2023 Solar Incentives Guide for August, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in August.
You'll learn about:
- Local & State Solar Incentives
- Federal Tax Credits (Updated for 2023 and beyond)
- Ways to optimize your solar investment
Solar installers are experts in maximizing your solar tax credits and rebates.
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By EcoWatch Local Advisors
Data Analysis: James Savino
Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister
Updated March 14, 2023
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What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in August?
Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System
Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program
Minimum financing: $5,000
The financing may not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the market value of the property, up to the first seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) of the property’s market value, and ten percent (10%) of the remaining value of the Property above seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) minus any PACE assessment on the property The total amount of any annual property taxes and assessments shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the property's fair market value, determined at the time program financing is approved.
Local Option - Municipal Energy Districts
Self-Generation Incentive Program
Incentives will step down over time. See below for incentive amounts.
Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT)
LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program
Base price will step down over time as certain MW goals are met
California Solar Initiative - Solar Thermal Program
Single Family Residential Incentives:
Systems that displace natural gas: $29.85 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: Funding has been exhausted
Systems that displace natural gas: $20.19 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: $0.42 per estimated kWh displaced *** Note, funding has been exhausted in this category for SCE and PG&E
Solar Pool heating: $5.00 per estimated therm displaced
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Solar incentives mitigate the cost of installing solar panels on your home. Financial incentives like these are designed to encourage more Americans to switch to renewable energy. You might qualify for various kinds of incentives, such as discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits, depending on your situation. Certain incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the California government and others from the federal government. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:
- Rebates: Rebates, or cash back after a purchase, are normally given prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Solar rebates may be given by your local utility company, by your county or by your state.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions that lower the amount of income tax you owe the government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and other performance-based incentives are typically handled at the state level. Once your solar panel system meets a predetermined threshold (normally a small amount of energy production), you are eligible to receive SRECs that can be sold to your utility company or other buyers. The money you receive is usually considered part of your taxable income.
- Tax Exemptions: Sales tax exemptions go into effect at the time of purchase for your solar system. Property tax exemptions allow you to exclude the added value of your solar system when you calculate how much property tax you need to pay on your house.
- Net Metering: Net metering is an incentive you can get after your solar panels are up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your August utility company, they will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your utility bill each month. In some locations, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in others you might make back a percentage of the value.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are likely to be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about solar incentives. You may have heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This incentive is a tax credit equal to a predetermined percentage of the money you spend on solar panels for your home.
The ITC applies to the value of solar panels installed on your primary or secondary residence in the United States. The solar panels must have been installed after January 1, 2006 on a property you own for you to be eligible for the credit. Originally, the ITC covered 30% of all costs (panels, accessories, equipment and labor), although the covered amount has fluctuated slightly over the last few years between 26-30%. The installation date of your solar system will determine what percentage you are eligible for. There is no cap on the amount you can claim.
Talking to your local August solar panel installation expert is the best way to learn more about how the ITC may apply to your situation.
The ITC has been renewed and expanded following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. It's also now called the Clean Energy Credit. Homeowners can now receive a credit of 30% of the total solar system installation costs for projects started after January 1, 2022 and completed before the end of 2032. The percentage will then decrease yearly until the Clean Energy Credit expires in 2035. Starting in 2023, the program expansion will also make it easier to get credit for energy storage systems.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. The easiest way to understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you is to talk with your local August solar panel company.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives are often also provided at the state and local level. Similar to federal incentives, these may include tax credits, rebates and more. These incentives may be handled by the California government, or by your county or municipality. Some incentives may be available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in August
Solar incentives can be offered by the California government, the federal government or your local utility company. The growing number of solar incentives available has helped nationwide use of solar energy increase greatly in the last 15 years. We suggest talking to your local August solar installer to learn more about these incentives and to be sure that you're getting the most money possible for your solar system.
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EcoWatch's August, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What if I add a solar system to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property? Can I still qualify for incentives?
While we recommend speaking with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to better understand what solar incentives apply to you, many apply to a second home, provided that it is in the United States and owned by you. There may be additional incentives available specifically for commercial properties, depending on the specifics.
How can I find out if I qualify for certain solar incentives?
Generally, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar system
- installed on a property that you own
- within the U.S.
- between the dates specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including those run by the California government or by your county/municipality, might have additional qualifications. Talk to your local August solar installer to discover what incentives your project may qualify for.
How much can I save on my electric bill annually if I install solar panels on my house in August?
Generally, August homeowners who install solar panels save about $1,740.28 per year, or about $33,065.23 over 20 years after they make the switch.
Who installs solar panels near me?
To find a top-rated solar panel installer, check out our guide to the best solar companies in August.
Can I claim incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can claim both tax credits and rebates towards the cost of solar panels. Depending on precisely which incentives you are receiving, they may apply in a different order. Make sure that you speak with your solar installer or a local tax professional to confirm that you are claiming the correct incentives and getting the most money you can.
Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.
Solar incentive research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.