How to Save Money on Solar Panels In Vermont

Despite featuring some of the highest solar equipment costs in the country, Vermont offers homeowners strong financial incentives to go solar. With benefits from net metering, federal tax credits, and state tax exemptions, Vermonters could save over $16,000 in utility costs with solar panels. This guide covers all the ways Green Mountain State residents can maximize solar savings.

Overview of Solar Incentives in Vermont

While solar panels may seem expensive upfront, Vermont incentivizes renewable energy infrastructure better than most states. Programs like net metering and the federal solar tax credit help drive down the cost by thousands. Additionally, aggressive renewable standards ensure these benefits stay in place for years to come.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The most impactful solar incentive comes from the federal government. The solar tax credit offers a 30% return on all purchases made toward a home solar array. This includes equipment, installation labor, permits, and even sales tax.

To qualify, Vermonters must own their solar panel system outright, whether bought upfront or financed with a solar loan. All equipment needs certification establishing it as new. And finally, homeowners must live at the site where their panels are installed.

Recently extended until 2034, the federal tax credit will then decrease annually before phasing out completely in 2035. So Vermont residents still have plenty of time to capitalize on the 30% savings.

Vermont‘s Net Metering Policy

While the state doesn’t offer rebates or credits, net metering more than makes up for it. This policy requires utility companies to reimburse solar homeowners for any excess power produced. Typically, the reimbursement rate is quite small. However, Vermont utilities must pay out at a blended residential retail rate.

At 12-15 cents per kWh depending on your provider, net metering credits in Vermont are 4-5 times higher than most states. So even if your solar panels produce more energy than you use some months, you’ll still get value from the excess through a credit.

Vermont‘s Aggressive Renewable Standards

Driving programs like net metering is an uncompromising renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Vermont aims for 55% renewable energy by 2017, increasing to 75% by 2032. With goals like these, state officials remain committed to growing solar infrastructure.

Meeting such high standards requires constant reassessment of solar incentives. Homeowners in Vermont can feel confident that their net metering benefits and overall savings will continue thanks to a powerful RPS.

Tax Exemptions

Another set of savings comes from Vermont’s solar tax exemptions. Homeowners benefit from excluded sales tax and 20 years of reduced property taxes after installing solar panels. Together, these exemptions save thousands in taxes.

Should You Lease Solar Panels?

For homeowners who can’t purchase solar panels outright, leasing remains an option. While upfront costs disappear with a solar lease, you lose access to incentives like the federal tax credit. Despite missing out on additional savings, a solar lease still reduces electricity bills.

Given Vermont’s high traditional utility rates, solar leasing could make financial sense for some residents. Just be sure to run the numbers properly when deciding between buying and leasing solar panels.

Summary of Vermont Solar Incentives

Federal Tax Incentive30% credit
Vermont Tax Credits / RebatesNone / none
Net MeteringNet metering at blended retail rate
Renewable Portfolio Standard55% by 2017, 75% by 2032
Property Tax Exemption100%
Sales Tax Exemption100%

With strong solar incentives from both federal and state programs, Vermont makes it easy to afford residential solar panels. Use this guide to maximize your savings when going solar!

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