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Old 03-22-2021, 06:00 PM   #1
Grandpa Redneck
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Default Solar/Tax question

I know we have a few solar gurus and some tax pros on this forum, so I figured this was the place to hopefully get straight answers.
Last summer grandma and I put a small solar power set up on our off grid cabin. 1680 watts, and we spent about $4500. I know there is a solar tax rebate, but I was told it only applies to your full time residence, and only if it is a grid tied system, and professionally installed. Ours is off grid, and only a weekend get away, and we did it ourselves. I was also have been told it would apply to our set up.
My questions are.
1) Which is correct?
2) is it worth it to itemize our taxes to claim the rebate if our little off grid getaway is eligible? we always have filed EZ since we don't have enough itemized deductions to add up.
3) If eligible can we claim what we spent last year on this coming years taxes? (already filed and received our return for 2020)
Thanks in advance for the help
Grandpa Redneck

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Old 03-22-2021, 06:22 PM   #2
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Reference this:

https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/fi...Solar%20PV.pdf

In that guide it specifically states that you can get credits on installations on second homes. It also states that the system does not have to be hooked into the grid.

There is nothing that mentions it HAS to be installed by a contractor although that cost of contract labor can be added to the total cost of the system when calculating the credit.

There may be state credits available to you as well.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:02 PM   #3
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Not a tax question or answer, but I am wondering how productive a solar installation in the woods of NH would be given the shade of the forest and the winter snow cover. Thanks in advance for any perspective that might be shared.
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:08 PM   #4
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It has been working relatively well for us. Snow cover has been an issue, but I took preventative measures for that, we have 3 smaller 160 watt panels mounted vertically on the shed wall, they don't get snow covered, so they keep the battery bank topped off when the roof panels do get snow covered and we are not there to clean them off. We also have a backup generator just in case we need to charge the batteries because of too many sunless days in a row.
We have cleared out some trees to get better sun on the panels.
We had to go solar or run the generator all the time, our cabin is 3 miles from the nearest power line.
Our system is 8 210 watt panels on the shed roof, run to a Victron 250/100 MPPT charge controller, the 3 160 watt wall panels run to a 100/30 Victron which is networked to the 250/100 controller and a Victron BMV 712 battery monitor.
Current battery bank is 8 6 volt Trojan t-105 golf cart batteries in series/parallel for a 12 volt system, we will be upgrading to a Battleborn Lithium bank this summer.
Our cabin is mostly 12 volt system 12 volt Unique appliances solar fridge, 12 volt marine water pump(recommended by forum member Downeast) pumping from 2 300 gallon tanks that are spring fed, the water heater is a propane on demand from Precision temp, it has a 12 volt control system and a 12 volt power venter. All lights are 12 volt led from 12 volt monster.
we do have an inverter to run an oxygen concentrator for Grandma, she needs night time O2, but we only run it as needed at night.
Heat is by an empire DV-35 with a battery operated programmable thermostat, we run it at 42 degrees all week to prevent freeze ups, and then it kicks up to 65 at noon on Friday to have it comfortable when we arrive Friday night, then I get the wood stove going and the propane heater drops back to 42.
If you have any other questions I would be happy to answer anything I can.
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa Redneck View Post
I know we have a few solar gurus and some tax pros on this forum, so I figured this was the place to hopefully get straight answers.

Last summer grandma and I put a small solar power set up on our off grid cabin. 1680 watts, and we spent about $4500. I know there is a solar tax rebate, but I was told it only applies to your full time residence, and only if it is a grid tied system, and professionally installed. Ours is off grid, and only a weekend get away, and we did it ourselves. I was also have been told it would apply to our set up.

My questions are.

1) Which is correct?

2) is it worth it to itemize our taxes to claim the rebate if our little off grid getaway is eligible? we always have filed EZ since we don't have enough itemized deductions to add up.

3) If eligible can we claim what we spent last year on this coming years taxes? (already filed and received our return for 2020)

Thanks in advance for the help

Grandpa Redneck

1) As stated above you are eligible for the credit but the form needs to be completed for the tax year the installation was paid for, in your case last year 2020.

2) The credit has nothing to do with itemizing it is a separate form that is a blower the line credit that can be used even if you take the standard deduction. In your case since you filed 2020 you’d have to file an amended return

3) It should also be important to note that if the credit exceeds your tax for that year the excess credit carries over to the following tax year. The solar credit is what’s called a non-refundable tax credit which means again that the excess credit would carry over to next year and not be refunded in cash as an addition to your refund

4) The credit allowed is 30% of the funds spent on the solar system installed

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Old 03-22-2021, 10:11 PM   #6
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Is there a storage battery with that system?

I agree with Joey, it’s not itemized. It’s subtracted from your total federal tax burden (regardless if you owe or are owed money).
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Old 03-23-2021, 06:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
Is there a storage battery with that system?

