Jul 20
Solar Panel

California Solar Incentive Programs

California seems to be the state leading the charge into our solar future, with over 30 rebate programs to defray the costs of setting up solar energy systems, plus numerous other incentives.  There is also a state grant program available to public schools, in varying amounts.

Summary of California Incentive Programs
Federal Tax Credit 30%
State Rebates up to $3.25W
29 Utility Rebate Programs

California Rebate Programs
The state’s main rebate program is California Solar. It offers a rebate of $3.25W for residential customers and $1500 for installing a solar water heater. For small commercial businesses, the $1500 solar water heater rebate is included, and for larger commercial businesses the rebate increases to a maximum of $75,000. Marin County offers residents $200-$500 off solar equipment, and San Francisco’s municipal rebate ranges from $2-$4000. There are also 29 different utility company rebates. Here are a few examples: Modesto offers a rebate of $2.60W, Pasadena’s is $3.15W, Banning’s is $3.72W, and the city of Roseville has a rebate program available for new homes, with an $8600 rebate available.

California Tax Credits

California has a program called California Feed-In, which is a production tax credit for those with solar equipment connected to the grid. Palo Alto offers commercial and industrial customers $600,000 per contract for production.
Solar production equipment is tax-exempt in California.
California also has a number of green building incentives. Examples of these incentives are waivers of building fee permits, fast track permit processing and free consultation for design services, technical assistance, information and resources.

Financing Options
There are state loans available at a 3.95% rate for 100% of the project cost. Sacramento Municipal Utility District also offers a local loan program and Santa Clara offers a lease/purchase program for solar hot water heaters and pool heaters.
Additional programs are available through the federal government and full details can be found at the DSIRE:Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.