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Save Money on Green Construction with Solar Energy Grants

Renewable energy doesn’t have to be expensive because of the solar energy grants and other grants available for homeowners and businesses who wish to use green energy. These grants are available both at the federal and local level in some states. Renewable energy grants are government subsidies that help home and business owners with the expenses of installing renewable energy sources.

These concessions provide money to help offset the often high startup costs associated with renewable energy, and were made available as a way to help compel people to invest their money in renewable forms of energy; a step they maybe wouldn't have taken otherwise.

Solar Energy Grants in the United States

In the United States, the most current subsidies were determined by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was passed in 2009. These solar energy grants are no longer available because in order to receive this money, construction on your project had to have begun by December 31st, 2011. These cash grants covered 10% of all costs associated with many new renewable energy construction projects, going up to as high as 30% of the costs for solar and wind energy.

All active, electricity producing solar systems were covered by these concessions, as well as solar lighting, heating, and cooling systems. The grants also covered many other forms of renewable energy including wind energy, fuel cells, as well as certain systems which are not entirely renewable, but meet a minimum energy efficiency of 60%.

solar investmentThe subsidies expired at the beginning of 2012 and have yet to be renewed, which is casting much doubt on the possibility for future grants. President Obama has declared a goal of producing 80% of the US’s energy through renewable means by 2035 but whether this is feasible, is still up for debate. The US Congress has seen fit to cut spending, which has the ability to drastically affect the plausibility of this goal, as most all solar energy companies were receiving some sort of government benefit through this program. 

It remains to be seen if any grants for renewable energy will be created again in the US anytime in the near future, although the federal government is still giving tax credits for businesses who want to construct new renewable energy sources. 

This comes in the form of the Investment Tax Credit, and will cover up to 30% of the initial investment in renewable energy. This tax credit is not set to expire until December 31st, 2016.

Solar Energy Grants in the United Kingdom

As in the United States, the United Kingdom has also recently cancelled most of their grants for solar and other green forms of energy. However, this doesn’t mean that government help isn’t available for those who wish to invest in renewable energy. This help is still given in the form of tax credits and paybacks, but still requires the individual or corporation to invest their own money at the beginning of the project. The UK government has two different tariff programs available for those who wish to invest in solar energy- the generation tariff and the export tariff. 

  • Generation Tariff

The generation tariff guarantees that the government will pay you a fixed rate for every kilowatt of power that your renewable energy system produces. This money is available even if you are consuming the power which you created through the use of your solar array.

  • Export Tariff

The export tariff is similar to the generation tariff, except that this is only for those individuals or companies which produce excess power. With this tariff, you are again guaranteed a fixed rate for every kilowatt of energy that you send back into the grid. This is in addition to the generation tariff you are already receiving for producing the power. This allows those who produce extra energy to be paid twice for any energy that they themselves produce but do not consume.

Other Renewable Energy Grants Around the World

These concessions are available even for those who don’t reside within the United States or the United Kingdom. In fact, the majority of developed nations have some type of grant or rebate available for those who wish to invest in renewable energy sources. 

Australia has a large array of different solar energy grants and rebates available to fit almost any need. The majority of these are tax rebates which are similar to those in the US and UK, but there are also cash subidizations available for schools, churches, and other non-profit organizations.

The European Union is also a great place to look for grants and rebates for using renewable energy. There are many EU wide concessions that have been made available in the past years, although these may start dwindling with the current European economic situation. In addition to these EU grants, most EU member states also have their own subsidy and rebates available for their citizens as Europe strives to become more energy independent while reducing environmental pollution at the same time. 

Keep in mind that the criteria for receiving these concessions varies from country to country, and that the majority of the EU grants are given only for corporations and non-profit organizations.

No matter what country you are from, investing in environmentally friendly forms of energy is a great idea. You can lower you electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time, and maybe with a little research, you might even find a government program that can help offset some of the initial investment which can save you even more.

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