Eligibility of Rental Properties for Federal Solar Tax Credit

Eligibility of Rental Properties for Federal Solar Tax Credit

Installing your solar power system can be daunting, particularly for your finances. Adding one to your home requires a significant financial investment. On average, solar panels cost between $6000 and $18,000. However, home solar power systems might save you a lot of money in the long run. Several rebates and tax credits are also available to encourage homes to jump and start producing renewable energy. Federal, state, and local benefits may reimburse you for installing a qualifying system.

The Federal Solar Tax Credit has become a crucial incentive for property owners seeking sustainable energy solutions. This financial incentive encourages the adoption of solar technology, lowering both carbon footprints and utility bills. However, deciphering the eligibility criteria becomes a more challenging endeavor when it comes to rental properties

Continue reading below, as this post aims to equip property owners with the knowledge necessary to leverage federal incentives, fostering a greener, more sustainable future while maximizing financial returns on rental investments.

Eligibility for Federal Solar Tax Credit

Ownership Status

Ownership status matters greatly for eligibility for the Federal Solar Tax Credit. The property owner must own the solar panel installation outright to be eligible. Typically, leased systems do not fit the criterion. Ownership ensures that the financial benefits of the tax credit go to the appropriate owner, whether for residential or commercial properties. 

This distinction is critical because individuals who purchase and install solar panels on their properties will gain, while tenants with leased systems will not. The first step towards leveraging the Federal Solar Tax Credit for sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions is to ensure accurate ownership documents and comprehension of this essential criterion.

Residential vs. Commercial

The Federal Solar Tax Credit is available to both residential and commercial properties. The tax credit is ordinarily available for residential properties, including primary and secondary homes. On the other hand, commercial properties may be eligible, depending on different criteria and considerations. Residential property owners can use the credit to offset installation costs for solar panels installation on their properties. Professional Property Management Group of Northern Virginia understands solar panel installation could be expensive.

Commercial property owners must follow particular rules designed for company structures. Understanding these distinctions is critical for ensuring accurate compliance with IRS requirements. A tax specialist can provide specific guidance based on the kind of property and individual circumstances, maximizing the benefits of the Federal Solar Tax Credit.


The solar project must be installed on a property in the United States you own and use as your primary or secondary residence to qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Credit. This eligibility condition emphasizes that the tax credit's benefits are intended to increase home solar adoption. 

The IRS requires solar installations to contribute to the energy needs of a domestic home, whether it is your primary or secondary residence. The solar project must be aligned with the designated U.S. home, reinforcing the government's commitment to promote sustainable energy practices at the individual homeowner level.

Income Tax Liability

You must have a substantial income tax liability to qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Credit. This means the credit can only be used to balance taxes owed; it does not provide a refund beyond what is owed. It is critical to assess your tax situation and ensure that your tax liability is substantial enough to take advantage of the full benefit of the credit. 

Suppose your tax liability is less than a year's allowable credit. In that case, the excess credit can usually be carried over to the following year, allowing you to continue receiving tax benefits. Understanding your income tax situation is critical to reaping the Federal Solar Tax Credit benefits.

Process for Claiming Solar Tax Credit

When investing in a solar system for your property, claiming a solar tax credit might be a terrific way to save money. When you invest in a solar energy system, you will receive a federal tax credit that may be used to offset some of the installation costs. 

To claim the tax credit, you must complete the appropriate paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and file the necessary paperwork to receive the full benefit of the credit. The following forms are required to claim your solar tax credit: 

Form 1040: The first form you'll need is Form 1040, which is your primary tax form. This form must be completed and submitted to claim the solar tax credit.

Form 5695: This form must also be filled out to claim the solar tax credit. This form was created specifically to assist in calculating credits taken for residential energy property expenses, such as solar energy systems.

Receipts & Documentation: You must also provide documentation of your solar system purchase along with the forms. This may include your invoice, installation paperwork, and other receipts proving that you took the necessary solar system installation procedures. 

You must file all required papers to claim the full solar tax credit. Following these procedures will allow you to get the most out of your solar energy investment.

Calculation of Tax Credit for Rental Properties

Calculating the Federal Solar Tax Credit for rental properties entails assessing the eligible expenses and applying the credit against tax liability. Identify the total eligible costs associated with the solar installation on the rental property, including equipment and installation costs. The tax credit percentage, subject to change, is typically applied to these costs.

For example, if your qualified expenses are $20,000 and the appropriate tax credit percentage is 26%, the calculated credit is $5,200( $20,000 * 0.26(26%). The credit can only be used to reduce income tax liabilities, and any excess can be carried forward to subsequent tax years. Maintain precise documentation and speak with a tax professional to manage the specific subtleties of claiming the Federal Solar Tax Credit for rental homes.


Determining whether rental properties qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Credit necessitates a strategic grasp of income tax dynamics, qualified expenditures, and ownership structures. Property owners support environmental sustainability by using solar energy and stand to gain financially from this incentive. 

Landlords can maximize tax credit benefits by following IRS regulations, keeping proper records, and seeking advice from tax professionals. Solar solutions benefit the environment and property owners by powering houses and fostering a more sustainable, prosperous future.

Eligibility of Rental Properties for Federal Solar Tax Credit
4 Ways To Make Moving Houses Less Stressful

Become an Insider!  Step into the world of luxury with RESIDENT Magazine. Click here to subscribe to our exclusive newsletter and gain unparalleled access to the latest in luxury lifestyle, high-end real estate, travel exclusives, and so much more.

Are you interested in advertising with Resident? Email us at advertising@resident.com to learn more.

Resident Magazine