The federal tax credit for energy property was established by The Energy Policy Act of 2005.  In 2008, there was the Energy Improvement and Extension Ac t of 2008.  This extended eight years of the credit to December 31, 2016.

Taxpayers can claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the US and is owned as used as a residence.  On new homes, there is a "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner.  The home that is served by the system does not have to  be the taxpayer's principal residence.  If your credit exceeds the tax owed, you can carry the unused portion forward to next year's tax return.  Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits needs to be filled out and attached to your 2015 Federal tax return.

Solar Electric Property

Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, an on or before December 31, 2016. There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.

 

Solar Water-Heating Property

Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, an on or before December 31, 2016. The equipment must be certified by performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.  The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating for hot tub or swimming pools.

 

Fuel Cell Property

Maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt (kW).  The fuel cell must have a nameplate capacity of at least 0.5 kW of electricity using the electrochemical process and an electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%. 

 

Small Wind-Energy Property

There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008. Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, an on or before December 31, 2016.

 

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Must meet federal Energy Star criteria.

 

A good resource to research and verify information is via the NC Clean Energy Technology Center.