The energy tax credit for 2011 is not nearly as generous as the credit was in 2010.

The Tax Relief Act of 2010 extends the residential energy credit to include improvements made in 2011, but places additional limitations on the maximum allowable credit amount.

Some of the home improvements that may qualify include, adding more insulation, energy efficient exterior windows, skylights, circulating fans, hot water boilers, heat pumps, energy efficient central air conditioners, and natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces.

The new energy tax credit is only a 10% credit, up to a maximum of $500. The prior cap had been up to $1500, which expired on Dec 31, 2010. Only $200 for EnergyStar windows can be taken as a credit. Furnaces are only allowed a $200 credit and they must now be 95% efficient, more stringent than the 90% requirement from 2009-2010. Wood heating systems are eligible for a max $300 credit. A qualifying air conditioner is up to $300 max credit. The overall cap is $500 total and only available if you have not taken advantage of the credit previously.

As always, make sure the product you are buying qualifies for the credit.

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).