WyomingWyoming is a very sunny state. It is located on the nation’s North-Western side and sits firmly in the United States solar belt.

Besides being sunny, the state is also blessed with some of the best inland wind resources in the nation. Wyoming has decent geothermal resources too. This makes Wyoming a hub of untapped renewable energy sources.

Other than the renewable sources of energy, Wyoming also has large deposits of coal and natural gas. These are fossil fuels that are cheaper to source, and it has been a great hindrance to the development of solar and other renewable ideas.

Wyoming is also the top producer of coal in the nation; Wyoming’s coal has low sulphur and is found near the surface. These deposits make it attractive to set up coal power plants that emit carbon and other air pollutants.

Due to large coal deposits, it is no surprise that the state is mainly powered by coal power plants, leaving wind and solar unutilized. The state of Wyoming also doesn’t seem too keen to utilize that potential as there is no RPS in place to encourage utilities to invest in solar and wind power generation.

Introduction

Wyoming receives an average of five peak sun hours over the year. During the summer, days can average up to seven peak hours of sunlight. This is a lot of sunlight and is a natural incentive to go solar.

Solar Panel InstallerThough few, the state has some incentives to encourage homeowners to invest in solar installation in Wyoming.

For an average household, a 5 kW system is enough to meet the house’s energy needs. In Wyoming, a 5 kW system costs around $20,000. The payback period for such an investment, including all tax cuts and incentives, is 15 years.

The payback period can be calculated by dividing the solar PV’s initial cost and the savings you receive after you stop paying for electricity.

The period is relatively long because electricity prices in Wyoming are low. Utilities charge an average of $0.11 per kilowatt-hour, which is 2 cents below the national average. These low prices are attributed to the many coal plants and the large reserves of coal.

Even though Wyoming has mainly concentrated on using fossil fuels for the state’s energy needs, they still recognize some homeowners would like to utilize the state’s solar potential. Here are the solar panel laws in Wyoming.

Net Metering In Wyoming

Even though Wyoming is reluctant to make better policies to suit solar integration, it has made sure to make it up by creating a robust net metering policy. The state has a solid net metering system that is very beneficial to residential PV systems.

Net metering is a system that allows homeowners to connect to the grid after they have upgraded to solar. When your solar panel produces more power than your household needs, the excess power is absorbed into the grid to be used elsewhere. When you send electricity to the grid, the utility providers give you credits.

At night, or during the summer, when your solar panel isn’t producing enough power to support your power needs, you can draw power from the grid to meet the deficit.

You can then use the credits to offset your bill. You can receive your credits at the full retail rate or the utility’s ‘avoided cost’ (the wholesale price). The rate varies by company.

If you don’t use up your credits for a single month, they are rolled over to subsequent months. This means you can accumulate enough credits in the summer to even out your bill during winter. After a year, the utility providers are supposed to give you financial compensation for surplus credits.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Otherwise known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), this is an incentive from the federal government available nationwide. This comes in the form of a tax cut. The incentive allows homeowners who have bought solar systems to cut 26% of their taxes’ total cost.

Solar PanelThe tax cut is only available to homeowners who buy a whole system at once. Either by cash or through a solar loan. The cost includes solar panels, installation costs, permits and other components.

If your solar PV System sets you back $20,000, your tax cut will be $5,200. You can deduct the whole amount in the taxes due for one year.

If you don’t pay enough taxes to allow you to reclaim the whole amount once, you can split it over subsequent years. This is the most significant saving you will receive at one go if you decide to go solar.

If you are short on funds, you can take a solar loan, redeem your tax credit, and use the money to pay off your solar PV system’s first instalments.

Wyoming does not collect any income tax from its residents. This means that the state cannot offer any tax credits like the federal government.

Wyoming Tax Exemptions

Wyoming does not exempt solar from any taxes. This means that all the components will be subjected to sales tax if you purchase a solar PV system. This makes the price of solar a little bit more expensive than in other states.

Property taxes are paid according to the value of your house. When you install a solar PV system in your home, it increases the value.

The state doesn’t exempt solar panels from being exempted from property taxes. You will have to pay for the increased value.

Map image by Wikimedia Commons User: TUBS / CC-BY-SA-3.0