Tax rebates available for energy savers |

Tax rebates available for energy savers

Summit County, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySummit County " The High Country Conservation Center's Carly Wier, Beth Orstad and Holly Loff pointing to a net meter installed last year on Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier's house to monitor the amount of solar electricity being put back onto the power grid.

Fortunately, Laura, there are more and more rebates and incentives for upgrading energy efficiency and installing renewable energy in your home. There are also many incentives for businesses, but today we’ll focus on the residential side of the picture.

Remember, I am many things, but an accountant or tax advisor I am not. Consult with your accountant or check out for links to specific legislation language for detailed questions. For a quick overview, read on.

– Insulation upgrade rebate: In partnership with the Governor’s Energy Office, the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco and unincorporated Summit County offer a rebate for professional insulation upgrades in homes that have received an energy audit.

This program, called Insulate Colorado, gives up to 20 percent or up to $300 for insulation upgrades. Insulate Colorado lasts through the end of the year and is administered locally by the High Country Conservation Center. Call (970) 668-5703 for details.

– Residential energy efficiency tax credit: This tax credit is available for qualified new purchases of windows, doors, insulation, ceiling fans, heating equipment and more. Good through the end of the year, this credit is for up to 10 percent of building envelope improvements (windows, doors, insulation) and up to 100 percent for heating equipment. But the maximum credit varies by technology, and there is a $500 maximum for all improvements combined.

– Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Now through the end of April, Bighorn Ace in Silverthorne offers 99-cent bulbs with a special rebate from Xcel Energy. Each customer can purchase up to 12 bulbs at that rate, and they come in a variety of sizes and wattage. There’s a quick form you fill out, and you get the 99-cent rate on the spot ” no mailing and no waiting!

– Local solar hot-water system rebates: In partnership with the Governor’s Energy Office, the towns of Frisco and Breckenridge offer substantial rebates for installation of solar hot-water panels. Residents of these two towns can get up to $3,000 back for domestic solar hot-water systems installed between Feb 2 and June 30. While that’s a short window for installation up here in the mountains, this rebate is substantial and is on a first-come, first-served basis. In Frisco, contact Jocelyn Mills at (970) 668-3190 and in Breckenridge, contact Chris Kulick at (970) 453-3371.

– Federal tax credit for solar hot water: From the feds, you can get up to 30 percent of the installed cost or up to $2,000 for installation of domestic solar hot -water systems through 2016. Coupled with the local rebate above, solar hot-water systems are one of the best ways to let Colorado’s magnificent sunshine help your wallet and your green-karma. Take advantage of this cost-effective and affordable renewable-energy option!

– Xcel Energy’s solar rewards program for PV systems: Since most of us in Summit County are in Xcel Energy territory, this program is a great option. You can get a rebate of $3.50 per watt on typical small residential systems of 10kW or less. On a 4kW system, this would equate to $14,000!

Plus, with net metering, where Xcel buys energy back from you at the same rate you pay for it, you may be able to realize that dream of getting a check from the power company some day. Coupled with the federal tax credit below, you can reduce your cost of a solar PV system by about 50 percent these days.

– Federal tax credit for solar PV: In that big stimulus package passed back in October, the feds included an extension of this credit, which gives up to 30 percent back on the cost of an installed solar PV system ” and unlike the solar hot-water credit above, there is no cap on solar PV system credits. Plus, you can carry unused credits forward to the next succeeding taxable year. Bottom line, solar power is more affordable than ever. And these days, it’s probably a more stable investment than anything out there.

That’s just a quick overview of the rebates and tax incentives available in Summit County for residential home energy upgrades. Stay tuned for upcoming columns in which I’ll discuss the options for commercial businesses and new legislation in Colorado that prohibits HOA’s from disallowing the use of renewable energy applications.

Eartha Steward is written by Carly Wier, Jennifer Santry, Heather Dodd Christie, and Susie Nothnagel, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you’re wearing stylish shoes. Submit questions to Eartha at or to High Country Conservation Center, P.O. Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.

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