I agree with Joey, itís not itemized. Itís subtracted from your total federal tax burden (regardless if you owe or are owed money).
Yes we have a battery bank, at the moment we have 8 Trojan T-105 6 volt golf cart batteries connected in series/parallel to make a 12 volt 900 amp hour bank, with 450 useable amp hours.
This year we are upgrading to 6 12 volt Battleborn lithium batteries, connected in parallel to make a 600 amp hour bank, with all 600 amp hours useable.
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Old 03-23-2021, 07:42 PM   #8
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Is there a storage battery with that system?

I agree with Joey, it’s not itemized. It’s subtracted from your total federal tax burden (regardless if you owe or are owed money).
But remember it will only reduce your tax at a maximum to ZERO any excess credit will carry forward to the next year

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Old 03-24-2021, 02:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by joey2665 View Post
But remember it will only reduce your tax at a maximum to ZERO any excess credit will carry forward to the next year

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If you owed nothing come tax time you get a check. It’s not based on what you owe. It’s based on what you paid in fed tax or due to pay. It gets directly subtracted off of that. Regardless of itemization (as mentioned).

Basically if you worked, you’ll get the credit. Unless you are paid under the table.
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Old 03-24-2021, 10:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
If you owed nothing come tax time you get a check. It’s not based on what you owe. It’s based on what you paid in fed tax or due to pay. It gets directly subtracted off of that. Regardless of itemization (as mentioned).

Basically if you worked, you’ll get the credit. Unless you are paid under the table.
Yes I am a CPA I know this. The solar credit is what is called a non refundable tax credit so the refund would be what was paid in via withholding and in estimated tax payments.

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Old 03-24-2021, 11:38 AM   #11
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Default IRS tax form 5695

Here's a link to the form you'll need.
You'll be much happier with the BattleBorn batteries and if you haven't already purchased them I'd suggest contacting AltE in Boxboro for great products, support, and pricing. Don't forget to change the Depth of Discharge in your inverter from the 50% lead acid setting it is likely at now to 80%.
I have been enjoying a similar 12 volt based system on my pondside cabin for three years now and though limited in output it has served me well by running a refrigerator, fairly strong stereo, all the lights that I'll ever want, and brew that essential pot of coffee in the morning.
For the longest life you will want to bring your batteries home for the winter and keep them where it is warm and charge them once or twice.
Finally, and assuming the your roof array is pointing to a perfect solar south (194 degrees and a 35' pitch) you might be able to get a little more solar gain by canting some or all of modules to more to a more southeast orientation to pick up your charge a bit earlier in the morning
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Old 03-24-2021, 11:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa Redneck View Post
Yes we have a battery bank, at the moment we have 8 Trojan T-105 6 volt golf cart batteries connected in series/parallel to make a 12 volt 900 amp hour bank, with 450 useable amp hours.
This year we are upgrading to 6 12 volt Battleborn lithium batteries, connected in parallel to make a 600 amp hour bank, with all 600 amp hours useable.
I just bought 2 Battleborn 12v 100Ah batteries for my trolling motor. They sure are light in comparison to the AGM 12v 100Ah marine battery I currenty use. Can't wait to give them a trial run once the ice is gone.
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Old 03-24-2021, 06:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NH.Solar View Post
Here's a link to the form you'll need.
You'll be much happier with the BattleBorn batteries and if you haven't already purchased them I'd suggest contacting AltE in Boxboro for great products, support, and pricing. Don't forget to change the Depth of Discharge in your inverter from the 50% lead acid setting it is likely at now to 80%.
I have been enjoying a similar 12 volt based system on my pondside cabin for three years now and though limited in output it has served me well by running a refrigerator, fairly strong stereo, all the lights that I'll ever want, and brew that essential pot of coffee in the morning.
For the longest life you will want to bring your batteries home for the winter and keep them where it is warm and charge them once or twice.
Finally, and assuming the your roof array is pointing to a perfect solar south (194 degrees and a 35' pitch) you might be able to get a little more solar gain by canting some or all of modules to more to a more southeast orientation to pick up your charge a bit earlier in the morning
We actually go up every weekend year round, so the batteries stay there connected.
The shed roof is pointed south, and the roof panels are parallel to the pitch of the roof (12/12 pitch)
The 3 160 watt wall panels are on the east end of the shed, so they catch the early morning sun.
I already purchased the Battleborns from Continuous Resources, I have bought most of my components from them, Great support, good prices, and free shipping on most things. On the 6 Battleborns, I saved over $900 compared to the price from AltE. They are supposed to be delivered tomorrow.
The Trojan set up is in the shed, for ventilation purposes. The Battleborns will be set up in the basement of the cabin since they don't need to be vented, and they do need to be kept warm.
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