Current policies to watch for regarding solar in 2020

May 30, 2019 | 4min read

Policies to watch for regarding solar energy are being made by both governments and utilities. At the Federal level, the Federal Tax Credit for Solar continues to phase out. At the state level, California residents will find policies from the state and utility companies that will make adding batteries to solar systems more attractive than ever. In Illinois, residents can take advantage of a generous state-level per-kilowatt incentive for installing solar systems on their homes.


Federal Tax Credit for solar power begins a phase-out

Currently, the Federal Tax Credit for solar energy is a 26% tax credit on the price you pay to go solar. To receive the full 26% credit, homeowners must have begun their system’s installation by December 30th, 2020. After December 30th, the tax credit will be reduced to 22%. It will be phased out after that.

California: Incentives and utility company policies mean batteries make more sense than ever

The state of California has set an ambitious goal of running on 100% renewable power. At the same time, utility companies are struggling to deal with the serious risk of wildfires sparked by electrical transmission lines during hot dry conditions. To help meet its renewable energy goals, the state of California launched the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). The program incentivizes solar system owners to add batteries to their system by offering a $500 per kilowatt-hour credit for home batteries. The credit pays up to $500 per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity directly to homeowners. California exempts renewable energy upgrades from property tax assessments, so adding batteries to your system won’t increase your property tax.

High peak TOU rates in the evening can be avoided with batteries

Along with the incentive offered by SGIP, Californians can increase their solar energy savings by powering their homes with batteries during high peak Time of Use (TOU) rates charged by California’s three major utility companies. Those peak TOU rates are in effect during evening hours, after the sun has set.

Batteries can power a home during those peak rates. They can then be either recharged during off-peak times from the grid as long as they get the majority of their power from the owners solar system. Batteries can also be charged by the homeowners’ solar system during the day. Another benefit of home batteries is that they can provide power during blackouts. California residents have a lot more blackouts coming in their future.

More planned blackouts coming to California

To combat the risk of wildfires sparked by electrical transmission lines, the three major utilities; SDG&E, PG&E, and SCE are planning to shut down transmission lines during peak fire danger times. The utility companies say they intend to give customers 48 hour’s notice of planned power outages. They hope these outages will last no more than 48 hours. But all three utility companies warn that customers should be ready for longer blackouts. These planned blackouts will affect millions of Californians during the hot, dry days of late summer in California.

Illinois state and utility company incentives for going solar

Illinois homeowners have several incentives available for going solar. The state of Illinois exempts solar systems from property tax appraisals. Thus homeowners don’t have to pay higher property taxes when they go solar. Homeowners who go solar are also eligible at the state-level for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). This program gives system owners renewable energy credits that the homeowner can sell to companies that produce carbon emissions on Illinois renewable energy marketplace. The value of the credit depends on the price the state gets on its renewable energy marketplace for carbon credits.

Learn more about the Illinois Shines in its program brochure

ComEd customers eligible for per kilowatt-hour incentive

Illinois ratepayers served by ComEd are eligible for a per-kilowatt-hour rebate for solar power generated by their solar systems. As of June of 2019, the incentive provides $72.97 for every megawatt-hour a homeowner’s system is rated to produce over 15 years. Commercial solar system owners are eligible for a $250 per kilowatt-hour incentive for energy produced by their systems. Solar systems can be no larger than 2,000 watts in capacity to be eligible for the credit.

Smart power: The future of renewable energy?

Many companies have begun experimenting with smart home power management systems that combine solar, battery, and grid-power. This system can maximize a homeowner’s degree of energy independence and level out energy demands on the grid.

These smart-systems monitor homeowners’ energy usage and manage energy produced and consumed by the household. A smart system can turn appliances on and off to manage energy usage. To manage a household’s power usage, the system must learn how the household uses power.

Ultimately, the companies hope that smart power systems will enable wider distribution of electrical power generation. Distributing power generation enables homeowners to power their homes independent of the grid as much as possible.

Freedom Forever is ready to meet your future energy needs

Current policies regarding solar offer challenges and opportunities for new and current solar system owners. Freedom Forever is there to help whether you are looking to install a new solar system or increase your solar panel capacity. Freedom Forever can help you plan for and implement the renewable energy solution you need for your future energy needs.

Ready to go solar? Call us at 800-685-1850 or click below to get started.