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There are many ways to offset costs of solar-energy system

December 27, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Installing a solar-energy system can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but there are ways to offset the costs.

Consumers who purchase such systems can receive a 30 percent tax credit from the Internal Revenue Service, according to Barry D. Martin, owner of Copyquik Printing & Graphics LLC, who installed a solar-energy system at his business.

The credit translates to the federal government paying for about 30 percent of the system's cost, Martin said.

Solar-system owners also can generate thousands of dollars a year in revenue through the sale of renewable energy certificates, Martin said.

Renewable energy certificates are sold through a compliance program that exists in 30 states, including Maryland.

In those states, electric companies are required to supply a certain percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, Martin said.

To help meet the requirement, some electric companies purchase the renewable energy certificates that are generated by individual solar energy-generating systems, Martin said.

Renewable energy certificates, also known as green tags or renewable electricity certificates, represent proof that one megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from a renewable resource, Martin said.

Martin said renewable energy credits are selling for about $350 each and he expects to earn about $10,000 this year through sale of the credits.

Martin said if his solar system generates excess electricity, it goes into the grid and he gets credit on his electric account.

There are a variety of other credits, such as tax incentives and rebates, available for those who use renewable energy sources.

To learn about the credits, go to www.dsireusa.org.

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Editor's note: This story was edited Dec. 29, 2010, to correct the website address in the final paragraph.

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