Author Topic: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity  (Read 4661 times)

Manguy888

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Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« on: August 19, 2016, 06:28:14 AM »
So in RI, where I live, there's this SOLARIZE-RI program coming from town to town. It's sponsored by the electric company, who wants to get a certain amount of MW of solar onto people's roofs so that they can eventually close down an aging power plant. here's how it works:

total cost of installation of 450KW system: around 15,000

Roughly $5K comes back as a federal tax credit The other $10k you can either pay upfront or get as a loan. 10 year loans are at about 4.5%. I don't have 10k on hand but could raid investments easily to cover it if I don't want to keep the loan.

The power company has a 15 year agreement to buy our power back from us at 30cents/KWH (our power right now is about 18cents). Based on our power usage, the salesman guy estimates that what the electric company pays us would roughly pay the monthly loan payment on an average month. So here are the pros and cons as I see them:


CONS:
 - solar power I generate doesn't go to me, it goes to the power company. Meaning if a storm hits, my panels won't actually put me off the grid. They are basically just using my roof.
 - no guarantee after 15 years that the power company will continue a program of buying electricity from me at all, or at least at that rate
 - unknowns about other costs, whether it affects home value, makes roof work more expensive, whether I'll have to get them cleaned after snow storms.
 - general reservations about the complexity of the deal where I take on debt and count on the power company to make me whole over time. I'm generally against adding complexity to my life.


PROS:
 - I'm for solar panels in the abstract, I think there should be more of them
 - I own the panels. This isn't a lease situation.
 - If battery technology makes a leap I could upgrade them so that I truly can use them 'off grid'.
 - if everything works as the salesman says, I'll own solar panels and the power company will mostly pay for them buy buying my electricity.

What do you think? Is this a great deal and I'm just worrying too much? Or is this a bad deal?

ender

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2016, 06:41:22 AM »
Quote
The power company has a 15 year agreement to buy our power back from us at 30cents/KWH (our power right now is about 18cents). Based

Wow is this ever a good deal! They are willing to buy it back at nearly 2x what you pay for it?? One reason solar for me is not a good deal is that our plant only buys it at cost - something like 1/3 our consumer cost.

Also, check your state tax incentives too. My state does 15% purchase price as a credit, so between federal/state it's worth 45% in tax incentives. You're only including the federal one there so I'm not sure

Fishindude

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2016, 06:43:05 AM »
Roughly $5K comes back as a federal tax credit The other $10k you can either pay upfront or get as a loan.

I've looked into something like this also, so double check, but unless your local utility is footing the bill, I suspect you will have to pay all $15K up front personally.
My understanding was you got that 1/3 back via tax deduction at year end when you do your taxes.   Meaning, you may not get any $$ actually returned back to you, it might only lessen your federal tax exposure, and if you are not paying much in federal taxes to start with, it may be very little.

ender

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2016, 06:45:39 AM »
Roughly $5K comes back as a federal tax credit The other $10k you can either pay upfront or get as a loan.

I've looked into something like this also, so double check, but unless your local utility is footing the bill, I suspect you will have to pay all $15K up front personally.
My understanding was you got that 1/3 back via tax deduction at year end when you do your taxes.   Meaning, you may not get any $$ actually returned back to you, it might only lessen your federal tax exposure, and if you are not paying much in federal taxes to start with, it may be very little.

Yeah, this is how it works.

I believe that you can rollover any unused credit 1 year, though, so it's not required that you actually claim the entire benefit the year they get installed. I suspect this law is subject to change every year, though..

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 07:09:19 AM »
Thanks for the advice so far. I think the way the guy explained it, they do a 'second loan', 0 interest for a year, in the amount of the tax credit. So when you get the credit you can use it to pay off the loan. Or just pay out of pocket up front, but they design the default mode of all these programs from a consumer-sucka, you probably have $0 in savings standpoint.

zephyr911

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 10:10:54 AM »
total cost of installation of 450KW system: around 15,000
450kW? That'd fill up a football field or so. Did you mean 4.5kW (4500W)? $3 per watt (ish) is pretty common (better than what I paid).

