A number of components used in making solar energy systems are eligible for tax credits in the U.S. A federal research team said Thursday that they’ve compiled a list of 70 products that can be claimed as a tax deduction based on specific criteria. In addition to the list of tax deductible items, those buying certain solar components may also be able to save money by taking advantage of state and local tax incentives. Here’s a look at the items on the list.
Solar panels are the most basic components of a solar energy system. They convert sunlight into electricity, which is then stored in a battery or used directly to power devices such as electronics and appliances.
The federal government’s research team said they were motivated to research the components of solar energy systems after an analysis of U.S. federal income tax returns found that homeowners who installed solar energy systems had an average annual income of $70,000 and a tax refund of $15,000. Based on those figures, the team estimated that there were 50,000 homes in the U.S. with solar panels. They also said that every year, Americans spend as much as $20 billion on solar panels, with the majority purchasing the most basic models.
Power Conditioning Equipment (PCE)
PCE, which stands for power conditioning equipment, is used in both residential and commercial settings to filter and stabilize the electricity produced by solar panels. In some cases, it also helps to prevent blackouts by increasing the grid’s capacity for electricity. PCE can be used in both simple and advanced configurations, making it one of the more complex items on the list. It can also be one of the more expensive parts of a solar system, depending on the model and whether it’s purchased as a new installed unit or as part of a complete kit.
An inverter, which stands for inverter/converter, is used in converting direct current (DC) electricity from a solar panel into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can be used to power electronics and appliances.
The inverter is an important part of the solar energy system. It can either be fixed in place or attached to move with the solar panel and follow the sun’s movement across the sky, allowing the system to generate electricity at all times regardless of the time of day or night. Without it, the solar panel’s efficiency would be reduced by about ten percent.
Batteries are used in various applications, from electronics to vehicles, to store energy generated by solar panels. The specific type of battery used in a system can impact not only the longevity of the product but also its performance. In addition, the type of battery can affect whether the system is eligible for tax credits or not. There are three basic types of batteries: nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium ion (Li-ion).
NiCad batteries are more common than NiMH and Li-ion batteries in residential solar energy systems because they’re easier to install and maintain. Despite their lower cost, NiMH and Li-ion batteries last longer and require less maintenance.
A charge controller is a device that is used in maintaining a steady current of electricity flow in a battery. It’s one of the more important components of a solar power system because it can impact both the efficiency and the life span of the battery. In general, more expensive charge controllers are more convenient to use and provide better performance.
Wet Plate Collector
A wet plate collector, which stands for wet plate collector/converter, is similar to an inverter in that it’s used to convert electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) but it also includes a collection tank where rainwater is used to clean the panel and increase its efficiency. The system is more efficient when it’s installed in a greenhouse setting where it can collect water during the day and transfer it to a storage tank at night when the sun no longer shines. Wet plate collectors are commonly used in combination with solar panels.
An eco fan, which stands for eco fan/blower, is used in both residential and commercial applications to force air throughout a building’s interior, promoting a healthy indoor environment. An eco fan can remove unpleasant smells, stale air, and moisture from the air, improving the quality of life for anyone inside the building. In some instances, an eco fan can reduce the overall energy consumption of a residence or business by up to 20 percent. In addition to having better indoor air quality (IAQ), eco fans also offer the advantage of cost effective long-term solutions for reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
A radiator coupler, which stands for radiator coupling/adapter, is used in connecting two pieces of equipment — such as a solar panel and an eco fan — while allowing the free flow of air. Radiator couplers are commonly found in HVAC systems but they can also be used to create clean air systems for greenhouses and other indoor environments where contaminants can build up over time.
A remote-controlled valve (RCV), which stands for remote-controlled valve, is used to regulate the temperature, humidity, and flow of air in a residence or business. A remote-controlled valve can be controlled from a smartphone using a dedicated app to regulate the climate inside. If you have multiple RCVs installed in different parts of your home or business, you can set individual temperatures and control the flow of air between them using your phone. Some remote-controlled valves are designed to be controlled directly from a smartphone while others can be controlled manually or electronically through a relay or switch.
Ceiling fans, which stand for ceiling fan/blower, are used in both residential and commercial applications to create a draft or breeze by moving air within the space, usually from the ground up toward the ceiling. When installing a ceiling fan, the height of the blades must be considered because if they are too low, they won’t create a breeze.
Ceiling fans are efficient at moving large volumes of air and can significantly reduce energy consumption across the board. In addition, they promote better air quality by cleaning the room’s air and removing some contaminants, which are then either recycled or replaced with fresh air.
Glazing, which stands for glazing/window, is used to protect solar cells from direct exposure to the sun’s rays to ensure that they remain functional for longer. It’s a vital component for keeping sunlight energy practical and available whenever needed. In addition to being able to block out the sun’s heat gain, glazing can also be used to allow some light to penetrate the space while still keeping out the high-energy photons.
Rim lighting, which stands for rim lighting/bulb, is used in both residential and commercial applications as either the only light source or in combination with natural light to provide additional soft lighting for the space. However, rim lighting is not always the most convenient or practical way to light up a room; sometimes, it requires additional work to setup and maintain.
Shelves, which stand for shelves/cupboard, are used in both residential and commercial applications to keep track of small everyday items or create a decorative display. Shelves can be used in a variety of ways, from holding office supplies to displaying artwork to storing seasonal decorations.
Shelves provide a quick and easy way to organize a space while creating a sense of visual appeal.
As you can see from the list above, a number of different items used in making solar energy systems are eligible for tax credits, provided specific criteria are met. In addition, those who purchase certain solar components may be able to save money by taking advantage of state and local tax incentives. Those who sell their home would benefit from reduced property taxes, while those who install a renewable energy system may qualify for energy rebates or subsidies.