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ITC specifications: Ground Mount Structures and Metal buildings

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  • ITC specifications: Ground Mount Structures and Metal buildings

    I am planning to install a grid tied PV array, but do not have enough roof space and am willing to build a ground mount. Instead of your typical iron ridge ground mount I am more interested in building a shop to place the panels on, to also serve as a place to store my farm equipment. How much of the cost of the shop would be counted toward the 30% ITC? My assumption that just the cost of the skeleton, panels, inverter, and other BOS components can be claimed when doing taxes. Ultimate discussion question is...Could I use entire of cost of shop as my PV structure?

  • #2
    Check with your tax pro, but I kinda' doubt the entire structure would be eligible for a solar tax credit. Not recommending this at all, but if you did claim the 30 % credit on the array and 30% credit on the entire cost of the structure, you might be well advised to take your checkbook to the audit.

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    • #3
      Similar things happen when you are mounting on the roof of an existing building and want to completely replace the roof first.

      If you have to tear off the existing roof to beef up the structure under it to support the panels, you have a good (but not necessarily successful) argument for including the cost of the roof work.
      If your roof has ten years of life left and you decide to put on a new 20 year roof to match the expected life of the panels, the argument is weaker.
      Both the extra expense of properly installing mounts on a tile roof and the expense of the alternative of removing the tiles and putting in other roofing under the panels almost certainly qualifies.

      There can be some room for discussion if the panel structure serves as a carport or parking area cover and costs roughly the same as a ground mount would have.
      But a shop building is clearly being put to a lot more beneficial use than just supporting the panels. You might justify a pro-rated fraction.

      But all of these speculations are worth little compared to the opinion of a tax professional who is familiar with the rules and interpretations of PV credits.
      SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TexPVguy View Post
        serve as a place to store my farm equipment.
        That sounds like a business expense instead of something for the 30% credit.

        But I am not a tax lawyer. I agree with the first two - check with your tax pro.

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        • TexPVguy
          TexPVguy commented
          Editing a comment
          I Will check with the tax pro. There is very little experience with this circumstance in West Texas, hopefully not for long, so I was wondering if anyone on here was more familiar with question at hand. thanks

      • #5
        Hello TexPVguy,
        Was wondering if you heard back from your tax guy? I too am looking into building a shop and adding solar at the same time as to possibly get a tax break on the cost of the shop.
        My local solar company here in California says it wont be an issue however they dont do my taxes nor will they pay for any audit findings.
        Thanks

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        • #6
          I get quite a few customers wanting to include their roofing costs (or whatever) into my solar invoices so as to make the collateral expenses more justifiable. First of all, it is tip-off as to what kind of cheap/scamming customer they might be, but to do that makes us liable for the roof work which means we would need to be licensed for this as well as carry insurance on it and I tell them we would want to mark up the roofing costs substantially to cover this. What they save on the 30% tax credit they lose on paying twice for the roofing overhead costs. I don't care what sort of guarantees etc the roofer offers on their roof - if there is some major water damage etc caused by the roofing job, you can bet a damage attorney is going to come after the solar company if the work is billed on their invoice. Also - technically, you should have a general contractor's license as well when you are hiring other trades. I always tell them that your tax guy should be able to justify a "solar support structure" without involving us and making us liable. I think the IRS is quite liberal on what they allow for the tax credit - just don't get greedy.
          BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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