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Federal Tax Credit

Solatube® Daylighting Systems, Solatube Smart LED™ Systems, and Solar Star® Attic Fans give you three ways to reduce your home energy use. And now, they can earn you tax credits on your federal tax return too. Solatube Daylighting Systems and Smart LED Systems* qualify for a 10% tax credit of the product cost, up to $500, while Solar Star Attic Fans qualify for a 30% tax credit of the product cost, up to $1,500.

To learn more, read the frequently asked questions below.

ENERGY STAR® Rating questions
Tax credit questions related to Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems
Tax credit questions related to Solar Star Attic Fans
Frequently asked questions: General Questions

 

General questions about tax credits

Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems

Specific Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems are eligible for federal tax credits for energy efficient building products. To view a list of qualifying systems by year, click the appropriate Manufacturer’s Certification below:

2012_Manufacturer's_certification.pdf
2013_Manufacturer's_certification.pdf

SolarStar Attic Fans

All Solar Star Attic Fans are eligible for tax credits for photovoltaic systems. To view a list of qualifying systems, click the Manufacturer’s Certification below:

Solar_Star_Manufacturer's_certification.pdf

 

ENERGY STAR Rating Questions

What is ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992. Its intent is to protect our climate by supporting products that offer energy efficient operation. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR rating use less energy, help protect the environment, and save consumers money on energy bills without sacrificing features, performance or comfort.

 

How does a product earn the ENERGY STAR rating?
To earn the ENERGY STAR rating, a product must:

  • Contribute significant energy savings nationally
  • Achieve increased energy efficiency using non-proprietary technologies that are generally available and offered by more than one manufacturer
  • Offer data that shows the product will deliver a return on investment through energy bill savings during a reasonable period of time, if the product is more costly than a similar conventional, less-efficient product
  • Provide features and performance consumers demand
  • Measure and verify energy consumption and performance through valid testing
  • Include visible labeling that differentiates the product.

Which Solatube daylighting products are ENERGY STAR rated?
The following products are ENERGY STAR rated:

  • Solatube Brighten Up® Series: 160 DS and 290 DS Daylighting Systems
  • Solatube Brighten Up Series: 160 DSe and 290 DSe Daylighting Systems
  • Solatube Smart LED Primary and Secondary Systems

How did Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED earn the ENERY STAR rating?
Solatube International works diligently to ensure its daylighting products are energy efficient and eco-friendly. As a result, all of its residential products have earned ENERGY STAR ratings. This includes the Solatube 160 DS, Solatube 160 DSe, Solatube 290 DS, Solatube 290 DSe, and the Smart LED Primary and Secondary Systems*.

These products qualified for ENERGY STAR because of their ability to minimize heat gain and heat loss. These are measured using the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and U-factor.

SHGC measures how well a product blocks solar heat. This is of vital importance during summer months, especially in warm climates. SHGC is measured as a number between 0 and 1, and a product with a rating closer to 0 is better at keeping heat out. The Smart LED System, for example, has an SHGC of 0.16, so it’s extremely effective at blocking solar heat.

U-factor, on the other hand, measures a product’s effectiveness at preventing the escape of heat from a home. This is crucial during winter months in cold climates. In this case, keeping as much heat indoors as possible is the goal, and the lower the U-factor a product has, the better it is at accomplishing this. Typical U-factor ratings fall between 0.15 and 1.20. The Smart LED System has a U-factor of 0.52, so it is especially effective at preventing heat loss.

To see SHGC and U-factor ratings for all Solatube residential daylighting products, view the 2013 Manufacturer’s Certificate statement above. [anchor link to 2013 Certificate]

*The Energy Star rating applies only to the daylighting portion of the system.

 

Does a product with an ENERGY STAR rating automatically qualify for federal tax credits?
Typically, products with the ENERGY STAR label are eligible for federal tax credits because of their ability to operate efficiently and lower energy bills. However, there may be some ENERGY STAR rated products that do not qualify for federal tax credits. To find out for sure, it’s recommended you visit www.irs.gov or consult a tax professional for advice.

 

Frequently Asked Questions-Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems

What is the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012?
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was passed by the U.S. Congress on Jan. 1, 2013. Its purpose was to prevent income tax increases for most Americans and significant federal budget cuts that many feared would negatively affect the nation’s economy. Part of this legislation revived tax credits for skylights, the category Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems fall under, and extended them through Dec. 31, 2013. The new bill provides individual homeowner as well as business tax credits.

 

What are the individual tax incentives for Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems?
Homeowners can receive a 10% tax credit of the product cost with a maximum deduction of $500. Installation fees are not included. The bill also retroactively allows for installations since the previous expiration date. This means daylighting systems purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2013, qualify for the tax credit.

 

What are the business tax incentives for Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems?
Builders and contractors can receive tax credit up to $2,000 for new and renovated energy efficient dwellings. The bill also changes the energy efficiency requirements. Previously, dwellings had to be 50% more energy efficient than homes constructed according to the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The new bill references the 2006 IECC edition as the standard.

