2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Cupertino, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates

In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Cupertino.

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.
Get a free quote from one of our trusted Cupertino solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

Why you can trust EcoWatch

We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Cupertino?

Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System

Incentive Type:
Property Tax Incentive
100% of system value; 75% of system value exemption for dual-use equipment

Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program

Incentive Type:
PACE Financing
Eligible products can be financed for up to 25 years, depending on the useful life of the eligible product.
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

Incentive Type:
PACE Financing
Locally determined

Self-Generation Incentive Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
For projects 30 kW or larger, 50% of incentive will be received up-front; 50% will be received based on actual kWh production over the first 5 years. For projects under 30kW, 100% of the incentive will be paid up front.
Incentives will step down over time. See below for incentive amounts.

Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT)

Incentive Type:
Feed-in Tariff

LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program

Incentive Type:
Feed-in Tariff
$0.17/kWh adjusted by a time of delivery multiplier
Base price will step down over time as certain MW goals are met

California Solar Initiative - Solar Thermal Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Step 1 Incentive Rates (contact utility to determine current incentive levels):
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
Commercial/Multifamily Incentives:
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

Santa Clara Water & Sewer - Solar Water Heating Program

Incentive Type:
Leasing Program

City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Single-family residential gas-displacing systems: $18.59 per therm displaced
Single-family residential electricity or propane-displacing systems: $0.54 per kWh displaced
Multifamily and Commercial gas-displacing systems: $14.53 per therm displaced
Multifamily and Commercial electricity or propane-displacing systems: $0.42 per kWh displaced
Low-Income Multifamily gas-displacing systems: $19.23/therm displaced
Low-Income Multifamily Electric or Propane Displacing systems: $0.56/kWh displaced

Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

Incentive Type:
Personal Tax Credit
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

Source: https://www.dsireusa.org/


Solar incentives encourage people to switch their home over to renewable energy by offering financial incentives that lower the burden of solar panel installation and use. Various types of incentives, such as discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill, may be available to you. Certain incentives may be handled by the California government, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while others are federal. You might qualify for any of the following types of solar incentives:

  • Tax Credits: Unlike tax deductions, tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of income tax that you owe the federal government.
  • Rebates: A solar rebate is a partial refund given after you've purchased your solar system. These could be offered by your local utility company, your county or your state. The discount that rebates offer is normally applied to the price of solar panels before calculating tax credits.
  • Net Metering: Make sure you talk to your Cupertino utility company about signing a net metering agreement. This allows you to receive credit towards your monthly utility bill for the value of excess energy your solar panels generate. You could receive either a dollar-for-dollar credit or 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 is generally considered part of your taxable income. In most cases, you must meet a certain (small) threshold of energy production before your solar system can earn SRECs or other performance-based incentives. These kinds of incentives are generally handled by your state government.
  • Tax Exemptions: Sales tax exemptions go into effect at the time of purchase for your solar system. Property tax exemptions let you exclude the added value of your solar system when you calculate how much property tax you need to pay on your house.

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are likely to be the first thing that you think of when you think about solar incentives. It's likely that you've heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This incentive is a tax credit that reduces your taxes by a certain percentage of the money you spend on solar panels for your home.

The ITC applies towards 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. You can claim this credit for solar panels installed on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. Originally, you could claim 30% of the total cost, although certain projects may qualify for only 26%, depending on the details. There is no maximum claim amount.

To understand exactly how much money the ITC could save you, talk to your local Cupertino solar panel installer.

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. The new Clean Energy Credit is valid until 2035. Homeowners can now receive a 30% credit for solar systems that began installation on or after January 1, 2022 and will be done by December 31, 2032. The credit will then see a slight annual decrease until it expires. The expansion also makes credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim, starting in 2023.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Cupertino solar panel installation expert is the best person to answer your questions about the new Clean Energy Credit and how it may apply to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Some solar incentives may be provided by state and local governments. Like with federal incentives, these might include rebates, tax credits and more. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are available for a limited time. Incentives might be given by the California government, or by your county or municipality.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Cupertino

The large number of available solar incentives has contributed greatly to the increase in the nationwide adoption of solar energy over the past 15 years. You may receive solar incentives from the California government, the federal government or your local utility company. Speaking with your local Cupertino solar panel installation company is an excellent first step towards getting the most money possible when you switch to solar energy.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Cupertino, CA Solar Incentives FAQs

What if I add solar panels to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property? Do I still qualify for incentives?

While we recommend speaking with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to best 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 specifically for commercial properties, depending on the specifics.

How do I learn if I qualify for certain solar incentives?

Typically, solar incentives apply to:

  1. a new solar panel system
  2. installed on a property that you own
  3. within the U.S.
  4. between the dates specified by a particular incentive.

Specific incentives, including ones handled by the California government or by your county/municipality, sometimes have additional qualifications. Talk to your local Cupertino solar installer to discover what incentives your project will qualify for.

What are some environmental benefits of adding solar panels to my home?

Solar energy is renewable — by switching where you get your energy, you can help reduce the strain on our planet's resources. A solar system can also lower your home's CO2 emissions by 250 pounds a year, or around 5,000 pounds over 20 years.

How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?

The federal solar tax credit, formerly known as the ITC and now named the Clean Energy Credit, is scheduled to end January 1, 2035. The current 30% credit will end in 2032, replaced by a 26% credit in 2033 and a 22% credit in 2034.

I want to trade in my old appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any benefits I can apply for?

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act introduces multiple incentives meant to reward homeowners who make eco-friendly upgrades. Some of these incentives include rebates and tax credits for installing new electric appliances. You can find more details about these incentives here.

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.

Follow us