Tax credits for renewable energy

Tax time is here, and many folks don’t realize that there are federal and state tax credits available for energy conservation projects and the production of renewable energy. The Federal government has a tax credit for businesses that install solar, wind, microturbines, or fuel cells. This credit is due to drop to 10% by the end of this year, but currently the credit is set at 30% to encourage the installation of solar, wind, and fuel cells. More information can be found at www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm

The Montana Department of Revenue offers incentives for individuals and corporations. Individuals can get an income tax credit worth 25% of their investment in qualifying renewable energy projects for their home or other building, up to $500. Individuals can also qualify for an Alternative Energy Systems Credit for installing solar panels, windmills, pellet stoves, biomass generators, or other forms of renewable energy. Both individuals and corporations can qualify for tax credits for converting a vehicle to alternate fuels, crushing oilseeds, production and blending of biofuels and a number of other activities that may save energy. There is even a tax credit for equipment used to manufacture materials from recycled goods. While most of the above credits apply to income tax, there is a property tax exemption for the installation of non-fossil fuel generating systems in homes and businesses. More information can be found at www.mt.gov/revenue/energyconservation. For information on other states, check out the Database of state incentives for renewable energy at www.dsireusa.org.

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