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Georgia - Energy tax credit, solar rebates and incentives

Georgia Renewable and Solar Energy Incentives

Georgia is a state with lots of sunshine.  One major solar power benefit exists in Georgia:  the Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act of 2015.  This act allows solar leasing and power-purchase agreements -- making solar more cost effective for home and business owners statewide.

The Federal Government also offers a 30% tax credit for the whole installed cost of your system  That's a huge benefit available to you no matter where you live in the US!

Georgia Renewable Portfolio Standards

Georgia doesn't have an RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard).  This is a regulation that requires utilities to increase their production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal by a certain date.  Utilities must meet the standards by either producing their own renewable energy or by purchasing it from customers.  They must pay high fees if the standards are not met.  Rather than paying high fees, utilities in strong RPS state offer solar incentives to homeowners as it is less costly for them.  Since Georgia has no RPS, there are no state incentives for solar.

Georgia RPS Solar Carve Out

Solar carve outs require a certain percentage of the Renewable Portfolio Standards to be met with solar energy.  Georgia has no solar carve out.

Georgia State Electric Rates

Georgia's electric rates rank 25th out of fifty states.  A state's electric rates are one of the key factors in predicting whether an investment in solar panels makes sense.  The reason for this is simple:  the success of solar power is in directly related to local electric rates.  Lower electric rates make it harder to justify an investment in solar power.  Higher electric rates make an investment in solar energy much more feasible.  Georgia's lower electric rates make investing in solar power less attractive.

Georgia Net Metering

Georgia offers net metering, but the substance of its net-metering law isn't all that helpful for Georgia residents.  Net metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred into the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.  When you generate electricity from your solar array for your home or business, it reduces the amount of energy you purchase from your electric utility.  It also lowers your monthly electricity bills.  If your system produces more energy than you need, the excess power is sold back to the grid.  That amount of energy is deducted from your monthly bill or credited toward a future bill.

Georgia's net-metering law does not have any protections in place to prevent utilities from imposing unexpected fees on customers.  It also has caps on residential systems and a lower aggregate volume limit -- meaning you may be restricted from connecting into the grid just because other homeowners in your area have already done so.

Georgia Interconnection Standards

Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid.  These rules apply to both electricity customers and utilities.  Georgia does not have statewide interconnection standards which makes the interconnection process in Georgia complex and/or expensive.  This can be a definite problem when trying to bring a solar energy system online and makes it more difficult for a solar power system to make financial sense.  You can determine the interconnection standard of your local utility by speaking with a solar installer.

Georgia Energy Rebates

Solar power rebates are incentives federal or state governments offer to reduce the cost of going solar.  You can get a lump sum payment or your installer will take the amount off the final installed price.  Rebates require paperwork to be filed.  Many times installers will handle the paperwork.  Georgia does not have any statewide solar power rebate programs.

Georgia State Energy Tax Credits

There are no state tax credits in Georgia.  As a credit, you take the amount directly off your tax payment, rather than as a deduction from your taxable income.  You can claim the credit for your primary residence, vacation home, and for either an existing structure or new construction.

Georgia Solar Power Performance Payments (Performance-Based Incentives)

Georgia offers Solar Power Performance Payments, also know as production incentives (the state ranks 22ndin the nation).  Solar Power Performance Payments provide small cash payments based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by a renewable energy system.  Payments based on a system's actual performance are much more effective than payments based on a system's rated capacity.  Electricity produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).  

Georgia Property Tax Exemptions for Energy

There are no property tax exemptions for installed solar systems in Georgia.  Property tax exemptions allow businesses and homeowners to exclude the added value of a system from the valuation of their property for taxation purposes.  An exemption makes it more economically feasible for  taxpayer to install a solar system on a residential or commercial property.

Georgia Sales Tax Exemptions for Energy

Georgia doesn't offer sales tax exemptions.  A sales tax exemption means that homeowners and businesses would not have to pay any state sales tax on their solar panel system.

Georgia Energy-efficient mortgages

Homeowners are able to use the federal loan program: EEM (energy-efficient mortgages) for the use of financing residential renewable energy and technology systems

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