Don’t be nervous when you hear talk of solar “incentive” programs going away, regardless of which of the following categories you fall into. (I use the word “incentive” loosely; these programs actually provide fair compensation for the solar energy you produce.)

solar harvard massExisting Solar Owners

If you’re getting SRECs in Massachusetts or REG payments in Rhode Island or RECs in New Hampshire, you will continue to get those benefits for the time period you signed up for. That’s 10 years for SRECs, 15 or 20 years for REG, and infinite for RECs.

People Going Solar Now

RI and NH homeowners, you will get into the REG and REC programs with no issue. The REG incentive program was recently extended for 10 more years.

New Hampshire is struggling with the funding of its solar rebate program because of high demand. We’ll know more about the status of that in a few weeks.

In MA, anyone who gets solar installed before the SREC program ends, currently slated for March 31, 2018, will get their 10 years of SRECs. (But it takes a few months to go solar, so don’t delay if you want in on SRECs.)

solar bolton massAfter that, SRECs will be replaced by the SMART program. While the financial benefit isn’t as high as SRECs, the creation of another incentive program confirms the state’s commitment to solar.

The federal Incentive Tax Credit – the mother of all solar incentives – won’t be taken away from you anytime soon. The ITC is available at the full 30% until the end of 2019. Then, it tapers down to 26% through 2020, 22% through 2021, and 10% through 2022.

Is it possible someone in Washington could take the ITC away? Anything’s possible I suppose, but there would be a major backlash from legislators who support solar and the economic, environmental and health benefits it brings. It’s extremely unlikely it would ever be taken away in the middle of a tax year, or that it would suddenly disappear without any warning.

Planning to Go Solar Soon

If you move quickly, the comments in the previous section apply to you, too.

Everyone Else

Is there anyone left? Because I thought everyone was already looking into using solar to shift their energy dollars away from the utility. 🙂 If you intend to look into solar a year or more from now, please read the above comments for the general outlook on these solar programs.

So while solar incentives are designed to decline over time (read my previous article for more on that), rest assured solar incentives cannot disappear overnight. Many of these programs were created through legislation. That means they can only be undone through new legislation. And as we all know, our government doesn’t move that fast.


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