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Tax Credits & Grants

Tax Credits

There are two federal tax credits available for solar PV. Both return 30% of the installed cost of the solar property:

  1. Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. If you are a homeowner and install the system on your property you file IRS form 5695. There is no documentation to file with your return but you need to keep proof of expenses to support your claim. You can claim the credit for homestead and non-homestead property.
  2. Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This is a bit more complicated. You file IRS form 3468. Instructions for 3468 are here. 

Other Incentives (Links)

Personal Property Tax Exemption Renewable energy property is exempt from personal property tax.

Energy Revolving Loan Fund - Farm Energy

Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) + Bonus Depreciation (2008-2013). This allows a five year accelerated depreciation for solar PV systems. First year depreciation is 50% of basis. The property must be in place by the end of 2013.

USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants


USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants will pay up to 25% of the installed cost of a system.

It is not guaranteed. The application is very complex and typically requires 50-100 pages of documents.

Leelanau Solar has been successful in every REAP grant application that we've written (5 for 5!). Grants have totaled $56,000.

Grant scores are favored for:

  • Systems costing under $200,000
  • Businesses with fewer than 15 employees
  • Businesses with gross market sales under $200,000
  • Systems that pay back in less than 10 years

Documentation required: Three year income record, EIN, CCR registration, energy usage record. There are also technical documents that detail the system components, operation and energy production. There are forms for environmental impact, equal opportunity, budgets, disbarment, contractor qualifications, lobbying activities, etc. You'll need a letter from the Michigan Dept of Energy that states the project is part of the Michigan's energy goals. And more.

Construction on the project cannot start until the grant application is submitted. The grant deadline is usually in May or June.

Local contact for REAP grants is Alan Anderson at the USDA Rural Development Office in Traverse City (231-286-2183).

Rick Vanderbeek is the state USDA representative in Lansing. (517-324-5190). Rick is very helpful.

There is also a REAP loan available for up to 85% of the installed cost. Total of grant and loan cannot exceed 100%.

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