 

What Solatube daylighting products are eligible for the federal tax credit?
The following products qualify for the tax credit:

  • Solatube Brighten Up Series: 160 DS and 290 DS Daylighting Systems
  • Solatube Brighten Up Series: 160 DSe and 290 DSe Daylighting Systems
  • Solatube Smart LED Primary and Secondary Systems

What Solatube daylighting products are not eligible for the federal tax credit?
The following products do not qualify for the tax credit:

  • Solatube SolaMaster® Series: 330 DS and 750 DS Daylighting Systems
  • Light Add-on Kit
  • Ventilation Add-on Kit
  • Daylight Dimmer™
  • Occupancy Sensor
  • Solatube Decorative Fixtures

Is there a cap on the tax credit?
Yes, the maximum tax credit amount is $500.

 

Do Solatube Daylighting Systems and Smart LED Systems installed in my second home or rental property qualify?
The installation must be done on an existing home which is your primary residence. New construction and rentals do not qualify.

 

Are there any limitations on the tax credit?
Yes. The $500 tax credit limit is cumulative, dating back to 2006. That means, if you took previous credits and have already reached the cap, you will not qualify this time around. If you have not made any claims or your previous claims fell below the cap, you may still take credits up to the $500 limit. For example, if you claimed a total of $400 energy efficiency tax credits in the past, you can claim up to another $100 before you reach the cap.

 

Frequently Asked Questions-Solar Star Attic Fans

What is the Emergency Stabilization Act of 2009?
On October 3, 2008, George W. Bush signed the Emergency Stabilization Act of 2009, which extended the credits available for solar-powered energy systems and expanded the qualifying product requirements. This allows for a 30-percent tax credit on the purchase and installation of residential solar water heating, photovoltaic equipment, and fuel cell property.

Essentially, this means there are three main areas of 30% tax credit available:

  • Residential solar water heating
  • Residential photovoltaic equipment
  • Residential fuel cell property

What Solatube products are eligible for the federal tax credit?
Solar Star Attic Fans, both roof mount and conversion kits, qualify for the category solar energy systems: photovoltaic systems, under the definition below:

"Property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for the residence and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements."

There are no specific technical requirements for photovoltaic systems. But all installed Solar Star Attic Fans must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements to qualify.

 

What Solatube products are not eligible for the photovoltaic systems tax credit?
The following products do not qualify for this tax credit:

  • Solatube Brighten Up Series; 160 DS and 290 DS Daylighting Systems
  • Solatube SolaMaster Series; 330 DS and 750 DS Daylighting Systems
  • Solatube Smart LED Primary and Secondary Systems
  • Light Add-on Kit
  • Ventilation Add-on Kit
  • Daylight Dimmer

What are the tax incentives for Solar Star Attic Fans?
Homeowners are eligible for tax credits for qualified photovoltaic systems purchased and installed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016**. For solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the allowable tax credit is 30% of the qualified PV system expenditures, including both product and installation costs.

 

Is there a cap on the tax credit?
There is no credit cap for residential photovoltaic (PV) systems placed into service after December 31, 2008.

 

Do Solar Star products installed in my second home or rental property qualify?
Existing homes & new construction qualify. Both a primary residence and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify.

 

Are the Solar Star DIY kits eligible?
Yes, Solar Star Attic Fan DIY Kits – both roof and interior mount kits – are eligible as long as they meet the qualifying criteria and all applicable fire and electrical code requirements.

 

What does the homeowner need to claim the tax credit?
To qualify, tax payers should retain information that includes:

  • Receipt with the cost of the system (including labor)
  • When it was placed in service
  • Manufacturer Certification Statement

Are the Solar Star DIY kits eligible? 
Yes, Solar Star Attic Fan DIY Kits – both roof mount and conversion kits – are eligible, as long as they meet the qualifying criteria and all applicable fire and electrical code requirements.

 

Are Solar Star products eligible even though they aren’t ENERGY STAR rated?
An ENERGY STAR rating is not required for the photovoltaic system tax credit eligibility program.

 

Frequently Asked Questions-General Questions

What is the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?
A tax deduction is subtracted from income before total tax liability is computed. On the other hand, a tax credit is subtracted directly from the total tax liability.

 

What does the homeowner need to claim the tax credit?
To qualify, tax payers should retain information that includes:

  • Receipt with the cost of the system listed
  • Receipt with installation fees listed (applies only to Solar Star Attic Fans)
  • Date product was placed in service
  • Manufacturer Certification Statement

Where do homeowners go for the IRS form?
Click here for IRS Form 5695, available on the IRS.gov website.

 

Are there local incentives for my county and/or city?
Many local utilities provide financial incentives for energy-efficient products. To find out if rebates or incentives are available in your area, visit the ENERGY STAR rebate finder at www.energystar.gov.

For additional information please visit your state energy office website for specific state tax information or go to http://www.dsireusa.org/ the database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

 

* The ENERGY STAR rating only applies to the daylighting portion of the Solatube Smart LED System.

**Solatube International makes no warranty as to the qualification of the products for federal tax credits if there are changes in requirements or applicable law after such date.

 

Solatube International, Inc. is not a tax advisor. Taxpayers claiming a tax credit should consult a tax professional with any questions. Solatube International is not responsible or liable for the taxpayer’s ability to receive tax credits. This document is not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. More comprehensive information will be made available by the IRS. The user maintains the full and complete responsibility to comply with all codes, laws and regulations applicable to the safe and proper use, handling and installation of the product and should consult with a professional for all construction- and design-related questions. The information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of the time of preparation. However, Solatube International makes no warranty as to the accuracy of this information.