Georgia is well-known for its lush landscapes that thrive in the warm weather and its abundance of sunlight. Until very recently, however, Georgia’s legislature had taken very little action in the way of taking advantage of this ever-present resource. In order to help residents save money, as well as improve the air quality of the state, especially around its major cities, Georgia has passed legislation to promote the installation and use of renewable energy in homes and businesses.
Happily for green-savvy Georgia residents, the days when net metering was the only incentive to use solar power are over. Now, there are a variety of ways in which Georgians can benefit from the shift toward renewable energy. Several local utilities companies, including those deriving their power from the Tennessee Valley Authority, offer rebate programs. In addition, statewide programs such as personal tax credits, net metering, and rebate programs for some solar power and heating equipment are helping Georgia take the lead in renewable energy in the South.
|Program Type||Personal Tax Credit|
|Technologies||Solar Hot Water Heating, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind and Geothermal Heat Pumps|
|Required Documentation||Application to the Georgia Tax Commissioner|
|Official Web Site||http://www.gefa.org/Index.aspx?page=423|
Georgia offers a generous tax-credit program for homeowners that install photovoltaic and solar heating systems in their homes. These tax credits cover 35 percent of the costs of both installation and equipment, for amounts up to $2,500 for solar water heating systems, and $10,500 for photovoltaic systems. These tax credits can also cover renewable energy equipment that is leased; the value of leased equipment is calculated at eight times the annual rental fees. All solar heating equipment must be certified by Solar Rating Certification Corporation or the Florida Solar Energy Center.
Because Georgia has a limit on the total amount of tax credits that may be claimed, homeowners must submit a preliminary application to the Georgia Tax Commissioner before applying for these credits. The limit for credits through this program is $2.5 million, and these credits are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get your application in early if you would like to take advantage of this program. These tax credits may be claimed until Dec. 31, 2012.
|Program Type||Performance-based Incentive|
|Amount||$0.17/kWh or $0.15 or less on bid projects|
|Required Documentation||Distributed generation contract with Georgia Power|
|Official Web Site||http://www.georgiapower.com/spotlightsolar/solar_customers.asp|
Georgia Power offers residents a buyback program for electricity generated through solar panels that pays at a higher rate than standard net metering. Under this buyback program, available to both homes and businesses, power generated by photovoltaic systems is purchased at a rate of $0.17 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), for any power capacity up to five megawatts (MW), and 1.5 MW will be purchased from households generating less than 100 kW. The most recent 1 MW expansion will purchase power from customers that propose bids of less than $0.15/kWh to Georgia Power.
Any home or business connected to the Georgia Power grid may participate, but customers must first submit a distributed-generation contract to qualify. Program participants can use existing solar panel systems, but all equipment must comply with the standards set down by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the National Electrical Safety Code
|Technologies||Solar Hot Water Heating and Energy Efficient Appliances|
|Amount||$199 for solar water heaters; amount varies for other appliances|
|Required Documentation||: Phone or Internet application and receipt for appliance|
|Official Web Site||http://www.GeorgiaRebate.com|
Many states encourage their residents to purchase energy-efficient appliances, and Georgia is no exception. While this program mostly applies to household appliances, clean energy aficionados will be pleased to find out that solar water heaters are also covered under this rebate program. The amount of the rebate depends on what type of appliance is purchased, but can be up to $199 for solar water heaters.
To take advantage of this program, homeowners must purchase an Energy Star appliance, and then apply online or over the phone to the program, and submit a receipt within 30 days of the purchase. While $8 million in funds have already been reserved through this program, more money has been budgeted for rebates. To check on fund availability, visit the program’s website at http://www.GeorgiaRebate.com or call 1-866-296-1633.
Corporate Tax Credit
Personal Tax Credit
Sales Tax Exemption
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Solar Access Law/Guideline
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.