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Residential, Commercial Rebates Still Available For Solar Energy Projects

The Department of Environmental Protection announced January 26 $7.25 million in rebates are still available to residents and small businesses through the PA Sunshine Rebate Program.  DEP also outlined changes affecting solar installers.  (formal notice)

The Department is authorized to fund solar electric (solar photovoltaic), solar hot water (solar thermal) projects and battery back-up systems for homeowners and small businesses in this Commonwealth.

Residential projects continue to be offered rebates up to $7,500 towards the purchase of a photovoltaic system with the maximum size being 10 KW ($0.75/watt up to a 10 KW system).

Small businesses continue to be offered rebates up to $52,500 towards the purchase of a photovoltaic system, with the maximum size system being 100 KW ($0.75/watt for the first 10KW and $0.50/watt for the next 90 KW).

Solar thermal projects are provided rebates up to a maximum of 35 percent of the total cost of the project design, installation and equipment. The maximum solar thermal rebate for a residential project is $5,000. The maximum solar thermal rebate for a small commercial project is $50,000.

The Department is amending the Program guidelines to lessen administrative burdens and provide certainty for those participating in the Program as the funding draws to a close. These amendments will go into effect immediately.

The amendments include:

-- Implementation of a new one-step application procedure process which will remove the previous reservation process and only approve projects for rebate payments upon completion and approval of the solar project. This will be a first come, first served in the order in which they are received and approved rebate process.

-- Notification that all existing applications that were reserved/approved for construction by the Program will have to be completed by June 1, 2013, to ensure payment. After June 1, 2013, these projects will be considered first come, first served in the order in which they are received and approved. There will be no extensions to the June 1, 2013, deadline.

-- Notification that the Program will cease receiving rebate applications upon the exhaustion of the final funds or by December 31, 2013, whichever occurs first.

Solar Installer Changes

The Department, as required by the act, established a Photovoltaic and Solar Contract Installer Database. Solar installers were approved and placed into this database based on appropriate training and experience.

Over 750 installers have been approved as participating solar installers. The Department will be directly contacting the approved installers to inform them of the changes to the guidelines and the procedures for applying for a rebate.

A webinar scheduled for the beginning of February 2013 will be hosted by the Department to educate installers on the new rebate process.

For more information, visit DEP’s PA Sunshine Program webpage.


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