Grants for Installing Solar Panels

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Businesses, non-profit organizations, government facilities and homeowners can get state and federal grants for installing solar panels. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allocated funding to states to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency–much of which ended up at local utility companies. Consumers can apply for this money in the form of rebates, loans, grants and tax rebates from local utilities.


The term “grants” often loosely describes “rebates” and “tax credits” interchangeably. Although a grant may not be obviously available in your state, a sizable rebate, tax credit or loan may be offered. Check with your local utility company.

Maryland Energy Administration

  • The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) provides grants to businesses to install photovoltaic solar panel systems. The MEA also offers a solar grant to homeowners. Limited funding is available. Businesses and non-profit organizations should apply before October for grants in the coming year.

    To be eligible, the solar system must be between 20 and 200 kilowatts. The maximum grant is $50,000.

    Applicants must: (1) Complete the Pre-qualification Form, Application Form, Maryland Historical Trust Review Form and Photovoltaic Application; (2) Review the Mid-Size Solar Grant Program Terms & Conditions and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Addendum; (3) Obtain a cost estimate from the installer, an itemized list of components, a site plan and a shading analysis.

    Business and non-profit applicants must show that their installation is in compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act.

    Maryland Energy Administration
    60 West St. Suite 300
    Annapolis, Md 21401
    410-260-7655
    energy.maryland.gov/incentives/business/MidSizedSolarGrants.asp
    energy.state.md.us/incentives/residential/solargrants/index.asp

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

  • The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation awards grants of up to $10,000 to install a photovoltaic system in K-12 schools or other children's educational facilities. The installations give students a hands-on opportunity to understand solar power. According to the foundation's website, the students get “real-time data on the amount of electricity generated by the photovoltaic system at each solar school.” Applicants should read the 2010 Small-Scale Solar PV Program K-12 Brochure and complete an application form.

    Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
    2 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1140
    Chicago, IL 60602
    312-372-5191 (p)
    illinoiscleanenergy.org/renewable_body.asp

Federal Grants

  • U.S. business taxpayers can get a federal grant of 30 percent for installing a photovoltaic system. See IRS Form 3468 for details. According to nytimes.com, “the federal government offered the option of a 30 percent upfront grant instead of the tax credit, as part of the 2009 recovery act.”

    Residential taxpayers can get a federal tax credit of 30 percent for installing a photovoltaic system; the credit can be carried forward if it is not used all at once. See IRS Form 5695 for details, or check with your local utility company or the company installing the system.

Wyoming State Energy Office Residential Photovoltaic Grant Program

  • The Wyoming State Energy Office Residential Photovoltaic Grant Program provides funding for residential installation of photovoltaic systems. Check the agency's website for details.

    Wyoming State Energy Office
    214 West 15th St.
    Cheyenne, WY 82002-0240
    307-777-2800
    wyomingbusiness.org/business/energy_resphoto.aspx

References

  • Photo Credit Solar Panel image by kuhar from Fotolia.com
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