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Maryland Post-Intall Activities

Just to add some follow-up on this, https://www.marylandtaxes.gov/pros/docs/eFileSoftwareVendors_Individual.pdf lists vendors, and some - including TaxAct (but not TurboTax) - seem to indicate support for form 500CR. So, while it is annoying to have to pay instead of using the state's free system, that might be an option (but I have not tried it yet.)

And, if all else fails, somebody claims to have had success last year with a manual return with some additional, manual edits:
I am completing the section for Maryland Deduction...
 
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Just to add some follow-up on this, https://www.marylandtaxes.gov/pros/docs/eFileSoftwareVendors_Individual.pdf lists vendors, and some - including TaxAct (but not TurboTax) - seem to indicate support for form 500CR. So, while it is annoying to have to pay instead of using the state's free system, that might be an option (but I have not tried it yet.)

And, if all else fails, somebody claims to have had success last year with a manual return with some additional, manual edits:
I am completing the section for Maryland Deduction...

Thanks for the list. I'm not too comfortable with the manual edits so I might just have to switch vendors this year just to get the credit.

BTW, thanks for starting this thread. It really helped me a lot with all post install stuff.
 
Hello, I am watching this thread and wanted to ask about newer agreements. It appears that Tesla is requiring that SREC's are to be assigned to Tesla and they provide a lump sum discount to the price of a system. Has anyone been able to opt out of selling SREC's to Tesla in Maryland?
I do not know about MD in particular, but it seems like reports have been all over the map as to Tesla's policy. For a time (when I was installing) there was no issue with removing it, then there seemed a time when they insisted, and recent reports on the forum (from other states than MD, I think) suggested Tesla might let you opt out, but you had to explicitly request it. Have you been able to speak to an advisor about the credits?

The reason they may be insistent right now is that Tesla is including their own inverter in most (all?) new installs. However, it appears the inverter is not yet certified as a revenue-grade meter. In MD, this is required for installs above 10 kW to claim SREC credits, so your choices (unless it is a small system as ours is) may essentially be:
  1. Accept Tesla's offer
  2. Reject Tesla's offer and hope the certification comes in soon.
  3. Reject Tesla's offer and install your own revenue-grade meter.
It doesn't look like it is hugely expensive to buy and install a basic meter (there are ones that appear to handle the reporting automatically and are more expensive) though I do not know if you could get Tesla to install it when installing everything else, which would be ideal.

As you may well be aware, in MD, the value of SRECs goes down every year - they are capped at $80 this year, $60 next year, then $45 and declining to about $22 in 2030 (and actual values will be less - our first transaction this year was $77 gross/$71.61 after fees.) So, whatever you choose, be aware that much of the value of SRECs is up front, and any delays in the project or, if you go that route, in certification of the inverter, would have a disproportionate impact on the lifetime value of the SRECs.
 
wjgjr,

You have provided great information. I wasn't aware the Tesla Inverter was not certified for SREC's in Maryland. I am aware the of sliding scale down fo the overall value of the SREC's in Maryland, and I know that value can change slightly over time. The Scale is per Megawatt, I am planning a 19kw Solar Roof System, or a 20.48 Panel system, we are still working out the details. My advisor hasn't been able to tell me that I can opt out, but I have requested the option to opt out and she is tracking down my options. My very rudimentary calculation shows that the first year SREC will generate about $1200 and dwindle to about $200 in year 10. The total value of the SREC's would be $4450 over the ten years, and Tesla values these SREC in their calc at $2200, which would be about 8% discount rate in an NPV calculation. Not bad, but not great.
 
Tesla now keeps all the SRECs [SREC = Solar Renewable Energy Credits] - this is the thread where it came up (and actually was another MD install.) There is an ANSI standard related to meters, and it appears the Tesla inverter may not yet be certified. It seems most, or all, states with SREC programs require the inverters meet this standard, and I expect Tesla's does - it just hasn't yet got the certification to prove it. Once it does, it should be fine to use for SRECs in MD - there is no additional MD-specific certification - it just needs to meet the ANSI standard.

