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Scrapbook: Harnessing the Sun—and Tax Credits—in Louisiana

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

January 30, 2009

Harnessing the Sun—and Tax Credits—in Louisiana

LA-Jeff-Dubinsky-solar-arra
Photo by Jeffrey Dubinsky

Jeffrey Dubinsky, a Delta Chapter volunteer who serves as Baton Rouge Group vice chair and outings chair, recently installed a solar hot water heater on the roof of his home. Dubinsky is pictured above with his new solar array. (Photo taken with a self-timer.)

"It eliminates the use of roughly 1,600 pounds of coal burned a year," he says, "and it was a huge incentive that Louisiana offers a 50 percent rebate check along with your state taxes. That's on top of a 30 percent credit from the federal government. So of the total $7,000 cost, our share will be only $1,500." Below, workers help Dubinsky install his system.

LA-Dubinsky-solar-collage
Photos by Jeffrey Dubinsky

According to the latest issue of the Delta Sierran, a typical 3-kilowatt grid-tied solar system sufficient to power a single-family home costs about $25,000. But with the combined federal and state tax credits, the homeowner is responsible for only 20 percent of that costor $5,000 for the "typical" system cited.

One of the provisions of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008also known as the financial system bailoutwas extending the Investment Tax Credit to give homeowners 30 percent off solar and wind power investments, either in the form of a refund or a direct tax reduction. Additionally, the $2,000 cap on federal reimbursements to homeowners has been eliminated. And in Louisiana, the state will pick up half the tab for residential solar systems up to a maximum reimbursement of $12,500the "best in the nation state tax credits," according to the Delta Sierran.

Dubinsky says his wife Susan, always conscious of energy costs, has been "totally supportive of my mindset on minimizing our impact on the planet. The great thing is, by doing so we can also save money."

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