Skip to content
Free solar grants. How Does a Solar Farm Work? Pros and Cons Solar Farmers (Acreage PV Power)

Free solar grants. How Does a Solar Farm Work? Pros and Cons Solar Farmers (Acreage PV Power)

    Low-income solar incentives in the U.S.

    Saving money on utility bills is one of the main benefits of adding solar panels to your home, but the initial cost of going solar is still a barrier for many American families. Solar loans and other financing options can make it easier for middle-income earners to go solar, but low-income homeowners, who could benefit the most from saving money using solar energy, are still mostly shut out.

    free, solar, grants, does

    Some states have created programs to bring the benefits of renewable energy to low-income households and communities at a very low cost to the homeowner.

    Here’s a guide to low-income solar programs in the United States, who can qualify, and how to apply.

    Do these programs supply free solar panels for low income families?

    As a general rule, the programs below are not designed to provide 100% free solar panels, but all of them either reduce or eliminate upfront costs and still result in savings for the homeowner.

    In most cases, rebates and grants can cover much of the cost of rooftop solar installations for qualified applicants, but there is still some cost or ongoing payments required of the homeowner.

    Others, like Hawaii’s on-bill repayment program, offer low-interest loans that are paid back through the homeowner’s regular electric bill, which allows people to purchase a solar installation for their home and save money at the same time.

    Current low-income solar programs for single-family homes

    California Disadvantaged Communities Single Family Solar Homes Program (DAC-SASH)

    The DAC-SASH program subsidizes the installation of solar panels for low-income single-family homes to the tune of 3,000 per installed kW, up to a maximum of 5.0 kW.

    The program is administered by the non-profit GRID Alternatives, which also helps fund the remaining unsubsidized cost of solar panels and provides solar industry job training.

    To qualify, homeowners must live in one of the top 25 percent most disadvantaged communities as identified by the CalEnviroScreen and meet the requirements of the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.

    These restrictions ensure program funds go to the communities most in need.

    To apply: You can find further information via GRID Alternatives. The DAC-SASH program will expire at the end of 2030.

    California also offers the MASH program, which is designed to help owners of multifamily housing units install solar panels for the benefit of their residents.

    How much will solar panels cost for your home?

    “Solar Farming: Your Guide to Earning 150 per Day”

    Colorado Rooftop Low Income Program

    The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) subsidizes the installation of solar panels for low-income single-family homes via the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

    To be eligible, applicants must own and live in their own home and have a household income that is 200% or less of the federal poverty level. The installation of solar must also be shown to create a net benefit above cost as assessed by the CEO.

    To apply: You can find further information via the Colorado Energy Office or a local weatherization agency.

    Hawaii Green Energy Market Securitization On-Bill Repayment Program (GEM)

    Hawaii’s GEM program is unique in that though it does not directly target low-income households, it is set up in a way to benefit them.

    The program offers fixed rate loans for solar panels and energy efficiency projects which are then paid back in monthly installments as part of the household’s electricity bill. Rather than using common measures of credit, eligibility is based upon on-time payment of electric bills over the past 12 months.

    Both homeowners and renters are eligible and the loan obligation is attached to the household electric meter, not the residents, making it easily transferable. The minimum loan size for residential solar projects is 5,000 and they must result in a 10% utility bill savings, including the added loan repayment fee.

    To apply: Further information can be found via the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority.

    Illinois Solar For All Program

    The Illinois Solar For All Program incentivizes installers to target lower-income households when selling and leasing solar panels, creating cost savings which then can be passed onto the consumer.

    As part of the program, participants are guaranteed no upfront costs and no ongoing costs or fees that exceed 50% of the value of the energy produced, among other consumer protections. To be eligible, applicants must have a household income 80% or below the area median income or live within a designated environmental justice community.

    To apply: Further information can be found via the Illinois Power Agency or by contacting an approved vendor.

    free, solar, grants, does

    Massachusetts Solar Renewable Target Program (Smart)

    The Smart program incentivizes the installation of solar panels by paying owners an incentive rate for each kWh of electricity produced, with a small bonus incentive paid for low-income property owners.

    To apply: Further information can be found via the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources or by contacting local solar installation companies.

