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Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Solar Panels in Pennsylvania

This page is a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on your Pennsylvania home. Since there's a lot to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

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** What's new for 2020 **

If you're lucky enough to live in Philadelphia, you can access new $.20-per-watt home solar rebates. Philly plays host to 10% of the state’s population, so the rebates have a chance to make a real impact in the lives of people who want to go solar in 2020.

Unfortunately, with funding exhausted for the statewide solar power rebate program, other gaps in policy have drawn Pennsylvania back to the middle of the solar-friendly pack. Read on to learn all you need to know about home solar incentives, policy, and savings in Pennsylvania.

Questions? Our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page. You can get discounted on-grid pricing as low as $4,000/kW! This is paired with the Pennsylvania solar incentives you see below.

What you'll find on this page:

The Solar Strategy section is focused on the 3 ways of paying for solar in Pennsylvania, so you can decide which is best for you. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we provide detailed analysis of how each works.

The Policy Information section contains all our latest research on the rules set by lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission, which determine how easy it is to go solar in Pennsylvania. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to interconnection, and have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions for going solar in Pennsylvania.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Generate an accurate online solar estimate for your home

Your Solar Strategy in Pennsylvania

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Pennsylvania can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

How should you pay for solar?

Use our decision tool to find out!

How to pay for solar panels in Pennsylvania

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan or lease. As you can see, the purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but look a little closer. Taking a solar loan or Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit (HELOC—the orange bars) and paying for the system over time means you'll actually spend less of your own money over time, while reaping a big financial benefit in year 1.

That's because you take a loan for the system, but you still get a 30% federal tax credit based on the entire cost. You'll start out ahead, so your payments over 15 years will have less impact on you than plunking down a big pile of money up front. All you need is equity or great credit.

Lastly, take a look at the blue bars. They represent a solar Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA), which is also called third-party ownership. With a PPA, you put $0 down on a rooftop solar system and buy the electricity it produces for a little bit less than what you've been paying the electric company. You accumulate savings over time, but since you're not spending any money for the installation, you're cashflow positive from day one!

Read more below about each of three very good options for solar in Pennsylvania.

How much can solar panels on roof save you?

Option 1: Paying cash for solar

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the "biggest" financial returns. The reason we put "biggest" in quotes here is because it's technically true, but based on percent return for the money, a loan is a better option.

If you'd rather make monthly payments instead of putting $17,000 down on a solar system, and if you have equity in your home or can get a large loan with an interest rate of 5% or less, a loan is the option to go with. It's like being able to start a business that is sure to succeed, just by having a roof. Read about loans below.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $16,875, but tax breaks and energy savings will erase a bunch of that after just 1 year. Over 25 years, your system will have produced more than $21,000 in income, after your system cost is paid back. The reason this works is that solar offsets your electricity costs—enough to save you about $819 in year 1, and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers work for a 5-kW rooftop solar system in Pennsylvania:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,875 after Pennsylvania's High Performance Buildings Program grant. That's cheaper than solar has ever been, but it still might seem like a big investment. Don’t worry, because after tax breaks and energy savings, your first-year costs will be considerably less than that.
  • The Federal government offers a great tax credit worth 30% of system costs. So take 30% of $16,875, and you've got a tax credit of $5,063. That brings your first-year investment down to $11,812.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $819. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $10,995.
  • But wait, there's more! On top of the electric bill savings, you'll earn special Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) until at least 2021. You'll get one each time your system produces a megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity, and our example 5-kW will earn you about 5.5 SRECs each year. You can sell your SRECs to the utility company for an average of $39 a piece, putting an estimated $215 in your pocket.
  • Between those SRECs and your electricity savings, your system will pay for itself in just 11 years, and you'll see a total net profit of $21,369 before the end of your panels' 25-year warranty. The internal rate of return for this investment is a solid 10.1%. That beats an investment in a market-based index fund, and it's more reliable, too!
  • And here's a nice bonus to consider: your home's value just increased by more than $16,000, too (your expected electricity savings over 20 years).
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil fuels. It's like planting 106 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Pennsylvania. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 2: Using a loan to pay for solar

You don't need $17,000 sitting around to pay for solar. As long as you have equity in your home, you can still own solar panels and reap all the benefits. Heck, even if you do have the cash, getting a loan to pay for solar is by far the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment.

That’s because, in Pennsylvania, using a loan to pay for solar is like investing in a business that's sure to succeed, and also earns you a tax break. That's right: a HUGE tax break!. You'll come out thousands ahead this year, and you'll still see a handsome profit over the 25-year life of your system.

