Free Delaware Solar Incentives: Register for Solar Program to Qualify for Panels

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Delaware solar incentives are designed to increase the state’s renewable energy consumption and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

As the prices of solar panels drop, federal and state incentives have been offered, making it easier for residents in Delaware to afford home solar energy systems.

In fact, these systems reduce reliance and drain on the main power grids, providing an option for people to disconnect completely.

And thanks to Delaware solar incentives, anyone can sign up for the myriad of tax credits, rebates, and other green energy options and programs the state has to offer. In fact, certain residents can qualify for free solar panels and installation.

This complete guide explains how you can register to qualify for solar panels at significantly reduced prices using government programs and install your own home energy system that will save you money on electricity costs.

What Solar Credits Are Available in Delaware?

The federal solar tax credit, otherwise known as the Clean Energy Tax Credit, is the single available tax credit that is related to solar power in Delaware.3

Delaware ranks thirty-ninth among the fifty states for solar panel adoption as a renewable energy resource.

It is one of the government solar incentives that is offered to promote the consumption of renewable energy in the state, which currently depends on mostly fossil fuels.

Basically, the ITC is a solar tax credit that is available for residential and commercial settings, allowing you to reduce the cost of your solar panel installation by as much as 30%.

The solar tax credit is not a cashback program, and many are not aware of that.8 What happens is that the government gives you the 30% as a tax relief, or deducts it from the amount of taxes that you owe.

In simpler terms, for every $1,000 that you use when installing solar panels in Delaware, you will owe $300 less in terms of taxes for that year.

The reason why it has worked for this long, from 2005 to its renewal in 2022, is because it is pretty lucrative, and you actually have a great shot at receiving it, just as long as you follow the rules and meet the requirements.

First and foremost, bear in mind that the incentive only applies to solar systems that have already been installed, or completed projects. There is no way to apply for it unless you are completely done with your solar system installation because that way, it will be easier to claim 30% of the total amount that you spent.

You also have to make sure that everything in regard to the system is in your ownership. Make sure that the panels and all the materials used belong to you, not the solar installer or a friend.

It should also be a brand-new system that has been installed in your home or business for the very first time.

Many people ask, what if my home is also a business location, how does the tax credit work? The ITC only applies once to a single installation; it could either be a residential or a business solar tax credit; therefore, you can only apply for either one of them but not both.

Free Solar Panel Options in Delaware: Application and Registration

Solar panels in Delaware are an investment, sometimes a pretty costly one at that. This is why you would ask, can you get solar panels for free in Delaware?

Under normal circumstances, the concept of no-cost solar doesn’t exist in the country, but there are special cases like the one in Delaware where residents are able to access solar power for absolutely zero costs. The low-income communities have a reason to smile, all thanks to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources.

The DNREC, in 2022, created a pilot program for residents called the Weatherization Assistance Program that provided free solar PV panels of up to 4kW capacity for low to moderate-income homes.2

To apply for these free solar home energy systems, the process is easy:

Step1. See if you qualify by collecting the information you’ll need using this checklist.

Step 2. Contact the Energy Coordinating Agency at 302-504-6111 to schedule an appointment.

Step 3. Get approved for your free solar panel system and placed on the wait list for installation.

It’s that easy.

While this program is only available for certain income-based residents, there are many other rebates and programs that can be used to lower the cost of solar panels in Delaware.

Green Energy Program From Delmarva Power

If you are a loyal customer of Delmarva Power, you will definitely be excited to know that the company offers you a significant rebate program.16

Map of Delaware renewable energy consumption showing solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass energy pie chart.

You are able to receive a cashback of around $0.70 for every single watt, and the program can stretch to a maximum of $6,000, which is very possible if you have a 9.5 kW solar system.10

To apply for this Delaware solar incentive, use the Green Grant application portal.

Note: as part of receiving funds to install solar, you’ll have to sign over your ownership of any renewable energy credits your power generates.

DEC Green Energy Program

The Delaware Electric Cooperative also offers a rebate for its customers.17

You could get as much as $0.35 for each and every watt your 5 kW system generates or $0.20 for every additional wattage on top of that.

The program is, however, capped at $2,000 but is still very lucrative.11

This energy provider offers many grants for a number of green energy applications and you can apply for your on their website.

DEMEC Grants

The Delaware Municipal Electrical Corporation is also working tirelessly to make solar power more accessible for the people.18

This is thanks to the $1 per watt rebate program for systems that have a 5 kW capacity and an extra $0.50 for every additional watt that you get when you install a solar panel system capped at $3,500.12

For questions about this grant application, contact Scott Lynch by email: [email protected]

How Can I Apply for Solar Tax Credits in Delaware?

