These financial payback scenarios are calculated without including any financial incentives, but tax credits are available from the federal government until the end of the year. Many U.S. states, regions, and utilities also offer substantial rebates, tax credits, tax exemptions, loans, and other economic incentives for solar-electric and solar hot water systems.
Each state offers different incentive programs. For example, Connecticut offers a rebate for small residential PV systems of $5 per watt for the first 5 KW and $4.30 per watt thereafter. So a 2 KW system installed in Connecticut would have a lower cost of $6,000 to $10,000 (rather than $16,000 to $20,000), not including federal incentives or tax exemptions. The federal tax credit would reduce this cost by an additional $2,000 for qualified taxpayers.
In some locations, the residential tax credit is equal for PV and SHW, but in most cases, PV systems have more generous incentives. Hawaii favors solar hot water systems with a recent law that mandates SHW systems on all new homes built after January 1, 2010. For more information about incentive programs, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org).