Stuff that ConFoUNds, INSPIRES, proVoKes and PerpleXes us.

Energy Efficient Tax Breaks

Buy A New Energy Efficient Appliance

States are rolling out $300 million worth of rebates for homeowners who replace their clunker appliances with new energy-efficient models.  Your take will be small–$50 for a fridge, $500 for central air.  The rebates are typically offered in addition to existing rebates from manufacturers and utilities.  The Department of Energy has a list of the programs here.


Install A Solar Energy System

Uncle Sam will give you a tax credit equal to 30% of the price of a solar energy system you install to generate electricity in your home.  For a $50,000 system, that’s a whopping $15,000 off your taxes.  You can carry forward any unused credit to future tax years.  This credit is available through 2016 and can be used to offset the AMT.


Let Sun Heat Your Hot Water

Solar hot water systems to heat your shower or radiators (but not your hot tub or pool) qualify for a 30% federal credit, with no dollar cap.  With solar hot water systems costing $6,000 to $10,000, this investment can have a fairly quick payback, especially if you’re replacing an electric hot water heater.  The credit is available through 2016 and can be claimed against the AMT.


Fix Up Your Home

You can get $1,500 off your tax bill–a 30% credit for the first $5,000 you spend in 2009 or 2010 for improvements to your house’s energy efficiency, including new windows, doors, furnaces, air conditioners and insulation.  For the energy-efficiency standards you must meet, see the consumer guide at  You can get the full $1,500 even if you claimed the old, now expired $500 home energy credit.