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Solar Energy Financial Incentives

Photovoltaic or Solar Panel

Homeowners are eligible for a tax credit for 30% of the total cost.  
Businesses are able to recoup 30% of the total cost of the system through a federal grant, good through 2012. Must provide electricity for the business/residence and must meet applicable fire and electrical codes.

City of Knoxville Green Incentive Program

The City of Knoxville is offering rebates to homeowners, non-profit organizations, and commercial businesses within the limits of the City of Knoxville for installing solar photovoltaic systems. Rebates are limited to one system each per property.

Solar Photovoltaic Rebates:
Commercial $1,000 per kW up to 5kW ($1.00 per watt)
Residential $2,000 per kW up to 5kW ($2.00 per watt)
Non-Profit $3,000 per kW up to 5 kW ($3.00 per watt)

Applications will be accepted until March 02, 2012. For further information, please visit the CAC Housing and Energy Services website.

Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program 

The purpose of the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program is to select and fund projects that best result in a reduction of emissions and pollutants identified below. The Clean Tennessee Energy Program provides financial assistance to government agencies (state, local) utility districts, and private businesses/organizations in Tennessee to purchase, install, and construct energy projects that fit into one of the following eligible project categories:

  • Cleaner Alternative Energy: biomass, geothermal, solar, wind
  • Energy Conservation: Lighting, HVAC improvements, improved fuel efficiency, insulation, idling minimization
  • Air Quality Improvement, including Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), Greenhouse Gases

Applications will be accepted until March 30, 2012. Recipients will be announced late April to mid-May 2012. Please visit www.tn.gov/environment for more information. 

USDA Rural Energy for America Program - REAP Grant

Grants are available for up to $20,000 or 25% of the total project cost of a renewable energy installation, or energy efficiency improvement. This grant is specifically for rural small businesses, farmers, and ranchers who gain 50% of their gross income from agricultural operations. Applications will be accepted until March 30, 2012.
For further information visit USDA- REAP webpage.

Other Energy Efficient Improvements

 An additional tax credit up to $500 for energy efficient windows, insulation, doors, and heating and cooling systems can be taken. This $500 cap can be reached as follows:

  1. Exterior Windows: 10% up to $200
  2. Insulation, exterior doors, pigmented metal roofs: 10% up to $500
  3. Central Air Conditioning: up to $300 of the cost of equipment and installation
  4. Heating Systems: up to $150 of the cost of equipment and installation

All of these products must meet certain energy guidelines to be eligible. Please refer to the IRS or a tax professional for clarification of rules regarding these tax credits. Sustainable Future is not a tax expert and will not be responsible for any erroneous energy tax credits claimed.

Tax Credits for Home Builders

 A tax credit of $2,000 per home is available for home builders who build a new energy efficient home that achieves a 50% reduction in energy consumption relative to the International Energy Conservations Code (IECC) standard.  At least 1/5 of the energy reduction must come from the building envelope improvements.  There is also a $1,000 tax credit to manufactured home producers that achieve a 30% reduction in energy savings over the 2004 IECC.  This tax credit applies only to reduction in heating and cooling load.

TVA Generation Partners Program

 This program encourages businesses and homeowners to produce green power and sell it back to TVA at a premium.   A $1000 grant is given to the owner of the solar system upon completion of the system. Then TVA pays the owner of the solar system $0.12 above the retail rate for the green power produced. This contract helps immensely towards a reasonable payback on the system. In 2012, after eight years of success, Generation Partners will get a new name – Green Power Providers – and new features. The new name will highlight the program's partnership with Green Power Switch. And the new features will encourage the continued development of distributed renewable generating resources throughout the Tennessee Valley region. TVA is working with stakeholders, power distributors and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association to refine the guidelines for Green Power Providers. We expect the new program to be available for distributor consideration by April 2012. Until then, TVA will continue to accept new applications under the existing Generation Partners guidelines. Visit DSIRE or the Generation Partners website for more details.

For further information, refer to the following web links.

Clients of Sustainable Future:
After your Solar System has been installed visit the United States Department of the Treasury's Application Submission Page for payments in lieu of tax credits for specified energy property to fill out the necessary forms required to receive your federal payment.