Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Solar Electrical Power and PR Tax Credits

I recently found out that the Puerto Rico government enacted a law (Ley 248). This has the potential of providing 75% in tax credits for the installation of solar Photovoltaics. This sounds great!
But I don't really have faith in the government here since a co-worker got screwed out of $25,000 when she bought her new home last month. She was approved for the $25,000 government handout and went through the process of buying her home. The process took about a couple of weeks too long because the government ran out of money just before she was to close on the house. So I did some research and tried to learn all I could but the new law is in Spanish and it is important to exactly know all the details. Then I found out that two of my co-workers were taking the classes to be certified for solar installations. I started talking to them and started to get serious. I reviewed all their handouts from the class and did a lot of research on the web. I now have a handle on all of the technical stuff (its easy but it does get involved with details)
The government process however is as you would expect here and you only have 60 days to do the install after they set aside money for you. It's not the same process as it was for buying a home. Before you buy your equipment you give them an estimate and your design and they give you a certificate that sets the money aside for you.

We plan on going off the grid. You need to click on the schematic to see the details of the design. We don't use air conditioners. We use about 6KWH/day now. I'll have to switch the SCUBA compressor over to a 8HP gas engine. The system will be off grid but can be connected to the grid at a later date if we chose.
I have put a lot of work into this but haven't spent any money yet. It could still fall apart and not happen but things are moving along so it should happen.

I was told last week that the money set aside at the 75% rate was gone and now they are using the 50% money. We will still do it with 50% if we have to but a few other people told me today that they still have 75% money. We wont know until we submit the designs and paper work. The other hard part is finding a good price on the equipment locally. I can buy it off the Internet but I don't like buying big fragile expensive items on-line!


Anonymous said...

Hey regardless of the tax break it will still save you money in the long run right? Very good job!

My husbands 'abuela' in PR has a solar water heater system. That is way more simple but very cool i think

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

Even with the 50% tax credit it will be a strech to say we could save money.
With the 50% credit it could take 5 - 10 years to be even (all depends on the price of oil) And then after 10+ years we will need more batteries.

It's possible at the 50% rate to save some money but with the 75% rate it will only take 3 or 4 years to break even.

Your better off putting $20K in a cd at 4% and using the interest to pay your electricity bill.

Anonymous said...

Jeff and Katrina,

Kudos to you both for your initiative to get off the grid. I gotta believe that the new state government may be a bit more progressive towards energy alternatives since that was one of their campaign promises. Then again, that doesn't really mean much, does it? At any rate, I would contact somebody in the government to actually find out about the tax credits.

We have several projects in our old home to improve its efficiency. Here in VA you can get a tax credit if you replace doors/windows with energy efficient types. Our doors leak so much cold air in the winter. Also, like I said before we are starting to look into replacing our HVAC with a geothermal system. We still have to do our due diligence to see when do we recuperate our investment.

BTW, energy in Puerto Rico is more expensive than in most states since their only source is burning oil. If oil goes up, energy will go up as well. There has always been a big debate about building a nuclear plant. The main concern is where do you evacuate 4+ million people in case of an accident. Another project that I think its really cool relates to using the deep ocean for renewable energy, here is a link:

I actually did a science fair project when I was in Middle School regarding alternative sources of energy highlighting this concept. I actually won first prize--wow that was a long time ago, LOL! The problem with this concept is that the state government in PR does not have the money to develop it, maybe Obama will decide to fund it, dunno!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I didnt realize it would cost so much to get started

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

To start the process, tomorow I have to go to:
Dept del Trabajo
Fondo del Seguro del Estado

What a nightmare! After I get all that paperwork I can get started.