Quote
The other $10k you can either pay upfront or get as a loan. 10 year loans are at about 4.5%.
It sounds like your ROI is way above 4.5%, and this is probably tax-deductible interest (verify that, but it's part of your home). Keep the loan, your total return will be higher.
Quote
- solar power I generate doesn't go to me, it goes to the power company. Meaning if a storm hits, my panels won't actually put me off the grid. They are basically just using my roof.
But that's the status quo. I don't see it as a con, since you already don't have the backup power. Plus, not to go off on tangents too much, but from a macro view (and if you're a solar advocate, you probably care a bit about this) interconnected renewables do more for collective progress than getting off the grid. It's just a more productive use of resources.
Quote
- no guarantee after 15 years that the power company will continue a program of buying electricity from me at all, or at least at that rate
By then, even if you just get the wholesale rate, you've made enough money to justify the investment. I'd dive on this deal in a heartbeat.
Quote
- unknowns about other costs, whether it affects home value, makes roof work more expensive, whether I'll have to get them cleaned after snow storms.
How old is your roof? You want it to be fairly new when adding panels, because their lifespans are similar. Substantial panel coverage can actually prolong its life by reducing sun damage, but if you do have to replace it, pulling the entire system off and putting it back on will definitely add cost. Could be a grand or two from what I've heard.
Quote
- general reservations about the complexity of the deal where I take on debt and count on the power company to make me whole over time. I'm generally against adding complexity to my life.
IRAs add complexity too, but we're all using them to hack the system anyway. I wouldn't worry that much about it.

Quote
PROS:
 - I'm for solar panels in the abstract, I think there should be more of them
 - I own the panels. This isn't a lease situation.
 - If battery technology makes a leap I could upgrade them so that I truly can use them 'off grid'.
 - if everything works as the salesman says, I'll own solar panels and the power company will mostly pay for them buy buying my electricity.

What do you think? Is this a great deal and I'm just worrying too much? Or is this a bad deal?
All legitimate, though, as noted, going off grid is more resource-intensive and less efficient in the grand scheme. I think the best solution is grid-tied with manual cutover (so you can use it when power goes out) and maybe a small amount of storage for overnight lights, etc. You don't need a huge battery bank and a fully off-grid system to get the vast bulk of the benefits. Just use the grid as your bank, it's better for all involved.

Thanks for the advice so far. I think the way the guy explained it, they do a 'second loan', 0 interest for a year, in the amount of the tax credit. So when you get the credit you can use it to pay off the loan. Or just pay out of pocket up front, but they design the default mode of all these programs from a consumer-sucka, you probably have $0 in savings standpoint.
Wait, is that Admirals Bank? I almost did a loan like that... they ended up being real shitheads about the qualifying process so I bailed. Not that all clients would be treated that way... I had some unique factors in play.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 10:24:41 AM »
Wow, that sounds like a fantastic deal.  Almost "too good to be true."  So make sure you read and understand all the fine print before you sign up.

Running through the math (ignoring inflation/opportunity cost from investing elsewhere...):
Upfront cost: about $3,000/kW
Payback: $0.30/kWh
For the panels to pay for themselves, they'd need to produce electricity for about 10,000 hours
Rhode Island get an average of 4.23 hours of sunlight each day. 10,000/4.23 = 2,364 days
2,364 days = about 6.5 years

Factor in the $5k rebate from the feds, and the payback is down to 4-4.5 years.  That's really not bad.

The loan payments would be about $103/mo.  Payment from the power company would average (30 days * 4.23 hours/day *4.5 kW * $0.30/kWh) = $171.  Understand, though, that this is a "best case" number. It doesn't take into account dirty panels, snow, panel degradation over time, etc.

Also, is the power company bound to purchase as much power from your panels as your panels can produce? Or will they only purchase as much as they need to make up for any capacity shortfalls?

$10k @ 4.5%
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 10:29:46 AM by zolotiyeruki »

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 10:47:47 AM »
Get your loan thru PenFed - Pentagon Federal Credit Union - easy to work with, all on-line, and great rates.

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2016, 11:06:08 AM »
450kW? That'd fill up a football field or so. Did you mean 4.5kW (4500W)? $3 per watt (ish) is pretty common (better than what I paid).

oh yea, definitely did mean 4.5 KW. Except I just looked at the documents and I didn't get it exactly right.

It's a 3.7KW system, projected to produce 4500KWH per year ($3.90 per watt to install). The number their paperwork has spit out is $1370 per year paid from the electric company to me, which 1370/4500 does equal that .30/KWH payback, so at least I have that part right.

So based on my new numbers, I'm guessing it's still a good deal but maybe not as eye-popping as before

tonysemail

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 11:20:30 AM »
you should probably call around and get more quotes.

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2016, 12:04:12 PM »
actually 38 cents/KWH but they will only buy 125% of my usage

patrat

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2016, 12:38:56 PM »
I would not count on them actually paying you for every kilowatt hour generated. Instead, I expect it is a net metering agreement. That is, they only pay you for the amount you generate beyond what you consume, the months when you are a net producer of power. If you generate 900kWH in a month, but use 600kWH that month, you will only be paid for 900-600=300kWH that month at the $0.30 rate.

