Homeowners in Delaware who want to install a solar, wind, or other type of renewable energy system can take advantage of cash incentives offered through Delaware’s Green Energy Program to offset part of the cost. The cash incentives take the form of grants and are available for solar photovoltaic, solar space heating, solar water heating, and wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and fuel cells that use renewable fuels.
The Delaware Department of Energy manages the Green Energy Program, which is broken down into three separate programs depending on your electricity provider. One program is for Delmarva Power & Light – Delaware’s only investor-owned utility. Another program is for the state’s municipal utilities, and the third is for the Delaware Electric Cooperative.
Customers of Delmarva Power & Light can qualify for a grant of up to 50% of the cost of a renewable energy system. The maximum grants for residential systems are $31,500 for a solar photovoltaic system, $3,000 for a solar water heating system, $5,000 for a solar water heating system integrated into a radiant heating application, $22,500 for a small wind turbine, and $22,500 for fuel cells. Geothermal systems qualify for a grant of up to $600 per ton, up to a maximum of $3,000.
Delaware’s municipal utilities and the Delaware Electric Cooperative also provide grants for up to 50% of the cost, with the maximum grant amounts being the same in both cases. You can qualify for a maximum grant of $15,000 for a solar photovoltaic system, $3,000 for a solar water heating system, $5,000 for a solar water heating system with a radiant heating application, and $15,000 for a wind system or fuel cell.
All professionally installed renewable energy systems must be installed by a contractor participating in the Green Energy Fund program. You can find a list of these contractors on the Delaware Energy Office website at www.delaware-energy.com under Green Energy Program. If you choose to install the system yourself you can claim a grant only for the product costs. You cannot claim any grant for the cost of your labor.
Solar photovoltaic modules and wind turbines must be certified as meeting the requirements of the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standards. Systems connected to the grid must comply with Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Standards and with the utility company’s standards.
Solar water heating systems must meet the operating guidelines and minimum standards of the Solar Ratings and Certification Corporation’s (SRCC) OG-300 and must have a freeze tolerance limit of minus 21 degrees Fahrenheit.
Geothermal systems can be open or closed loop, or direct expansion systems. The units must have a minimum energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 14.0 and a coefficient of performance (COP) of 3.0. Open loop and closed loop geothermal systems must qualify under rating conditions in accordance with ISO 13256-1. Direct exchange systems must qualify in accordance with Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) standard 870. The system must be sized using a Manual J or equivalent calculation.
All renewable energy systems must be installed in accordance with the standards and specifications of the manufacturer of the components, and in compliance with applicable electrical and building codes. The system must carry at least a five-year warranty. The installation contractor provides this warranty, unless you install the system yourself.
How to claim the grant
According to the Grant Procedure Flow Chart provided by the Delaware Energy Office for the Green Energy Program, you should first clear up any questions you may have by calling them. Then you should contact a participating contractor who will help you complete and submit the application and other required documents. You should wait until you get notification of approval from the Delaware Energy Office before starting your project. After your installation is complete you submit the final documentation. The Delaware Energy Office may want to inspect your system before approving the grant. Once the final documentation is approved and you pass the final inspection, the grant check is sent to you.
On the Delaware Energy Office website at www.delaware-energy.com under Green Energy Program you can find links to the Grant Instructions and the Grant Application form by type of renewable energy technology. The application form includes a checklist of the documentation that needs to be sent with your application for a grant reservation and the final documentation that you have to submit when your installation is complete.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Energy Efficiency – Delaware Homeowner Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency: www.dsireusa.org
Delaware Energy Office – Green Energy Program: www.delaware-energy.com
Delaware Million Solar Roofs – Solar Grants: www.delawaresolar.org
Solar Power Rocks – Delaware State Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentives: www.solarpowerrocks.com