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The federal government is not offering free solar panel installation plus incentive checks.
Eligible homeowners who install solar energy panels could qualify for tax credits, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
A viral video claims that eligible homeowners can get solar panels installed for free on the U.S. government’s dime.
"If you qualify, you can get them to come out and install solar panels for you at no cost out of pocket and then say goodbye to your electric bill and get an $8,500 incentive on top of that," says the speaker in a video posted Sept. 3 on Facebook.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We found no evidence from the U.S. Energy Department to support the claim, based on a search of websites, press releases and news articles. Homeowners are eligible for federal tax credits for solar installations, but not free panels or a cash incentive.
The U.S. Energy Department did not respond to a request for comment. The Solar Energy Technologies Office, part of the Energy Department, says on its website that it does not provide financial assistance or payouts to households installing solar energy systems.
Eligible homeowners may qualify for a 26% tax credit if they installed solar panel systems in 2020 or 2021, or a 30% tax credit if installation occurs between 2022 and 2032, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, part of the Energy Department.
Although these credits translate to dollar-for-dollar reductions to the amount of income tax owed, it does not mean the federal government is cutting homeowners a check.
The tax credits come from passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law Aug. 16 and which pledges $750 billion to bolster health policy initiatives and curb climate change.
A Sept. 3 video claimed that qualified homeowners could get solar panels installed for free and receive $8,500 "incentive" checks from the federal government.
We found no evidence of a federal program that provides free panels and incentive checks. Some homeowners may be eligible for tax credits related to solar panel installation, but that is not equivalent to a cash payment.
We rate this claim False.
U.S. Energy Department, "Energy-Related Federal Financial Assistance Programs," accessed Sept. 8, 2022
U.S. Energy Department, "Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics," accessed Sept. 8, 2022
U.S. Energy Department, "Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar," accessed Sept. 8, 2022
Verify, "No free solar panels federal government program exists," July 11, 2022
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