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can get a home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for $16,875, with a fixed rate of 5% or lower and a 15-year repayment period. Don't be put off if you're offered a higher rate. It just means a tiny bit less of the thousands of dollars you'll make with solar.
  • You love making money without much risk.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Pennsylvania homeowner who makes a solar purchase with a HELOC:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,875 after Pennsylvania's High Performance Buildings Program grant. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $819, but your annual loan payments will be $1,601, meaning you would spend $782 on solar this year, but...
  • You'll also see a huge tax break! The Feds give you 30% of the cost of your system back as an income tax credit, which in this case means $5,063. You'll be paying over time but getting the benefits up front!
  • But wait, there's more! On top of the electric bill savings, you'll earn special Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for the first 5 years your system is running. You'll get one each time your system produces a megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity, and our example 5-kW will earn you about 5.5 SRECs each year. You can sell your SRECs to the utility company for $39 a piece, putting an estimated $215 in your pocket.
  • All those incentives mean you'll come out $4,494 ahead after year 1. Your loan payments will be about $65/month more than your energy bill savings, but that difference will get smaller as the utility company raises rates every year.
  • By the time you've paid off your loan in 2030, you'll see yearly savings of about $1,400. After 25 years, your total profit will be $14,223!
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too—106 trees-worth, every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Pennsylvania. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 3: Buying the electricity, not the panels with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

A PPA is a great way to go solar if you haven't got stacks of cash or oodles of equity in your home. It's possible to get solar panels for $0-down and see some modest savings over 20 years!

As for leases in Pennsylvania: the electricity costs here are pretty high—above the national average. That means a PPA saves you money starting on day 1! For now, the electricity from a 5-kW solar system will cost you $685 per year under a PPA, but you would have paid $805 to the utilty for the same amount of power. That's $121 that will be staying in your pocket this year.

Now that might not sound like a huge amount of money right now, but as the utility company raises rates, you will start to see greater annual savings. Over 20 years, our estimate shows a total savings of $4,050. The panels will be installed and maintained by professionals, and all you have to do is brag to the Smiths down the street about your green habits!

Here's more about how a solar PPA works:

Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Pennsylvania. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar PPA, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Calculate solar panel cost and savings for your specific home

Pennsylvania Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania's Renewable Portfolio Standard

18.02% by 2021

Grade: C

Pennsylvania's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires utilities in the state to eventually source at least a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels.

Pennsylvania’s RPS is split into two separate requirements. 8% of the state’s energy has to come from “Tier 1 Technologies” -- primarily solar, wind, and low-impact hydro, along with a few less common forms of environmentally friendly energy production. To be classified as Tier 1 the electricity generally must also have been produced within Pennsylvania. Finally, Tier 1 of Pennsylvania’s RPS includes a specific carve-out of 0.5% for solar power.

All that is a very strong foundation for an RPS. Unfortunately, the other 10% mandate of Pennsylvania’s 18% total RPS falls into “Tier 2.″ Tier 2 energy can be filled by much less environmentally friendly resources – almost entirely large scale hydropower (the sort that simply decimates rivers and entire surrounding ecosystems) and derivative uses of coal.

In order to really support truly clean renewable energy, we’d like to see more of Pennsylvania’s RPS mandate truly green power sources like residential solar power systems. Given the friendly conditions in the rest of the state, a strengthened RPS would solidify Pennsylvania as a leader in solar policy.

Pennsylvania’s RPS is critical to strong renewable energy policy. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also don’t naturally want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities are aiding your transition to lower electric bills and offering you incentives to put solar on your roof is because the state forces them to. If the utilities don't hit their RPS numbers, they have to pay large fees back to the state.

Learn more about Renewable Portfolio Standards

Pennsylvania's Solar carve-out and SRECs

.5% by 2021

Grade: C

Pennsylvania's Solar Carve-out grade

Specific carve-outs for clean and efficient technologies like solar panels, or mandates for the environmentally necessary increases in distributed generation, typically promote stronger incentives for residential solar power. Pennsylvania’s RPS includes a pretty commendable solar carve out which requires 0.5% of total electricity generation to come from solar panels. That’s what we like to see!

Learn more about Solar Carve-outs

Pennsylvania Electricity Prices


Grade: B

Pennsylvania's Electricity cost grade

Pennsylvania homeowners pay an average of 14 cents/kWh of electricity. That’s pretty close to the national average of 13 cents/kWh, but we still think that’s pretty cheap. We know what you’re thinking … higher than average, that’s bad! Who likes paying more than average? We get that sentiment. We really do. But here at SPR we think that electricity rates are still too cheap, even at nearly 14 cents/kWh.

We know you like paying less now, but the long term costs of cheap electricity are through the roof. All that cheap electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels -- tons and tons of earth-killing fossil fuels. When the astronomical environmental costs start to mount, monthly electricity bills are inevitably going to rise as well. When that happens you’re going to feel pretty darn smart for making the early switch to producing your own clean, efficient solar power. In the meantime, solar power will still save you a chunk of change here. We’ll go over just how much in a minute.

Find out why electricity prices matter

Pennsylvania Net Metering

Statewide with caveats

Grade: B

Pennsylvania's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus.

Since 2008, Pennsylvania law has required all investor-owned utilities to offer net metering to all residential customers with solar power systems up to 50kW in capacity. If you produce more energy than you consume the surplus is carried over to your next bill at the full retail rate. If you run a surplus for a full year (measured June 1 – May 31), your utility will cut you a check for all of it at the “price-to-compare” rate, which includes the generation and transmission components, but excludes the distribution component charges of your electric bill. While a check at the full retail rate would be even better, the majority of states do not require the utility to cut you that year-end check at all, so kudos to Pennsylvania on this one, regardless of the slightly reduced rate.

