If you live in Georgia, you might have noticed that many of your fellow Georgians have installed solar energy systems in their homes. By last year, Georgia was home to more than 300,000 residential solar energy systems. And the local solar market is only set to grow in the next half-decade.
With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to consider getting a jump on solar panels yourself — especially with the Georgia solar incentives making this a more affordable investment.
Georgia Solar Incentives
Unfortunately, Georgia doesn’t offer a state tax credit for solar panel systems. The only rebate program available on a state level is GEFA — and it’s designed for K-12 public schools, counties, and cities that decide to install solar panel systems on public buildings. As a rebate for government entities, it doesn’t apply to regular citizens.
However, that doesn’t mean Georgia doesn’t have a couple of great solar incentives. Luckily, it’s one of the states where net metering policies have gained traction. The basic premise of net metering is to reduce further energy costs for homeowners whose panels generate electricity.
Generally, net metering is designed to give those homeowners a rebate with their local power company, based on the surplus energy that their solar panels have produced in the past. And there will likely be some kind of surplus, especially considering that solar energy production peaks somewhere in the early afternoon. But, conversely, people use the most energy in their homes during the evenings and mornings.
In Georgia, if your utility company participates in the net metering program, they will measure the surplus solar energy you produce and “sell” on the grid. And you will be paid according to the rate set by the Public Service Commission of Georgia.
Georgia’s rates for net metering are set as the avoided cost of the utility company — in other words, the rate that the utility companies would have to pay to power generators if you didn’t put that electricity on the grid. And if you didn’t do that, utility companies would need to pay an electric power plant for the energy.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
Just like in any other state, Georgia’s residents are potentially eligible for a federal tax credit. Officially referred to as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), this federal solar incentive can lower your expenses tied to installing solar panels by 26 percent.
However, this doesn’t apply to everyone who installs a solar energy system — only to people who buy it outright. If you bought the panels with a solar loan or a cash purchase, you’re eligible; but people who lease their panels aren’t, seeing as their solar providers are the ones bearing the costs.