Solar power has been a popular topic among RVers for years. Solar panels atop an RV allows you the opportunity to disconnect from RV electric hookups and enjoy the autonomy to go wherever you want while still getting power.
Getting power from the Sun is clean, quiet and more affordable. Adding RV solar or solar power to any mobile living space not only increases your quality of life but also puts money back in your wallet. In an effort to encourage Americans to use solar power, the U.S. government offers tax credits for solar systems. This tax credit can be claimed by owners who are looking to install solar soon or installed it within the past five years.
What is the federal solar tax credit?
A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of income tax you would otherwise owe. The Residential Clean Energy Credit can be claimed on federal income taxes. Once claimed, it can cover a percentage of the cost of a solar system that was installed during the tax year. It started in 2017 and lasts until 2034.
There are no income limits on the solar tax credit, so all individual taxpayers are eligible to claim the credit on qualifying solar energy equipment investments made to their homes within the United States.
What is covered under the federal solar tax credit?
The equipment covered by the Residential Clean Energy Credit includes:
- Solar-powered equipment that generates electricity or heats water
- Solar power storage equipment that has a capacity of at least 3 kilowatt hours
- Qualifying installation and labor costs
The tax credit does not apply for systems that are leased; you must own the system.
How do I qualify for the solar tax credit?
Any “dwelling unit” qualifies for the tax credit. Meaning things like RVs, boats, vacation homes and more qualify. A qualifying residence is any U.S. residence that is lived in at least 14 days a year. Additionally, RV owners will need to meet the following criteria:
- Your solar equipment needs to be installed between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2034.
- The solar equipment is new or being used for the first time. It should be installed for the first time on your RV to claim the credit.
- The solar system must be purchased with cash or through some form of financing that isn’t a lease or an agreement to pay a solar company for electricity generated by the system.
- The solar equipment must be located at a residence within the United States.
Filing requirements for the solar tax credit
To claim the credit, you will need to file IRS Form 5695 as part of your tax return. Calculate the credit on Part I of the form, and then enter the result on your 1040.
- If in 2022 you end up with a bigger credit than you have income tax due — a $3,000 credit on a $2,500 tax bill, for instance—you cannot use the credit to get money back from the IRS. Instead, you can carry the unused portion of the credit over to the following tax year. In this example, the $500 of credit that is greater than your tax bill ($3,000 – $2,500) can be carried over to the following year.
- If you failed to claim the credit in a previous year, you can file an amended return to claim the credit now.
The residential solar tax credit has been extended through 2034 and expanded in value, so now might be a great time to add solar energy to your home.
What are the residential solar tax credit amounts?
The Residential Clean Energy Credit will cover up to 30% of the total qualifying cost, depending on the year the equipment is installed and placed in service:
- 30% for equipment placed in service in tax years 2017 through 2019
- 26% for equipment placed in service in tax years 2020 through 2021
- 30% for equipment placed in service in tax years 2022 through 2032
- 26% for equipment placed in service in 2033
- 22% for equipment placed in service in 2034
Take advantage of the solar system savings today!
The tax credit is a win-win for RV owners because it helps lower out-of-pocket costs and an RV owner’s overall carbon emissions. A solar panel setup is a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and convenient way to use electricity on the goal. Most systems generally require little to no maintenance and provides a dependable source of electricity.
Ready to take your RV adventures to the next level? Let General RV help you discover the RV lifestyle. Interested in learning more about solar? Check out some of the best solar RVs. We offer a huge selection of new motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels, as well as used RVs for sale. Need RV parts? We’ve got those, too. Our highly trained technicians can help with all your RV service needs. Visit of RV Virtual Showroom to start browsing now. Or find a General RV dealer near you. Whether you shop online or in-store, our experts will help you camp with confidence.