Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Indiana
Indiana has made some big strides in recent years as it attempts to turn more of its energy mix over to renewable technologies. It has a number of incentives in place including net metering that allows for energy production from installations like solar to be offset against future energy bills. Having said that, by 2014 coal fire electricity was still providing the state with almost 85% of its generation. This could be influenced by its large industrial sectors such as aluminum, glass and metal.
The state does boast the largest geothermal heating plant in the US, situated in Muncie and there have been some moves to wean Indiana off fossil fuels. The state has a small solar industry at the moment comprising of just 68 companies who employ under 1,500 staff. They rank low in the amount of electricity produced from solar, 19th in the US with a capacity of 114 MW. In 2014, over $100 million was invested in the industry and access to net metering was rolled out to customers. The biggest solar installation is at Indianapolis Airport and has a capacity of 12.5 MW.
Indiana has had more success with wind power and currently generates 1,543 MW through this technology, the biggest being Fowland Ridge with a proposed capacity of 300 MW. The state, however, has a fairly modest and voluntary renewable portfolio standard of 10% from clean energy by 2025.
Solar PV Incentives in Indiana
Net metering was introduced to help promote the uptake of solar PV and other technologies and with the Federal Tax Rebate there are incentives out there that provide a viable return on investment. Industrial and tribal government sectors benefit from the Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Electrical Generating Equipment scheme and there is a good property tax exemption for a range of renewables including solar. Funding can also be obtained through the Community Conservation Challenge run by the Indiana Office of Energy Development, providing grants between $25,000 and $100,000 for eligible projects.
Solar PV Case Study in Indiana
With no facility for leasing, the best option for solar PV in Indiana is cash purchase and a reasonable return of investment is available with the current incentives available. The cost of a $5 kW installation will be in the region of $21,250 and this is subject to the Federal Tax Rebate of 30% though with no state rebate the time of payback is going to be around 15 years. Even with this, installations should look to realize in the region of $14,000 at the end of the 25-year lifetime of the array, providing a handy profit for a long term investment. It’s also expected that the addition of solar PV will drive up the sale value of your home by as much as $15,000.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Indiana
Solar water heating systems benefit from all the incentives that come with solar PV and are becoming a popular, low cost way to reduce heating bills in many states, including Indiana. One of the key incentives in this area is the Property Tax Exemption which means that homeowners don’t have to pay tax on any renewable installation.
Small Hydro Incentives in Indiana
Hydroelectric power is limited in Indiana though it has been around since the early 1900s. The largest facility is in Markland, Switzerland County, and has a capacity of 45 MW but most are much lower generators in the region of 2-3 MW. The potential for micro hydro in farms or small communities is supported by incentives such as the Federal Tax Rebate but it’s not one of the renewable priorities for the state.
Geothermal Incentives in Indiana
Ground source heat pumps are gaining popularity across the US for those properties that have enough acreage to install. It can reduce heat production costs by as much as 50% and is supported by the Federal Tax Rebate and by utility company rebates such as the Duke Energy Residential and Builder Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.
Biomass Incentives in Indiana
Biomass energy production is becoming increasingly important and for states like Indiana, which have the relevant resources, it could make a big difference to the energy mix of the future. Most of the focus has so far been on the commercial possibilities and there are few incentives for residential installations, though there are grants such as Community Conservation Challenge on offer for businesses.
Wind Power Incentives in Indiana
Indiana has pumped money into utility scale wind farms in recent years and has the potential to do much more in this area. Small scale wind turbines for businesses and farms account for 4.5 MW of capacity and benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate as well as the same tax exemptions as solar. For commercial enterprises there is also the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit and various loan and grant schemes to take advantage of.
Compared to some other states, Indiana has certainly a way to go with its renewable energy mix and the plans for the future are weaker than some of its neighbors. There are incentives out there, however, and these may improve as the drive to much greener technologies take hold.
You can discover more about the current renewable technology incentives for Indiana on the DSIRE website.