Time is running out for claiming energy efficiency tax credits

Only four months remain to tackle home improvement projects if you want to take advantage of energy efficiency tax credits authorized under the federal stimulus bill. Measures that qualify include replacing windows, doors, or roofs with materials that reduce your home’s heat loss or gain; adding insulation; replacing certain air conditioners; and installing air-source heat pumps, hot-water boilers, and biomass stoves.

“We want to make sure our members know about these tax credits and can take advantage of them before they expire on December 31, 2010,” stresses James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of Horry Electric. “This is an incredible opportunity for folks to invest in residential energy efficiency and see energy bill savings right away.”

You can recover 30 percent―up to $1,500—of costs associated with buying and installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and biomass stoves. Installation costs are not covered for windows, doors, roofing, and insulation.

ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provides guidelines on what qualifies for the tax credit at www.energystar.gov/taxcredits. Tax credits are especially beneficial as they directly reduce, dollar for dollar, any taxes you owe.

“These are tough times, and we know it’s important for our members to keep their monthly electric bills as low as possible,” explains Howle. “Making home energy efficiency upgrades offers a great way to save energy and money, and these tax credits can help make that a reality.”

If you’re interested in renewable energy, the government also offers a renewable energy tax credit that expires Dec. 31, 2016. That credit covers 30 percent of the cost of materials and installation for solar panels, solar water heaters, and geothermal heat pumps, for both new and existing homes. But check with Horry Electric for advice on what system makes sense for your home.

Be sure to keep your receipts and your Manufacturer’s Certification Statement (a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying that the product or component qualifies for the tax credit) for your records. Then claim the credit on your 2010 taxes using IRS Form 5695.

South Carolina residents can take advantage of personal tax credits like the Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes Incentive Tax Credit and the Solar Energy and Small Hydropower Tax Credit .  A sales tax cap has been established for  Energy-Efficient Manufactured Homes  and a sales tax exemption is in place for Hydrogen Fuel Cells.

At Horry Electric, we’ll pay you to stay in hot water! If you’re an Horry Electric member and you’re ready for a new water heater, let us know. We offer rebates of $125 and $250 for qualifying installations. Qualification includes an agreement to allow load control on the unit. Visit horryelctric.com for details on the H2O Select program.

For a list of state energy efficiency assistance available, visit the Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, a project funded by DOE, at www.dsireusa.org.

Source: ENERGY STAR, Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Article provided by Magen Howard, who writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Megan McKoy-Noe contributed to this article.

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