The solar panel tax credit is one of the government incentives that has completely altered the solar market in Delaware, and new installers are quick to admit that the prospect of saving 30% of their installation is the main reason why they converted in the first place.

It also helps that there are no limits, that you are able to carry over excess credit to the next year.5 You should also enjoy being a solar panel owner if you place faith in the incentive.

If you’re wondering, what forms do I need for solar tax credit and how long will the application take, you can relax.

Claiming the ITC is not as daunting as you may think, and in most cases, it could actually be a matter of minutes. The solar tax credit forms Delaware that you need is only a single document, Form 5695,14 and you will be well on your way to receiving the incentive.

Screenshot highlighting the specific instructions for the "Part 1: Residential Clean Energy Credit" section within the IRS guidelines for Form 5695.
(Image: IRS15)

Here are the simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Print out form 5695: The very first step that you will take is to go to the official IRS website, and there you will find Form 5695, which is the official solar credit tax form. Print it out because that will be the main document that you will need in this process.

Step 2: Fill out the document following the Form 5695 instructions:15 The IRS will use Form 5695 for their review and to check whether you have met all the requirements to be eligible for the tax credit. This is why it is very important that you fill it out very accurately and to the best of your knowledge.

Be prepared to answer details like your home address, the size of the PV system, the contact details of the company that handles the installation, and other critical pieces of information.

Step 3: File the federal solar tax credit form: As soon as you disclose all the details that the form needs, the final step would be to file it together with your other tax documents, just like you do every single year. If you have an accountant for this job, you want to hand over the details to them instead and they will do the bulk of the work for you.

Current Solar Power Costs and Materials

More than 80% of Delaware’s energy comes from natural gas, but thanks to the new law that mandates companies to obtain at least 40% of their power from renewable sources by the year 2035, it is undeniable that there is going to be a turnaround for the state.13

As of now, according to solar power by state findings, Delaware solar ranks at number 39 in matters of solar power adoption, meaning that there is a massive room for improvement.

Delaware’s solar incentives, rebates and grants are designed to swiftly change the solar state ranking, which is currently 39 of 50.

For now, if you live in Delaware, the average cost for installing solar panels will be anything between $18,000-$23,000, that is for a system ranging in between 7-9 kW,4 which is what most homeowners go for anyway.

But this is of course not a sure figure because there are several factors that will come into play to influence the cost, from the total amount of energy usage to the size of the house and choice of equipment.

Where you have the panels installed also makes a huge difference when it comes to how much it will cost you. For instance, roof installation is the fastest and the cheapest way to go, but if you don’t have enough roof space, or there are other factors preventing that, then you will have to go for ground mounting, which is obviously more expensive since it needs more materials to set up.

The basic components that you will have to buy as part of your solar kits include

  • Solar panels: The most important and expensive part
  • Charge controller: Vital in the panel management, especially the amount of power coming into the system.
  • Solar inverters: A solar module will also feature inverters for the transformation of DC to AC and the battery system for the storage of excessive power

Apart from the main components,7 you will also have to factor in the cost of:

  • Net meter,
  • Power performance monitor
  • Eacking system

All these basically contribute to the total cost of installing solar panels, and that is why the price shoots up most of the time to cater to these materials. Therefore, cost comparison matters a lot when you are looking for a solar panel brand.

Solar Calculator: How Much Can You Save?

Imagine being a first-time buyer of solar panels. You have never done this before and have to get every single thing perfectly.

It can all be a tad bit overwhelming, and that explains what the creators of solar power calculators online had in mind. They were basically looking for a simple way to help beginners calculate the number of panels that they need, how much it would cost, and how much solar panel energy would do.

You should know that these solar panel calculators also go a pretty long way to help you calculate the total amount of savings that you could make. A typical home in Delaware would need 4-18 panels, and it will all depend on some factors, like:

  • Type of panel being used
  • Level of efficiency of the solar panels
  • Where the house is located

Some calculators would ask for more information, but generally, the software will take into account how much power the household needs and how much a single panel will be able to produce, making sure that the electricity that is generated is enough to run the house.

On the other hand, it is pretty easy to determine the energy needs of the house; simply take the average of the utility bills from the previous months, and you should get how much power you need.

Lastly, when it comes to the total amount of savings that you could get from your panels, you only need to take the average utility bills multiplied by the total time that the panels are supposed to serve you, then minus that from the panel cost, the difference is how much you will be saving.

Delaware Peck Sunlight Hours Each Day

Like most states in the country, Delaware can get about 4 hours of daylight year round. That’s the minimum required for home solar panels.

Color-coded map of Delaware showing its peak sun hours per county.

