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Cost Of Solar Panels For Your Home

Bertha Said:

Australian Government, means testing the solar panel rebate - I think it is ridiculous, tell me your thoughts?

We Answered:

Spot on Linda, the orders for solar has officially dropped by 70%. With the rebate its still to expensive for those under 100 000. Reckon he will change his position on this sooner rather than latter.

Sam Said:

Does anyone have any experience in building an "Earth Shelter" ? I can't afford a "normal" home .

We Answered:

You can have an above ground home and still take advantage of most of the properties of an Earth home. Rammed earth still works. I am thinking that a combination of the two might be what you need. Dig down fairly deep. I don't know the exact depth you will need in that area, as I have not built anything in that region. Use the removed earth to make rammed earth walls, either as part of the home itself, or as windbreaks around it. If you can find a property with a cave already on it, that will make a good starting point. Careful with the ventilation please, that is allways a bit of a consideration when doing these things.

Recent improvements in solar cell technology give much better results than in the past, but for that area I am thinking wind power is the way to go. Look into the kind that work in higher winds. Storage of power is a problem, a large battery system will be required. A large room full of batteries and a system to see that they all get charged. the systems exist, so you will not be doing anything new. You can count on replacing some of the batteries every year after the first two years. You should just schedule it. Replace them BEFORE they wear out. You can either use the 12 volt system throughout the house, using inverters for some items, or convert the whole system to provide normal power. If canada works on the 220 volt system, that will be a heck of a drain... Feel free to email me and discuss it. I have also designed a "normal" looking house that takes adavantage of all the passive energy saving ideas along with solar and wind power. tootall1121@yahoo.com

Edgar Said:

Tax Questions: what is "QUALIFIED SOLAR ELECTRIC PROPERTY" ?

We Answered:

If you look in the link you posted, and scroll down, IRC Title 26, Section 179F(c)(2)(B):
~~~(B) SOLAR ELECTRIC PROPERTY- The term `solar electric property' means property which uses solar energy to generate electricity.~~~

Qualified solar electric property includes a solar panel installed on the roof, but it also includes other equipment not installed on the roof, also any wiring, piping, etc. associated with installation. It must be properly installed with all necessary permits, and according to local fire and building codes.

Solar electric property is "qualified" if it is for use in a home located in the US that you own and live in at least part of the year.

Form 5695 is filed to claim the Non Business Energy Credit. In 2006, you were allowed a credit of 30% of your solar electric property costs, up to $2000 for qualified solar electric property, and up to $2000 for costs related to solar electric water heating, and a credit towards a fuel cell if you have one.

If the solar panel is permanently installed on your roof, it becomes a fixture, and part of your basis for the house. You must reduce the basis of your house by the amount of the credit claimed. When you sell your property, since your basis is higher, any taxable gain will be less.

See page 3 & 4, IRS Pub 553 for more information:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p553.pdf

If your home is used for business, or you have a home office, then you are allowed to deduct depreciation on that percentage of business use. The solar panels and equipment increase the basis of your home and can be included in your depreciation calculations.

There are also other credits and deductions related to using solar electricity in business property.

Legislation is in place to extend energy efficient credits to renters, and others who don't own the property where they live.

You should also check your state income tax code for solar energy credits and deductions allowed on your state return.

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