How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Power in Indiana
Welcome to the future of energy in your state, Hoosiers! Indiana’s solar power industry is just starting to take off, thanks to a bevvy of generous incentives and support from the state government. Like much of the US, solar power is set to grow enormously in your area and residents who invest in it early stand to benefit the most.
While Indiana may not strike its residents as the most sun-drenched state, the area actually receives fairly prodigious solar hours that make residential arrays in the region productive and useful. Additionally, households that go in for solar heating may see significant savings on their winter electricity bills, which as any Indiana resident knows all too well, can be quite hefty.
Solar Productivity in Indiana
Indiana’s skies aren’t as productive as some states in the nation, but don’t let the numbers fool you—some organizations believe that as much as 18 percent of Hoosiers’ energy could potentially be generated using solar PV. The southern half of the state may have as many as 5 average hours of sunlight per day, which can translate to a lot of residential energy, particularly since solar cell efficiency levels are improving. But you don’t have to install a full PV system to generate your home’s electricity to benefit from solar power here. With the high heating demands of Indiana winters, the state government recommends installing a solar space or water heating system for those residents interested in investing in solar technology in their homes.
Solar Popularity in Indiana
The Indiana Office of Energy Development estimates that as of January 2016, there were about 143 megawatts of solar energy installed in local homes and businesses—that’s enough to power over 14,000 homes. Around a third of that was installed just in 2015, on trend with installation numbers throughout the US. While there’s still a lot of room for solar installations to grow in this state, the writing on the wall is clear: solar is a burgeoning market just waiting to be exploited. Residents who don’t drag their heels on installing will reap the benefits in state and utility incentives as well as loan offerings.
Average Indiana Residential Electricity Use and Cost
Indiana’s vibrant natural gas industry keeps residential electricity costs fairly low—homes here pay an average 10 cents per kWh, compared to the national 12 cents average. But consumption numbers have been steadily growing here; in fact, in 2014 the total energy consumption was around 8,600 Btus higher than it was a decade before that. That means that, much like the US as a whole, electricity prices are expected to rise overall, especially as resources become more scarce.
Installing Solar in Indiana
Indiana residents’ budding interest in solar hasn’t been lost on manufacturers and installers—the state boasts around 72 different solar-based businesses, according to industry estimates. That means that there are lots of options to choose from when selecting an installer in your area, particularly if you live near one of the state’s urban areas.
Indiana State Solar Support
The clearest indicator of a state’s support for energy technology often comes across in the incentives it offers to residents, and in that sense, the Indiana’s endorsements have overwhelmingly been for geothermal devices and energy efficiency improvements. However, don’t think that solar households are being left out in the cold in Indiana—all renewable energy sources installed in the state’s homes are eligible for property tax exemptions and other incentives.
Meanwhile, in 2013 the state completed construction on a 17.5 megawatt plant near the Indianapolis airport that is one of the largest of its type in the nation. That building follows the establishment of a renewable portfolio standard that sets a goal of producing 10 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2025. In fact, a solar easement law instituted in 2002 prevents any local authority from restricting a homeowner’s ability to install a solar PV array on their homes, demonstrating that the Indiana government is very pro-solar, indeed.
Indian State Solar Incentives
Solar power in Indiana is encouraged by a variety of statewide incentives that make it easy and affordable to purchase and install solar arrays in resident homes. Through offerings like sales and property tax exemptions, system costs are kept comparably lower than in some other states. Their net metering program helps pay off the remaining costs after rebate deductions.
Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption: Among the many benefits of solar is that it adds to the property value of your home. But, that can be a pain when you’re paying your property taxes. In Indiana, however, a government ruling exempts residents from excess taxes generated from renewable equipment like solar PV arrays and solar water heaters. To receive the exemption, you must file form 18865 with your local tax auditor.
Income Tax Deduction for Solar Powered Roof Vents and Fans: A unique incentive in Indiana allows residents to deduct 50 percent of the cost of a new solar-powered roof vent or fan. Returns are capped at $1,000 for a single device.
Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Electrical Generating Equipment: Certain parts of solar PV arrays, including the modules, racking, and inverters, are eligible for exemption from state sales and use taxes, under Indiana state law. That means that residents purchasing solar equipment in the Hoosier state stand to save hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars on the cost of their array. To qualify, the equipment seller must have completed a Indiana General Sales Tax Exemption Certificate, Form ST-105. Ask your seller if they qualify for this exemption before you buy in order to reap the benefits.
Net Metering: Like most states, Indiana offers a net metering program, which credits energy-generating households backwards for the power they feed back onto the grid. Participating utilities in the state include Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Indiana Michigan Power Company, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, and Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company. This incentive has a capacity size cap of 1 megawatt.
Additionally, US households that opt to install solar power on their rooftops are eligible for a federal government incentive. The national Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit returns residents 30 percent of the price of a new system, as long as over half of the residency’s energy is generated using solar equipment. Residents seeking the tax credit can apply using IRS form 5695.
Local Indiana Incentives and Programs
Residents in Indiana not only have the option to save using statewide incentives, many regional utilities and city governments have their own additional savings programs to offer solar households, as well.
- Feed In Tariff: Northern Indiana Public Service Company also offers residents a feed-in tariff incentive for systems sized between 5 to 200 kilowatts, meaning that they also pay their solar customers for every kWh of energy they return to the grid. For systems sized 5 to 10 kilowatts, the rate is $0.17 to $0.1564 per kilowatt hour. For larger systems from 10 to 200 kilowatts, the rate is $0.15 to $0.138 per kilowatt hour.
- Community Solar: Residents in and near Linden can benefit from solar power without the burden of purchasing a new system by leasing panels from Community Solar or purchasing energy generated by their 240 panel array. More details about that program can be found here.
- City of Indianapolis Green Building Incentive: Permit fees for solar arrays may be heavily discounted, up to 50 percent off under this incentive for residents of Indianapolis. The program details are available here.