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.
State Solar Rebates Available in California
- The California Solar Initiative (CSI) cash-back rebates for PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company), SCE (Southern California Edison), and SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electricity) have expired.
- But you can still take advantage of the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP). If you’re looking to build a new home with a new solar panel system too.
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.
- Another rebate of note is the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for homeowners looking to buy battery storage. Customers of PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E are eligible for an incentive as high as $400 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for installing a home battery, which can offset or even cover the cost of a battery.
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
- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has a solar incentive program that currently offers $0.25/Watt off to residential solar customers. The program expires when the remaining funds of $10 million are exhausted.
- Glendale Water and Power offered an incentive program called Solar Solutions Incentive Program, but it is now closed.
- 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.