2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Berkeley, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Berkeley.
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 Berkeley?
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 encourage people to switch their home over to renewable energy by providing incentives meant to lower the financial burden of solar panel installation and use. Incentives could include things like discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits. Some incentives are offered federally, while others are provided by the state of California or your utility company, county or municipality. Categories of solar incentives include:
- Tax Exemptions: These may come in the form of property tax exemptions, which let you ignore the value of your solar system when calculating the taxes you pay on your house. They may also include exemptions on sales tax at the time of purchase.
- Tax Credits: Different from tax deductions, tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government.
- Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are normally given prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Solar rebates can be given by your local utility company, by your state or by your county.
- Net Metering: Net metering factors in once your solar panels are up and running. If you have in place a net metering agreement with your Berkeley utility company, it will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your utility bill each month. In some areas, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in others you may get refunded a percentage of the value.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs are credits that can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for money that normally counts as part of your taxable income. Typically, a certain (small) threshold of energy production must be met before your solar system qualifies for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are normally handled by your state government.
Federal Solar Incentives
When you think about solar incentives, you probably think of federal incentives first. The solar incentive that you may be most familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which gives you a credit on your taxes equal to a certain percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC can be applied to solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. The credit initially covered 30% of the total cost — for panels, labor, equipment and accessories — although the percentage may range from 26-30%, depending on when your solar project was undertaken. There is no cap on the amount you can claim.
To more fully understand how the ITC may apply to you, get in touch with your local Berkeley solar panel installer and request more information.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act made revisions to the ITC, now referred to as the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit runs until 2035. Any solar installation project that is completed between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2032 may qualify for a 30% tax credit. This amount will be decreased slightly on a yearly basis until the current program ends. Starting in 2023, it will also be easier to obtain credits for energy storage systems under the new laws.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. Your local Berkeley solar panel installation expert is the best person to answer your questions regarding the new Clean Energy Credit and how it applies to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives may be provided at the state and local level. Like with federal incentives, these could include rebates, tax credits and more. These solar incentives — which might be given by your county or municipality, or by the state of California — might be offered on an ongoing basis, or for only a limited time.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Berkeley
There are many kinds of solar incentives: those provided by local utility companies, those provided by the federal government and those provided by the California government, to name a few. The use of solar energy has grown tremendously in the last 15 years, thanks to these incentives. If you're prepared to make the switch to solar energy, getting in touch with your local Berkeley solar panel installation expert is an excellent place to start.
Best Regional Coverage
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EcoWatch's Berkeley, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
My home already has solar panels installed. Does my system qualify for any incentives?
If your solar system was installed after January 1, 2022, you may qualify for the recently increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. If you had your system installed between 2006 and 2021, you might qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the year it was installed. Speaking with the company that installed your system, or any local Berkeley solar installer, can help you learn more about what incentives you might want to apply for.
How much will solar panels save me annually on my electric bill in Berkeley?
Typically, Berkeley homeowners who install solar panels save about $1,749.02 per year, or about $33,231.29 over 20 years after making the switch.
Who installs solar panel systems near me?
To find a top-rated solar panel installer, check out our guide to the top solar companies in Berkeley.
I want to change out my appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any benefits I can claim?
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act includes provisions for multiple incentives that reward homeowners for making eco-friendly upgrades. Some of these incentives include tax credits and rebates for installing new electric appliances. You can find more details about these incentives here.
Can I use multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?
Yes, you can utilize multiple types of renewable energy to power your home, such as a combination of geothermal and solar. You can also use both renewable energy sources and a non-renewable backup source of energy. Be sure to discuss your plan with your local Berkeley solar installation expert, to make sure you know what you'll need and what incentives you will or won't qualify for.
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.