More recently, Pennsylvania has been exploring an expansion to net metering that would allow systems sized to produce up to 200% of the owner's usage. At a time when other states are restricting or eliminating net metering this is great news!

Learn more about net metering

Pennsylvania Interconnection Rules

Statewide, with caveats

Grade: B

Pennsylvania's Interconnection Standards grade

"Interconnection" refers to the rules and regulations that govern how solar system owners can get their systems connected to the grid and accounted for. Pennsylvania utilities are required by state law to offer standardized interconnection rules, but how the Public Utilities Commission chose to do that was, in our opinion, a bit too complicated.

Unlike interconnection standards in the best solar states, there's a $100 fee for even the smallest systems (and a minimum $261 fee for somewhat larger home systems), and a redundant external disconnect switch is required for even small home systems. The good news is the standards here require no additional homeowner's insurance for solar panel owners. Your regular home policy will do the trick. On balance, we'd say the state earns its "B" grade with relatively well-thought-out, if complex, set of standards that help solar installers work with the utility company to make the process of hooking into the grid relatively painless.

Learn more about solar interconnection rules

Pennsylvania Solar Incentives

Next to high electricity prices and net metering, solar incentives have traditionally been the most important factor for whether home solar power makes financial sense in a state. In the past, some states with otherwise lousy policy had tremendous incentives that drove down the up-front cost of going solar so much that homeowners could save oodles of money even without net metering or a good RPS.

These days, the big incentive most people can get is the Federal Solar Tax Credit that earns you 26% of your total system costs back after just 1 year. State incentives play less of a role than in the past, but some really good ones are still out there, ready to help homeowners go solar and save money before you know it.

Let's see how Pennsylvania measures up:

The availability of state solar incentives for residential solar systems was sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, utility company websites, and the state public utility commission.

Pennsylvania Solar Power Rebates

$200 per kW (Philly only)

Grade: C

Pennsylvania's Solar Rebates grade

If you’re lucky enough to live in Philadelphia, you can get a $200 per kW rebate for your home solar system now until the end of 2024. However, there are only $500,000 in funds available every year. That means, these funds are only going to provide relief to about 500 residences each year. Aside from this incentive, there hasn't been much movement from the Pennsylvania legislature on getting more rebates for needy homeowners. The good news is that solar has fallen an additional 60% (and counting) in price since then, so even without cash back from utilities, you can be sure you're getting a sweet deal on that shiny new solar panel system.

Learn more about solar rebates

Pennsylvania Solar Tax Credits


Grade: F

Pennsylvania's Solar Tax Credits grade

Unfortunately Pennsylvania lacks any state tax incentives for renewable energy as well. Hopefully with the SREC payments, you don’t need any extra help on tax day. But now that the rebate program is exhausted, we think a tax credit available to those who install solar power systems from here on out would be a pretty easy way to sweeten the deal again. All those smart and sensible Pennsylvanians that want to switch to solar power save some cash, and the state never has to remove a dime from its coffers. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Learn more about state solar tax credits

Property Tax Exemption


Grade: F

Pennsylvania's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

While we can give state lawmakers a pass on not having implemented a state tax credit in the past (even if it’s time for one now), we’re a bit less forgiving when it comes to not having any state tax exemptions. Tax exemptions are perhaps the simplest things that state legislatures can do to create good solar policy. They’re simple to draft, simple to explain, and simple to implement. Despite that simplicity, the benefits are robust. A property tax exemption would save you year after year by preventing any increase in taxes normally associated with your home’s value (we’ll get to that in a minute).

The state legislature has done a lot of tremendous work to promote solar power, and tax exemptions represent an easy but effective way to do exactly that.

Sales Tax Exemption


Grade: F

Pennsylvania's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Like we mentioned above, tax exemptions are perhaps the simplest things that state legislatures can do to create good solar policy. Despite that, Pennsylvania has yet to implement either property tax or sales tax exemptions for renewable energy producers. A sales tax exemption would quickly and easily save you between 6% and 8% here.

Learn more about tax exemptions for solar

Low-income Solar Programs


Grade: F

Pennsylvania's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade Learn more about low-income solar programs available in the U.S.

The final word on Pennsylvania solar incentives and policy

Just a few years ago Pennsylvania was near the top of the solar heap, boasting one of the strongest solar power rebate program in the country to go along with solid performance incentives and strong net metering laws. Unfortunately, with the rebate program now exhausted, the picture is not nearly as sunny for solar. The absence of tax exemptions are more glaring omissions without that big rebate check overshadowing them and the SREC payments, while solid, aren’t dragging payback time frames into “A” range by themselves. All around Pennsylvania is still pretty OK – but it’s also just OK.

79 thoughts on “2019 Pennsylvania Home Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

  1. Avatar for Nicholle Bernardo-Pankuch Nicholle Bernardo-Pankuch says:

    Can my HOA stop us from putting in panels?

