Guidelines to apply for solar tax credit

Sep. 18—The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department is working to make its online website portal to apply for the state solar tax credit more understandable for taxpayers and easier to navigate.

EMNRD published a new guide for credit applicants that clearly explains the program details and how to apply. It's accessible at the following link:

Once all appropriate documents are gathered, website users can use the following link to complete their applications:

Those website pages outline the list of documents required to apply for the credit, and users should make sure they have all the needed information in hand before actually starting the application process, said EMNRD spokesman Sidney Hill.

The point at which taxpayers should begin applying has changed since last year, when applicants were instructed to start the process only after their solar system was actually turned on and they had a "utility interconnection" certificate in hand.

Now, applicants should start the process once they have received a "building code inspection report," which certifies that the solar system is fully up to code.

"As soon as you get the inspection certificate, that's when you need to apply and not wait until the system is turned on," Hill said. "You're up against the clock because of the cap on money for the program, and waiting puts you further behind in line for approval before the money runs out."

Many applicants also typically wait until it's tax-filing season to apply, but that's a mistake, Hill said. Once you have a tax credit certificate approved, you will get the credit when you file your taxes.

"If you wait until the tax season, the funds could be exhausted before you're approved for the credit," Hill said. "In addition, a crunch of applications always come in during the tax-filing season and EMNRD staff can get overwhelmed, making it more difficult to answer questions."

As of mid-September, $5 million of the $12 million in tax credit money available for 2023 had already been allocated.

"We're in September, and as we get closer to the end of the year and then to the April 15 tax-filing deadline, that number will rapidly increase — so don't wait," Hill said.