In general, when making your calculations online, make sure that you choose software that is user-friendly and one that is specifically designed according to your region, which, in this case, is Delaware.

You have to center everything around your geographic location because there are going to be factors like cost and sunlight hours, which can only be specific to a particular region.

How Can Home Solar Reduce Your Electricity Bills?

One of the undeniable upsides of using solar power is the fact that it goes a pretty long way to help you reduce your energy bills and save you money.6 With the rates that keep rising every single year, you want an alternative source that is cheaper, especially in the long run.

Having a solar panel system means that you can bid farewell to the high energy bills that just don’t seem to be coming down anytime soon.

Paying in cash for the upfront installation cost gives you the advantage of making savings from as early as day one.1 It will take you only a couple of years until you can officially say that your panels have paid themselves off, and after that, you can start bragging about getting electricity at absolutely no cost; you can imagine how much money you will be saving every single month thereafter.

Do you want to reduce the payback period of your panels? Then, you should consider the national solar energy incentive called net energy metering.

It is one of the most famous countrywide solar programs that is also offered in Delaware, and you can actually use it to help your system pay itself off faster. So how does it work?

Basically, you connect your solar system to the grid in your area, supply power to it, get the electricity back, and get credits in exchange that you can use to offset the bills of the power that you receive. You can take advantage of this and get the full retail rate from our panels, and the best part is that you will always have power, even when there are issues with panel performance due to weather interference.

How To Buy Solar Panels in Delaware

If you have your heart set on finally becoming a solar panel owner, there are some factors that you should definitely keep in mind. You should know all the ins and outs of solar panels, including the good and the bad, only then will you make the most of your installation.

For starters, how exactly do you buy solar panels? What aspects determine the type that you buy?

Graphic of Delaware solar plants showing 13 solar panels across various locations in Delaware.

If you are racking the panels on your house, you should know that the type of roof, the material, and how it is inclined have a role to play.

The type of roof could also determine the cost, with metallic ones being easier to mount panels on. Considering the average life of solar panels which is more than 20 years, the system is going to be on your house for a very long time and you don’t want the state of the roof messing up with that.

Solar panel’s sustainability will depend on the quality of the panels that you go for and the type of brand they are. Some will last you a very long time, while others, which are usually cheaper, don’t go that long.

If you are looking to save some money, you can always go for surplus solar panels that manufacturers sell at a lower cost. There are so many upsides to going solar in case you wonder whether are solar panels worth it in Delaware considering the cost.9

You may also ask, how does solar panel help the environment? Eco-conscious homeowners are aware that fossil fuels cause excessive emissions and are nothing in comparison to renewable solar energy which is cleaner and safer for the planet.

Question like, are solar panels toxic, and why is solar energy bad usually spring up, but you can relax.

The only danger when it comes to solar panels is when they end up in landfills because the chemicals that they are manufactured with may be released into the environment. That is why there is a lot of emphasis on the proper recycling of used and old panels.

Where To Buy Solar Panels in Delaware

Choosing a solar panel for home is a big deal because any wrong decision would mean ending up with faulty equipment that will be too costly to maintain or will require replacing.

There are certain aspects that you should look for in a company that you trust with providing your solar energy panels.

If you qualify for Delaware solar energy grants, then typically, the state will provide a list of approved installers, or due the purchasing at the government level.

Identify the Type of Company and What They Deal In

You are likely going to bump into different types of solar companies when conducting your research and it is up to you to pinpoint exactly what they do.

It could be a panel manufacturer, an installer, a financier, or all the above, but your best bet is a company that is able to handle more than one role.

Compare Quotes

Different companies price their products differently, and that is why you need to be on the lookout to find one that is more affordable for you.

But while you are at it, remember not to compromise on the quality of the equipment or the installation.

Always Check for the Level of Experience

How do you know that you are dealing with an experienced company? They should have been in the industry for at least 2 years and should at least have passed the NABCEP certification test.

It also goes without saying that they should also be a licensed and insured company.

A man wearing safety gear while mounting solar panels on a roof.
(Image: Delaware.gov19)

There is nothing better than no longer waiting for hefty utility bills at the end of the month. The same thing can also happen to you if you take the leap and switch to solar in Delaware.

The state has quite a lot going on when it comes to the solar tax credit and local solar rebate programs from utilities and municipalities.

So, forget the fact that panels can be costly sometimes and consider making full use of these programs. They are pretty easy to apply for, taking only a few minutes and before you know it, you will have actualized your dream to become a solar panel owner.

Thanks to Delaware solar incentives, many people can qualify for free solar panels at home, while all residents can take advantage of the renewable energy programs available.

Frequently Asked Questions About Delaware Solar Incentives

Is Delaware a Sunny State for Solar Power?

