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Get state and federal solar energy tax credits

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By Special to the Monitor

As this year draws to a close, those who want to take advantage of federal and state tax credits for the installation of a solar energy system on their 2009 tax returns need to act soon.

Homeowners and businesses can get a 40 percent tax credit on the cost of installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal system. The federal government provides a tax credit for 30 percent of the cost, and the state of New Mexico adds another 10 percent tax credit on state taxes. To be eligible for the state tax credit, solar systems must be certified through an application process administered by the Energy Conservation and Management Division (ECMD).

Individuals need to install their solar energy systems using a professional installer by the end of this year to

apply the tax credit to their 2009 tax returns. Both the federal and state tax credit will continue to be available through 2016.

The state has eliminated the annual deadline for applying for the 10 percent New Mexico tax credit. Those who install a solar system by the end of December 2009 and apply for system certification to ECMD soon after will have adequate time to get their tax filing paperwork done before Tax Day on April 15, 2010.

In addition, those who installed a solar system between 2006 and 2008 but did not submit the paperwork for the 30 percent state tax credit offered before the federal tax credit cap was removed can still obtain it and apply it to their current state taxes. If you are in this group, you can re-file state tax returns for the year the system was installed and obtain the 30 percent state tax credit.

For 2009, to date there have been 75 tax credit applications for PV systems and 51 applications for solar thermal systems. The state has allocated a total of $5 million a year in solar tax credit support, up to $3 million annually for photovoltaic tax credits and $2 million for solar thermal tax credits.

Hundreds of New Mexicans are taking advantage of the Solar Market Development Tax Credit. The 700th application since the program started came in this November. Over 1.2 megawatts of solar power production have come online since the program’s inception in 2006!

Homeowners need to work with their installers to help move the process along and make sure they get the necessary forms and attachments approved in time for the tax return deadline. By starting the paperwork on installations completed in December right away, homeowners should have all the approvals from ECMD by mid-March at the latest.

All forms are available at the ECMD Web site, www.CleanEnergyNM.org.

Click on the “Clean Energy Incentives” tab on the left side of the home page, then click on the Solar Market Development Tax Credit link.