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Make Smart Use of Remaining Tax Credits

All astute homeowners were aware of -- and many used -- the big tax credit for energy-efficient window and door replacements that ended last year. There are, however, some other tax incentives that bring financial advantages now. 

Research is the first step for your jurisdiction as there are current incentives in play from local, state, and federal agencies. Don’t forget you can also utilize incentives offered by power companies. Most of the remaining programs are for renewable energy and energy-efficient products with a few smaller incentives for weatherization, insulation, energy efficiency and so on; it definitely pays to do some homework. 

Perhaps your goal is to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient or maybe you want to play a small part in preserving the ecosystem. By harnessing clean energy and hot water from sunlight and keeping clean air, heat, humidity, and mold/mustiness where they belong, you accomplish both.

What’s Included in Credits?

For starters -- and for example -- under Energy Star for most of their products the credit is 30% of the cost with no limit and expires Dec. 31, 2016. Qualifiers comprise existing homes and new construction for principal residences and second homes; rentals do not qualify. Regardless of whether a credit is attached or not, it’s important to understand these improvements will pay you back via lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time.

Requirements for renewable energy tax credits from North Carolina’s Department of Revenue vary from Energy Star. These allowable credits are taken in five equal installments commencing the year the installation cost/equipment is placed into service. If the credit is not used entirely during these five years, the remaining amount may be carried over for an additional five years. 

Let’s take a look at this program in which the credit is subject to various ceilings dependent on sector and renewable-energy system type. The following credit limits for various technologies and sectors apply:

  • A maximum of $3,500 for non-business, solar-energy equipment for active-space heating; combined active-space and domestic water-heating systems; and passive space heating
  • A maximum of $1,400 for non-business, solar water-heating systems (including solar pool-heating systems)
  • A maximum of $10,500 for renewable-energy systems for non-business use 
  • A maximum of $8,400 for geothermal-equipment installation
  • A maximum of $2,500,000 for solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass applications on commercial and industrial facilities, including photovoltaic (PV), daylighting, solar water heating and space-heating technologies

Expenditures eligible for the tax credit include:

  • Cost of the equipment and associated design
  • Construction costs
  • Installation costs less any discounts
  • Rebates
  • Advertising
  • Installation-assistance credits
  • Name-referral allowances or other similar reductions

Do you own a business? Locally -- with Duke Energy's Smart $aver Incentive program -- cash savings result for installing high-efficiency lighting, HVAC, pumps and other qualifying equipment, increasing your bottom line by reducing energy consumption and also by helping to lower upgrade costs.

Prepare Today for the Payoff Tomorrow

At first glance, improvements such as incorporating geothermal heat pumps and solar-panel energy systems seem to be extremely expensive. However, when you factor in all the potential tax credits and incentives these projects turn out to be very appealing options. Unfortunately getting the message out clearly to homeowners is the biggest roadblock.

Have a look at rebates and credits available in Mecklenburg County at: To help further, here are additional terms to assist you during your research:

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