This is real money. There are a few stipulations, but a tax credit is different than a deduction. Unlike an income deduction, a tax credit is a direct reduction in your taxes due. The stipulation is that you must first have tax liability in order to take this tax credit. If the tax credit exceeds your tax liability, then you may carry this remaining credit over to future years. Some people confuse “no liability” with zero taxes due at the end of the year (after making weekly payments via payroll deductions). In this example, let’s say you pay $100 a week in taxes, or $5200 for the year. Your solar system cost was $10,000, and you have a $3,000 tax credit. If you would have normally paid just about what you owed; then this scenario would mean the IRS would now send you a $3,000 refund. Now please keep in mind that we don’t give tax advice; we are just giving one basic example to give you an idea of how the tax credit works. If you get a rebate from your state or local utility company; the IRS does require that you either claim that rebate as income if you deduct the full (before rebate) price of your system, or else you can take the tax credit on the amount after the rebate.