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Going Solar in California

Sunny California is home to some of the best solar incentives in the country.

Solar Incentives in California

  • The State of California provides residents with the opportunity to save money at tax time. By installing a solar system on your home you increase the value of your property, but that increased value is not included in your property tax assessment.
  • Customers of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison or San Diego Gas & Electric who meet the income requirement are eligible for the SASH (Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes) 2.0 program. Their goal is to provide low-income households with access to affordable solar power.
  • Homeowners in California have their access to the sun protected by the Solar Rights Act, and the Solar Shade Act. This Act limits the ability of homeowners’ associations and governments to prohibit the installation of solar energy. It also protects your right to avoid plants on neighboring properties from impacting your access to the sun.
  • You don’t have to worry about an increase in the price of your solar installation permit, as permit issuing bodies can only charge $500 to issue a permit for a residential solar energy system that is 15 kilowatts or less. In the case of a system over 15 kilowatts, the issuing body may only charge $500 plus an additional $15 per additional kilowatt.

Local Incentives

Some municipalities and local utility companies in California offer additional incentives to help you improve your relationship with the sun.

  • The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission offers $200 rebates per kilowatt to customers who purchase and install solar panels up to a maximum of 4 kilowatts.
  • Other incentives offered by local utility companies include $100 per kilowatt Environmental Justice or CalHome Loans, $250 per kilowatt loans, through a city installer and $2000 per kilowatt for those with a low income.
  • In Santa Cruz County, solar energy systems must be protected from shade “to the maximum extent feasible” during the permit review for new construction. Solar systems are also protected from shading from shrubbery (unless the plant was there before the system was installed). It should be noted that commercial crops are exempt from this legislation.
  • The Sacramento Municipal Utility District offers a $300 incentive to their residential customers who install solar panels.

Net Metering

Net metering allows you to share the sun’s love by feeding the renewable energy that your system generates into your local grid, reducing the demand for dirty energy that drives power plants to burn more fossil fuels.

  • Although not available statewide, net energy metering is currently available to customers of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.
  • The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers the “Solar Incentive Program” or SIP. Under this program, residential customers are eligible for a rebate of $0.25 per watt of solar energy installed, while affordable housing customers can earn $0.95 per watt of solar energy installed.
  • The LADWP also offers net energy metering to its customers, as long as they meet the necessary guidelines.

PACE Financing

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing is a program that will loan the entire cost of an eligible energy upgrade to a homeowner to be repaid over 20 years with no messy bills to keep track of. The cost is simply added to the homeowner’s property tax bill. Customers in California currently have more residential PACE options available than any other state. Companies that offer residential PACE financing include:

  • Counterpointe Energy Solutions
  • CaliforniaFIRST
  • Energy Efficient Equity (E3)
  • Figtree Financing
  • Renovate America’s HERO Program
  • MPower
  • PACE Funding
  • Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP)
  • Spruce Finance
  • Ygrene

Federal Incentives: Act Now to Get the Most Benefit

As a way to promote clean and renewable energy, the federal government has put in place two nationwide solar incentives that are available to California residents. Homeowners should apply for them shortly after installation is complete. Your LG PRO installer can help you understand these incentives and how to apply.

  • The Federal Solar Tax Credit allows Americans in any state to deduct 26% of the cost of their residential solar installation from their federal taxes, dollar for dollar, through the end of 2020. The ITC then steps down to 22% for projects that begin construction in 2021. After 2021, the residential credit is scheduled to drop to zero, although a commercial and utility credit will remain. So lock in your ITC advantage by going solar now!
  • Customers of a public utility can save money at tax time because the money, credits or subsidies they earn are not taxable.

Want to learn more about going solar? Call us at (714) 880-8089.