bill is one of the more aggressive green building tax credits proposed in the nation.

Senator Gauthreaux’s office sells the bill in their press release with the following:

This tax credit, combined with the federal tax credits, will make our state a leader in incentives for the promotion of alternative energy…Besides promoting the adoption of resources that generate safe, efficient and clean energy, the tax incentives will also be a boon to economic development by creating new “green jobs.”

Summary of Senate Bill 91

Summary:  Grants a transferable tax credit until January 1, 2013 for income and franchise franchise taxes of 25% of the costs and expenses attributable to the construction or for the installation of certain qualified energy systems on and after January 1, 2009 limited to $450,000 per system.

Status:  Pending in Conference Committee

Qualifying Energy Systems:  Wind, Solar Energy, Small irrigation power, Open-lop and closed-loop biomass, geothermal energy, and more.

Read the full text of Senate Bill 91.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Green Building Law Blog.

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Green Tax Credits in Plain English

Are you absolutely confused about “green tax credits?”

We hear the terminology enough, as green building and green products aren’t short on press coverage.  Too often, however, it seems that the tax credit system isn’t actually explained, and one is left to wade through Google searches to understand how to qualify for these tax breaks.

Tax Credits for Home Builders

Yes, you read that correctly….there are tax credits available to home builders who build homes to certain energy standards.   These tax credits apply to builders of new manufactured or non-manufactured homes.

This is a great way for home builders to make extra money on a home building project, and can be especially beneficial to home builders who build tens or hundreds of homes each year.

Each new home that achieves 50% more energy savings from the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) qualifies for a $2000 tax credit.   A 30% energy savings qualifies for a $1000 credit.   Builders simply need to fill out and return IRS Form 8908.

To qualify for these credits, the home must be completed after August 8, 2005, and sold between Jan. 1 2006 and December 31, 2009.   Builders who have built qualifying homes, but did not apply for the credit, can still apply.

We’re still waiting to see whether these credits are extended past the end of the year.  More detailed information about the IECC and the tax credits can be found at this link:  http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_hm_builders

Tax Deductions for Commercial Buildings

Environmental tax credits are not just for residents and residential builders.

To understand these available deductions, it’s important to read about and understand the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2001.

Commercial buildings qualify for a tax deduction up to $1.80 per square foot when new or existing commercial buildings save 50% of the heating and cooling energy of a building that meets ASHRAE standards.

The amount of deduction depends on the building savings.   The deduction can be made to the owner or designer of the building.   They are available for HVAC systems placed in service from Jan 1 2006 through Dec 31, 2013.

Check out IRS Notice 2006-52 for guidance on how to make these deductions.   Check out this link for more details:  http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_comm_buildings

Tax Credits for Homeowners

Far and away, the most available tax credits are available to homeowners.

For existing homes in 2009 and 2010, homeowners can get up to 30% of the cost for energy efficient installations of windows and doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC systems, water heaters and biomass stoves.

For new and existing homes through the year 2016, tax credits are available to homeowners of up to 30% the cost of energy efficient installations of geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems, and fuel cells.

Information on each available credit is available at this link, in easy to understand language:  http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

How to Get A Better Grip

Learning more about available tax credits is both easy and hard for the same reason:   there is a of information on the subject out there.

Here are some good resources:

http://www.energystar.gov/taxcredits (the BIBLE of energy tax credits – including a summary chart of tax credits for homeowners)

The Tax Incentive Assistance Project (TIAP)

Read about pending Tax Credit Legislation

Check Out this Residential Flyer from the TIAP

Check Out this Commercial Flyer from the TIAP

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Green Building Law Blog.

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