  2. Avatar for Solar Installation Experts Solar Installation Experts says:

    Great tips for buying a solar power system. These would be helpful in choosing the right solar companies. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Avatar for Mr. Edups Mr. Edups says:

    Yo this is so cool but must ask, how does you take energy from plate when plate so hot, how you touch it confuse the people like me. Must be fixing problem in future but for now toodaloo.

  4. Avatar for Ike Ike says:

    I own 150 acres of land in pa and run a summer camp on them i have enormous usage for two months a year and almost nine the other ten. Would anyone know if it would be cost effective for new to install enough panels so that i would be able sell enough electricity during the year to have substantial savings in the summer?

  5. Avatar for Richard Baker Richard Baker says:

    I live in Waverly NY but electric is supplied by Penn Electric. Transmission wires and all it in tails. Would l still get the over produced energy sold back to Penn Electric.

  6. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    i own 2 homes in philadelphia and and have solar panels installed on both i am interested in seminars about solar energy in my area to learn all i can about solar energy and my savings.

  7. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    We own a mobile home, 10 years old and are interested in leasing solar panels for electrical usage. Our unit measures 28 Wide by approximately 59 feel long. I’ve tried twice to secure a quote, and waited by the telephone but NO CALLS. Can you advise if we are qualified to use solar panels, ( leasing) and how much we anticipate in savings? We live near Pittsburgh and recognize the sun doesn’t shine a great deal of the time. I would appreciate a reply. Thanks, Jerry Kline

    1. Avatar for Patrick Kilhoffer Patrick Kilhoffer says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t receive a reply. A mobile home often lacks the roof support system needed to support a solar system and in many areas, mobile homes are in parks that do not allow for ground mounted systems so it is very unusual to be able to install a solar system on a mobile home. However, if you own the land your home sits on and there is sufficient room to install a ground mount system, simply indicate that you are interested in a ground mount system. In answer to your question, assuming you are paying the state average of 13 cents per kilowatt currently, a solar system can make an excellent investment for you. Your actual savings will depend on your cost of installation, etc, but at 13 cents per kilowatt, it’s definitely worth pursuing if it’s an option for you. Your installer will be able to provide you with a detailed cost savings based on your actual usage and current electricity costs. I hope that helps!

  8. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I put not real phone # becasue Im deaf, I rather you contact me by email. I own more then 5 acres, and interest black solar panel without reflection . Im serous.

    1. Avatar for Patrick Kilhoffer Patrick Kilhoffer says:

      Hi, I’m certain the installers will be happy to work with you via email and other methods suitable for a deaf customer. Simply follow the link to contact an installer and mention what you said here, that you prefer the initial communications to be via email because you are deaf.

  9. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I put not real phone numbers 610 845 0001 becaue Im deaf , so you have to accept to contact me by emails if you dont then you are discrimatation . So contact me by email , this is important, I own more then 5 acres and want to lease black non reflection solar panel or solar power window, Im sure you know what Im talking about.

    1. Avatar for Patrick Kilhoffer Patrick Kilhoffer says:

      Hi, I’m certain the installers will be happy to work with you via email and other methods suitable for a deaf customer. Simply follow the link to contact an installer and mention what you said here, that you prefer the initial communications to be via email because you are deaf.

  10. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Thanks for some other magnificent post. Where else may just anybody get that type of info in such an ideal manner of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for such info.

  11. Avatar for james piccerillo james piccerillo says:

    hi my wife and i really want to have solar. our house is perfect location. all day sun direct our house from 9am til dusk. we want to add yr listing. thank you so much,james

  12. Avatar for Ernie Givens Ernie Givens says:

    We would like to add our Solar company in you r Pennsylvania listing.

  13. Avatar for Joe Joe says:

    I believe the correct course action would be to contact the local utility company to make sure a “net meter” was installed at the time of commissioning. This will allow for the home owner to sell any excess electricity back to the utility company. Also they should contact Clean Power Markets 877-237-7773 or . This orgainization is responsible for registering all alternative energy systems within the state of PA. Once the system is officially registered within the state it will be elgible to sell the renewable energy credits the system is producing. There are also people called aggregators who will help get the system registered and help in the process of selling the credits as they accumulate. We recommend using Knollwood Energy 908.955.0590 It’s hard to say if the system was registered, but Clean Power Markets should be able to tell them if it was, and what the next course of action should be.

  14. Avatar for Brenda Parker Brenda Parker says:

    I purchased a house in Pittsburgh, PA and it currently has solar panels installed, what do I need to do to receive the rebate credits over the years of ownership. I have heard about the program but was never formally notified when I purchased the home. What do I need to do from here?

  15. Avatar for Mary S. Mary S. says:

    I would like to know if there is any State money out there to support a non-profit organization that wants to go solar but needs industrial solar panels? Thank you for a response.

  16. Avatar for Loreal Loreal says:

    Is there a problem with going all solar or just partial in PA or is it ownly in certain places in PA? Also, to even own solar equippment with the intent to use on or in your home do you have to get anyones permittion?

