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Field Guide to Solar & Renewable Energy Features & Tax Credits

(Updated April 2014)

As energy prices continue to rise, solar and other renewable sources are becoming more affordable options for not only large utility-grade users, but also consumers. States help make the switch even more affordable with tax credits and other benefits currently on tap through at least 2016. This new field guide explores the basics of solar energy, how to get in the game, as well as current credits available both from federal and local authorities. (D. Shumaker, Senior Library Information Specialist)

Solar Panel


Q - Proquest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the Proquest/Find Articles page.


Green Designation 

Looking for more formal training in renewable energy and green building practices? NAR's Green designation provides real estate professionals with the knowledge and awareness of green building principles applied in residences, commercial properties, developments, and communities so that they can list, market, and manage green properties as well as guide buyer-clients in purchasing green homes and buildings.

For more information, visit the Green Resource Council page. 


The Basics

Solar subsidies help against financing headwinds, (Research Technology Management, Mar./Apr. 2014). Q

The far-reaching benefits of the energy property tax credit, (Houselogic, Feb. 18, 2014). — This tax season is the last you can claim it, unless Congress renews it for 2014, which is possible but not certain.

La. Solar tax credit price tag far above estimates, (Businessweek, Aug. 9, 2012).

Solar Energy Technologies, (U.S. Department of Energy, May 2011). — Solar energy technologies produce electricity from the energy of the sun.

Using Solar Energy,(Solarbuzz.com, 2011). — Find out how the technology can be used, learn about the common types of systems and discover how quickly a solar system will pay for itself.

Tracking the Sun III: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2009, (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dec. 2010). — A new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that the average cost of going solar in the U.S. decreased significantly in 2010 following global module price declines in 2009. These latest reductions are part of a downward solar cost trend that is due in part to federal, state and local policies that build American demand for renewable energy.


Adding Solar & Renewable Energy

Are solar panels worth the investment? (Washington Post, Mar. 26, 2014). — You’ll have to judge for yourself.

How to lease your own home solar power system, (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2012) — The big news in solar is the rise of leasing, which makes home systems more affordable and can save you money right away on your electric bill.

One of state's largest solar electrical systems powers Palatine home, (Chicago Daily Herald, May 29, 2011).

A Bright Spot for Solar, (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Apr. 21, 2011) — U.S. Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab study finds that photovoltaic systems boost the sales price of California homes.

Capturing the Sun, (Journal of Property Management, Jan./Feb. 2010) — Solar power investments can offer long-term savings in energy costs. Q

Is Solar-thermal Hot Water for You?, (HouseLogic.com, Oct. 7, 2010) — Roof-top solar panels that create hot water with sunshine significantly reduce energy bills and are relatively easy to install and maintain.


Solar/Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Please note: While accurate at time of publication, tax credit information can change. Please check with Federal, State & Local authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Rooftop Solar Leases Scaring Buyers When Homeowners Sell, (Bloomberg, June 23, 2014) — While purchasing solar panels can increase the value of your home, leasing them can cost you up to 10 percent.

Energy Tax Credits, (HouseLogic.com, 2014) — A frequently updated resource of articles from HouseLogic.

What you need to know about the extended federal tax credits for energy efficiency, (Energy.gov, 2013).

Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency, (EnergyStar.gov, 2013) — Available federal tax credits for various energy efficiencies are detailed with information on requirements, deadlines, and how to get the credit.

State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiencies, (DSIRE, 2013) — DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. There is a separate website detailing incentives just for solar.

Tax Incentives for Going Green, (CPA Journal, Nov. 2010) — A summary of the tax incentives available for green projects and guidance for maximizing the available tax benefits, five of which apply to businesses, one that applies to both businesses and individuals, and two that apply only to individuals. Q


eBooks & Other Resources

eBooks.realtor.org

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for your Home (Adobe eReader)

The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Energy Audits

Field Guide to Green Homes & Green Mortgages

Field Guide to Green Property Management

InfoCentral Blog


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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.