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Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics. Solar system fan

Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics. Solar system fan

    Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics

    Disclaimer: This guide provides an overview of the federal investment tax credit for residential solar photovoltaics ( PV). (See the Federal Solar Tax Credits for Businesses for information for businesses). It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance and may change based on additional guidance from the Treasury Department. Please see their published Fact Sheet for additional information. The below guide should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions, tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements.

    Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    What is a tax credit?

    A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of income tax you would otherwise owe. For example, claiming a 1,000 federal tax credit reduces your federal income taxes due by 1,000. The federal tax credit is sometimes referred to as an Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, though is different from the ITC offered to businesses that own solar systems.

    What is the federal solar tax credit?

    The federal residential solar energy credit is a tax credit that can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar PV system paid for by the taxpayer. ( Other types of renewable energy are also eligible for similar credits but are beyond the scope of this guidance.)

    The installation of the system must be complete during the tax year.

    Solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032. ( Systems installed on or before December 31, 2019 were also eligible for a 30% tax credit.) It will decrease to 26% for systems installed in 2033 and to 22% for systems installed in 2034. The tax credit expires starting in 2035 unless Congress renews it.

    There is no maximum amount that can be claimed.

    Am I eligible to claim the federal solar tax credit?

    You might be eligible for this tax credit if you meet the following criteria:

    • Your solar PV system was installed between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2034.
    • The solar PV system is located at a residence of yours in the United States.
    • Either:
    • You own the solar PV system (i.e., you purchased it with cash or through financing but you are neither leasing the system nor nor paying a solar company to purchase the electricity generated by the system).
    • Or, you purchased an interest in an off-site community solar project, if the electricity generated is credited against, and does not exceed, your home’s electricity consumption. Notes: the IRS issued a statement (see link above) allowing a particular taxpayer to claim a tax credit for purchasing an interest in an off-site community solar project. However, this document, known as a private letter ruling or PLR, may not be relied on as precedent by other taxpayers. Also, you would not qualify if you only purchase the electricity from a community solar project.

    What expenses are included?

    The following expenses are included:

    • Solar PV panels or PV cells (including those used to power an attic fan, but not the fan itself)
    • Contractor labor costs for onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation, including permitting fees, inspection costs, and developer fees
    • Balance-of-system equipment, including wiring, inverters, and mounting equipment
    • Energy storage devices that have a capacity rating of 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or greater (for systems installed after December 31, 2022). If the storage is installed in a subsequent tax year to when the solar energy system is installed it is still eligible, however, the energy storage devices are still subject to the installation date requirements). Note: A private letter ruling may not be relied on as precedent by other taxpayers.
    • Sales taxes on eligible expenses

    How do other incentives I receive affect the federal tax credit?

    For current information on incentives, including incentive-specific contact information, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency website.

    Rebate from My Electric Utility to Install Solar

    Under most circumstances, subsidies provided by your utility to you to install a solar PV system are excluded from income taxes through an exemption in federal law. When this is the case, the utility rebate for installing solar is subtracted from your system costs before you calculate your tax credit. For example, if your solar PV system installed in 2022 cost 18,000, and your utility gave you a one-time rebate of 1,000 for installing the system, your tax credit would be calculated as follows :

    However, payments from a public utility to compensate for excess generated electricity not consumed by the taxpayer but delivered to the utility’s electrical grid (for example, net metering credits) are not subsidies for installing qualifying property and do not affect the taxpayer’s credit qualification or amounts.

    Payment for Renewable Energy Certificates

    When your utility, or other buyer, gives you cash or an incentive in exchange for renewable energy certificates or other environmental attributes of the electricity generated (either upfront or over time), the payment likely will be considered taxable income. If that is the case, the payment will increase your gross income, but it will not reduce the federal solar tax credit. Note: A private letter ruling may not be relied on as precedent by other taxpayers.

    Rebate from My State Government

    Unlike utility rebates, rebates from state governments generally do not reduce your federal tax credit. For example, if your solar PV system was installed in 2022, installation costs totaled 18,000, and your state government gave you a one-time rebate of 1,000 for installing the system, your federal tax credit would be calculated as follows :

    State Tax Credit

    State tax credits for installing solar PV generally do not reduce federal tax credits—and vice versa. However, when you receive a state tax credit, the taxable income you report on your federal taxes may be higher than it otherwise would have been because you now have less state income tax to deduct. (The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 placed a 10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deduction through 2025. Therefore, if a homeowner is still paying more than 10,000 in SALT after claiming a state tax credit, the state tax credit benefit would not effectively be reduced by the federal tax rate, as it would not impact federal taxes (due to the SALT limit).) The end result of claiming a state tax credit is that the amount of the state tax credit is effectively taxed at the federal tax level.

