Home Energy Upgrade Tax Credits for 2015

Posted: 01/16/2015

As you start the new year and prepare your taxes for 2014, you may want to consider some energy upgrades to your home in 2015. While no new energy tax credits have gone into effect this year, there are a few tax credits from The Energy Policy Act of 2005 that haven’t expired yet, so you can beef up your 2015 return.

Going Solar
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, installing solar electrical systems (such as solar panels) or solar water heaters during 2015 is worth a tax credit for 30% of your installation expenses. 

The credit applies to all solar electric or water systems put in use between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2016. For systems put in place after 2008, there is no maximum credit allowance (otherwise, the limit is $2,000). The home must be owned by the taxpayer, but does not have to be his principal place of residence (so the credit applies to rental properties you may own, too).

In regard to a solar water-heating system, the Solar Rating Certification Corporation must certify its performance, or an organization endorsed by the state of Missouri. In order for installation expenses to be eligible for a tax credit, at least half of the dwelling’s water must be heated by the system. And it can’t be applied to systems used only to heat swimming pools or hot tubs.

Fuel Cell Power
This same tax credit applies to fuel cells installed between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2016. According to FuelCells.org:

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water and heat as its by-product. In its simplest form, a single fuel cell consists of two electrodes - an anode and a cathode - with an electrolyte between them. At the anode, hydrogen reacts with a catalyst, creating a positively charged ion and a negatively charged electron. The proton then passes through the electrolyte, while the electron travels through a circuit, creating a current. At the cathode, oxygen reacts with the ion and electron, forming water and useful heat. This single cell generates about 0.7 volts, just about enough to power a single light bulb. When cells are stacked in series the output increases, resulting in fuel cells anywhere from several watts to multiple megawatts.

The maximum credit for a fuel cell is $500 per half kilowatt (kW) and the home the fuel cell system is installed in must be the tax payer’s primary residence.

Additional Items
This tax credit also applies to small wind-energy systems (wind turbines) and geothermal heat pumps installed between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2016. They do not need to be on the taxpayer’s primary place of residence.

A few other restrictions apply for some of these items. Complete details are available on the U.S. Department of Energy website. If you’re interested in an energy upgrade that will both benefit the planet and your 2015 tax return, contact HA Construction for a quote on the project.