We’ve all heard that buying energy efficient appliances and installing renewable energy systems can keep utility bills from soaring out of control. There are a growing number of rebate programs, tax incentives, and grants out there further encouraging us to buy that Energy Star refrigerator or install a geothermal system. So, how do you track it all down?
Thankfully, the North Carolina Solar Center and Interstate Renewable Council regularly update and maintain the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org). With this easy to use tool, you don’t have to scour through numerous lackluster government websites full of environmental jargon.
DSIRE covers renewable energy (think solar and wind power) and energy efficiency (everything from ceiling fans to geothermal heat pumps). For both categories, there are financial incentives including rebates, property tax incentives, and grant programs offered by local, state, federal, and non-profit entities.
The easiest method of searching is to click “Search By” and select “Eligible Sector.” Select “Residential” from the drop down and, in the results, scroll to your state for a list of relevant incentives.
Now, its not QUITE as simple as point and click—you do have to read some of the details—but the DSIRE site does an adequate job of translating much of the legal language in the government legislation into plain English. It also lists contact info for each incentive should you need more information.
For all tax-related incentives, I’d recommend keeping your accountant in on the loop so they can verify your eligibility and ensure that your returns are properly prepared.
While many installers of various renewable systems usually incorporate incentives into their pricing, you should use DSIRE to educate yourself and make sure you’re pursuing all of the monies available to you.