    Science Project Idea: Create Your Own Solar-Powered Fan

    Our mission requires us to educate the public about the harmful effects of air pollution and about cleaner sources of energy. You might say we’re big “fans” of clean energy like wind and solar — and science in general! We’re always looking for creative ways to teach kids about air pollution, health, and renewable energy.

    One of our fall interns, Vaishali, found this video (above) that shows how to make a simple and efficient personal fan using solar energy! So she assembled a list of materials and equipment and wrote out the step-by-step instructions. This is a great classroom project for science teachers and science clubs. We created an Amazon Shopping List for anyone interested in trying it out. The materials cost about 32.The equipment will run about 25, but you should be able to borrow a hot glue gun and/or soldering kit if you don’t already have one of your own.

    Teachers: Feel free to reach out to Michael Hansen (205-701-4270, [email protected]) if you’d like us to come to your classroom for a project like this one!

    homeowner, guide, federal, credit, solar, photovoltaics


    Michael is Executive Director of GASP. He joined the team in 2013 as communications specialist. He has years of experience and extensive training in the areas of public health and environmental protection. He is a member of the board of directors for the Southeast Climate Energy Network and Clean Water Fund, as well as a member of the Arm in Arm National Core Support Team. Email Michael

    Contact us

    GASP 2320 Highland Ave S, Suite 270 Birmingham, AL 35205 205.701.4277 [email protected]

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    The 5 Best Solar Camping Fans

    The best solar camping fans provide plenty of airflow while having enough battery to support it outdoors. The idea behind one of these devices is to charge it with sunlight, but when panels get too large, they can compromise portability. With all these aspects, choosing the right model for your needs can prove challenging.

    If you need help finding the perfect solar camping fan, we’ve got you covered. We reviewed dozens of models to find the best choice for many situations. Keep reading for everything you need to know about these recommendations.

    Top Picks: Best Solar Camping Fans

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    • A 6-inch USB fan with a 10W solar panel, and high-velocity air circulation
    • Convenient to use in a greenhouse, dog house, or cat house
    • USB connectors and on/off buttons are easy to install and operate
    • 6-inch fan size bigger than other 4-inch sizes

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    • 12 gears
    • 6 Li-ion batteries built-in, 12V 4000mAh in total that can support 4-24 hours of continuous working
    • Dual charge mode
    • USB output
    • Solid design

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    • The main body of this product is a camping lantern, which also comes with a fan function
    • You can use 100v-220v AC to charge the product
    • The main body of the product is made of ABS plastic
    • Has a built-in battery

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    • 5-Blade DC portable fan
    • Clean, sustainable solar energy
    • LED desk lamp
    • Provides power for, as well as the re-charging of cell phones other digital audio.
    • FM Radio and Input USB TF Card ports
    homeowner, guide, federal, credit, solar, photovoltaics

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    Best Solar Camping Fans: Side-by-Side Comparison

    Busypiggy Solar Camping FanBlessny 6 Inch Solar FanCyberdax Rechargeable Table Fan
    Size 8.5 x 5.5 x 4.3 in 7.5 x 7.3 x 3.8 in 16.0 x 14.0 x 9.0 in
    Weight 12.7 oz 47.5 oz 145.3 oz
    Power Type Solar, USB Solar, USB Solar, AC
    Battery Life Up to 20 hours N/A Up to 24 hours
    Panel Size Small 10W 20W
    Price 35.00 39.99 98.89
    SupBri LED Camping LanternHereta Multi-Function Solar Fan
    Size 6.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 in 10.6 x 7.4 x 3.2 in
    Weight 11.6 oz 30.4 oz
    Power Type Solar, USB, AAA Solar, AC-DC
    Battery Life Up to 12 hours Up to 7 hours
    Panel Size Small 2W
    Price 16.49 74.99

    Best Overall: Busypiggy Solar Camping Fan

    The Busypiggy Solar Camping Fan is small enough to fit in any application while providing enough power options to use anywhere. It has a battery life that can last an entire day, and even features three LED lights with adjustable brightness. Its versatility and portability make the Busypiggy one of the best solar camping fans in most situations.

    This device features a small solar panel mounted on the top. However, for quick charging, the built-in USB port allows users to power it at home on in the car.

    The battery also doubles as a charging station, with the capability to connect to smartphones and other handheld devices. This camping fan already comes at an affordable price, but those that purchase at the time of writing can save 20% off their purchase.