Newport, Rhode Island averages 4.23 solar hours per day, averaged over a year. So on an averaged month, you will produce 4.23*3.7*365/12=476 kWH with a 3.7kW solar installation. When you account for the fact that summer production will be higher and winter lower, you can only really expect them to pay you in summer time, unless you are a very effective power miser. If you use air conditioning, heat pump, or electric heat, expect no payment.
http://www.solardirect.com/pv/systems/gts/gts-sizing-sun-hours.html


That affects the payback substantially. You should probably not use the $0.38 rate in your calculations, but instead the $0.18 billed rate. This is because you are likely to still be using more power than you produce, each month. Even using the summer solar hours, you can only expect to generate about 528kWH per month in the summer (403 in winter). Most people have electric consumption higher than that.

Lets assume you perfectly target your power consumption for maximum payback (because use too little and they pay you less, oddly. Use too much and you pay them). So for your average 476kWH solar production month you hit your target of using 381kWH, for max payback. You will see a payment from the utility of 95kWH at $0.38, or $36.10

Expect that they will still charge you their "Customer fee" and whatever else charges they have that are not consumption based. In my area, south jersey, those fixed fees are about $12. Probably $15 in RI. So, if you game it perfectly you will have a net payment of $21 a month from the utility company, instead of whatever they charge you now. You will probably not game the system perfectly.

So, does the amount of your average power bill, plus $21, give you your ROI period you need? Probably not. Assume out of pocket of $10k, needed payback of 15 years. Loan/opportunity cost of 4.5%/yr.

Interest first year of $450. Your max utility cost for the same ideal case usage would be 381kWH/month * $0.18 = $68.58 a month (is your average bill above or below this?). $823 dollars in electric a year if no solar system but same ideal usage. Net cash flow change from utility company to you of $844, savings of $394 that first year. 

You miss the 15 year ROI. A really rough approximation puts the ROI at somewhere around year 18, if I did the math right. The actual ROI calculation is not my strong point. Overall though, that is the absolute best case scenario, assuming you had a perfect robot running your power consumption.

Only do this if the non financial aspects appeal to you.


« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 12:56:37 PM by patrat »

zephyr911

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2016, 02:03:22 PM »
I would not count on them actually paying you for every kilowatt hour generated. Instead, I expect it is a net metering agreement. That is, they only pay you for the amount you generate beyond what you consume, the months when you are a net producer of power. If you generate 900kWH in a month, but use 600kWH that month, you will only be paid for 900-600=300kWH that month at the $0.30 rate.
This should be specified in the contract documents. Where I live, net metering is not approved, which has its drawbacks, but on the plus side, I get the premium rate (though only a $.02 premium) on 100% of my production, which feeds directly to the grid via a 2nd meter. Everywhere is different, but you're right - the details matter, and OP should make sure (s)he's clear on exactly what this agreement would entail.

Emg03063

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2016, 07:41:15 PM »
Caveats are worth noting, but it's probably a good deal.  Not as good a deal as adding insulation, mind you, but worth doing.  A couple of thoughts/questions: 1.  Does the utility have to specify the contractor for you to be able to take advantage of the program, or can you pick your own?  If you can pick, it probably pays to shop the install around.  2/3 of the cost of an install is typically labor & installer profit; 1/3 is panel cost.  2.  Is there a limit to the capacity you are allowed to install to take advantage of the net meter?  If not, it probably pays to cover the whole roof (assuming it makes sense to do at all).  Marginal cost of the extra panels should be small compared to the average cost you were quoted.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2016, 07:44:59 PM »
- solar power I generate doesn't go to me, it goes to the power company. Meaning if a storm hits, my panels won't actually put me off the grid. They are basically just using my roof.

Depending how statist you are. You can safely bypass these stupid futures that the cities "legally" require you to do.

Just a bit of research online and you can find DIY and howtos on how to bypass the city and get YOUR solor panels coming DIRECTLY to you, and ignoring the city.
Then, at night, or if you need you more power you flip on a switch to reconnect you back up to the city.

my city wants to change a few hundred bucks a years in FEES to be disconnected from them, like wtf is that??

edit:
After having panels for 3 years, they are paying themselves off. I put 40k down, got about 8k back from federal, 4k back from city/county and 3k back from my company (they were partnered with the solar panel company), and a 3k cash back (still pending on this until i pay it off)
At this current rate they will break even in another 9 years or so.
They also raised my property taxes, even though state law says this can't be done, it happens, shocking.
The pay pack for my over production is also a scam by the city run monopoly, i only get back about 50% of what they would charge me for the power, and it is in credits which doesn't cover the 2 months i do use a bit more juice.
There is also all the fees and taxes for having panels, with 0 usage from it. Like 5$ safety fees, $2 meter fees, $3 account fees, 10$ solar fee, and if i install a battery into my house, there is another HUGE fee. Plus all the taxes on that. So my monthly bill is still about 20$/mo with NO power used from the city.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 01:42:41 AM by MoonLiteNite »

waltworks

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2016, 09:24:56 PM »
If they will actually pay 30 cents a kWh, I would do it in a hot second. That is insane. It's fairly uncommon to be able to sell power back at retail (in your case 18 cents) - in many cases you can only sell excess power back at wholesale (way less).

