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Tax Credit FAQs


The following information is intended as general guidelines and not authoritative advice. Consult a tax professional for advice on how the ITC applies to specific situations.

FAQs About Changes to the Investment Tax Credit for Solar Projects

When will the new ITC be in effect?
The new ITC will apply to projects placed into service between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016. The new rules for the ITC will not be retroactive, so the restrictions on residential installations will remain in effect through 2008.


How did the residential ITC change?

Homeowners will be able to claim the full 30 percent of the cost of a solar installation as a tax credit; the $2,000-cap will no longer apply.


How did the commercial ITC change?

Utilities—in addition to all other businesses—will be eligible to claim the 30 percent ITC.


What happens if a homeowner can’t use the full credit in the year of installation?

Any unused portion of the residential ITC can be carried into future years.


How does the alternative minimum tax (AMT) affect the ITC?

Tax payers who claim the ITC should no longer be penalized by the AMT calculations, so AMT filers should be able to claim the full ITC.


Are there size limits on projects eligible for the ITC?

No, projects of any size or cost are eligible.


Is the funding for the ITC limited?

No, there are no limits on the number of taxpayers that can claim the ITC.


Have the accelerated depreciation rules for commercial projects changed?

Partly. Commercial projects are still classified as 5-year property under the modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS). However, the 50 percent ‘bonus depreciation’ for 2008 projects is set to expire.


Can members of a homeowners association (HOA) claim the ITC for an HOA-owned system?

Yes, members of the HOA are able to claim the residential ITC in proportion to their share of the HOA’s expenses; typically a homeowner’s monthly HOA payment should be directly related to their share of the HOA’s expenses.


*depending on state, utility, and other rebates and incentives


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