Friday, November 13, 2009

Illinois DCEO expands incentives for solar and small wind.

Here is some great news if you are considering going solar (or small wind) in Illinois in the next ~6 months.

The Illinois state rebate granting authority--DCEO has a program that provides a rebate of 30% of the installed cost of solar (or small wind). In prior years the maximum rebate was capped at $10,000 per application, but this year its been expanded up to a total of $50,000 per application. The state rebate used to max out around a 3.3kw installation, but now doesn't cap until roughly 15kw +/- 5kw And they provide a 50% grant if you are a non-profit/public entity. Home owners and/or businesses can apply. Be sure to get your rebate application in before 4/30/2010!

This 30% rebate can be combined with the 30% federal tax credit to pay for over 1/2 the total cost of going solar!

For example say you want to install a 4kw solar system on your house. Lets further assume you are willing to pay top dollar ($10/watt) for a professional high touch installation, the total cost of the installation works out to $40,000, before incentives.

Total Cost = $40,000
State rebate = 30% of total cost = $12,000
Federal tax credit = 30% of total cost = $12,000
Cost after incentives = $16,000 (a.k.a. $4/watt)

Now solar panel prices have come down significatly (40%) at the wholesale level in the past 16 months, and retail panel prices are trending down too. You should be able find prices under $10/watt perhaps closer to $8/watt installed if you shop around/haggle a bit.

The average installed system cost in CA (where 2/3 of solar panels in the US are installed) was right around $8.2/watt in 2008 and might fall under $8/watt in 2009. There is obviously more competition in CA than IL, but many panel manufactures have dropped prices by ~$1.5/watt over the past year; see if you can't pocket some of that yourself. Every $0.5/watt reduction in installed cost (before incentives) reduces your simple payback by about 1 year! (assuming IL sun and net metering/rates)


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