It seems like your offer is in line with what others have gotten - ~50% of the nominal value of the SRECs. In most cases it seems to make financial sense to keep them as long as you don't mind doing the work to get everything setup, and accept the risk that prices could crash. (And there is also always a possibility that they could increase/extend the program.) What is unique is this new issue of how to claim SRECs with a Tesla inverter.
 

willow_hiller

Active Member
Apr 3, 2019
4,063
23,595
Maryland
50% of the nominal value of the SRECs. In most cases it seems to make financial sense to keep them as long as you don't mind doing the work to get everything setup, and accept the risk that prices could crash

Also worth considering the opportunity cost of the up-front money. CAGR over 10 years for that difference in value is ~7.3% [(4450/2200)^(1/10) - 1]. So if one has the ability to take the up-front discount and invest at a higher interest rate, or pay down debt with a higher interest rate, it could be worthwhile.
 
As a follow-up on the tax question, I was able to successfully submit MD taxes using TaxAct with the attached letter the state requires to claim the energy storage credit. For anybody else using TaxAct, it is not obvious how this is done - when completing the return, you enter it in the business credits, as expected, and there is a note telling you that additional documentation is required. However, it does not tell you how, and, importantly, when this can be done. It turns out, as far as I can tell, you cannot upload the PDF until you are about to submit your taxes, and after you have paid. Annoying when the reason I was paying them was for this feature, so I wasted a bunch of time working out whether or how it was possible.
 
I submitted mine through 1040.com. I had a couple of issues but customer support was very helpful. My first issue was with the form 500CR. For some reason they separate the form into smaller forms but was missing the exact page I needed (page 6, part R). I contacted them about it and they added it immediately. The next issue was with the attachment. They supported attachments but I couldn't attach the certificate required to be sent with the form 500CR. This needed more time to fix but they were able to fix it in a few days.

Thanks everyone for all your input. This thread made the process from start to finish really easy! Good luck!

Solar is done, now waiting for the 25K Tesla!
 
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I submitted mine through 1040.com. I had a couple of issues but customer support was very helpful. My first issue was with the form 500CR. For some reason they separate the form into smaller forms but was missing the exact page I needed (page 6, part R). I contacted them about it and they added it immediately. The next issue was with the attachment. They supported attachments but I couldn't attach the certificate required to be sent with the form 500CR. This needed more time to fix but they were able to fix it in a few days.

Thanks everyone for all your input. This thread made the process from start to finish really easy! Good luck!

Solar is done, now waiting for the 25K Tesla!
Glad it worked for you - it is clearly a pretty niche requirement, so not too shocking vendors either didn't have some of the pieces available and/or documented them poorly, but at least it is possible. It is funny, though, that they require a PDF which is really just a letter on state letterhead from the MEA to the comptroller that probably would be easy to fake, rather than doing something like giving you a unique 10-character code to input that they could automatically cross-reference.
 
This is a rather long post, discussing our post-install process and experiences, now that we have PTO and completed most of our various incentive submissions. Much of it will likely be specific to our county (Montgomery), utility (PEPCO), and state (MD) but some aspects apply more generally. I did try to include a summary of lessons learned at the end of each section.

We started planning with Tesla for a v2 solar roof install in July, 2019, and then moved to v3 (8.19 kW DC,) which pushed the schedule to be as soon as weather would allow in 2020. Initially, we planned 1 PW but did switch it to 2 a couple weeks before install. Install began (with teardown of the old roof) on 2/28 and ended on 3/14 (except gutters, which were scheduled a few days later.) The remainder of this post is about the county inspection process, utility interconnection process, and applications for state incentives. Somewhat unexpectedly, the highest marks probably go to the state and then the county. And the overall theme with Tesla had already been mentioned many times on this forum – everybody seems to do a really good job completing their tasks, but communication between groups is lacking, so the customer may need to assume that general contractor role to speed things along.

County Inspection

In our area, the county is responsible for code enforcement and inspections. In what is likely a typical process, plans must be submitted before install, the county reviews and approves them, installation occurs, and then the county inspects. County approval is a prerequisite for PTO and for state incentives.

Initially, everything seemed to be moving smoothly. Permits (both a Building Permit and Electrical were required) were applied for in July, 2019, and then updates were made in November to reflect the move to v3. Unfortunately, things did not remain on track, though from what I can tell, most of the blame lies with Tesla and with me.

As mentioned above, we added a second PW to our order just before install. We indicated we wanted the change, but only if it would not delay the process. Tesla assured us it would not. That turned out only to be true in so far as the install itself. Unfortunately, Tesla did not submit the updated plans to the county before our install started. The main impact here is that, during the install, Tesla found they needed to make some small adjustments to the plans. However, these were significant enough to require updating the permits again. Because the change for the PW was still in progress, the county would not (according to Tesla) accept additional changes until the existing reviews completed. Then, on top of that, there were additional issues found that required another set of reviews. Fortunately, despite the pandemic, the county was actually doing a pretty good job of meeting its timelines and the multiple cycles of reviews were completed on 4/21.

The pandemic meant the inspector would remain outside while a Tesla employee came into the house to provide the necessary evidence to the inspector via video call. Though the county could provide an inspector the next day, to coordinate everybody, inspection occurred on 4/27. Other than the inspector being about two hours late showing up, everything went smoothly – in truth having the inspector remain outside and also having a Tesla employee present was great for the chances of the inspection passing. The inspector gave the Tesla employee the “passed” sticker and that process was complete.

In hindsight, the biggest thing we could have done differently to speed the process would have been to more closely monitor the permit application with Tesla and the county to ensure everything was being submitted. The county does have an online portal, but it does not appear to show submission times – only reviews/approvals – so it is not always obvious when the county received updates from Tesla. Other than the deficiencies in the portal, I have to give the county credit for moving things along, even during the pandemic.

Utility Interconnection

Once the county process is complete, Tesla could apply for PTO from PEPCO. This is slated to take up to 4 weeks. Unfortunately, it ended up taking 12 weeks, until 7/20. In this case, I put much of the blame on Tesla initially, and then on PEPCO.

PEPCO must also review and approve plans before installation. Like with the county, this was completed well in advance of our install. However, what I did not realize is that all of the updates being sent to the county for review were not being sent to PEPCO. Only once we got county approval did Tesla begin submitting paperwork to PEPCO. This means we would have to wait another 3-4 weeks for technical reviews. On top of this, PEPCO found deficiencies (and I cannot speak to the exact nature) in the paperwork, so multiple sets of reviews were required. As such, we were not back to an “Approved to Install” status until 6/8. At that point, Tesla could actually request PTO.

PEPCO also has one of the worst web presences I have encountered. In part, we still today have an outstanding work request for solar, despite getting PTO. Then, PEPCO started sending us emails from a different domain with status changes on the application. The emails invited us to login to a specific page, but doing so brought a message letting us know we have no project. Along with it being difficult to find somebody on the phone, it made tracking the process a challenge.

Tesla did apply for PTO soon after the 6/8 date. Per PEPCO, the next step would be to replace the meter. What they did not tell us is that the smart meters already in place were net-meter capable with an over-the-air update. Only because I noticed one day that our usage had reset to 0 did I figure out this step was complete (and then noted a $0.21 estimated charge from 1-2 am one night, presumably when they applied the update.) So, we never did receive notice on that step.

After 5 weeks passed, we started raising the issue of the overdue PTO with PEPCO. It is unclear whether that helped or was a coincidence, but two business days later, on 7/20, we finally received PTO. This consisted of 12 emails from PEPCO’s system within half an hour, all having the same status change but only one of which had the attachment confirming PTO.

The biggest thing we could have done to push this process likely would have been to get Tesla to submit the proper paperwork to PEPCO immediately, rather than waiting for the county. I suspect this is an example of the downside of Tesla’s siloed approach – the individual/department responsible for utility interconnections was likely just never alerted that they had to do more work until the PTO step hit, at which point they realized they couldn’t apply for PTO before changes were reviewed. On the PEPCO side, there is not a lot it seems we could do – they mostly (other than the final PTO step) seemed to respond exactly 1 day before the required due date to all tasks. They really have little incentive to speedily convert customers to net metering (and PEPCO does provide full net metering.) We did choose to operate off grid when we could, to not waste the opportunity to generate energy – it did not seem incompatible with the agreements we signed since passed inspection and never operated the system on grid.

State Incentives

In addition to the federal ITC, there are three incentives related to solar/PW in MD that are discussed below. Two other incentives include no sales tax for the solar (but not for PW) and no property tax adjustment for the value of solar, but those are automatic. I am unaware of any available county or utility incentives, and I have not gotten around to signing up with Solar Coin.

We waited until PTO to apply for all of these incentives. It is possible that the first two might have been accepted after county inspection, depending on how one reads the rules, but we felt safer waiting for PTO, even though such documentation was not required in the end.

Maryland Energy Storage Income Tax Credit

This is a credit of 30%, up to $5,000, for installation of battery storage systems, like PWs, in residential buildings (Maryland Energy Storage Income Tax Credit- Tax Year 2020) from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). As it happens, this credit is just about perfectly maxed out with two PWs. The only requirement is that the batteries are “for use as electrical energy at a later date or in a process that offsets electricity use at peak times.” However, the definitions do not require any specific amounts to be used later or to offset peak use.

There are several items that are required from Tesla, and to speed the process, I requested them during the long wait for PTO. These included:
  1. Basic contact info for Tesla.
  2. Paid-in-full invoice, with specific line items for PW costs, including hardware, tax, labor, permits.
  3. NRTL certifications for the PWs.
  4. Cut-sheets for the PWs.
Tesla did provide the requested items to me, and the only issue ended up being the invoice.

There is an online application and the process was fairly straightforward. In addition to what I requested from Tesla, I needed to provide some other documentation I had on the permits being approved and pictures of the install.

After submission on 7/20, I received an email the morning of 7/21 indicating an issue with the application – namely that the paid-in-full invoice only had a single line item for the PWs and did not break out the component costs. I responded with a copy of the contract from Tesla which broke out all the costs, though it did not show the $0 balance (and as an aside, I claimed $0 for PW permits because I already maxed the credit – if getting 1 PW, you might need to have Tesla allocate permit costs appropriately.) To their great credit, even though neither document itself met the criteria, the MEA accepted the two documents together did meet them. On 7/23 – only 3 days after the initial application – I received the credit certificate for $5,000. That credit can be claimed on our 2020 state tax return.

The main thing here is to review the application ahead of time and have the documentation ready so you can submit the application right away. As far as the MEA goes, I could not have asked for better service and response – I was stunned to see a state agency process a credit so quickly and efficiently. Also, note this credit is funded for $750k. I am surprised how little is claimed, but if it should run out, I understand they will reject the application and not hold/allow it for next year.

Maryland Residential Clean Energy Program

In addition, the MEA has a credit of $1,000 for solar installations (MEA - Residential Clean Energy Rebate Program). This is handled somewhat similarly to the storage credit in that there is an online application. The differences are that this is a rebate, so you get a check (instead of a tax credit – which also affects federal taxes and the ITC differently) and, my understanding is that grants are paid out first-come, first-served, but as more money is allocated, existing installs will get paid.

Again, I requested in advance documentation from Tesla, though the only thing I knew at the time that I needed from them was appropriate contact information. Much of the rest (including proof of ownership, pictures of the roof, copies of the permits, and the license number from the contract) I could get myself.

However, I did find one item that was not mentioned on the website (that I saw) and ended up being a field in the application that only appears after you check that a professional installed (as opposed to self-install) and that is the NABCEP – North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners – professional’s name and number. Because I had not requested this from Tesla, and because the person at Tesla at first did not know what this was, this delayed the application by about a week.

Once I did submit, I again give MEA credit for quickly reviewing it. The one odd wrinkle here is that they require your SSN, and, likely because their online system is insufficiently secure, they require you to mail in a signature page where the only added piece of data is your SSN. I placed this in my outgoing mail the same night. However, the next morning they emailed to let me know that, due to the pandemic, the setup an encrypted email process to submit the document, because it may take weeks to get paper mail. As the mail had not been picked up, it was easy enough to submit this electronically.

After submitting, I discovered another wrinkle (which they do mention on their site – I missed it,) which is that all older properties – over 45 years – must be reviewed by the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) as the law provides that they cannot issue rebates where the installation creates an “adverse impact” on anything deemed historic. While I am very confident there is nothing historic about our property, it appears this review can take weeks or months as the MHT does report slowdowns with the pandemic. At least this review is initiated automatically by the state – the only thing they recommend for such structures is providing a photograph of the front of the property along with the application. Once the review is hopefully complete, we should be in line for the $1,000 rebate. My understanding is that it can take several more months to receive it as they meter out the funds available.

Again, the best thing to do is review the application ahead of time and get what you need from Tesla early (including the name/number of the NABCEP professional.) The MEA again seemed to move quickly to review and grant initial approval to the application, though I will reserve comment on the MHT review since it is ongoing.

Maryland SRECs

Maryland also provides for SRECs, essentially where solar generators can sell credits for each MWh to utilities which need to meet quotas for clean energy generation. We chose to work with SRECTrade and filled out an application on 7/20. There was a short delay because we registered the facility in both my and my wife’s names (because I signed the Tesla contract but our electric is in my wife’s name) and the automated signature pages didn’t seem to fully support that, so they emailed us another form to fill out. Once that was done, on 7/24, SRECTrade indicated the application was submitted to the state to register our facility, and that would take up to 45 days. In fact, we received approval on 8/12 – only 19 days. At present, we are still waiting for our July numbers to appear – they are marked “Pending” in the SRECTrade system. Since our solar is under 10 kW DC, reporting of actual generation is not required – it is based on estimates. So, it will be interesting to see how that all compares.

As with the other incentives, the best thing to do to speed this process was to gather the required documentation in advance. This application did require providing signed copies of all documentation from the utility approving the install and granting PTO. Since SRECTrade is in business (in part) to make money off of SRECs, they were very responsive getting the system setup. Again, credit to the state for getting our system registered well within their stated timeline.
Thanks for this write-up. I had my system installed 3 years ago and I opted to sell SRECs myself through some other exchange. I have not sold a single one as I do not have the time to do the data collection required. Had forgotten about SRECTrade until your write up. Again, thanks
 

willow_hiller

Active Member
Apr 3, 2019
4,063
23,595
Maryland
Thanks for this write-up. I had my system installed 3 years ago and I opted to sell SRECs myself through some other exchange. I have not sold a single one as I do not have the time to do the data collection required. Had forgotten about SRECTrade until your write up. Again, thanks

Are you over 10 kW or under 10 kW? If you're under, they do the math for you and you can get paid on your estimated production. Over 10 kW, if you have a SolarEdge inverter and access to your SolarEdge account, it's actually possible to automatically connect your SRECTrade account to your SolarEdge account and get automatic reporting.

It took a bit of back-and-forth between SRECTrade's customer service rep and Tesla to set it up, but for my 12.24 kW system I'm getting $70-$140 every month from SRECTrade automatically. So worth the initial time investment if you can make it.
 

bhusala

New Member
Dec 23, 2021
1
0
MD
This is a rather long post, discussing our post-install process and experiences, now that we have PTO and completed most of our various incentive submissions. Much of it will likely be specific to our county (Montgomery), utility (PEPCO), and state (MD) but some aspects apply more generally. I did try to include a summary of lessons learned at the end of each section.

We started planning with Tesla for a v2 solar roof install in July, 2019, and then moved to v3 (8.19 kW DC,) which pushed the schedule to be as soon as weather would allow in 2020. Initially, we planned 1 PW but did switch it to 2 a couple weeks before install. Install began (with teardown of the old roof) on 2/28 and ended on 3/14 (except gutters, which were scheduled a few days later.) The remainder of this post is about the county inspection process, utility interconnection process, and applications for state incentives. Somewhat unexpectedly, the highest marks probably go to the state and then the county. And the overall theme with Tesla had already been mentioned many times on this forum – everybody seems to do a really good job completing their tasks, but communication between groups is lacking, so the customer may need to assume that general contractor role to speed things along.

County Inspection

In our area, the county is responsible for code enforcement and inspections. In what is likely a typical process, plans must be submitted before install, the county reviews and approves them, installation occurs, and then the county inspects. County approval is a prerequisite for PTO and for state incentives.

Initially, everything seemed to be moving smoothly. Permits (both a Building Permit and Electrical were required) were applied for in July, 2019, and then updates were made in November to reflect the move to v3. Unfortunately, things did not remain on track, though from what I can tell, most of the blame lies with Tesla and with me.

As mentioned above, we added a second PW to our order just before install. We indicated we wanted the change, but only if it would not delay the process. Tesla assured us it would not. That turned out only to be true in so far as the install itself. Unfortunately, Tesla did not submit the updated plans to the county before our install started. The main impact here is that, during the install, Tesla found they needed to make some small adjustments to the plans. However, these were significant enough to require updating the permits again. Because the change for the PW was still in progress, the county would not (according to Tesla) accept additional changes until the existing reviews completed. Then, on top of that, there were additional issues found that required another set of reviews. Fortunately, despite the pandemic, the county was actually doing a pretty good job of meeting its timelines and the multiple cycles of reviews were completed on 4/21.

The pandemic meant the inspector would remain outside while a Tesla employee came into the house to provide the necessary evidence to the inspector via video call. Though the county could provide an inspector the next day, to coordinate everybody, inspection occurred on 4/27. Other than the inspector being about two hours late showing up, everything went smoothly – in truth having the inspector remain outside and also having a Tesla employee present was great for the chances of the inspection passing. The inspector gave the Tesla employee the “passed” sticker and that process was complete.

In hindsight, the biggest thing we could have done differently to speed the process would have been to more closely monitor the permit application with Tesla and the county to ensure everything was being submitted. The county does have an online portal, but it does not appear to show submission times – only reviews/approvals – so it is not always obvious when the county received updates from Tesla. Other than the deficiencies in the portal, I have to give the county credit for moving things along, even during the pandemic.

Utility Interconnection

Once the county process is complete, Tesla could apply for PTO from PEPCO. This is slated to take up to 4 weeks. Unfortunately, it ended up taking 12 weeks, until 7/20. In this case, I put much of the blame on Tesla initially, and then on PEPCO.

PEPCO must also review and approve plans before installation. Like with the county, this was completed well in advance of our install. However, what I did not realize is that all of the updates being sent to the county for review were not being sent to PEPCO. Only once we got county approval did Tesla begin submitting paperwork to PEPCO. This means we would have to wait another 3-4 weeks for technical reviews. On top of this, PEPCO found deficiencies (and I cannot speak to the exact nature) in the paperwork, so multiple sets of reviews were required. As such, we were not back to an “Approved to Install” status until 6/8. At that point, Tesla could actually request PTO.

PEPCO also has one of the worst web presences I have encountered. In part, we still today have an outstanding work request for solar, despite getting PTO. Then, PEPCO started sending us emails from a different domain with status changes on the application. The emails invited us to login to a specific page, but doing so brought a message letting us know we have no project. Along with it being difficult to find somebody on the phone, it made tracking the process a challenge.

Tesla did apply for PTO soon after the 6/8 date. Per PEPCO, the next step would be to replace the meter. What they did not tell us is that the smart meters already in place were net-meter capable with an over-the-air update. Only because I noticed one day that our usage had reset to 0 did I figure out this step was complete (and then noted a $0.21 estimated charge from 1-2 am one night, presumably when they applied the update.) So, we never did receive notice on that step.

After 5 weeks passed, we started raising the issue of the overdue PTO with PEPCO. It is unclear whether that helped or was a coincidence, but two business days later, on 7/20, we finally received PTO. This consisted of 12 emails from PEPCO’s system within half an hour, all having the same status change but only one of which had the attachment confirming PTO.

The biggest thing we could have done to push this process likely would have been to get Tesla to submit the proper paperwork to PEPCO immediately, rather than waiting for the county. I suspect this is an example of the downside of Tesla’s siloed approach – the individual/department responsible for utility interconnections was likely just never alerted that they had to do more work until the PTO step hit, at which point they realized they couldn’t apply for PTO before changes were reviewed. On the PEPCO side, there is not a lot it seems we could do – they mostly (other than the final PTO step) seemed to respond exactly 1 day before the required due date to all tasks. They really have little incentive to speedily convert customers to net metering (and PEPCO does provide full net metering.) We did choose to operate off grid when we could, to not waste the opportunity to generate energy – it did not seem incompatible with the agreements we signed since passed inspection and never operated the system on grid.

State Incentives

In addition to the federal ITC, there are three incentives related to solar/PW in MD that are discussed below. Two other incentives include no sales tax for the solar (but not for PW) and no property tax adjustment for the value of solar, but those are automatic. I am unaware of any available county or utility incentives, and I have not gotten around to signing up with Solar Coin.

We waited until PTO to apply for all of these incentives. It is possible that the first two might have been accepted after county inspection, depending on how one reads the rules, but we felt safer waiting for PTO, even though such documentation was not required in the end.

Maryland Energy Storage Income Tax Credit

This is a credit of 30%, up to $5,000, for installation of battery storage systems, like PWs, in residential buildings (Maryland Energy Storage Income Tax Credit- Tax Year 2020) from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). As it happens, this credit is just about perfectly maxed out with two PWs. The only requirement is that the batteries are “for use as electrical energy at a later date or in a process that offsets electricity use at peak times.” However, the definitions do not require any specific amounts to be used later or to offset peak use.

There are several items that are required from Tesla, and to speed the process, I requested them during the long wait for PTO. These included:
  1. Basic contact info for Tesla.
  2. Paid-in-full invoice, with specific line items for PW costs, including hardware, tax, labor, permits.
  3. NRTL certifications for the PWs.
  4. Cut-sheets for the PWs.
Tesla did provide the requested items to me, and the only issue ended up being the invoice.

There is an online application and the process was fairly straightforward. In addition to what I requested from Tesla, I needed to provide some other documentation I had on the permits being approved and pictures of the install.

After submission on 7/20, I received an email the morning of 7/21 indicating an issue with the application – namely that the paid-in-full invoice only had a single line item for the PWs and did not break out the component costs. I responded with a copy of the contract from Tesla which broke out all the costs, though it did not show the $0 balance (and as an aside, I claimed $0 for PW permits because I already maxed the credit – if getting 1 PW, you might need to have Tesla allocate permit costs appropriately.) To their great credit, even though neither document itself met the criteria, the MEA accepted the two documents together did meet them. On 7/23 – only 3 days after the initial application – I received the credit certificate for $5,000. That credit can be claimed on our 2020 state tax return.

