Alexandria homeowners can get a tax exemption by installing solar this summer

Solar panels (file photo)

This summer, Alexandria is offering real estate tax exemptions for homeowners who install solar energy equipment in their homes.

The 2023 Solarize Alexandria program started this month and ends on August 31. It includes a free assessment, as well as discounts for tax-deductible olar equipment.

“The goal is to increase the deployment of solar power generation in our residential communities,” Mayor Justin Wilson wrote in his July newsletter. “In addition to reducing emissions and reducing your power bill, the City of Alexandria provides a real estate tax exemption for qualifying solar installations.”

The city is partnering with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Local Energy Appliance Program.

The equipment would collect and use solar energy for “water heating, space heating or cooling or other applications which would otherwise require a conventional source of energy,” according to the tax exemption form.

The solar energy systems that would qualify for the tax exemptions are:

  • Solar heating and hot water systems
  • Passive solar energy systems
  • South-facing windows used as solar collectors
    Trombe walls (a sun-facing wall designed to collect solar energy and act as a thermal mass for heating the structure)
  • Greenhouses integrated into the heating system of the structure
  • Thermal storage systems
  • Movable insulation
  • Window shading windows for summer cooling.

How would residents get their money back? The city laid out this example:

The property owner has entered into a contract for a total of $12,000 to install solar energy panels ($8,000 in solar energy equipment and $4,000 for installation). Code Administration has completed their inspections certified the application to the Assessor. The $12,000, in this example, is considered the value of the exemption and would be deducted from the assessed value of the property every year for five years.

(The percentage or formula used is outlined in the Virginia Administrative Code. Many items such as solar panels or hot water systems are at 100% of cost and installation as shown in this example. Where other items such as south facing windows and greenhouses are based on a percentage or formula as stated in the Code.)

The tax savings is calculated as follows: $12,000 divided by 100, then multiplied by the current tax rate. The amount of tax savings over the five year period may vary depending on the tax rate that is in effect for each tax year.

The amount of tax savings over the 5 year period may vary depending on the tax rate that is in effect for each tax year.