    Massachusetts Solar Loan Support Program

    The Massachusetts Solar Loan Support program provides three types of incentives to support low and moderate-income households in getting affordable loans to install solar panels.

    • Reducing loan principal by up to 30%
    • Reducing loan interest rates by up to 1.5%
    • Providing a loan loss guarantee to lenders for residents with bad credit

    Solar for Your Home

    Join the more than 25,000 Oregonians already making their own solar power. You can reduce your home’s impact on the environment and take control of your energy costs with clean, renewable energy from the sun.

    For even greater control and peace of mind, consider solar storage (you can also add storage to existing solar systems). Battery storage makes your home energy resilient by providing emergency backup power. Stored solar power can keep lighting, refrigeration, medical equipment, well pumps or other essentials operating during an outage.

    Energy Trust incentives, Oregon rebates and federal tax credits can reduce solar or solar storage costs by about one-third. We also offer increased incentives for income-qualified homes.We can connect you with a qualified solar trade ally contractor to get your project started.

    Establish your eligibility.

    You ​must be an Oregon customer of Portland General Electric or Pacific Power and working with an approved Energy Trust solar trade ally contractor to be eligible for incentives.

    Get proposals from Energy Trust solar trade ally contractors.

    Systems must be installed by an approved Energy Trust solar trade ally contractor. Compare two or more bids to make the best choice for your home. Request proposals

    Select your contractor.

    See our FAQ on choosing a solar trade ally and comparing bids. Your trade ally contractor will handle all the paperwork for your system, prior to installation. Your Energy Trust cash incentive will be paid directly to your contractor, who will deduct the incentive amount from your invoice, reducing the upfront cost of your solar installation. Your trade ally can also help you apply for any other incentives you may be eligible for, like the Oregon Solar Storage Rebate.

    Allow the professionals to install and verify your system.

    Energy Trust helps protect your investment by reviewing the plans for your system before construction. Once it’s complete, we also verify that it meets our rigorous technical standards. In many cases, we will stop by in person to verify your system was installed properly.

    Energy Trust incentives

    Your Energy Trust cash incentive amount depends on your household income and your electric utility. Incentive offers are subject to funding availability and may change at any time. Check with your contractor.

    Your solar electric system produces Renewable Energy Certificates as well as clean electricity. Learn more about Renewable Energy Certificates.

    Note: Energy Trust provides technical assistance and financial incentives but does not develop, sell or install energy systems or equipment. This work is done by independent businesses that are solely responsible for the quality and performance of their installations.

    Additional solar options

    • Solar Within Reach offers increased incentives for income-qualified households.
    • The Oregon Community Solar Program offers subscription options if you rent, live in a condo or if your roof doesn’t have enough sun exposure.
    • Considering building a new home with solar? Learn about EPS homes.
    • Get tips on choosing a solar trade ally contractor and comparing bids.
    • Attend a free educational workshop to learn more about solar.
    • Use our solar calculator to estimate the benefits of solar.
    • Learn how your electric bill is calculated with net metering.
    • Learn about Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

    Federal solar tax credits

    The federal residential solar tax credit covers 30% of the out-of- cost of a solar or solar storage system installed by Dec. 31, 2032. It is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the income tax you owe. You must pay taxes to claim the credit. Learn more about federal solar tax credits.

    Consult your tax professional to learn how tax credits and rules may apply to you. This information does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties.

    Oregon Solar Storage Rebate Program

    Oregon offers rebates to homeowners who install solar electric systems or paired solar storage systems. Homeowners with low or moderate incomes qualify for higher rebates. The rebates are issued to approved contractors, who pass the savings on to their customers. Learn more about the Oregon Solar Storage Rebate Program.

    There are several financing options available to help make installing solar electric systems more affordable.

    Cash and loans

    If you have the savings available, paying for your solar installation with cash will typically provide the highest return on investment and the quickest payback. A solar contractor can provide you with a proposal with specific figures.

    Many homeowners use a loan to pay for some or all of their solar project. The loan could come from your existing bank, a financial institution that offers solar-specific loans, your solar contractor or even from the equipment manufacturer. Some lenders will allow you to pay down your loan principal when you receive your tax credit. With a loan, you benefit from significantly reduced utility costs and own the system outright at the end of the loan term.

