The 2016 Presidential Election: Where do the Candidates Stand on Solar?

2016 Presidential Candidates Stance on Solar

With Trump’s spotlight-stealing boldness and the possibility of electing our first female president, this has been an exciting presidential election thus far.  But what about the future of solar?  Where does each candidate stand when it comes to supporting solar energy initiatives for the American people?

For many voters, this is an issue that matters.  It’s tied in closely with the larger issue of climate change, which was recently named the “greatest threat to future generations” by President Obama.

But no matter how you feel about the hot issue of climate change, solar is something we should all care about.  The solar industry now employs more people than the coal industry, and technological advances in the past few years make solar feasible for more households than ever before, and at a much lower cost.

Here, in a quick and easy summary for your entertainment, is how each of the candidates fares on the solar-friendly scale.

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New Solar Energy Users and the 30% Tax Credit

New Solar Energy Tax Credit 

Americans love a good bargain, and the federal government offers a handsome one for those who invest in a solar energy system for their homes. The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit is a tax credit for consumers to offset the costs of purchasing and installing alternative energy devices in their homes. At present, this credit is available to taxpayers through 2016. It is applicable for 30 percent of the total purchase and installation cost of qualifying photovoltaic equipment.

A typical home in the United States uses nearly half of the energy it produces for heating and cooling the home, more than is spent on all other energy expenses for the residence. Find a way to cut these costs to make this work in your favor.


What is Covered

Installing a solar energy system with panels on either a new-build or pre-existing residence qualifies the consumer for the full 30 percent tax credit. In order to meet the program requirements, the home’s photovoltaic system (solar panels) must convert the sun’s light into energy for the electrical supply for the home. Additionally, the system must comply with all state and local electrical and fire code regulations.

Many consumers are surprised to learn that, under most circumstances, labor costs for the installation can be included along with the cost of the solar energy system. Unused portions of the tax credit can also be carried forward to the next year(s) if the credit will exceed the taxpayer’s liability for a single tax year.

To qualify, approved solar equipment must be purchased and installed. Qualifying manufacturers include a tax credit certification statement in with the packaging of the equipment or, in some cases, on their website. The structure being modified must also be used as a residence for the taxpayer, but it does not have to be their primary home. Outfitting a ski chalet or summer beach cottage with solar panels still qualifies consumers for the tax credit. The installation must have been done between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2016 in order to be eligible for the credit.

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