  17. Avatar for Loreal Loreal says:

    I am thinking about moving out to either Brandywine or Oxford MD. I wanted to know if there were any probitions on having solar panels installed either a connection in my backyard to my house or on my roof?

  18. Avatar for Ilona Ilona says:

    In your December 2010 update you mention Pittsburgh but you only have Philadelphia suburbs listed. Are there any suggestions for Pittsburgh in the works?

  19. Avatar for jennifer jennifer says:

    I would like to explore solar panels for our church. Are there state grants for churches?

  20. Avatar for stuart edelman stuart edelman says:

    What is the Pa. grant for a commercial
    450 kw system.

  21. Avatar for jay jay says:

    Put them up any way and make them hire a lawyer……it will be a pretty penny…….then take the panels down thw day before you court date, thus canceling the affair….then put them up a week later……..repeat as necessary

  22. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:


    Your story is sadly common in many areas. And sadly, you may need a lawyer to ultimately resolve this issue. However, I would recommend several tactics for persuading your HOA to reconsider.

    1) First, I would contact and, the Solar Energy Industries Association. This is a common issue and they may have resources that you can use.

    2) You might call/contact your congressmen and Pennsylvania legislator, and especially the governor’s office. Gov. Rendell is very pro solar, as you know. Staff there may also have recommendations.

    3) If you really want to escalate things and perhaps upset neighbors, call the local media. Your newspapaer and all of the t.v. stations. Point out that there is a very good solar program going on, but HOAs like yours are standing in the way of you being able to take advantage of the programs.

    These are all arcane laws. California and other states have prohibited HOAs from prohibiting solar panels, and yet HOAs still sue homeowners, even here. Their cases are ultimately without merit, since the law is fairly explicit, yet HOAs still try and after some legal bills, the cases are dismissed.

    As far as I know, there are no laws in Pa preventing HOAs from dictating to you about solar. Again, I urge you to contact the above solar organizations for more advice and after that… head for the media. Someone has to lead the charge against this injustice to our planet and your local environment and your realty “right of happiness”–I believe that’s a legal term, even. You may have to be the test case.

    Please let us know what you discover so that we can share it here for other Pa solar buyers!

    If anyone else has experience with Pa HMO’s, please leave a comment as well!

  23. Avatar for bob bob says:

    Please help with any info you can!

    To my dismay my HOA has declined my request to go solar. My plan was to use my rear south facing roof with low profile black solar panels. No wires would exposed and the frames of the panels would be black as well. I guess it’s my fault to be this naive in thinking that a HOA could stop a project this important to our planet. It’s my understanding that I can’t even take the matter before the township without the HOA approval?!?

    My local township is East Fallowfield, Pa just outside Coatesville and West Chester Pa. The HOA for Brook Crossings Development is two people and from what they tell me a Attorney that reviewed the HOA bylaws. They concluded “Section 6.1 of the Declaration, solar panel arrays are not harmonious in design with the
    design of your unit or that of others in the community.” One of the problems with this statement is Solar Panels/Arrays are not mentioned in the declaration at all.

    How can this not be harmonious, not only within the development but the planet as well? Is there any person and or organization that can help? Please I can’t just sit back and let this happen not just for myself but for those who will want to make a difference in the future!

    This type of thinking has put this county light years behind others in the world. What can be of more integrity than spending your time and money converting over to clean energy and reducing your foot print on the planet, saving it for future generations to come.

    I’m not trying to be smart or malicious but short of bringing our troops home safe, there can be no greater cause in this country right now.

  24. Avatar for herbert herbert says:

    I am retired and payout much money for doctors and such so the 30% from the Feds will not be of any help unless someone out there knows how to get that money in a grant

  25. Avatar for nick c nick c says:

    i love the comments and great feedback. i’m thinking about starting a company and targeting residential townhomes. i was wondering if you could recommend a solar panel company to get info from, and are there any small business
    grants available to help me get started? are there any seminars in the chester county area offering solar information?

  26. Avatar for Robert lulloff Robert lulloff says:

    Just a note to any one who did or is going to install salor on your own. The city of scranton is making me pay a fine for my self installed system. I am disabled and there for can not accsess the roof of our home. The panels are set in the side yard and feed to a controller that charges the set of only 6 12volt batterys, We use it to maitain low voltage lighting. We are not hooked to the grid. Pa just wants money for what somebodies else does. this is only a 12volt system. self installers beware!!!!

  27. Avatar for Cliff Cliff says:

    What’s the latest from the Energy Cooperative of Pennsylvania? They or other utilities should be buying the solar power at pro rata prices. If we can’t sell the electricity our grid systems will generate, why would anyone be interested in doing this except for purely altruistic reasons?

  28. Avatar for Mike Mike says:

    Hi We are looking into putting a 60 kw on the roof of our small business. We need to know if the SREC income can be paid to us monthly or qaurterly instead of yearly so we can pay on our morgage better?

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Mike… I’m not sure. I think you can submitted on the SREC market whenever you produce a certain amount of kW, but I’m not certain about that. Please contact someone from They’re the experts and will give you more details about the SRECs than I can find.