    Best Alternative: Blessny 6 Inch Solar Fan

    For a product that provides a little more power and a little more charging for a little more price, the Blessny 6-inch solar fan works great. Its fan is half an inch wider in diameter than the Busypiggy, giving it a max speed of 2,000RPM. Coupled with a solar panel nearly 5x the size, you can rely on this device to work when you need it to.

    homeowner, guide, federal, credit, solar, photovoltaics

    Blessny’s solar fan uses a 13.5 ft USB cable to connect to its panel. This means that if you want to use the device indoors, you can connect it to any USB port for power. However, the fan does not come with a built-in battery, which limits its portability.

    Additionally, the external solar panel only makes for additional pieces to pack. The lack of a carrying case results in a product that’s difficult to take along on a camping trip.

    Best for Performance: Cyberdax Rechargeable Table Fan

    For a solar fan that blows away the competition, Cyberdax’s 14-inch device comes with more solar and more power than any on our list. It features six lithium-ion batteries that can last up to 24 hours of continuous use. And its 20W panel with a native stand keeps the batteries charged when positioned in direct sunlight.

    One of the best solar camping fans for performance also comes with an AC cable for quick charging. However, the power input port is outdated, making it practically useless without the solar panel or AC adapter. And at a price of nearly 100, this camping fan is not a quick purchase.

    Best for Budget: SupBri LED Camping Lantern

    If you’re not trying to spend a lot of money on a fan but still want a device to circulate the air wherever you go, the SupBri LED Camping Lantern is worth checking out. It might not feature performance or durability, but when it comes to solar-powered fans, it works just fine. SupBri’s device is two-in-one, allowing users to also use it at a light.

    While the fan speed is nothing to turn your head for, this solar fan impresses us with its light weight. Choosing to feature a plastic body, the manufacturers cut the weight of the product to just 11.6 oz; that’s considerably smaller than our other picks.

    Additionally, the fan uses rechargeable AAA batteries, giving it more ways to power up than most solar fans on the market. For a price of just 16, that’s a hard deal to beat.

    Best Multi-Use: Hereta Multi-Function Solar Fan

    This is probably the coolest fan on our list. Featuring a built-in radio, MP3 player, lamp, and cell phone charger, the Hereta multi-function solar fan brings the entire party in one device. Additionally, its two lithium-ion batteries and small solar panel can keep the fan running for up to 7 hours before needing to charge.

    While it’s fun to think of all the aspects this device can handle, in reality, we feel there’s more going on than necessary. Unless the Hereta solar fan is plugged into power, it’s unlikely that users can apply each aspect at the same time for any period. But for something that you can rely on in an emergency, this device fits the bill.

    How to Pick the Best Solar Camping Fans

    When choosing the right solar camping fan for your needs, there are five main considerations:

    Let’s review each one in more detail.

    Solar Panel Size

    Let’s face it: the reason you’re looking at solar-powered fans is to charge the fan in the sun. However, these devices require a considerable amount of sunlight to run at an acceptable rate.

    Many built-in panels tend to feel underwhelming; at 4 inches or less, they can only charge a battery to a menial level. If you’re hoping to run the device exclusively in sunlight, look for panels of 10W or more.


    Another aspect that plays a role in quality fans is the battery. These devices should have enough storage to run for the amount of time you want to use them.

    Larger fans require more power, which ties back to solar panel size. If you’re hoping for a strong device, you’ll need both a large panel and a battery that’s big enough to carry the power requirements.


    Many solar-powered fans come with more utilities than one. On the market, you’ll typically find these devices featuring an LED lantern and a USB outlet for powering handhelds.

    Additionally, you might find a solar fan with multiple charging methods, or even more. Regarding multiple features, it’s essential to know that the more a device does, the less well it does each task.


    Two factors affect the portability of a solar fan. First, manufacturers typically choose between plastic and metal frames to cut weight. While this decision makes some devices easier to carry, it also makes them less durable.

    Alongside this, the panel size can reduce how easily a fan travels. Once solar panels start to outsize the fan, manufacturers tend to separate the two. This means you’ll have to carry both pieces, as well as any connecting wire. Without a carrying case, you might feel less inclined to pack the device.


    With all variables considered, it’s no surprise that solar-powered fans have a wide price range. Generally, these devices cost less than 20 for the simplest designs and about 100 for the strongest performance. Depending on what aspects you want more of, you can reduce the overall cost by narrowing down functionality.

    What to Know Before Buying a Solar Camping Fan

    In an ideal world, the best solar camping fans would run exclusively off sunlight. However, this isn’t an ideal world and, most likely, you’ll have to charge your device before taking it outdoors. These panels are designed to keep the fans topped off or provide emergency power when necessary. As you look for solar fans, keeping this in mind will help set the proper expectation.

