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Solar energy technologies diversify our energy supply, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and slow our energy demand. Indiana has modest solar energy resource potential, and solar energy is a good option for homes and business owners to heat and cool space and water. Hoosiers can also use solar photovoltaic panels to offset their traditional electricity use from the electric grid.
This page features brief explanations of how solar technology works and lists local and federal funding and incentives for solar technologies.
Solar Panels for electricity: A photovoltaic (PV) cell, commonly called a solar cell or PV, converts solar energy directly into electrical power. Individual PV cells are grouped into panels and arrays of panels that produce electricity to power single home or businesses. Learn more about installing solar arrays here. The National Renewable Energy Lab has created the In My Backyard (IMBY) calculator that shows how much electricity you can generate through Photovoltaic (PV) solar power at your home or business. Access the IMBY Calculator by clicking here.
Solar Sytems for heating: Low-temperature solar collectors also absorb the sun's heat energy, but instead of making electricity, use the heat directly for hot water or space heating in homes, offices, and other buildings. Solar systems can dramatically reduce the amount of energy you need to purchase from a utility, because space and water heating are normally the largest uses of energy in a home. Solar space and water heating systems can be classified as passive or active.
Due to technology costs, solar energy systems usually have large upfront costs which will then be recovered over time as the system lowers your monthly energy bills. This section decsribes several ways to lower your upfront costs, earn a little money over time, and ulitmately reduce your project's payback period.
Net metering progams allow customers to receive credit on their utility bills for the energy that their solar energy system produces. Meters essentially run backwards to track your energy production and result in lower monthly energy bills. System capacity size must be equal or less than 1 megawatt (MW). The following utilities offer net metering programs: Duke Energy, Indiana Michigan and Power Company (I&M), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), and Vectren.
Solar Energy Rebates: Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) offers a Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program to both residential and small to medium-sized commercial and industrial customers. The program will provide incentive payments of up to $4,000 per system: $2.00 per Watt installed. Maximum size: 19.9 kW. Learn more from IPL.
Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption: For any solar thermal, photovoltaic, and other solar energy systems installed after December 31, 2011, the assessed value of the system is exempt from property taxes. Property owners that wish to claim this deduction must fill out Form 18865 and file it with the local county auditor. Questions about this incentive should be directed to the local auditor or assessor. The Department of Local Government Finance outlines the incentive.
Indiana Sales Tax Incentive for Electrical Generating Equipment: equipment, machinery, and tools used in the production of renewable electricity are eligible for this exemption.
Indiana Income Tax Deduction for Solar-Powered Roof Vents or Fans: The amount of the deduction is equivalent to the lesser of either 50% of the installed cost or $1000. For more information, please see Indiana Department of Revenue’s Information Bulletin #105.
Business Energy Investment Tax Credit: The credit is equal to 30% of expenditures, with no maximum credit. Eligible solar energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Hybrid solar lighting systems are eligible. Passive solar systems and solar pool-heating systems are not eligible. This credit expires 12/31/16. Learn more here.
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit: Tax credit of 30% of cost with no upper limit. Applies to solar water heaters and to solar PV systems. Expiration: December 31, 2016. Learn more here.
Energy-Efficient Mortgages: Homeowners can take advantage of energy efficient mortgages (EEM) to either finance energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, including renewable energy technologies, or to increase their home buying power with the purchase of a new energy efficient home. Learn more here.
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)
The solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) trading system allows your solar energy system to earn a small amount of money for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) it produces. Owners of small systems can enter into a long-term contract with third-party aggregators who will then sell SRECs to utilities in states like Ohio. Once a solar energy system is certified and registered, one SREC can be awarded for 1000 killowatt-hours of electricity produced. Large solar producers can opt to sell their credits directly to utilities. OED does not endorse any one SREC third-party aggregator, but some common ones are as follows: SRECTrade, Sol Systems, Midwest Solar Aggregation Group, and Flett Exchange. You can also ask your solar installer which SREC trader he or she recommends.
Check OED's Energy Grant Resources page periodically for grant opportunities that fit Indiana businesses and nonprofits. This grants opportunities are not provided by OED; instead, they come from the local, state, and federal level. Some grants are from private foundations and utilities, while other opportunities are government grants.
In addition to customer reviews, you may want to consider whether the solar contractor is certified by The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). The State of Indiana does not require a solar contractor to obtain a license or certificate; however, solar contractors can voluntarily attain a certificate to instill confidence in consumers about the quality of their work. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a nationally-recognized, independent, voluntary certification program for photovoltaic and solar-thermal system installers. To become NABCEP-certified, installers must have one year of installation experience and must document all training and installations. Installers must also pass a rigorous exam, sign a code of ethics, and take continuing education courses for re-certification every three years.
OED hopes that these links provide a comprehensive guide of the available renewable energy businesses both in Indiana and other parts of the world. However, OED does not provide endorsements for organizations.
The Indiana Office of Energy Development formed the Indiana Solar Energy Working Group (ISEWG) to promote and support the use of solar energy in indiana, as well as the growth of supply chain, manufacturing and solar power related commercial/undustrial efforts in Indiana. The Inaugural meeting was held October 28, 2010 in Indianapolis.
MEETINGS AND MATERIALS
ISEWG Meeting Materials--October 28, 2010
Agenda: Download here.
Hutzel presentation: Download here.
Hylla presentation: Download here.
Woodall presentation: Download here.
ISEWG Meeting Materials-- January 11, 2011
Agenda: Download here.
Crawmer presentation: Download here.
Kuipers presentation: Dowload here.
Mann presentation: Download here.
Washington presentation: Download here.
Mark Your Calendars!--2011 ISEWG Meeting Dates
For more information about solar power, renewable energy, and programs offered by the Indiana Office of Energy Development, contact Megan Ottesen, email@example.com.