Save Money on RV Solar with the Federal Solar Tax Credit

Whether you are a seasonal RV traveler or have transitioned to full-time RV living, the exhilaration of getting on the road and discovering places you have never seen is deeply fulfilling. Being able to live it day after day is a lifestyle many people are starting to embrace.

The transition from what most consider “normal” life to full-time RV’ing can be difficult. Dependency on RV electric hookups limits your travels and often requires you to settle for noisy RV parks or crowded campgrounds. Getting your power from the Sun is clean, quiet, and affordable. Getting your own RV solar power kit means being able to pull over anywhere with your own source of electricity which is extremely liberating.

Adding RV solar or solar power to any mobile living space not only increases your quality of life, but also puts money in your wallet. If you are in the market for a solar power system for your RV, the US government will give you a tax credit of up to 30% of the total cost of your system. It will also apply to most additions that you've added to an existing system. Take advantage of this credit now because the credit will be reduced in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Take note that any "dwelling unit" qualifies for the tax credit. That includes mobile homes, boats, homes, or RVs. Your RV must be accepted by the IRS as a second home for tax purposes to be valid for the credit. It doesn’t matter if you are a boondocker, nomad, van dweller, part-time or full-time RV’er - this solar tax credit will apply to you.

Keep in mind that this is a tax deduction of up to 30% of the cost of the solar power system, not a rebate. There is no cap on the value of the system installed. You can file your claim as soon as installation begins, but you are required to have your solar system running by December 31, 2023.

What are the benefits of the federal solar tax credit for RVs?

If you’re in the market for a solar system, there is no time like the present to reap the rewards of the tax credit. Below are a few benefits.

  • The 30% tax credit is the obvious one.
  • It has made solar energy for RV owners more affordable which increases the quality of their life on the road.
  • It encourages RV owners to buy their own solar panels instead of leasing which would disqualify you from the tax credit.

How do you qualify for the solar tax credit during tax filing?

There are certain stipulations when it comes to taking advantage of the solar tax credit. You have to meet a few requirements.

  • Your system must be installed and running before December 31, 2023.
  • You must own the RV or mobile dwelling unit, not renting.
  • You must own the solar equipment, not leasing.

What associated costs qualify for the RV solar tax credit?

It’s important to make sure you keep track of all expenses associated with your solar system purchase and installation to receive the most credit on your tax return. You can claim the following items when filing:

  • Solar consulting fees
  • Solar equipment
  • Shipping costs
  • Tools
  • Installation fees
  • Electrician fees
  • Engineer fees
  • Permitting fees

Installing the system yourself is an option, however you cannot claim your own labor as an expense.

How do I file the claim?

If you qualify for the federal solar tax credit you will need to do the following when filing your tax return:

  • Confirm you qualify for the 30% tax credit
  • Collect all receipts
  • Complete IRS 5965
  • Add the credit to Form 1040

After completing those steps, you will have successfully filed for the 30% solar credit. Please consult your accountant to make sure everything is filed correctly to ensure you receive the credit.

How long will the solar tax credit be applicable?

The tax credit will not always be around for residential customers. Starting in 2020 the deduction will be reduced and in 2022 it will be totally eliminated for customers that use solar for residential purposes. Below are details and timelines for each upcoming year:

  • 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2022 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.

How can I get started with my own RV solar kit?

If you are considering adding solar to your RV, there is no better time to act to ensure you get a huge tax credit. If you need help deciding on a solar system or solar kit that fits your needs, reach out to our sales professionals.

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