    If you want to get the most out of your solar panel, however, you must orient it properly. These devices lose efficiency when sitting in Cloud cover or shade, so make sure they have full exposure to sunlight. Additionally, tilting the panel so it directly faces the sun will help it collect more solar energy.

    Using the Best Solar Camping Fans: What It’s Like

    When users tested the best solar camping fans on our list, the first aspect they recognized was the power. Unsurprisingly, the larger devices put out more air circulation, with the Cyberdax outperforming all the rest. The Busypiggy worked well enough to provide a cool breeze, but the SupBri provided a similar amount of power.

    Next, users tested the ease of use with each fan. In general, people had an easier time setting up the smaller devices. The Busypiggy, in particular, felt sturdy enough to work where it was stationed.

    homeowner, guide, federal, credit, solar, photovoltaics

    The larger fans, while providing more airflow, were harder to carry and required multiple trips to safely set up the solar panel. However, once in position, they were the sturdiest of the group.

    Finally, users tested charging with the solar panel. Each of the small paneled fans proved too weak to provide a noticeable amount of power. Fortunately for them, they each came with USB capabilities (the SupBri also allows for AAA). In this category, the Blessny and the Cyberdax worked smoothly, making them worth the effort of carrying them around.

    Best Solar Camping Fans: Further Reading

    With the best solar camping fans, you can stay cool wherever you go. These are just one of the many new pieces of camping equipment that get their power from the sun. For more outdoors-related tech, check out the articles below.

    • The 5 Best Portable Solar Panels – If your fans need just a little more power on your next camping trip, consider bringing along one of these portable solar panels.
    • The 10 Best Apps for Camping – Looking for the coolest space to spend some time outdoors? These apps provide destinations, features, and to make your next camp trip a breeze.
    • Best Telescopes of 2023 – Catching yourself looking into the night sky? Properly explore the universe with these powerful telescopes.

    The 5 Best Solar Camping Fans FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Which solar fan is best?

    The best solar fans provide plenty of airflow, battery life, and solar capability. While it sacrifices portability, we recommend the Cyberdax rechargeable table fan for all the power.

    Are solar fans worth it?

    Solar fans offer a cool breeze outdoors, using the sun for power. While you want a large enough solar panel to charge the device, they help keep your environment at a nice temperature.

    How long do solar fans last?

    Generally, solar fans can last up to 24 hours with an ample battery bank before needing to be recharged.

    What is the biggest downside to solar energy?

    The biggest downside of a camping fan with a solar panel is its inability to charge when the sun is unavailable. Conditions such as nighttime, clouds, and shade can drastically reduce the effectiveness of the panel charging your device.

    About the Author

    Drew Baker

    Drew lives off-grid using a self-built solar array. He supports a nomadic lifestyle writing about solar energy, spaceflight, and anything travel-related. When he’s not at the library, you’ll typically find him chasing waterfalls despite all the warnings against it. You can connect with Drew on his Instagram.

    The Perks of Solar Powered Attic Fans

    Before installing solar attic fans, learn more about the benefits they provide, including comfort and modest energy savings.

    Related To:

    Principal research scientist Danny Parker of the Florida Solar Energy Center has tested solar attic fans and says, the gable-end models work the best, since they move considerably more air than roof-mounted mushroom top units.

    You can install PV fans yourself if you have good carpentry skills, but it’s not necessarily an easy job. You have to cut holes in your roof, so you need to make sure you aren’t cutting into anything important, says Danny.

    You should also have some experience installing flashing to keep moisture out; if you live in a storm-prone area that regularly experiences driving rain, think twice about installing at all.

    Solar Is Safer

    The effectiveness and safety of attic fans is a debated subject, but studies show that standard line-powered fans actually cost more to operate than they generate in savings. And they can create zones of negative pressure, which risks pulling conditioned air from the house into the attic and the dangerous possibility of pulling gases from combustion appliances back into the house — namely, carbon monoxide.

    Since solar-powered fans don’t draw nearly as much air as line-powered fans, neither of those concerns comes into play. Plus, a PV fan doesn’t cost anything to operate once it’s in place.

    Do the Math

    Energy Star-rated solar attic fans still qualify for a federal tax credit of 30 percent of your purchase and installation costs. A single fan typically costs 300 to 600 plus an extra 100 to 150 each for installation. But you’ll likely need two fans to make an impact, says Danny. Possibly three if your house has more than 1,600 square feet of air-conditioned floor area.

    Danny’s tests of solar attic fans showed that in Florida, where there’s abundant solar energy, yearly savings from installing two fans in a house with just over 1,000 square feet of air-conditioned floor area amounted to only 460 kWh. Depending on what your utility charges, that’s about 40 per year. Even if you install it yourself and take the tax credit, it could still take you 15 years or more to recoup your investment.

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