      60kW sounds great! Good for you.

    2. Avatar for Steve Littlewood Steve Littlewood says:

      Mike – If you are still interested and are a profitable business we will install your system for only your would be tax dollars and offer you a $.06 fixed electric rate for 16 years.

  29. Avatar for Frank Frank says:

    Thanks for the tax info..Now for a solar question… I have a contractor coming out next week to check my site for a system. His company charges $8.00 per watt for a ground mount system. My wish is to have a 6kw system, but at $8.00 a watt that comes to $48,000. Even with the state and Federal rebates the final cost to me for the system comes to around $23000 after state tax is added. Thats a little tight for me to handle so heres my question….is it possible to have a system installed (inverter, etc…) that will handle 6kw but only install panels equal to 3kw (3kw system = $24,000 with final cost of about $11,000+ inverter etc. upgrade) and as money becomes available, add additional panels to the system. I know that the upgrade for the inverter etc., will cost extra no doubt and I realize by doing this I cannot receive a tax credit for any future panels installed, but by doing this I have the option to add to the system in time when monies are available verses buying upgrade equipt. later. Thanks for your input….

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Hi, Frank.

      Absolutely, that’s possible. More so than ever with “micro inverters.” Check our our archives about micro inverters. It’s very modular. Even going with a central inverter, what you described is certainly possible, although, as you noted, you won’t get any more rebates for the panels or installation. Going halfway can be very cost effective by itself if you have a tiered rate system with your utility. When you go modular without micro inverters, it does become less flexible, however, and you may need to buy the same exact panels later on for the best efficiency. Keep in mind that micros can get more expensive, also, although they may pay for themselves in their improved efficiency. 8 bucks a watt seems okay for a ground mount, but I would certainly recommend to everyone to get 2 if not 3 quotes and compare apples to apples price comparisons. In other words, if you’re comparing 8 bucks a watt, ask all of the people quoting you to give a quote in $/”DC Watts STC” or $/”AC Watts.” or $/kWh. Right now, DC Watts STC is most common. I’m assuming yours is $8/watt DC STC.

      Check out these related articles here on Solar Power Rocks:

      Hope that helps.

  30. Avatar for Frank Vilk Frank Vilk says:

    I have read all the comments on this board but can’t find the answer to my question. Here it is… (When filing yearly state and federal taxes)If you cannot claim all of your tax rebate in one years filing, can you roll over the difference the following year or years until exhausted?

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Yes, Frank. You can carry over the 30% tax credit. How many years exactly is unclear, but at least until 2016 when the federal ITC expires. That’s our understanding, but you should always double check with your tax person, since we’re, you know, 3 solar dudes, not 3 tax dudes.

  31. Avatar for mitch mitch says:

    Is the state rebate taxed by the federal government?

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Mitch, I’m unsure about that, honestly. It varies by what tax person you talk to, so go with the advice of your expert. Sometimes they consider these rebates as a “reduction in price” rather than “income.” Again, please check with your tax person with their understanding of the guidelines.

  32. Avatar for stan stan says:

    My contractor sources say the rebate paperwork is submitted by the installer on behalf of the customer to insure efficiency levels and state requirements are being met. Should the customer owe the state any moneys they are ineligible for state rebates. Any rebate moneys due, by law, MUST be paid to the customer directly, only after the state receives proof of final payment to installer.
    Therefore, does this qualify as a prevailing wage job? Thanks for your help and comments.

  33. Avatar for stan stan says:

    Does the solar energy installation come under the guidelines of the pa prevailing wage act? The project must be completely paid for before any government moneys come into play and then go to the customer as a rebate not the installer.
    Please respond.

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Stan, Short answer: We don’t know about the prevailing wage act. Not sure you’re right about the subsidy being fronted by consumer, however. If you’re talking about residential, I believe under the Sunshine program, the consumer must fill out an application after being approved by the installer for solar (meaning that their home is right for solar and has enough sunlight, roof orientation etc.) and then submit the application through the installer, who in turn submits it to the State program. I believe, but am not certain, that it is the installer who gets the rebate check if the consumer signs off. Thanks for commenting.

  34. Avatar for david david says:

    hi dave form williamsport i just started my co. Renewable Energy For Pa llc . the D.E.P have been a big email add is [email protected] i have been installing these systems for 3 plus years and i cant wate to get the first one for my own co.

  35. Avatar for Jason Jason says:

    I agree completely we are starting a new business in this area and it seems we are fighting an uphill battle all the way. All I want to know is what tax credit is availible and how do I go about getting it. I’ve spent hours on the web trying to figure this out only to be left more confussed then ever. HELP!

  36. Avatar for J. Lubas J. Lubas says:

    How does one become a state installer if you have to install at least 3 systems before you get on the list as a contractor. Is there any exception to this? Where can you apply to become a certified installer.

