Step 5: Finance Your Project

Federal, state, and local programs help make solar more affordable.

To find out all the current financial incentives available to you, check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Although prices have been going down dramatically in recent years, solar – particularly Solar PV – can still be expensive. Fortunately, there are several programs available that can reduce the cost.

The federal government offers a tax credit valued at 30% of the installation cost for solar PV or certified solar hot water systems. If you want to tie your solar PV system into the TVA electrical grid, TVA’s Generation Partners Program will buy the electricity you generated for a price higher than what you pay for the electricity you used.

For non-residential commercial businesses, you may be eligible to receive the Solar Installation Grant, offered by the Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI).  Originally $9 million was allocated to assist in the purchase of small-scale solar photovoltaic systems placed on or adjacent to non-residential buildings.  Businesses may receive up to $245,000 depending on system size.  As of August 13, 2010, $4.5 million had been awarded.  Award money is distributed to businesses on a first-come, first serve basis.  Applications will continue to be accepted until funds are exhausted.

You should also consider rising energy costs when determining how to finance your solar project.  As the cost of energy increases, the energy you produce or save through solar will be more valuable. Given time, solar technologies can pay for themselves.

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