The Internal Revenue Service has "issued a private letter ruling concluding that a particular owner of PV panels in an offsite, community-shared solar array is eligible to take advantage of one of the primary incentives offered to homeowners adopting solar," writes the Clean Energy States Alliance, which helped spearhead this welcome development. At issue, notes the CESA, is "the 30 percent federal residential income tax credit available under Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code, sometimes known in the industry as the 'residential ITC.'"
"Community-shared solar allows electric customers to buy an interest in an offsite solar array and to receive credit on their electricity bills for their ownership interest," the CESA continues. While the IRS’s ruling is only legally applicable to the individual taxpayer in question . . . a member-managed 150 kW off-site solar array in Vermont . . . the ruling may open up project opportunities for direct ownership of community-shared solar systems by multiple individuals."
To my way of thinking, this also suggests that residential electric customers can form cooperatives for the purpose of group net metering, without sacrificing tax benefits. Alas it might take another private letter ruling to make that clear, however. It seems to me that this is a big enough deal that the IRS should make a more definitive statement. I would be interested in hearing from other cooperators about this question.