In recent years, there has been a strong push to encourage everyone to reduce their carbon footprint. Things such as hybrid cars, alternative fuel options, solar energy and energy efficient products have all been on the forefront of this movement. As mentioned in our previous blog, here, the primary reason people and businesses have avoided taking part in this trend is that it’s simply too expensive. However, these grants could cut the upfront fee of investing in solar equipment by up to 40%. However, most people are relatively intimidated by the idea of applying for grants as they can be timely, confusing and not quite guaranteed. Because we at Radiant Energy not only believe in reducing our carbon footprint, but also because we believe in helping consumers receive affordable energy bills, we will show you how to apply for grants so you can finally afford to invest in your energy future. 

Categorizing

The first step in making a successful investment in solar energy is to gather a list of potential grants that you can apply for. There are five different types of solar energy grants, Federal, State, Local, Utility, and Nonprofit. The next determinant of what grants you are eligible for depends on your location. This can vary by state, city and local utility. Start by calling your local utility and asking about what solar energy incentives they offer.  Often times you can qualify for more than one grant or type of grant so be sure to thoroughly look through them all. Also, be sure to notice when they expire, they are usually limited to a certain number of applicants or are only available for a short period of time. For example, someone living in Tampa, FL would go to these sites:

  1. Federal and State grants can be found here
  2. Local and Utility grants would be found here or here
  3. Nonprofit grants can be applied for here, or found here

An important aspect of finding the proper grant to apply for, is recognizing what type of equipment you would like, and then finding the grant that applies to your situation and your type of equipment. There are six types of equipment commonly deemed adequate for grants, which are

  1. Passive Solar Space Heating- Which is designing your home or building in a way that will prevent energy loss or inefficiencies, example
  2. Solar Water Heating-  Use this guide to make sure you make a good investment
  3. Solar Space Heating – Check out this
  4. Photovoltaics – LG won an award for being the best brand of PV
  5. Solar Thermal Energy – To learn more about Solar Thermal Energy and to shop around, check out this
  6. Solar Pool Heating – example

Sometimes there are requirements involved with grants that say you need to produce a certain amount of energy (which some equipment might not be able to do) or it is only available to those with photovoltaics (or one of the other types of equipment), so be careful what you choose.

Use Your Resources!

To find the exact type of equipment and figure out how much energy you’ll produce, contact a company such as Pure Energies. They may not be the person you end up buying equipment from, but often times they can give an accurate estimate of the type of equipment you’ll need, how much energy you’ll produce, and an estimate of what it’ll cost. All of which can be extremely valuable information. Being that it usually takes quite the investment they’ll be understanding of just the need for a quote and time to think about it.

Common Rules

Before you start your research, there are a few things you should know. The solar power system you choose has to be new, used systems won’t qualify. However, you can install it yourself. For consumers building new homes, there is no upper limit on the 30% tax credit. Also, the tax credit is not only for homeowners, condo and co-op owners can claim the credit as well, but not people who rent. Finally there is also a 30% tax credit for using wind energy, fuel cells or geothermal heat pumps.

Rules do Apply, and they are not very forgiving…

Probably the most important thing to consider, is that in order to receive the grants, you must have already installed the equipment. That is why planning and strong consideration into the requirements of grants is vital. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to spend $20,000 on equipment, expecting to get $7,000 back and then not get any money back because you failed to meet one small requirement for the grant.

Applying for solar energy government grants can be a very demanding and exhausting process, there’s no doubt about it. However, even if it takes you 50 hours to do all of the necessary research (which is an exaggeration of how long it would actually take) and then you get $6000 back from grants you essentially got paid $120/hour to research solar energy. It can be awfully rewarding if you put forth the time and effort.

As always, if you have comments, concerns, or questions, Radiant Energy is here and would be glad to help.