The top states to make money off your solar panels

Solar panels are touted as a way to bring down your energy costs -- but can you also utilize your panels to make extra money?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Can installing solar panels on your property in the U.S. make you money? According to NerdWallet, a number of states can make the technology lucrative for the average homeowner.

The personal finance site's new report says that while the cost of manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) panels continues to decrease -- and the market is swamped with solar panels from China -- many states are also offering tax incentives, grants, and subsidies for homeowners to install the technology and reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources.

The company's report includes data on a number of U.S. states, ranked in order of incentives and benefits to switching to solar. When surveying residents, four questions were asked to compile the data:

  • Are your electricity bills expensive?
  • Does your state offer economic incentives that make the switch worth it?
  • Is your state sunny enough to obtain energy through solar?
  • Is there existing state capacity for solar?

The number one spot for solar energy use belongs to California. The state wants to produce 33 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, and to further this goal, offers residents rebates for solar panel installation and cash back invectives, as well as state property tax exemption on their systems. A number of cities, such as San Francisco, offer cash incentives of up to $10,000 and solar leasing possibilities.

The bright sun in Hawaii makes the region the perfect spot to take advantage of solar-based renewable energy sources. Electricity costs are also very expensive at 36 cents per kilowatt hour, which means residents potentially could save money by using solar energy. Hawaiians installing solar panels can receive a 35 percent state tax credit in addition to the national 30 percent personal tax credit, but no rebates or grants cover original installation costs.

Behind Hawaii, Arizona has the second best insolation rating in the country and offers homeowners tax rebates covering up to 50 percent of installation costs for solar panels and a 25 percent tax credit -- capped at $1,000 -- which is applied to the income taxes of residents who use the technology for their energy needs. On top of these incentives, the state also offers solar leasing, state property and sales tax exemptions.

Maryland wants to make sure 20 percent of energy generated stems from renewable sources by 2022. As a result, the state will offer homeowners a $1,000 grant to install solar panels on their property, as well as cash back for every kilowatt produced and sales tax exemptions when purchasing panels.

In fifth place, the state of Delaware offers installation rebates tiered by the size of the system. For the first five kilowatts, homeowners can receive $1,250 per kilowatt and $750 for the next five. It is also possible to lease your system for extra profit.

The top 15 states to make money off solar panels are below:

Via: Nerd Wallet

Image credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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