Planning for a Small Renewable Energy System

Planning for a home renewable energy system is a process that includes analyzing your existing electricity use, looking at local codes and requirements, deciding if you want to operate your system on or off of the electric grid, and understanding technology options you have for your site.

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Buying Clean Electricity

You have the option to purchase renewable electricity, either directly from your power supplier, from an independent clean power generator, or through renewable energy certificates.

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Grid-Connected Renewable Energy Systems

When connecting a home energy system to the electric grid, you should research and consider what the typically required equipment will be as well as your power provider’s requirements and agreements.

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Stand-Alone Renewable Energy Systems

Powering your home or small business using a small renewable energy system that is not connected to the electricity grid -- called a stand-alone system -- can make economic and environmental sense.

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You can use renewable energy to power your home, either by purchasing "green power"—electricity generated using renewable energy, or by installing a small renewable energy system. Using a small renewable energy system can help you lower your electricity costs, achieve energy independence, and reduce pollution. Learn your options for buying clean electricity, as well as how to plan for your own small wind, solar, or microhydropower systems.

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Using Solar Electricity at Home
A small solar electric or photovoltaic system can be a reliable and pollution-free producer of electricity for your home or office.
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Small Wind Electric Systems
Small wind electric systems are one of the most cost-effective home-based renewable energy systems -- with zero emissions and pollution.
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Microhydropower Systems
Do you have a stream on your property? Microhydropower may provide a simple and reliable source of electricity for your home.
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Hybrid Wind and Solar Electric Systems
Need a reliable source of renewable power? Consider combining wind and solar systems to produce power when you need it.
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Balance-of-System Equipment Required for Renewable Energy Systems
Both grid-connected and off-grid home renewable energy systems require additional “balance-of-system” equipment.
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Solar So Simple It Is Just a Click Away

The SunShot Initiative is working to make it easier for consumers to install solar panels on their homes.

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Rebates & Tax Credits

A federal tax credit is available for solar energy systems. The credit is for 30% through 2019, then decreases to 26% for tax year 2020, then to 22% for tax year 2021. It expires December 31, 2021. Learn more and find state and local incentives.

The federal tax credit for small wind energy systems expired at the end of 2016. If you installed a small wind system in 2015 or 2016, file form 5695 with your taxes to claim the credit.