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Solar Investment Tax Credit (Solar ITC), Explained

Updated: Apr 5

solar investment tax credit solar itc explained, text over image of workers walking through large scale solar installation

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a crucial federal policy mechanism that supports the growth of solar energy in the United States. Introduced in 2006, this tax credit has significantly contributed to the exponential increase in solar installations across the country. But how can solar developers make the most out of this program? This post will delve into the specifics of the Solar ITC and how to use LandGate tools to maximize its benefits.

Understanding the Solar Investment Tax Credit

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax for anyone who purchases solar energy systems for residential or commercial use and was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in response to the growing demand for renewable energy sources.

Originally, the policy was set to expire in 2007, but it has been extended several times due to its success in promoting solar energy development. The ITC initially provided a tax credit of 30% for residential and commercial solar energy systems, effectively reducing the cost of solar installations. This federal policy mechanism has played a vital role in making the United States one of the largest solar markets globally, with an average annual growth rate of 50% over the last decade.

Leveraging the Solar ITC with LandGate Tools

LandGate is a leading provider of valuation and analytics solutions for the land industry, and offers a suite of tools that can help solar developers take full advantage of the Solar ITC.

screenshot of solar farm analytics tool

Land Valuation:

LandGate's proprietary model offers accurate, real-time market valuations of land via the Solar PowerVal tool. This helps developers make informed decisions when purchasing land for solar installations, which is a crucial factor in determining the overall cost of a project and the potential amount of the ITC solar credit.

Lease Comparables:

Developers can assess the fair market value of land leases for solar projects. Understanding the cost of leasing land can help ensure the project remains financially viable after accounting for these costs, thereby optimizing the benefits of the ITC.

Solar Potential Analysis:

This PowerData tool uses data from various sources, including local climate, topography, and solar irradiance, to estimate the solar energy production potential of a specific piece of land. By identifying the most profitable locations for solar installations, developers can maximize their return on investment and the impact of the Investment Tax Credit.

Tax Credit Calculation:

LandGate also provides tools to calculate the potential tax credit from the Solar ITC based on specific project details. This allows developers to estimate the financial benefits of the tax credit and incorporate it into their project's financial projections.

Land Valuation

One of the key challenges for solar developers is finding and evaluating suitable land for solar installations. LandGate's proprietary models provide accurate, real-time market valuations of land, helping developers make informed investment decisions.

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a federal solar tax credit that significantly impacts the financial feasibility of solar projects. It reduces the tax liability for individuals or businesses installing solar systems, thereby directly affecting the cost of solar projects.

Land valuation plays an integral role in this context. The overall cost of a solar project can be significantly influenced by the value of the land. High land costs may render a project financially unviable even with the ITC, while lower land costs can make a project more attractive, especially when combined with the ITC and other solar incentives.

Moreover, the ITC credit solar is calculated based on the tax basis of the solar property, which includes all eligible costs necessary for the installation and operation of the solar system. This could potentially include the cost of the land if it's an integral part of the solar installation2, thereby increasing the amount of the ITC.

In many cases, solar developers may opt to lease land rather than purchase it outright. In such scenarios, the lease payments may qualify as part of the solar property's tax basis for the ITC.

Lastly, it's important to note that solar installations are subject to valuation by local property assessors4. Therefore, the assessed value of the land and the installed solar system can affect the property taxes owed, which in turn can impact the overall economics of the solar project.


The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers significant financial incentives for solar energy projects. By leveraging various tools including the powerful LandGate platform, solar developers can maximize the benefits of this program and make informed decisions about their solar investments.


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