I know that at least in a few cases those agreements that did allow retail power payback rates have been changed after the fact:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/business/energy-environment/why-home-solar-panels-no-longer-pay-in-some-states.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FSolar%20Energy&action=click&contentCollection=energy-environment&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=collection

I would probably cross my fingers and go for it, though.

-W

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2016, 05:06:17 AM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm bad at using the quotes feature here but I'll answer some of the questions that were asked:

- RE net metering: I found out that it's not a net metering scenario. They buy everything I generate at 38 center/KWH, up to 125% of what I use in a month, and THEN I get charged 18 cents for what I use in electricity. The different goes to me. Slightly better deal. It's called a TARRIFF plan

- RE shopping contractors: I can't. This deal goes from town to town, and everyone gets a discount because one contractor has been incentivized to stay in one town for a while and concentrate resources. The cost is $15k with no room to negotiate.

- RE tax credit. I did confirm that it's not like an earned income tax credit where it can put money in your pocket. It can only take your taxes to zero. So since I'm usually about even on taxes (no bill or refund) I would have to change my witholdings next year to underpay. Annoying, but I could do it.

I'm leaning toward doing this after reading the contract better to understand all of the ins and outs

SomedayStache

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2016, 10:49:54 AM »

- RE tax credit. I did confirm that it's not like an earned income tax credit where it can put money in your pocket. It can only take your taxes to zero. So since I'm usually about even on taxes (no bill or refund) I would have to change my witholdings next year to underpay. Annoying, but I could do it.


I think you are still misunderstanding tax credits.  It sounds like you are talking about a nonrefundable tax credit (vs refundable like EIC).  In either case your total tax has nothing to do with whether or not you come out to zero (no bill or refund) at tax time.  Changing your withholdings to underpay doesn't change your total tax - it only changes how much you owe in April.

If you file a regular 1040 take a look at 2015's return and line 63 to see what your tax was for last year.  You might have owed zero dollars when filing your taxes but had a $4000 total tax.  This would mean that the solar credit would have up to a $4000 value for you if it had been applicable in 2015 to your situation.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2016, 04:06:15 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm bad at using the quotes feature here but I'll answer some of the questions that were asked:

- RE net metering: I found out that it's not a net metering scenario. They buy everything I generate at 38 center/KWH, up to 125% of what I use in a month, and THEN I get charged 18 cents for what I use in electricity. The different goes to me. Slightly better deal. It's called a TARRIFF plan
Ok, so the math works out like so:
C = monthly your consumption in kWh
P = monthly production from the panels in kWh, capped by all of:  1) 1.25*C, 2) production capacity of your panels, and 3) how much they absorb back into the grid*
D = dollars per month you net

D = 0.38*P - 0.18*C
Your best case scenario is if you 1) consume 80% of the capacity of your panels, 2) the power company purchases it all, and 3) your panels are producing their max.  In that case,
P = 30*4.23*3.7 = 469kWh/month.  You'd consume 80% of that(375), so you would net:
469*0.38 - 375*0.18 = 178 - 68 = $110
Note that this number is an absolute best scenario, although it's worth pointing out that you would not have an electric bill above this.

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2016, 05:46:19 AM »
If you file a regular 1040 take a look at 2015's return and line 63 to see what your tax was for last year.  You might have owed zero dollars when filing your taxes but had a $4000 total tax.  This would mean that the solar credit would have up to a $4000 value for you if it had been applicable in 2015 to your situation.

I am still not understanding you. Most years I do not owe at tax time because my witholdings are tuned properly. Given this, if I got solar panels this year and a $4000 tax credit, would I get a check from the government for $4000?

SomedayStache

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2016, 07:18:18 AM »
Your tax liability (the amount of money that you must pay the federal government each year) is not related to your tax witholdings.  (Your withholdings should be related to your tax liability - but that is up to you to peg down.)

You might have a tax liability of $10,000 and properly withhold exactly $10,000 throughout the year.  At tax time you would then owe zero and get zero refund. 

