Financial Incentives for Green Building in Asheville

In North Carolina, green incentives are offered by the state and local governments, as well as private agencies.  They consist of tax credits, discounts, loans, grants, and rebates. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get confused with so many options for green financial assistance.

Renewable Energy Tax Credit

North Carolina offers a broad, statewide renewable energy incentive.  The green building director of the Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC), has explained that it’s “a 35% state tax credit on top of the federal credit,” (we will discuss the 30% Federal credit later).  This personal tax credit applies to “the cost of eligible renewable energy property constructed, purchased or leased by a taxpayer and placed into service in North Carolina during the taxable year,” says the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) Website.  It’s a comprehensive databank assembled by the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) of the available incentives across the country.  Eligible technologies for the North Carolina tax credit include solar heating and electrical systems as well as wind systems, among others.  Each credit is capped depending on the eligible items installed, but you can still get between $1,400 and $10,500.  The North Carolina tax credit expires on December 31, 2009.

Solar Energy Tax Credits in North Carolina

North Carolina also offers two major tax incentives that focus on solar energy.  First is the active solar heating and cooling systems exemption, which applies to solar water heating and solar space heating/cooling systems installed in your home.  The system is assessed for its value, which cannot be “more than the value of a conventional system for property tax purposes,” according to the DSIRE Website.  That means, if you have a solar heating system that costs $20,000, but a similar heat pump costs $5,000, the extra $15,000 wouldn’t be added to the value of your system.  Then, your system’s appraised value is exempt from property taxes.  The second incentive is the property tax abatement for solar electric systems.  Your system is, again, appraised for its value, of which 80 percent is exempted from your property taxes.

Energy Star Appliance Sales Tax Holiday

In 2008, North Carolina also instituted a sales tax holiday for people buying Energy Star-certified appliances.  This sales tax holiday occurs each year throughout the first weekend in November, beginning Friday morning and ending Sunday night.  As long as your appliance will not be used for business purposes, you will not have to pay any sales tax on the appliance you purchase during this time frame.  So, if you’re buying an Energy Star dishwasher that costs $750, you will save around $50 on sales tax if you buy it during the tax holiday weekend.

Buncombe County Building Permit Fee Waivers and Rebates

Your local government might also contribute to the green in your pocket as you green your home.  Asheville waives the fee for building permits for new homes being built to include renewable energy sources, such as wind or geothermal heating systems, as well as for homes that will become certified through the Energy Star, HealthyBuilt Home, or LEED certification programs. The level of your home’s certification will determine what percentage of the fee will be rebated.  North Carolina makes the process of obtaining building permit fee reductions and rebates easy between its counties.  According to state law, all counties and cities can offer their residents a building permit reduction or rebate under the local option green building incentive.  Once your home is certified through a nationally-recognized program, you will get your money back!  Also, you might get rebates of your system's purchase costs from your local government.  For example, the city of Statesville offers $150 rebates for the purchase of water heaters and $450 for buying heat pumps that are upgrades to new, more energy efficient technologies that pass city inspection.

Green Power Energy Production Incentive Possibilities

N.C. GreenPower (NCGP) is a statewide non-profit association that seeks to institute the use of green power throughout North Carolina.  Every electric utility company in the state, including progressive green-proponent Duke Power (also a major sponsor of NCGP) participates in the NCGP program.  This production incentive program offers a variety of options to fit your project plans for green power generation.  You can choose one of the two net metering options, which means that your production will offset the cost of your own utility bill and the utility company will pay you for the excess electricity.  Or, you can choose one of the two sell-all options, which means that you’ll sell the entire generation capacity of your system to the utility company to be used as it sees fit.  Your system will basically be rented by the utility company for a small fee, which becomes your profit.  To participate in an NCGP program, you must submit an application.  If selected, you will sign a power-purchase agreement with your utility company and NCGP.  The payments you will receive will be based on the type of green electric system you have and the amount of kilowatts it produces.  Not surprisingly, these production incentives can be difficult to understand and vary by company, so you should contact your utility company for thorough information before making the switch to energy production.

Osada Construction is Asheville's Green Building Expert

Through our years of experience, our team has helped clients take advantage of every one of these benefits. If you're looking to start construction on an energy efficient and sustainably built modular home in Asheville, call Osada Construction at 828.606.5295 to discuss the many possibilities.