2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Chico, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Chico.
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
Why you can trust EcoWatch
What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Chico?
Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System
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 are intended to make renewable energy usage more affordable via financial incentives for those who install solar panels on their homes. Various types of incentives, including discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill, might be available to you. Some incentives may be handled by the California government, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while other incentives are federal. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar performance-based incentives are normally handled by your state government. Once your solar panel system meets a predetermined threshold (normally a small amount of energy production), you are eligible to receive SRECs that can then 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 are applied at the point of sale for your solar system. Property tax exemptions let you exclude the added value of your solar system when you calculate the amount of property tax you need to pay on your home.
- Net Metering: Be sure to speak with your Chico utility company about signing a net metering agreement. This allows you to receive credit towards your utility bill every month for the value of excess energy generated by your solar panels. You might receive either a dollar-for-dollar credit or a percentage of the value.
- Rebates: A solar rebate is a partial refund credited to your account after you've paid for your solar panels. These might be offered by your local utility company, your state or your county. The cash back that you get from the rebates is normally applied before tax credits are calculated.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits decrease, dollar-for-dollar, how much income tax you owe the government. These are different from tax deductions.
Federal Solar Incentives
When someone says "solar incentives," you probably think of federal incentives first. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is the best-known federal solar incentive. The ITC allows you to claim a tax credit for a set percentage of the cost of your solar system.
The ITC covers solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 and lets you deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, accessories, labor and equipment. This credit can be claimed on a solar panel system installed on a primary or secondary residence that you own in the United States. The original claim amount was 30% of the total cost, although depending on when the project was completed, your credit may range from 26-30%. There is no maximum claim amount.
To understand exactly how much the ITC could save you, contact your local Chico solar panel installation expert.
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, made some changes to the ITC (as well as renaming it to the Clean Energy Credit). For solar system installations that begin after January 1, 2022 and are completed by the end of 2032, homeowners can receive a credit for 30% of the total cost. After 2033, the percentage will decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit ends in 2035. Starting in 2023, the program expansion will also make credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. To fully understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you, reach out to your local Chico solar installers.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Tax credits, rebates and more might be claimed at multiple levels. In addition to federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones as well. Incentives may be handled by your county or municipality, or by the state of California. Some incentives might only be available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Chico
The large number of solar incentives available has contributed greatly to the increase in the nationwide adoption of solar energy over the past 15 years. You can get solar incentives from the California government, the federal government or your local utility company. Call your local solar panel installer today to discover more about the various programs and to save as much money as possible on a solar system for your Chico home.
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EcoWatch's Chico, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What if I want to add a solar system to a rental property, vacation home or commercial property? Can I still qualify for incentives?
While we recommend getting in touch with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to fully understand what solar incentives apply to you, many will apply to a second home, as long as it is in the United States and owned by you. There may be additional incentives available for commercial properties specifically, depending on the details.
How can I learn if I qualify for different solar incentives?
It's best to speak with your local Chico solar installer for a better understanding of which incentives your project will qualify for. In most cases, solar incentives apply to new solar systems installed on a property you own (in the U.S.) within a specified date range. Some incentives, such as those offered by the government of California, may have additional requirements.
I already have 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 your system was installed between 2006 and 2021, you may qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the year it was installed. Speaking with a representative from the company that installed your solar system, or any local Chico solar installer, can help you learn what incentives you might want to apply for.
When does the federal solar tax credit end?
The Clean Energy Credit (previously called the federal solar tax credit, or ITC), is slated to end on January 1, 2035. Currently set at 30%, the credit will drop to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.
Can I use a combination of multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?
Yes, you can use multiple types of renewable energy to power your home — for example, a combination of wind and solar. You can also combine renewable energy generation with a non-renewable backup source of energy. You should discuss your proposed plan with your local Chico solar installation expert, so that you understand what you'll need and what incentives you may or may not 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.