You might have the same tax liability of $10,000 and only have $1,000 withheld throughout the year.  At tax time you would then owe $9,000 to the IRS.

You might have the same tax liability of $10,000 and withhold $13,000 throughout the year (note - this is the more typical scenario, most people overwithhold).  At tax time you would get a nice refund check of $3,000.

In these 3 cases the taxpayers had the exact same tax liability ($10,000).  It was just that their withholdings (from paycheck deductions or quarterly taxes) were different.  Of course at tax time the second scenario would feel screwed by the IRS and the third scenario might be doing a happy dance because they got a great refund.  In actuality the numbers sum to the same.

A refundable tax credit can help you up to the amount of your tax liability which is not directly related to you owing money or receiving a refund at April tax time.  But I'm also pretty sure that the federal tax credit for solar panels can roll over so even if you can't claim it all in year one you can eventually make up the difference.

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2016, 07:33:55 AM »
Your tax liability (the amount of money that you must pay the federal government each year) is not related to your tax witholdings.  (Your withholdings should be related to your tax liability - but that is up to you to peg down.)


I understand this - and I did peg it down, since as I explained I usually don't owe money or get a refund (or the amount is trivial). Would it be possible for you to answer my above question - will I get a refund for $4k? - with a yes or no?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2016, 08:52:51 AM »
Your tax liability (the amount of money that you must pay the federal government each year) is not related to your tax witholdings.  (Your withholdings should be related to your tax liability - but that is up to you to peg down.)


I understand this - and I did peg it down, since as I explained I usually don't owe money or get a refund (or the amount is trivial). Would it be possible for you to answer my above question - will I get a refund for $4k? - with a yes or no?
Let me try this IRS-style: :)
1) Enter the number from Line 44 of your 1040 form.  ______
2) Enter $4000                                                             ______
3) Enter the greater of line 1 or line 2                           ______
     This is the amount of your solar panel efficiency rebate thingamabob

SomedayStache

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2016, 09:24:02 AM »

- RE tax credit. I did confirm that it's not like an earned income tax credit where it can put money in your pocket. It can only take your taxes to zero. So since I'm usually about even on taxes (no bill or refund) I would have to change my witholdings next year to underpay. Annoying, but I could do it.


I think you are still misunderstanding tax credits.  It sounds like you are talking about a nonrefundable tax credit (vs refundable like EIC).  In either case your total tax has nothing to do with whether or not you come out to zero (no bill or refund) at tax time.  Changing your withholdings to underpay doesn't change your total tax - it only changes how much you owe in April.

If you file a regular 1040 take a look at 2015's return and line 63 to see what your tax was for last year.  You might have owed zero dollars when filing your taxes but had a $4000 total tax.  This would mean that the solar credit would have up to a $4000 value for you if it had been applicable in 2015 to your situation.

Okay, hold on here.  Where are you pulling the $4000 number from?  If it is from my quote above, then please note that I just pulled that $4000 number out of my ass to illustrate a hypothetical example of a person who had a $4000 tax liability.  It was a nice round number to illustrate that if a taxpayer had a total tax liability of $X, the tax credit would have a value up to $X.    I have no idea what your actual tax liability is.  The value of the tax credit for you is up to the amount of YOUR tax liability.  I cannot tell you what that is without seeing your taxes.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 09:27:35 AM by SomedayStache »

SomedayStache

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2016, 09:25:28 AM »
Your tax liability (the amount of money that you must pay the federal government each year) is not related to your tax witholdings.  (Your withholdings should be related to your tax liability - but that is up to you to peg down.)


I understand this - and I did peg it down, since as I explained I usually don't owe money or get a refund (or the amount is trivial). Would it be possible for you to answer my above question - will I get a refund for $4k? - with a yes or no?
Let me try this IRS-style: :)
1) Enter the number from Line 44 of your 1040 form.  ______
2) Enter $4000                                                             ______
3) Enter the greater of line 1 or line 2                           ______
     This is the amount of your solar panel efficiency rebate thingamabob

LOL

Manguy888

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2016, 12:04:09 PM »
The $4000 number was one I quoted above as being roughly the amount of the solar tax credit. Sounds like you used the same number in a different context. Anyway I spoke to a CPA friend who clarified this for me and I understand it now. How you were describing it was for whatever reason not getting through to me.

SomedayStache

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Re: Need help evaluating solar panel opportunity
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2016, 12:29:58 PM »
Sorry to add to the confusion by picking a number that you were actually using!

Glad you figured it out.  I've been shown time and again that teaching is NOT my calling.  I'm just not good at explaining things.