  37. Avatar for david david says:

    HI im dave i live in williamsport and i have been installing these systems for about 4 years, i am starting a renewable energy business and found an outline draft on how the state will only give grants to the systems that are installed by NABCEP Certified installers and they want energy audits to that have to be done only by RESNET OR BPI CERTIFIED I beleive this will stop a lot of people from getting one installed i have installed more of these systems than i can count , at least give us time to get the classes and test

  38. Avatar for druidclark druidclark says:

    So much for the State giving it more than PPL. Solar is actually excluded from the rebate-eligible expenses. Look at this site and “Advanced Performance” (, you have to use one of their contractors. IMO, as long as the materials are certified Energy Star and the Contractor is registered and I can prove that they were installed correctly, that should be enough. FPhhfffft.

  39. Avatar for Schmo Schmo says:

    Does anyone have information on solar hot water rebates, installers or contractors?

  40. Avatar for chris chris says:

    so are there any rebate now

  41. Avatar for Daniel-Sun Daniel-Sun says:

    Good to know folks in Pa. are paying attention(not just paying ppl).Being from Ca. I wasn’t sure how solar would be received, and am now confident the time is now!

  42. Avatar for Jeremy Klotz Jeremy Klotz says:

    Mark, it’s a $2 to $2.5 per watt rebate for PV. I have it from a good source that it’ll start in April. Here’s a draft of the legislation:

    [email protected]

  43. Avatar for Mark Mark says:

    Does anyone know what % of a tax credit or rebate will be allowed for PA? Everything that I found for the State is for 08. Nothing for 09 yet. I have the Fed information, but can’t find anything exact for state rebates. Thanks in advance!

  44. Avatar for Brian Brian says:

    Great Website !
    We wanted to Announce an Energy Expo for Northeastern Pennsylvania.
    The Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council is a 501©3 non-profit organization that has been active within northeast Pennsylvania since 1980. The Pocono Northeast RC&D is a regional organization that encompasses and serves the following ten counties: Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne.

    The Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council and its partners will be hosting the Northeast PA Energy Solutions Expo on June 13-14th, 2009 at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds in Dallas, PA. The event will focus on alternative and renewable energy opportunities as well as energy conservation for residents, landowners, municipalities, regional governments, and local businesses. The intent of the Expo a forum where people can come to see, witness, and learn about potential conservation and alternative energy solutions.

  45. Avatar for Jim Jim says:

    i am a do it yourselfer, and i have been unable to find any where that i can get the info i need and purchase a roof system for my home. of the places i found on th internet in pittsburgh area, they are all contractors and no help, with info do to my wanting to do it myself. can’t find anyone who will sell to the do it yourselfer. any info on where i can find whatever it is i need, please help!!

  46. Avatar for Charles Charles says:

    Hi People,
    I understand the frustration over this whole alternative energy incentive thing that is lacking in our Keystone State. Seems none of our elected officials can get it together.
    If you need some assistance in lowering your energy bills I may be able to help.
    I’m doing it in my home.

  47. Avatar for Scott Scott says:

    Hey guys, for information on finance and incentive help in PA try Its a database of state incentives for renewable energy. Federally the only real incentive is the 30% direct tax credit for the installation. That is not a deduction but a direct cash credit (same as cash) of 30%.

  48. Avatar for Shana Haygood, Director of Sales Shana Haygood, Director of Sales says:

    Anyone interested in signing up to hear exactly what the PA credits are, and exactly when they are going to be released, please visit Please feel free to post back with any further questions. We expect to hear something definitive around March 2009.

  49. Avatar for Rob Rob says:

    I watched a little bit of the meeting between Obama and the governors last night and was wondering if anyone caught any concrete plans for solar subsidies in PA

  50. Avatar for DAVE DAVE says:


  51. Avatar for Julia Julia says:

    Here’s the latest word I’ve heard from the DEP about when residents can expect to hear about taking advantage of the Renewable Energy rebate program; the program is being funded by a bond, so they can’t activate the program until the bond has been issued. In our current economic situation, they’re not sure when that will happen. They’re projecting mid-2009. There will likely be stipulations that will determine your rebate eligibility, particularly energy efficiency; if you’ve demonstrated energy reduction in your home and/or have had an energy audit, you’re more likely to get a higher rebate (the maximum we’ve heard is 35%). I’ve also heard that there will be tax credits available as part of the program co-administered by the Department of Revenue.

  52. Avatar for john john says:

    Hello to all you folks talking about solar energy. Over the past 9 months I have designed and build my own solar water heating system. Over the past 3 months I have reduced my natural gas bill by approximately $50.00 a month and my investment was around a thousand dollars. The materials need to build a solar thermal collector are available at many plumbing supply stores. Good plumbing skills are a must have, if you wish to build your own system. I originally got most of my idea from and just went ahead with what I wanted to do, make hot water with sunshine.

  53. Avatar for Joy Joy says:

    The state rebates are still being dickered over, as I understand it. The federal “30% up to $2,000” is good for systems up and running by Dec. 31 2008. That cut off has been moved before, and (esp. if you call your congressman and senator) could be renewed / extended again.

    use to track funding opportunities; there are quite a few low-interest loans. Most Solar companies will help to hook you up with one. I would suggest buying a bit more inverter than your panels need, BTW, in case the panel cost and efficiency both improve in the next decade, so you can slot in a spare panel or two. BTW, with the federal credits currently slated to expire, good, fully sealed “made in USA” panels like the ones I got from are in considerable demand!

