From the newsletter of Energy Concepts, Hudson, WI:

Wisconsin residents have their own “perfect storm” solar incentive brewing: the combined credits from Focus on Energy, the Federal tax credit and the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP) can reduce the cost of a solar hot water system by over 50%.

Let’s tote them up:
• Focus on Energy will support qualifying solar thermal systems up to $20 a therm, to a maximum of $2,750 per system.
• SEEARP, which is actually a Federal program initiated under the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment act, will reimburse the same system up to $2,000.
• The Federal 30% tax credit can be applied to the balance of the installation cost.
A sample cost worksheet might look like this:

Installation cost: $11,000
Focus Rebate: $2,250
SEEARP: $2,000
Federal Credit: $2,025
Total Credits: $6,275

Final Cost: $4,725
Price reduction on system: 57%

This does not include possible MACRS depreciation recapture should the system be installed in a business–that could shave another 10%–15% from net system cost.

How much energy savings accrue annually is dependant on how much hot water is consumed and what the price of gas or electricity is in your area.

But, solar hot water is known to produce the shortest payback period in the renewable energy industry. It would not be wild speculation, given energy inflation, to say that the above system would pay back in under 10 years.

With State PV incentives of just $1.25 a watt, Wisconsin residents might feel jealous of Minnesota’s new PV incentives. But the best response would be not to get mad, but to get even. And right now, that means installing solar hot water sytems in the Badger State, understanding that renewable energy’s quickest payback period just got a lot quicker.