IRA Weather Incentives Benefit You and the Planet

“Think of the IRA as a free electric bank account in your name…” — the Go Electric Now guide to the Reducing Inflation Act

Have you ever wanted to put solar panels on your roof or drive an electric car, but couldn’t afford it? Would you like to insulate your home to be warmer in winter and cooler in summer, but find it too expensive?

Well now, the people-friendly and climate-friendly financial incentives built into the new Inflation Reduction Lawo IRA, signed into law by President Biden last August, could provide the funds to help you achieve your personal environmental goals.

If this sounds like a sales pitch, it is, because the more I learn about the IRA, the more I’m sold on its benefits for people (homeowners, renters, and workers) and the planet. The bill’s provisions could put the US on a path toward a near-zero emissions energy system, achieved within two to three decades.

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Because the United States is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita and the second largest emitter overall, our progress will trickle down. Because we will primarily electrify our biggest sources of emissions, our transportation and housing sectors, our consumption of fossil fuels will drop precipitously. This is likely to increase the price of fossil fuels around the world, making alternative energy production, for which we can provide much of the technology, more attractive to poorer countries.

Meanwhile, the EU is on its own path towards low emissions. What I noted in my last columnThe International Energy Agency, which tracks energy financing and investment, noted in its 2022 annual report that “renewable energy is accelerating as countries seek to strengthen energy security (in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine )”.

By 2022-2027, the report continues, “global PV capacity (alone) is set to (overtake coal and) become the world’s largest power capacity.”

How can the IRA help you help save the planet? Benefits for property owners are of two basic types, direct up-front rebates for building energy upgrades, and tax credits for installing new alternative energy equipment. All incentives are significant.

For example, you can get an initial discount of up to $4,000 for upgrading your electrical panel to a new “smart” panel. Getting rid of your furnace and installing a heat pump can net you $8,000, and updating your windows and insulation can net you $1,600.

These improvements will lower your annual energy bills and will also reduce demand for electricity, most of which is still generated from fossil fuels. (The IRA also provides incentives for power companies to upgrade, but that will be discussed in a different column.)

Tax credits that cover 30% of the cost of rooftop solar installations are now available. And a $7,500 new electric vehicle credit ($4,000 for a used model) will be available this year, as will many other IRA discounts and credits. Also, direct discounts and tax credits can be combined in many cases.

For more information, go to For a more detailed overview of the IRA, with clear, basic explanations of each technology it incentivizes and detailed, illustrated case studies of how it works for people with varying incomes and living conditions, see Rewiring America: Go Electric Digital Guide, follow the links and download the PDF.

Finally, to get a broad look at the many facets of the IRA beyond home energy upgrades, such as its investments in indigenous communities and schools, simply google “Home — Rewiring America.”

The IRA and similar investments in renewable energy around the world can put us on the path to keeping the planet’s temperature rise below the critical 1.5ºC threshold, a target that seemed increasingly unattainable just a year ago. . Suddenly, the future looks a lot brighter in our eco-friendly house.

Philip S. Wenz is an environmental researcher and writer. Read more articles in his series Your Ecological House on their website at

So the EPA can simply tell coal-fired plants to clean up their act and, unable to offer them positive alternatives, let them figure out how to do it, imposing a much more costly transition in the long run. Preventing that would require a much deeper foray into the legal quagmire of adjudicating congressional regulatory intent than the Court probably should have done in the first place.


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