The Energy Policy Act (EPACT) of 2005 first established the energy efficiency tax credits that were effective in 2006 & 2007. The majority of these tax credits were for 10% of the cost, up to $500.
On October 3, 2008 President Bush signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (also known as the "Bailout Bill") to put many of the tax credits back in place for 2009. There were no provisions made to cover expenditures in 2008.
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. The highlights are:
- The tax credit was raised from 10% to 30%.
- The maximum credit was raised from $500 to $1,500 total for the two year period (2009-2010). However, some improvements such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and solar panels are not subject to the $1,500 maximum.
- The tax credits that were previously effective for 2009, were extended to 2010 as well.
- Efficiency levels for the following products were changed for: central air conditioners, air source heat pumps, windows, and gas, propane, or oil water heaters
On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act which extended the tax credits, but at lower levels, basically rolling back to the 2006-2007 levels. Highlights:
The tax credit was extended for 2011
New Lifetime limit set at $500
- 10% up to $500 for insulation, roofs, and doors.
Windows capped at $200, but qualification now ENERGY STAR
Furnace and boilers capped at $150, and all furnaces and boilers must meet 95 AFUE
$50 for advanced main air circulating fan
$300 for air conditioners, water heaters, and biomass stoves
On February 9, 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) was signed, reinstating the non-business energy property credit for 2017, and the residential energy efficient property credit for qualified small wind energy property costs, qualified geothermal heat pump property costs, and qualified fuel cell property costs to the end of 2021.
On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law spending bill (H.R.1865 - Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020) which retroactively extended tax credits for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, non-business energy property, new energy-efficient homes, and new energy-efficient commercial buildings. The extension is from 12/31/2017 through 12/31/2020.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 See: DIVISION B, Sections 1103, 1121 (25C) and 1122 (25D)
Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008See: DIVISION B, Sections 106 (25D) and 302 (25C)