California renewable and solar energy incentives

Go-Solar-California-logoSanta Cruz residents should be happy and grateful to be part of California. California is a very progressive state, and they are very serious about incentivizing solar power, wind energy and energy efficiency. California was the first to support the Million Solar Roofs program with the goal of installing a total of 3,000 megawatts worth of residential and commercial solar panels on rooftops state-wide. This program allows those installing a solar panel to receive up to $2.50 per watt, if your system is under 100 kilowatts (kW).  This is a good rebate considering that the average cost for per watt is $6-$7.  In contrast, the rebate provided to homeowners installing solar power systems that generate over 100kW is an ongoing 39 cents per month for the first five years after installing solar panels.

How do you convert to Solar?

Get A Free Quote today for a specialized residential home solar site evaluation and consultation. Every solar grid-tied system is catered specifically to each individual’s home square footage, resulting in the necessity for a personalized on-site evaluation. Upon the completion of our on-site home consultation, Allterra Solar will design a system to meet your property’s needs. We will also assist in locating and applying for all possible California solar incentives on your behalf. Be sure to submit this information to your local electric utility solar program administrator.

Listed below are some of the programs available in California:

California Solar Initiative (Residential/Commercial)

Homeowners, commercial business owners, government organizations and non-profit organizations are offered various state rebates designed to be put toward installation and equipment costs for solar energy systems.

  • Qualifying systems: solar space heat, solar thermal process heat, solar thermal electric, solar panel (PV).
  • Rebate amounts are dependent upon the type of project (commercial, residential, etc.) and the size of the system installed.

System requirements:

  • Equipment must be listed on the CEC qualified equipment list.
  • Solar panel installations must be grid-tied.
  • Solar panel PV modules must be listed on the UL 1703 certification list.
  • Inverters must be on the UL 1741 certification list and assessed by the Energy Commission.
  • Both solar panel modules and inverters must come with at least a 10-year warranty.

California Solar Initiative – Single Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (Residential)

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) offers incentives on a per-watt AC basis for low-income residential owners who install PV systems on their property.  The CSI Rebate may only be available to new construction projects; rebate funding for existing homes has been used up.  Feel free to contact Allterra to discuss your eligibilty for any local and state incentives to go solar.  Here are some general rules regarding CSI Rebate should your project be eligible:

  • Rebate amounts range from $4.75/W-AC to $7.00/W-AC and are dependent upon the homeowner’s income and California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program qualification.
  • There is a maximum incentive of $10,000 for completely subsidized PV units.  There is no maximum incentive for systems that are either non subsidized or partially subsidized.
  • Systems must be at least 1 kW in size.

System requirements:

  • Equipment must be listed on the CEC qualified equipment list.
  • Solar panel installation must be grid-tied.
  • Solar panel PV modules must be listed on the UL 1703 certification list.
  • Inverters must be on the UL 1741 certification list and assessed by the Energy Commission.
  • Both solar panel modules and inverters must come with at least a 10-year warranty.

Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems – (Residential/Commercial)

Until Decembers 31, 2016, residents and commercial business owners may apply to be excluded from property tax equivalent to the increased value of a property due to the addition of a solar energy system.

  • Applicants may receive 100% tax exclusion for a given system and 75% exclusion for dual-use equipment.
  • Qualifying technologies: solar water heat, solar space heat, solar thermal process heat, solar thermal electric, solar panel PV, solar mechanical energy.
  • This program is administrated by the California State Board of Equalization.

Utility-sponsored Loan and Solar Rebate Programs (Residential/Commercial)

  • Rebate and utility loans programs are offered all over the state, granted by utility companies and municipal cities (qualifications for programs may vary).
  • Rebate and utility loan programs are commonly offered for those installing solar PV and energy efficient technologies.
  • Utility sponsored loans are generally 0% or maintain low interests to aid in the purchase and installation cost of renewable energy systems.
  • Rebate awards are established on a per-watt AC basis.  Other considerations include location and system size.

Federal Energy Tax Credit (Residential/Commercial)

Taxpayers are granted a personal tax credit of 30% of the total expenses, which include installation of residential solar-electric systems, solar thermal systems, fuel cells and labor expenses.  Residential wind energy installations and geothermal pumps are also eligible for the Federal tax credit.

  • Solar electric systems and solar thermal heaters have no maximum incentive.
  • If there is excess federal tax credit, it may be carried over to the subsequent taxable year.
  • This may continue on through consecutive years until 2016, under which unused credit may or may not be expunged.

Federal Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Residential)

  • Public utilities provide residential purchasers with an exemption of 100% of energy conservation subsidies.
  • The overall worth of an installation or renewable utility regardless of the energy conservation capacity, will be excluded from the buyer’s gross income.
  • Customers who participate in a utility company’s energy conservation program may be given a reduced rate of electricity utilized or a nonrefundable credit of the price of electricity on the customer’s monthly electric bill.

    Energy-Efficient Mortgages (Residential)

    • With this federal loan program, homeowners may utilize energy-efficient mortgages (EEM) to either supplement or completely fund renewable energy systems.