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Commercial Roof Installations Now Eligible for Solar Tax Credits, Based on IRS Ruling

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois: A ruling by the IRS rules commercial roofing installation eligible for Federal Solar Tax credits. Currently valued at 26% for 2020, the tax credit will drop to 22% in 2021.

The types of roofs eligible are white TPO, PVC and lighter colored metal roofs, including white, silver, or tan. Metal roof types can be corrugated, like those installed on most pole barns or standing seam, and are sometimes installed on homes. Roof coatings are also eligible when applied over an older metal or membrane roof. The design and installation process involves utilizing a 'bifacial' solar panel that operates more efficiently when light from the roof reflects the solar panel's reverse side.

Standard solar panels have an opaque film on the backside compared to bifacial panels with an extra layer of glass, allowing reflected light to reach the photovoltaic cells' backside and enhance their production.

This solar technology is not new, having been in use for many years with a track record of proven high efficiency. However, in recent years, bifacial panels' cost has become very competitive to standard panels due to mass production and exemption from the current US solar panel import tariff.

Morton Solar was one of the earliest pioneers in the utilization of bifacial systems in the nation. A select variety of the company's projects were among the most productive, efficient, and impactful of their time. Notable projects include numerous systems for Hoosier Energy beginning in 2007, designed to harness reflected light from white gravel surfaces to enhance their efficiency. Hoosier Energy utilized the production data from these systems to determine that solar energy was viable in Indiana, and consequently, have heavily invested in solar energy since.

Additional projects utilizing bifacial panels include Richardsville Elementary School in Warren County, Kentucky - the first net-zero school. And the Chrisney Library in Spencer County, Indiana, the first net-zero library in the country. These projects' success helped educate the public and greatly expand solar use in the Midwest region surrounding southern Indiana and Northwestern Kentucky.

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