What you don't know can cost you!

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Results
Given that I'm a Massachusetts resident and a green EcoBroker Realtor, it's my goal to find out all the information available to MA residents for installing and using renewable energy methods for heating and cooling their home. Additionally, there are also a number of Federal incentives available to you. You can find all the state and federal tax incentives and rebates in the Database of State Incentives available on the U.S. Department of Energy's website. For MA residents, a short list is outlined below. If you don't live in MA, skip down to the Federal listing and then check out the database directly for the incentives available in your state. Short list of Massachusetts programs:
  • Massachusetts Personal Tax Credit - Massachusetts allows a 15% credit -- up to $1,000 -- against the state income tax for the net expenditure of a renewable-energy system (including installation costs) installed on an individual’s primary residence. Eligible technologies include solar water and space heating, photovoltaics (PV), and wind-energy systems. The original use of the system must begin with the taxpayer, and the system should “reasonably be expected to remain in operation for at least five years."
  • Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption - Massachusetts law provides that solar-energy systems and wind-energy systems used as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying the energy needs of taxable property are exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period. Hydropower facilities are also exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period if a system owner enters into an agreement with the city or town to make a payment (in lieu of taxes) of at least 5% of its gross income in the preceding calendar year. NOTE: This incentive applies only to the value added to a property by an eligible system, according to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). It does not constitute an exemption for the full amount of the property tax bill.
  • Massachusetts Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption - Massachusetts law exempts from the state's sales tax "equipment directly relating to any solar, windpowered; or heat pump system, which is being utilized as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying the energy needs of an individual's principal residence in the commonwealth."
  • MassSAVE Heat Loan Program - MassSAVE, a residential conservation services program administered by Massachusetts electric companies, gas companies and municipal aggregators, offers no-interest financing to help residential consumers increase the energy efficiency of their homes through their HEAT Loan Program. This financing is available to all residential customers who own and reside in a one to four family residence, buy their power from one of MassSAVE's member companies, and obtain a Home Energy Assessment through the MassSAVE Program.
For more info on the myriad other Massachusetts programs, visit the EPA's Massachusetts list on the Database of State Incentives page and review all the offerings. And here are some Federal incentives you might be interested in:
  • Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit - The federal tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. After expiring December 31, 2007, the credit was extended and expanded by The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424: Div. B, Sec. 302) and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1121). The credit now applies to eligible equipment purchased between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010.
  • Energy-Efficient Mortgages - Homeowners can take advantage of energy efficient mortgages (EEM) to finance a variety of energy efficiency measures, including renewable energy technologies, in a new or existing home. Loans are supported by insuring them through Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) programs.
For more information, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy page or visit my web site, CyberGreenRealty.com, for more information. Until next time, Peace! -TMC
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Tim Cahill

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