2009 Residential Energy Tax Credits for DIY?

Wet1 Posted By Wet1, Apr 23, 2009 at 7:54 PM

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  1. Wet1

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Apr 27, 2008
    At some point in the not to distant future I'm going to add a DIY solar DHW system to my house. Thinking about my existing 2009 tax credits, I was wondering if I could add the solar DHW system to the list of 2009/2010 tax credits.

    I looked at the form on the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-09-41.pdf) and it doesn't appear much of anything DIY would qualify, mostly because they stipulate certification must be provided... For solar DHW:

    "(b) Qualified solar water heating property expenditures are expenditures for
    property which heats water for use in a qualifying dwelling unit if at least half of the
    energy used by the property for such purpose is derived from the sun, and which is
    certified for performance by the non-profit Solar Rating Certification Corporation or a
    comparable entity endorsed by the government of the State in which such property is

    Getting a SRCC cert for a private one-off system would be VERY, VERY expensive.

    Anyone have any thoughts on how to receive (IRS) credit on DIY equipment that should otherwise qualify? I'm assuming we are SOL, but I thought I'd throw it out for discussion...
  2. 2.beans

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Mar 22, 2008
    new hampshire
    start a LLC, such as WET1 SOLAR, you being the sol owner and "qualified" installer and send yourself , or significant other a bill of the work performed.
  3. Titus

    New Member 2.

    Jun 30, 2008
    Bangor, Maine
    Doesn't really fly. It's not about having an invoice. It's about having the right documentation:

    1. Manufacturer Certification Statement.
    2. The system must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC).

    Anyone can claim this credit next year. You don't have to provide any records when filing. Unless, of course, you are paying someone to do your taxes, in which case they'll want to see the documentation. Paid preparers sign your tax form and are liable for knowingly committing fraud. And, oh yeah, not having the documentation in case of an audit would not be good. Taking tax credits for which you are not eligible is a big no no for us little people. (Those getting Cabinet positions seem to have more latitude.)
  4. mbcijim

    Member 2.

    Mar 10, 2008
    Schuylkill County, Pa
    If you want to get away from the DIY portion - here's a suggestion.

    Be upfront with your suppliers that:
    1. You want to do most of the work yourself
    2. You want the two documents when you're done.

    You're going to spend a littlbe bit of money to get qualified help, but I bet it will be worth it.

    I just hired my landscaper that way. I told them upfront that I want to do most of the work myself (pavers, walls, and plants). But I have no idea how to do it or what to buy. My landscaper is going to supply the materials (with a 10% markup), and stop by once a day while work is ongoing for $35 (The work is 2 minutes from his house). It's not as cheap as 100% DIY, but in my case I'd rather a more professional quality and looking job. It is worth it in my case.
  5. DBoon

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 14, 2009
    Central NY
    SRCC is a certifying agency that tests collectors and verifies/publishes performance data. If you are building your own solar collectors, you will likely not get SRCC certification.

    However, the SRCC certification is for the pre-built collectors only. If you install the collectors yourself, and source your own pumps, controllers, pipes, etc., then you should be able to deduct the percentage based on the full cost, collectors + ancillary equipment.
  6. Gooserider

    Mod Emeritus 2.

    Nov 20, 2006
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    The other thing to look at is the net costs, and possibly zoning / building code regs... Commercial solar collectors are expensive to purchase, and expensive to get shipped. At least in theory, one can home-build a collector for a small fraction of the cost of an SRCC certified commercial unit - it could be that you end up with lower out of pocket costs by going DIY, and ignoring the gov't handout, as opposed to buying the overpriced commercial panel and begging the gov't for some of the money back...

    The other issue that should also be looked at is what the rules might be on whether or not the code nazi's will LET you install a home brew panel on the roof of your own house...

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