Home Solar Rebates in California - 2017 Update

By Hannah Glenn
16 November 2017
Solar Rebates in California

Solar rebates save. They take the edge off the initial investment of going solar, which leads to even more savings on energy costs. In fact, more powerful panels and other advances are making solar energy more cost-effective than it’s ever been.  

California is one of the best states to take advantage of rebates and incentives, but they won’t be around forever. Some expire on a set date, and some when funds run out.

Here’s an updated list of some great rebates available to homeowners in California.

Federal Solar Rebates Available in California

The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30 percent tax credit for homeowners. How does it work? You’ll pay for the solar panel system in full, but then you can deduct 30 percent of what you paid for it when you file your federal income tax return. The ITC applies only to purchasing a solar system, not to leasing it or getting it with a PPA (Purchase Power Agreement).

The ITC offers 30 percent through 2019, but will reduce to 26 percent in 2020, and 22 percent in 2021. The rebate will end for residential customers after 2021.

How much you can save with solar panels depends on when you act. The sooner you take advantage of the solar Investment Tax Credit, the healthier your savings will be.

View our 2018 Solar Starter Guide

State Solar Rebates Available in California

The current incentive rate range for market-rate housing is from $0.50/Watt up to $1.25/Watt depending on the energy-efficiency tier of the residence. But, you’ll need to get your application in by April 1, 2018, as the program is set to close June 1, 2018.

  • The 15% increase of the incentive (up to $500) for west-facing arrays, however, did expire in March of 2017.

Battery storage has several advantages, especially as California switches over to time-of-use (TOU) rates and Net Metering 2.0. With a backup battery at home, you can store energy and use it when it would cost more to pull it from the grid. If you're interested, visit our battery page for more information.

The program sunsets at the end of 2020. But the incentives will decrease as more batteries are installed in California, so you’ll get more back as an early adopter.

Local Solar Rebates Available in California

  • Pasadena Water and Power offers $0.30/Watt on systems between 1 kW and 100 kW through their expected performance-based buydown option, or $0.096/kWh with their performance-based incentive for systems larger than 100 kW. But the Pasadena solar rebate will expire on December 31, 2017. You will be eligible as long as you submit you application before the expiration date.
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission GoSolarSF rebate is still available. It varies by system size, but is currently still offering $500 - $2,800. There’s no specific expiration date for this rebate, and it has enough funding to keep the program available for the foreseeable future.

While energy rates in California are some of the highest in the nation, switching to solar can make those rates manageable. Solar rebates make that smart move even easier.

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