Rather than offering free solar panels, the government-run Energy Star program offers federal tax credit for home owners with solar water heaters or solar panels. As of 2015, Pure Energies, a private solar energy company, offers a free solar panel program.
Through the government's Energy Star program, homeowners receive tax credits for powering a home with solar energy. One type of tax credit applies to solar water heaters. In this system, a home uses energy from the sun to assist in heating the home's water supply. To qualify for an Energy Star tax credit, half of the energy created and utilized on the property needs to come from the sun. The solar system must meet standard fire and electrical safety codes and must be endorsed by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation, or similar group. This tax credit does not apply to solar water heaters for hot tubs or swimming pools. Homeowners also receive tax credits for photovoltaic solar panels systems that provide energy directly to the needs of the household, provided that the system meets fire safety codes.
Private solar energy companies sometimes provide solar panels free of charge to homeowners. The energy companies sell the energy provided by the homeowner's panels back to the town or community, generating a profit.