    We recommend exploring multiple financing options to find the solution that best fits your needs and budget.

    Leases and Power Purchase Agreements

    With a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA), you pay little or nothing upfront and the system is installed, owned and maintained by a solar service provider. You make lease payments or purchase the electricity produced by the system on a monthly basis.

    The rate you pay for the solar electricity may or may not be less than your current electricity rate. When your agreement ends, usually after 20 years, you have the option to remove the system, renew the agreement or purchase the system. If you move, there are usually options for buying out the system or transferring the agreement to the new homebuyer.

    free, solar, grants, does

    If you choose a lease or PPA, Energy Trust will pay the incentive to your solar service provider, and you’ll receive a more affordable lease or power purchase price.

    The solar service provider owns the Renewable Energy Certificates produced by your solar electric system. Learn more about Renewable Energy Certificates.

    Read this guide to solar leases and loans for more information about your financing options.

    What Is the State of Solar Power in Texas?

    Based on findings from SEIA, more than 200,000 homes in Texas have fully adopted solar power, but on the other hand, the commercial sector is still developing at a slow pace. 2

    While the energy is taking a minute to gain more ground, there is a ray of hope for the industry because the local governments are adopting solar energy tech to help supplement their needs.

    Just recently, Austin made major strides by purchasing a 150 MW solar power plant to increase the city’s energy supply.

    On the plus side, that, together with wind power, means that it is only a matter of time before Austin can have more than half of its energy supply coming from renewable energy. 9

    Why Go Solar in Texas?

    Texas is massive, and so is its residential electricity bill. It is shocking that the residential energy costs are about 20% higher than that of the national average, and it goes without saying that something must be done to ease this burden.

    If you have often had issues with your energy uses and want a break from the hefty utility costs, maybe it is the perfect time to go solar.

    By location, Texas is one of the best places to set up solar panels, why? For one, it receives a whooping 300 sunny days a year, which cannot be said for states in the north.

    It is way better than most parts of the country, especially considering that the American average stands at 205 days of sun annually.

    Obviously, its position makes it the perfect spot for harnessing solar power. In fact, it is no surprise that the state is number 2 in the entire country when it comes to installation of PV systems.

    Another thing to celebrate about Texas’ adoption of solar power is that there is a ready market, considering that the towns are larger and the population is equally massive.

    The icing on the cake is the fact that there are Texas solar incentives and federal energy credits to help boost you if the cost of solar panels in Texas seems overwhelming.

    Another strong reason why you should go solar in Texas is the impact it has on your property or home. Findings show that the average home with solar panels installed increases in value by 4.1%, and that should tell you a lot about the solar market. 1

    Buyers will never complain or haggle much when the house already has PV systems installed because, basically, it means reduced cost on their electricity bills.

    Which Solar System Is Right for Your Home in Texas?

    What you want going forward with your plan to fully revert to renewable energy sources is to make sure that you are making the right decision. Any professional will tell you that the first step is to find out just how much your total energy bill comes to, in essence, how much power your household uses and whether it is all worth it or not.

    What you need is a home audit. Make a point to understand your expenditure which will go a long way in determining whether solar power will be energy efficient for you.

    It will also make more sense if your location receives sufficient sunlight, although this should not be a problem for you as a Texan.

    It will be thrilling if you could cut down the electricity costs of your home after switching to solar power. But first, you want to make sure that the installation and maintenance costs of solar panels are reasonable, and there is where experts come in to help.

    They can answer the pressing question, how many solar panels do I need, by considering how much your total energy usage is and several other factors.

    What Is the Cost of Solar Panels in Texas? How Much Are Solar Panels in Texas?

    One of the factors holding people back from buying and installing solar panels is the fear that they are pretty costly. It is understandable because the manufacturing cost of the panels and the related wires and equipment can be quite high, 10 that is, if you are looking into buying the best quality materials.

    (Image: U.S. Energy Information Administration 19 )

    Before you panic, there is good news. So far, the price tag on solar panels has significantly reduced, all thanks to Texas solar incentives and other government programs.

