Federal & State Incentives AND Grants for Solar/Wind

Tax policy and government incentives are a form of social engineering used by the government to incentivize the public to do what it wants done.  For example, the federal government strongly encourages renewable energy by offering a 30% Investment Tax Credit, or ITC.  State government may offer other great incentives too.  What are you waiting for?   Take advantage of these benefit while they last.  Opportunities available for homeowners, farms, (and small/large business too) consist of:

  • Investment Tax Credit (ITC) / 30% Federal Tax Credit
  • State Incentives: SREC / Rebates
  • Illinois Solar Incentives
  • Missouri Solar Incentives
  • USDA REAP Grants for Farms & Rural Small Businesses
  • And more!

A Tick Tock Energy sales consultant can help you identify incentives for your area and help optimize your investment.

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Financing Your Farm & Home Solar Investment

There are multiple ways to finance your solar project.  Folks readily finance vehicles, boats, and items that often LOSE value.  Solar INCREASES your property value and generates income (in the form of energy savings).  Other rebates or solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) are potential income.  Tax credits help shelter your hard-earned income.  Many are taking out on all these great financing benefits.  Don’t miss out if you’re short on capital.  We can help find a way to make your solar investment a reality.   For more info click here.

Turn Sunshine Into Cashflow SM

Below are possible methods for financing your farm & residential solar or wind turbine investment:

 

 

Cash Payment:

If you have your own cash this is the cheapest form of financing and recommended if you can swing the investment.

Your 401K:

Many folks nearing or at retirement are drawing from their 401K funds to pay for solar.  During your 20 to 30+ years of retirement, you may experience steep increases in your energy bills.  Protect against energy inflation AND a potential stock market crash and invest in a “hard asset” like solar that can’t be swindled by Wall Street.  Think about it.  Baby boomers are retiring in mass and demographics show a massive withdrawal of 401K funds from the market which puts downward pressure on stock and mutual funds.  Be a smart investor – invest in solar, wind and energy-efficiency.

HELOC Loan / Refinance:

If you have equity in your home consider opening up a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or refinance your mortage and use equity in your home to pay for solar.  With long-term, fixed and low interest rate financing secured by your property, this may be one of your lowest cost forms of capital to fund you solar and energy-efficiency improvements.

FHA / T-1 Home Improvement Loan:

This popular loan option allows you to borrow up to $35,000 in a mix of secured and unsecured financing.  Up to $25,000 of secured loan (tied to your home), and possible another $10,000 in “unsecured” loans are possible.

Solar Loan:

A simple solar loan is another basic unsecured loan option with a simple application and approval process.  This does not require a home refinance or other process that can take time and require loan fees.  Consider a 2-loan approach where one short-term “same-as-cash” solar loan covers a portion of the project equal to your tax credit, and a 2nd loan for the balance you finance longer term.   After you monetize your tax credit, use those funds to pay off loan #1.  The longer-term loan #2 is paid off over-time.  Depending on your electricity rate, you may cover 50% up to 100% of you loan payment with electricity savings alone.  An SREC incentive or other rebate potentially could be large enough to pay the balance or generate positive cashflow!

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Hybrid Cash Downpayment / Loan:

Any source of funds you can apply to lower the finance amount will help keep your monthly payments as low as possible.

Solar Lease / Power Purchase Agreements (PPA):

A “PPA”, or solar lease is a popular approach in areas of the US with high electricity rates.  Although these are great mechanisms for financing solar without money down, they don’t really pencil out in states with low electricity prices and therefore NOT AVAILABLE, or maybe only in a limited, case-by-case basis.  For the typical Illinois, Missouri and adjacent Midwest homeowners, forget about this approach the PPA is generally not available.  There are many pros/cons of a PPA so do your homework if you are considering one.

Farm Credit Unions:

Farmers – you are likely financing all types of ag equipment now. Solar can provide you great tax benefits from the ITC (30% federal tax credit) and 5-year accelerated depreciation.  Invest in solar and eliminate the electrical cost from your farm budget!

Residential PACE Financing:

In states like Missouri, The HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) Program may be available in certain areas and provides an affordable financing option for energy-efficient and renewable energy upgrades, which help homeowners increase efficiency, comfort and savings.  The HERO Program is a 100% financing option, repaid through property tax assessments over 5, 10, 15, or 20 year fixed terms.  Qualification is not dependent upon a homeowners personal credit score, but instead uses the value of the property.  The HERO Program will offer financing to qualified homeowners up to 20% of their property value, with the total debt on the property not exceeding 90%.  This PACE program allows homeowners to install solar, or other water and energy efficiency items without the burden of cash up front, most often leading to instant savings on their monthly utility bills.  The HERO Program is coming to MO soon – please contact us for most recent news on the program availability.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA):

PPA’s are popular financing options in states with high costs of electricity and/or lucrative incentive programs.  The PPA model looks like this:

  • You lease your rooftop to a solar company that will pay for, install, and OWN the solar system for long term (typically 10 to 20 years).
  • The PPA provider (not you) will take the tax credit, any incentives, and accelerated depreciation since they own your solar system as a business investment.
  • You then enter into a long-term contract with the PPA provider to purchase electricity from the solar array on your rooftop. You agree to an electric rate ($/kWh) that is lower than your current rate.  There are also likely agreed-upon escalators on that electric rate.

Keep in mind that company’s offering these options need to earn a rate return to cover the financing costs, and their long-term overhead of installing and owning the solar asset on your roof or property.  These same companies may often securitize multiple solar contracts into a security they sell to Wall Street to raise capital.

At the end of the day, a PPA may not be in your best interest.  They work great for public-sector entities like a school or government facility.  It’s a case-by-case consideration.  This model is not readily available in states with lower cost of electricity found in Illinois and surrounding Midwest states for example.

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