The newly adopted federal tax reform bill extends credits for renewable energy to owners of residential and non-residential income property at a time when most other shelters have been eliminated, but the rules are complicated.
The bill provides a 15% tax credit on the entire cost of a solar system installed this year, retroactive to Jan. 1. The credit drops to 12% next year and to 10% in 1988. On top of the federal credit, California provides a 25% credit for systems installed this year.
Both state and federal governments allow five-year depreciation schedules for qualifying solar energy systems, according to Patrick A. Redgate of Ameco, a Long Beach concern specializing in solar installations.