    There is a lot to be excited about, from the 30% tax credit to the number of available solar companies that can supply the materials and install them for you.

    On average, installing PV systems in Texas will set you back 11,432 to 15,468, 5 that is for a 5kW setup. The calculation brings a rough estimate of around 5000.69 per watt, and it is not bad in comparison to the national average of 3.03 a watt.

    It means that the cost for the system in Texas is more friendly, unlike in other places, and who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?

    However, note that the total cost can go up depending on your energy needs and the size of the installed system. In other words, if you need more panels to help you meet your daily power needs, you will have to dig deeper into your s.

    But still, when you account for the ever-increasing costs of non-renewable energy sources, the cost is relatively lower.

    Benefits of Going Solar

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

    Compare Quotes From Top-rated Solar Panel Installers

    Free, No-commitment Estimates

    Becareful of a Solar Company wanting your land for a solar farm

    Is Solar Worth It in Texas?

    Since Texas has abundant sunlight and large areas of open land, it’s a prime location for solar energy generation. Plus, there are many potential benefits of going solar in Texas, which include:

    • Energy efficiency: By generating electricity via solar power, you no longer have to depend on conventional energy sources, therefore lowering monthly electricity bills.
    • Solar incentives: In Texas, various incentives and programs were established to support the adoption of solar energy. These include federal tax credits, state-level incentives, rebates and net metering programs that allow you to sell excess electricity back to the grid.
    • Environmental benefits: A clean, renewable source of power, solar energy helps reduce your home’s dependence on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, installing solar systems is beneficial to both your home and the environment.

    How to Choose the Best Texas Solar Panel Company

    There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating solar panel companies to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment, and ideally, a net positive return on that investment.

    • Equipment: Not all solar panels are created equal. When choosing solar panels, evaluate the efficiency of each company’s solar panels — their power rating, power tolerance, efficiency and temperature coefficient—to understand how much energy those panels can be expected to generate. Compare this to the industry average solar panel efficiency of 16% to 18%. The most efficient panels may not always be the best cost per kW ratio. And the best value may vary based on how many panels you are installing, so you may need to do some calculating.
    • Manufacturer quality: Check the solar panel company’s production, equipment durability, warranties and assurances. The industry average manufacturer warranty averages 10 to 25 years. If you live in an area with weather conditions that may stress your solar panel installation, check to make sure the panels you purchase are designed to withstand outdoor stress.
    • Installation: Just like any other professional you hire, review a solar panel company’s certifications, licenses, warranties, reviews and local reputation. The best companies will have a knowledgeable, full-time team who should be able to answer any questions you may have throughout the installation and life of your solar system.
    • Local incentives: In addition to state and regional benefits to going solar, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) determined that larger companies trend towards costing an average of 10% more than smaller, local solar companies for the same or lesser quality equipment. Shop around to determine if you could save by selecting a local solar company.

    Looking For Hassle-Free Solar Installation

    Find a network of trusted installers for solar system, solar panels and electricity needs. Find a solar panel installer today!

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What are the benefits of going solar in Texas?

    In addition to the federal solar investment tax credit, Texans are eligible for utility-dependent rebate programs and local net metering dependent upon their county, city or utility company. They are also protected from increasing property taxes or HOA retaliation as a result of going solar.

    Which cities have better solar tax exemptions and rebates in Texas?

    Many cities in Texas offer benefits to going solar, and how impactful these rebates are depends on the size of your solar system and whether or not you shop locally. You can utilize solar calculators to analyze savings based on your zip code and utility company.

    Should I buy or lease my solar panels?

    That depends. If the goal of going solar is to generate net positive dividends, consider the expenses required with buying versus leasing — including your home’s potential solar efficiency. Some states offer tax benefits and rebates that are only available to homeowners who purchase their solar panels, which can help you save big on costs. If you live in a home that cannot support solar panels, if you are a renter, if you wish to benefit from a lower energy bill without investing major installation costs upfront, or if community solar is available in your area, leasing solar panels may be the best option for you.

    Get expert advice on your home, design tips, how much to pay for pros and hiring experts, delivered to you daily.

    I agree to receive the Forbes Home newsletter via e-mail. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information and details on how to opt out.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *