How Much Can You Save on Solar in Wyoming?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Wyoming consumed an average of 17 terawatts per hour in 2021. The state ranks among the lowest energy consumers, using less than one percent of the country's total energy consumption..
Federal and State Solar Incentives available in Wyoming
|Wyoming Solar Incentives||State or Federal||Program Overview|
|Federal solar tax credit||Federal||The program covers 30 percent of the cost of installing a PV system. Residential and commercial solar owners can apply for this incentive on their annual tax returns.|
|Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)||Federal||REAP offers a 25 percent grant to cover solar installation in schools, public power entities, and government buildings.|
|State Residential Rebate||State||Residential solar users will receive a 50 percent rebate up to $3,000.|
Wyoming generates 49.6 TWh per hour from both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Still, the state gets most of its electricity from nonrenewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels.
For example, coal-powered power plants generated 73 percent of the state's electricity demand. Also, less than 5% of the electricity used in the state comes from natural gas and hydroelectric plants.
Although Wyoming has one of the highest petroleum usage rates per capita, it does not depend on it to generate electricity. The transportation sector is the major user of gasoline in the state.
The federal solar tax credit is an incentive that covers 30 percent of the cost of solar installation. You can request for this incentive when you file your annual tax returns.
For example, if your PV system has an installation cost of $20,000, solar users can request for a $6,000 write off from their annual tax. Sometimes, you may need to carryover this tax credit to the next tax year. According to the IRS, you must rollover the tax credit if it exceeds your income tax liability.
That said, the federal income tax credit has different phases. These phases may determine how much you get as a tax credit. So, here's the phase schedule:
Most of Wyoming's solar energy comes from the 92-megawatt Sweetwater Solar farm.
The federal solar tax credit covers expenses for these equipment:
The renewable energy incentive also covers expenses on wiring and mounting equipment.
The federal solar tax credit is accessible to all solar users. To access this incentive, you must fulfill all of these criteria:
Note: Tenants or stockholders in a cooperative housing corporation can also obtain the federal solar tax credit.
Follow these steps to claim the federal solar tax credit in Wyoming.
Note: fill out the Line 12 if there are tax credit rollovers from the previous year.
File the Form 5695 along with the Form 1040. You can file the tax form via mail to:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0002
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 802501
Cincinnati, OH 45280-2501
Wyoming's legislators established a statewide net metering program in 2001. Unlike Wyoming's solar panel tax credit, this program provides renewable energy users with consistent income.
Net metering is a billing contract in which solar users receive credits for generating electricity. Investor-owned utility companies are on the other side of the contract, and they are the "buyers" of extra credits.
Here's a breakdown of how net metering works in Wyoming.
Laurie's solar energy system generates $1,500 worth of power per month. However, she only used about $1,000 worth of energy in that month. Since she's connected to the grid, the utility company will pay her for the excess energy produced. Note that utility companies pay in credits. This credit is rolled over to the next month.
At the start of every calendar year, the utility company will pay all unused credits in cash.
Wyoming residents can enroll in net metering by sending an "interconnection" request to an utility company.
Each Wyoming electric utility company has its own set of guidelines for participating in net metering. However, most residents can enroll for net metering using the following general steps;
In April 2022, Wyoming implemented a statewide exemption on property taxes for installed solar systems. Virginia's Governor Glenn Youngskin signed Virginia S.B. 686 to exempt solar installations from property tax. The law classifies solar installations below 25 kWh as a "separate property".
Systems installed in 2032 are eligible for a 22 percent tax credit. Those who install in 2034 will not receive a tax credit.
Wyoming's total energy consumption is 874 million BTUs per capita, according to the Energy Information Administration's 2020 report. Furthermore, these are the energy consumption per capita for each sector in the state.
|Wyoming's Sectors||BTUs consumed per capita|
Note: the British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the measure of heat required to increase a pound of water (16 fluid ounces by one Fahrenheit. Also, a million BTUs provide the same energy as eight gallons of gasoline.
As of 2021, there were 274,371 housing units in Wyoming. About 71.7% of these units are owner-occupied with a median value of $237,900. These owner-occupied units are eligible for Wyoming’s tax credit for solar panels.
Furthermore, the state issued 2,706 building permits in the same year. This means more residential and commercial units will be constructed within the next few years. That said, these units may install PV systems to reduce demands on fossil-based energy. As mentioned in the previous section, Wyoming relies heavily on non-renewable energy sources.
Hydroelectric power, wind energy, and solar energy are the major sources of renewable energy in the state. The Cowboy state generates 19 percent of its electricity demand from wind farms along the state's mountain pass.
By 2021, the state would have installed wind farms with a generating capacity of over 3,000 megawatts. In addition, the 3,000-megawatt Chokecherry-Sierra Madre project has an estimated 2025 completed date. This project will be powered by 900 turbines, and the state may consider exporting this energy to neighboring states.
Wyoming has 70 small-scale dams, which contribute about 2 percent to the state's electricity generation.
As of 2023, solar energy is the least popular renewable energy source in the state.
Solar energy contributes two percent of the state's total renewable energy production. There are also consumer-owned solar systems in Wyoming. State residents can apply solar energy incentives, such as a federal solar tax credit. These incentives help to offset the cost of installing PV systems.
Geothermal pumps are also a renewable energy source in Wyoming. Although the state is yet to commercialize it, geothermal is used for direct heating. This energy is currently used to heat the Hot Springs State Park, Yellowstone National Park, and other buildings.