Fuel Cell Power Generators are now available for residential, home use. They claim to reduce your utility bills by up to 50%, and to cut CO2 emissions by over 33%. They take natural gas and produce electricity and heat for your home. ClearEdge is one of the providers of MicroCHP (combined heat and power) residential fuel cells.
A Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency – Fuel cells and Microturbine System is also available. This can save homeowners 30% of the cost of the fuel cell unit, up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity. This will typically yield a $5000 total tax credit. Businesses have a 30%, up to $3000 per kilowatt tax credit, making $15,000 tax credit available.
This Federal Tax Credit for Fuel Cells especially well when coupled with a state rebate program.
On the tax credit, existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify.
This Federal Tax Credit on Fuel Cells and Microturbine System reduces the amount of tax you owe. The credit is a reduction of total income tax at the bottom of your tax return. This tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit. Consult your tax adviser for details about Fuel Cell power. Use it or lose it!
How does it work?
Fuel-Cell Power Generators convert natural gas into clean hydrogen through lack catalytic process. Through a electrochemical reaction, the fuel cell creates electricity and heat. This unit helps reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. The power is converted to AC and connected to your home, while the heat is transferred using a hydronic system or a heat exchanger. Extra electricity is generated can be sold back to your utility company. The unit can work day or night, and in most environments.
The unit can generate electricity at 6 cents per kWh, compare that to San Francisco Pacific Gas and Electric rates from $.13-$.32 per kWh. This is based on $1.20 per therm for natural gas.
To be cost effective, you need to spend approximately $1000 a month on your utility bill or use at least 44,000 kWh a month. You also need to have substantial heating demand for a pool, radiant flooring, etc. Businesses are clearly the biggest beneficiaries of this type of product.
How much can I save?
Most fuel-cell power generators that achieved a 30% electricity only generation capacity, qualify for a variety of rebates. Many utility companies have Self Generation Incentive Programs or SGIP available. These typically pay $2.50 per watt for fuel cells. A typical model would yield a $12,500 check from this program. Check with your local utility company.
These units are expensive at $50,000 for a 5 kW fuel-cell, costing roughly the same as they solar electric system of the same size. No doubt that they compare themselves the solar as pricing after rebates is pretty close.