It is not a coincidence that California has some of the best solar incentives and the most solar installations in the nation. Learn about the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and the incentives available to California residents, businesses and communities.
First, start with this California rebate summary.
Solar Power Installation Rebate
Approximately 3.5% to 15% of installation cost; $350 to $1,500 per kW installed, varies by location
Property Tax Exclusion
100% of system value excluded from property tax for 10 years
San Francisco: $3,000 to $6,000; Marin County: up to $500
Local Utility Solar Panel and Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs
See links below
Here are the details about the California Solar Power Installation Rebate Program.
Solar Power Rebate
Renewable Energy technology eligible includes solar panels, photovoltaics, grid-tie, off-grid, Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat. Does NOT include solar pool heating or water heating.
Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Fed. Government, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential, Agricultural, Institutional, (All customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE; Bear Valley eligible only for NSHP)
Varies by industry sector and system size (see below)
System components must be on the CEC's list of eligible equipment.
Systems must be grid-connected.
Inverters and modules must each carry a minimum 10-year warranty.
PV modules must be UL 1703-certified
Inverters must be UL 1741-certified, and tested by the California Energy Commission
Systems must be installed by appropriately licensed California contractors, preferably a solar contractor.
Installer certification by NABCEP is recommended.
$3.2 billion over 10 years; ends 2016.
Ownership of Renewable energy credits remain with customer.
The program is administered by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and the California Center for Sustainable Energy. CSI incentives in 2007 began at $2.50/W AC ($2,500 per kW) for residential and commercial systems. CSI incentive levels will automatically be reduced over the duration of the program in 10 steps based on the aggregate capacity of solar installed. Incentives levels as of 2012/05/15 are between $0.35 to $1.50 per Watt depending on your location. Click here for current incentive levels for each utility.
Incentives are awarded as a one-time, up-front payment based on expected performance, which is calculated using equipment ratings and installation factors such as geographic location, tilt, orientation and shading. Be sure to review the California Solar Initiative fact sheet.
California Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems
California Property Tax Exemption for Solar Energy Systems
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Solar Mechanical Energy
Commercial, Industrial, Residential
100% of system value
Marin County - Solar Rebate Program
The rebate program offered by the Marin County Sustainability Team provides incentives to local residences, businesses and County employees who install solar energy systems. Rebates include $500 for a photovoltaic system, $300 for a solar hot water heater, and $200 for a solar pool heater. To qualify for this rebate, the applicant must live in unincorporated Marin County or be an employee of Marin County. In addition, the applicant must submit an energy efficiency checklist and the systems must meet the minimum qualifications listed on the program website. Forms are available to the public through the county office or by contacting Omar Pena at the Marin County Community Development Agency. The Marin Sustainability Team has developed a series of programs to enhance energy efficiency and conservation in residential, commercial, and community facilities.
San Francisco Solar Energy Incentive Program
The City and County of San Francisco, through the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), are providing rebates to residents and businesses who install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their properties. Systems must be at least one kilowatt (kW) in capacity, and there is no maximum size limit to participate. There are four distinct funding levels for residential installations. First, basic installations of systems are eligible for rebates of $3,000. Residential systems installed by a local installer qualify for a higher incentive of $4,000. Residential installations in lower income and racially diverse neighborhoods considered "environmental justice districts" because of their proximity to industrial sites and major highways are eligible for an even higher incentive of $5,000. Systems installed by individuals trained through the city's workforce development system can receive an incentive of $6,000.
The San Francisco rebates can be combined with the state-level California Solar Initiative, in addition to the federal tax credit. To simplify the application process, San Francisco will approve any system which qualifies for the California Solar Initiative.
A list of local California utility Solar Rebate Programs and Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs
Alameda Power & Telecom - Solar Photovoltaics Rebates Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Green Building Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - PV Buydown Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Residential Home Efficiency Rebate Program
Azusa Light & Water - Solar Partnership Program
Banning Electric Department - Solar Support Program
Burbank Water & Power - Business Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Burbank Water & Power - Green Building Incentive Program
Burbank Water & Power - Residential & Commercial Solar Support Program
Burbank Water & Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
City of Healdsburg - PV Incentive Program
City of Lompoc Utilities - PV Rebate Program
City of Lompoc Utilities - Residential Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - PV Partners
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Smart Energy Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program
Colton Public Utilities - PV Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Peak Hogs Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Small Business Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Solar Solutions Program
Hercules Municipal Utility - PV Rebate Program
Hercules Municipal Utility - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
IID Energy - New Construction Energy Efficiency Program
IID Energy - PV Solutions Rebate Program
IID Energy - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
LADWP - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
LADWP - Solar Incentive Program
Lassen Municipal Utility District - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Lodi Electric Utility - PV Rebate Program
Lodi Electric Utility - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Merced Irrigation District - PV Buydown Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Photovoltaic Rebate Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Residential Power Saver Plus Rebate Program
Pasadena Water and Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Pasadena Water and Power - Solar Power Installation Rebate
PG&E - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs
PG&E - Residential New Construction Program
Plumas-Sierra REC - PV Rebate Program
Plumas-Sierra REC - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Redding Electric - Earth Advantage Rebate Program
Redding Electric - Residential and Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Riverside Public Utilities - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Riverside Public Utilities - Residential PV Incentive Program
Roseville Electric - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Roseville Electric - Residential New Construction Rebate Program
Savings by Design (Offered by five Utilities)
SCE - Residential Energy Efficiency Programs
SDG&E - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs
SDG&E - Residential New Construction Energy Efficiency Incentive Program
Sierra Pacific Power - SureBet Program
Silicon Valley Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Silicon Valley Power - Solar Electric Buy Down Program
SMUD - PV Residential Retrofit Buy-Down
SMUD - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
SMUD - Solar Water Heater Rebate Program
SoCalGas - Multi-Family Residential Rebate Program
SoCalGas - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs
SoCalGas - Residential New Construction Energy Efficiency Incentive Program
Truckee Donner Public Utility District - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Truckee Donner PUD - Photovoltaic Buy Down Program
Turlock Irrigation District - PV Rebate
Turlock Irrigation District - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
Ukiah Utilities - PV Buy-down Program
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