The main thing here is to review the application ahead of time and have the documentation ready so you can submit the application right away. As far as the MEA goes, I could not have asked for better service and response – I was stunned to see a state agency process a credit so quickly and efficiently. Also, note this credit is funded for $750k. I am surprised how little is claimed, but if it should run out, I understand they will reject the application and not hold/allow it for next year.

Maryland Residential Clean Energy Program

In addition, the MEA has a credit of $1,000 for solar installations (MEA - Residential Clean Energy Rebate Program). This is handled somewhat similarly to the storage credit in that there is an online application. The differences are that this is a rebate, so you get a check (instead of a tax credit – which also affects federal taxes and the ITC differently) and, my understanding is that grants are paid out first-come, first-served, but as more money is allocated, existing installs will get paid.

Again, I requested in advance documentation from Tesla, though the only thing I knew at the time that I needed from them was appropriate contact information. Much of the rest (including proof of ownership, pictures of the roof, copies of the permits, and the license number from the contract) I could get myself.

However, I did find one item that was not mentioned on the website (that I saw) and ended up being a field in the application that only appears after you check that a professional installed (as opposed to self-install) and that is the NABCEP – North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners – professional’s name and number. Because I had not requested this from Tesla, and because the person at Tesla at first did not know what this was, this delayed the application by about a week.

Once I did submit, I again give MEA credit for quickly reviewing it. The one odd wrinkle here is that they require your SSN, and, likely because their online system is insufficiently secure, they require you to mail in a signature page where the only added piece of data is your SSN. I placed this in my outgoing mail the same night. However, the next morning they emailed to let me know that, due to the pandemic, the setup an encrypted email process to submit the document, because it may take weeks to get paper mail. As the mail had not been picked up, it was easy enough to submit this electronically.

After submitting, I discovered another wrinkle (which they do mention on their site – I missed it,) which is that all older properties – over 45 years – must be reviewed by the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) as the law provides that they cannot issue rebates where the installation creates an “adverse impact” on anything deemed historic. While I am very confident there is nothing historic about our property, it appears this review can take weeks or months as the MHT does report slowdowns with the pandemic. At least this review is initiated automatically by the state – the only thing they recommend for such structures is providing a photograph of the front of the property along with the application. Once the review is hopefully complete, we should be in line for the $1,000 rebate. My understanding is that it can take several more months to receive it as they meter out the funds available.

Again, the best thing to do is review the application ahead of time and get what you need from Tesla early (including the name/number of the NABCEP professional.) The MEA again seemed to move quickly to review and grant initial approval to the application, though I will reserve comment on the MHT review since it is ongoing.

Maryland SRECs

Maryland also provides for SRECs, essentially where solar generators can sell credits for each MWh to utilities which need to meet quotas for clean energy generation. We chose to work with SRECTrade and filled out an application on 7/20. There was a short delay because we registered the facility in both my and my wife’s names (because I signed the Tesla contract but our electric is in my wife’s name) and the automated signature pages didn’t seem to fully support that, so they emailed us another form to fill out. Once that was done, on 7/24, SRECTrade indicated the application was submitted to the state to register our facility, and that would take up to 45 days. In fact, we received approval on 8/12 – only 19 days. At present, we are still waiting for our July numbers to appear – they are marked “Pending” in the SRECTrade system. Since our solar is under 10 kW DC, reporting of actual generation is not required – it is based on estimates. So, it will be interesting to see how that all compares.

As with the other incentives, the best thing to do to speed this process was to gather the required documentation in advance. This application did require providing signed copies of all documentation from the utility approving the install and granting PTO. Since SRECTrade is in business (in part) to make money off of SRECs, they were very responsive getting the system setup. Again, credit to the state for getting our system registered well within their stated timeline.
Hello Sir,
They installed a 16KW system this year around March with 2 power walls. The only reason I have powerwall is because of the storage rebate. I asked them about the application and they said this is something I do during the tax file. I asked them a couple of times and they were sure about that. Now when I see your post there is a complete story? I am really shocked seeing this. I am seeking your opinion on my possibilities to get that rebate.
 

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