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U.S. Solar Tax Credit Pays for Itself With 10% Return

A 30 percent U.S. federal tax credit for owners of solar-power systems pays for itself when electricity from those systems is sold, creating taxable revenue, a trade group said.

Residential and commercial rooftop solar systems that sell electricity through power-purchase agreements or that are leased to homeowners or businesses, generate a 10 percent rate of return on the credit, the American Council on Renewable Energy said today in a statement. The analysis of the solar investment tax credit, which expires at the end of 2016, used models from SolarCity Inc.

Over a 30-year period, a $10,500 tax credit for a residential system can generate on average $22,882 in tax revenue, Acore found. A $300,000 credit for a large commercial project may create $677,627, the study found.

“The purpose of the study is to destroy any myth that the ITC is costly to the taxpayer,” said Lyndon Rive, chief executive officer of San Mateo, California-based SolarCity in an interview today. “It’s the right thing to do, but it’s done under the emotion of a sacrifice.”

In reality, Rive said, “this is actually a good investment too.”

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