Considering that the average number of sunny days in the US is around 205, Delaware is pretty fine when it comes to the rate of exposure to sunshine, at about 202 sunny days. That makes it a great place for homeowners who want to convert to solar energy.

Does Delaware Have RPS Goals?

Delaware does have Renewable Portfolio Standards, although it is a fairly new concept for the state, having been enacted in the year 2021. Going by the ruling, utility companies in the state are supposed to obtain 40% of their power straight from renewable sources by the year 2035.

Are There Free Solar Panels Delaware?

There is only one institution in Delaware in the name of DNREC that offers free solar panels to residents thanks to their Weatherization Assistance Program, which is a form of Delaware community solar. They basically help households that cannot afford the high cost of solar power to install up to 4 kW systems on their roofs.


References

1Drolet, S. (2023, May 9). Green Initiatives in Delaware Make Solar Panels More Attractive. CNET. Retrieved August 28, 2023, from <https://www.cnet.com/home/energy-and-utilities/Delaware-solar-panels/>

2Matthews, L. (2022, November 11). Delaware Solar Incentives & Tax Credits for 2023. LeafScore. Retrieved August 28, 2023, from <https://www.leafscore.com/solar-guide/benefits-of-going-solar/solar-rebates-and-incentives/Delaware/>

3McGargill, V. (2023, March 17). Delaware Solar Incentives, Tax Credits & Rebates (Updated 2023). EcoGen America. Retrieved August 28, 2023, from <https://ecogenamerica.com/Delaware-solar-incentives/>

4Neumeister, K. (2023, August 21). Solar Panel Cost in Delaware (2023 Local Savings Guide). EcoWatch. Retrieved August 28, 2023, from <https://www.ecowatch.com/solar/panel-cost/de>

5Olizarowicz, B. (2022, August 26). Delaware Solar Incentives: Tax Credits & Rebates Guide (2023). Today’s Homeowner. Retrieved August 28, 2023, from <https://todayshomeowner.com/solar/guides/Delaware-solar-incentives/>

6Averett, N. (2016, July 25). Solar Power Saves Everyone Money. Boston University. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from <https://www.bu.edu/articles/2016/solar-energy-advantages/>

7Solar Energy Technologies Office. (2023). Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics. Office Of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from <https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-photovoltaic-technology-basics>

8Solar Energy Technologies Office. (2023, March). Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics. Office Of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from <https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/homeowners-guide-federal-tax-credit-solar-photovoltaics>

9Stauffer, N. W. (2020, June 23). Researchers find benefits of solar photovoltaics outweigh costs. MIT News. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from <https://news.mit.edu/2020/researchers-find-solar-photovoltaics-benefits-outweigh-costs-0623>

10Delaware Government. (2020, December 17). Solar Rebate Amounts to Increase Jan. 1, 2021. Delaware.gov. Retrieved September 10, 2023, from <https://news.delaware.gov/2020/12/17/solar-rebate-amounts-to-increase-jan-1-2021/>

11Deleware Electric Cooperative. (2022, November 18). 2023 Photovoltaic Renewable Resource Fund Class A Grant Application. DEC. Retrieved September 10, 2023, from <https://www.delaware.coop/sites/default/files/inline-images/kIXOPcwaHs7269e9LowLt8kxaWO5EeioKzZUbb9dI6NjgXFwJe.pdf>

12DEMEC. (2023, June 20). MUNICIPAL UTILITIES’ Green Energy Fund Program. DEMEC. Retrieved September 10, 2023, from <https://www.demecinc.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/DEMEC-Green-Energy-Regs-06202023-CURRENT.pdf>

13U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2022, November 17). Delaware Profile Overview. EIA. Retrieved September 10, 2023, from <https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=DE>

14Internal Revenue Service. (2023). IRS Form 5695. IRS. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from <https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf>

15Internal Revenue Service. (2023). IRS Instructions for Form 5695. IRS. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from <https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i5695.pdf>

16Delmarva Power & Light Company. (2023). Delaware Green Energy Program. Delmarva Power & Light Company. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from <https://www.delmarva.com/WaysToSave/ForYourHome/Pages/DE/DelawareGreenEnergyProgram.aspx>

17Delaware Electric Cooperative. (2023). Capital Credits. Delaware Electric Cooperative. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from <https://www.delaware.coop/member-services/capital-credits>

18Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, Inc. (2023). Corporate Renewable Energy Block Program. DEMEC. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from <https://www.demecinc.net/municipal-green-energy-grants/>

19Photo by Delaware.gov. Delaware.gov. Retrieved from <https://news.delaware.gov/2021/12/01/dnrec-seeks-contractor-applications-for-solar-pilot-program/>