Vermont is on a mission to promote renewable energy, more so than just about any other state in the country. With a target of producing 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2017, and 75 percent by 2032, Vermont is pursuing a greener future more aggressively than every state save for Hawaii. If you find yourself considering a solar energy installation. It’s important to understand the various programs, rebates and incentives that will significantly affect your cost to go solar in VT.
Solar energy rebates and tax breaks in Vermont
If you aspire to be a solar-powered homeowner, this is great news for you. In order to achieve these targets, Vermont has a few solar incentives to help you go solar.
Vermont Standard Offer
This foundational VT solar incentive and program allows homeowner to sell solar electricity to the grid at fixed prices for 10 to 25 years. Also known as a “feed-in-tariff”, which is popular in many European countries, this type of policy provides solar customers with significant certainty that they will be able to recoup their investment, and then some. Not only is this program easy to understand and navigate, it also makes solar a virtually risk-free investment for you.
On top of these guaranteed payments, homeowners also get a rebate to help them pay for their system. Thanks to the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, any solar energy system built by an eligible installer receives a $1.00 per watt rebate, up to $10,000. That is, if you install a 5-kilowatt system, you will receive $5,000 up-front to help you pay for it.
Finally, Vermont residents who invest in solar energy will not have to pay any additional taxes on their system. The Renewable Energy Systems Sales Tax Exemption frees you from paying any sales tax on the purchase of your system, and the Uniform Capacity Tax and Exemption for Solar keeps you from having to pay increased property taxes.
The solar tax credit and other Vermont solar incentives
Community shared solar in Vermont
If for some reason a home solar system is not right for you, do not despair: Vermont’s community solar program can help you go solar without putting panels on your roof. Under this policy, Vermont residents can participate in an off-site shared solar installation and earn credits to cover their utility bill, plus an additional incentive for the first 10 years.
Net metering in Vermont
When you put solar panels on your roof, you want to make sure you get credit for all of the power your system generates. Luckily, Vermont has a net metering policy that credits you for the extra electricity your system produces, and allows you to use those credits when your system doesn’t generate enough power. Green Mountain Power offers the top utility net metering program in Vermont.
The federal Investment Tax Credit
The federal government will also pitch in to help Vermont residents invest in solar energy systems. In addition to the state-specific incentives and programs, homeowners can reduce the cost of their solar energy system by 30 percent thanks to the recently extended Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Keep in mind that the ITC applies only to those who buy their solar energy system outright (either with a cash purchase or solar loan), and that you must have enough income for the tax credit to be relevant.