  54. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:


    I provided an update today regarding the status of Pennsylvania homeowner rebates, incentives, and credits. Which ‘list of choices’ are you referring to?

    Thank you all again for your comments and suggestions.

  55. Avatar for Tony Tony says:

    Please post something for the individual residential homeowner, there must be some funding out there and hybrid (solar and wind) systems are not on you list of choices.

  56. Avatar for Craig B Craig B says:

    I’m a retired NYC Police officer that fell ill after 9/11. Yep, I’m one of those guys that you hear about who are sick, and getting the shaft by the City. So seeing as I am on Social Security and 100% disabled, and living with my father who is also on social security, I need to find a way to lower my energy bills drasticly now. I want to go green, and get off the PPL trough. My dad and I live in a single wide mobile home in a nice area in PA, and the trailer faces exactly south with no obstruction. I was wondering if we’d qualify fir some kind of grant, or special loan to get full solar power up and running. We have only like 1100 sq feet. Is this possible? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to email me: [email protected]

  57. Avatar for Mike Mike says:

    I find it kind of funny that the governor of the state has a solar roof and gets a $20,000 grant to have it done but the working Keystoner can’t get any definitive answers when it comes to financial assistance. (lost the link to the page will post it when I find it)

  58. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:


    Thank you for your concern and comments. We’re doing the best we can to accurately reflect what is going on incentive and rebate-wise for Pennsylvania homeowners. From the installers we have spoken to in our network, there is some consensus that solar will not be an easy option to pursue in Pennsylvania for at least a year or so. That is in comparison to other states with much clearer goals and passed legislation. When the aforementioned bills get passed, we plan on reporting what it takes to acquire solar in a fiscally responsible manner with an actual example from a Pennsylvanian family. Again, thank you for your concerns and comments. We’re not here to be predatory misinformers. If you could, please share your experiences with your contractors that came out to your home. Everyone reading this page will benefit.

    Thanks so much,

    Dan Hahn

  59. Avatar for David Leinenbach David Leinenbach says:

    Careful Everyone. I’ve done some pretty extensive research and so far I have yet to see a site that deals exclusively with homneowners, residential, and individual use assistance, grants, and reasonable financing. I’ve had 3 or 4 contractors out to the house and I get the sense there will be some predatory activity initally given the intense interest as of late. ITS STILL THE RIGHT THING TO DO, but dont get sucked in too fast. Im pretty sure it can be done for a reasonable cost, but they’re not gonna make it easy as you can all see. Anyone find a site thats really helpful and informative to an average, middle class residence inquiry in PA, please let me know.

  60. Avatar for Mike Mike says:

    I got a quote but the “grant” would have sign over my energy credits indefinitely. Does anybody know why the grant program has changed its format so many times?

  61. Avatar for Jeff Jeff says:

    This news release was on the PA DEP website. It mentions “$100 million to provide loans, grants and rebates that cover up to 35 percent of the costs residential consumers and small businesses incur for installing for solar energy technology”. Here is the web address.

  62. Avatar for Sally Sally says:

    I see nothing on this page for financial help for PA homeowners…just small business. It is an enormas expense…how does one get help?

  63. Avatar for Lorraine Lorraine says:

    Didn’t the legislation just pass? Please be the first to post information about residential renewable credits from PA.

  64. Avatar for Gregory Gorbulsky Gregory Gorbulsky says:

    Dear friends! As I can see from your questions, you are homeowners like me. Unfortunately, there is no rebate program for homeowners in PA right now. Governor Rendall stepped forward last year with so calle Sunshine Initiative, which stipulates 50% rebate for us, homeowners, but this initiative still did not passed Senate. We have to write or call to our Senators to move ahead with this bill asap. Meanwhile, Ihave installed 3.1 kwt Solar System myself and have been enjoying free clean energy.

  65. Avatar for Bruce Bruce says:

    Hello??? Does anyone check the postings on this site? I to would like info for residential solar power incentives.

  66. Avatar for Allan Minard Allan Minard says:

    I am like the rest of the people psting here. All the listed information seems to be geared to the business owner and not the home owner. Where can I find information for the homeowner that wants to install solar and find possible wources of help?

  67. Avatar for Doris Doris says:

    Hi. Im interested in getting solar heating for my home. The fuel bills will put me out of my house if I cannot come up with something more feasible. But like Brian asked, where can I find out about info on solar ins. and rebates for residental use? Thanks.

  68. Avatar for Amy Sahm Amy Sahm says:

    The sites listed above are all for small business. Where can I find info about solar panel installation and possible rebates and tax advantages for residential use?

  69. Avatar for ross ross says:

    These sites all seem to be for businesses. Where can I find information about solar rebates for residential homes.

    1. Avatar for Catherine Neil Catherine Neil says:

      The site at Find Solar is really great for general information and is geared toward the home owner. It also can link you up with customer recommended installers.

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