Understanding Solar Power Grants

By June Campbell

If you' are considering installing a solar power system to generate your own energy for the home, you may be eligible for a solar power grant. It will depend upon where you live, but many governments are making solar power grants readily available to people who install alternate energy sources.

Sometimes referred to simply as solar energy grants, this assistance is available thanks to government policies that support environmental measures.

As people worldwide strive to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the speed of climate change, interest in developing and using low carbon technologies is on the increase. Many governments, therefore, are offering solar power grants to those wanting to make the change.

Policy analysts predict that the amounts of these grants may decrease in the long term, so the time to act is now.

Types of Solar Installation

You may expect to find that the amount of grant you can be awarded will differ depending on the type of solar installation you are choosing.

Again, this will depend on where you live, but typically individuals who are planning on solar PV installations are eligible for the larger grants. These PV installations are the most costly, but they are the only installations that can produce electricity that can be delivered to the grid. If you are installing a solar PV system, you could receive a grant of approximately fifty per cent of the cost.

On the other hand, if you are planning to install a solar hot water system, you will possibly receive a lower grant of perhaps thirty per cent.

Who is Eligible: Homeowner or Organization?

In most locales, both homeowners and organizations are eligible to receive a solar energy grant. Small businesses and public sector entities may also receive special dispensations.

How the Grant is Delivered

It would be folly to imagine you will be cashing your check before you've chosen your solar power installation.

Some individuals do obtain an up-front amount of money, but typically the cash is awarded when the installation is finalized.

It might also be the case that no cash is provided to you for the installation, but you are able to claim the amount on your yearly tax bill.

What are Feed-in Tariffs?

Above and beyond being allotted a grant, you could be awarded a feed-in tariff. In this situation, you receive payment not only when you sell your surplus electricity to the grid, but also for the electricity you use. The rationale for this is that any electricity you generate and use from solar power is electricity that did not rely on fossil fuels. You have reduced the demand on the grid and reduced the carbon footprint at the same time.

When calculating the net cost of your solar installation, it is important to also consider the effect of the tariffs as well as the solar energy grant.

How to Apply for a Solar Power Grant

If you reside in the US, you might start by searching the DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy). If you live elsewhere, start by contacting your local government offices and asking how to proceed.

Expect to do some paperwork and to go through an approval process. Responsible government agencies will revue your application before approving your access to the funds.

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