2023 Solar Incentives Guide for El Cerrito, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in El Cerrito.
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 El Cerrito solar installers to see how much you can save.
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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 El Cerrito?
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
The phrase "solar incentives" generally refers to financial incentives put in place by solar companies and the government to encourage increased use of renewable energy by making the installation and use of solar panels more affordable. These incentives can include upfront discounts, cash back or monthly credits towards your utility bill. Some incentives are provided by the federal government, some by the state of California and some by your specific utility company, county or municipality. You might qualify for any of the following types of solar incentives:
- Tax Credits: Different from tax deductions, tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): In general, solar systems that produce more than a predetermined (usually small) amount of electricity can qualify for SRECs or other performance-based incentives. SRECs and performance-based incentives in general are typically provided at the state level. SRECs can be sold to your utility company or another buyer, and generally the money you make is normally considered part of your taxable income.
- Net Metering: You may be able to sign a net metering agreement with your El Cerrito utility company, that may apply to all or a percentage of the excess electricity your solar panels generate. Your utility company will then deduct this value from your monthly utility bill.
- Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions can come in one of two forms. First, there is sales tax exemption, applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption. This allows you to exclude the added value of your solar system when calculating property tax for your house.
- Rebates: A rebate is a partial refund given after you've purchased your solar system. Rebates may be offered by your local utility company, your state or your county. The rebates are usually applied before calculating tax credits.
Federal Solar Incentives
When you think about solar incentives, you likely think of federal incentives first. The solar incentive that you're most familiar with is probably the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which gives you a credit on your taxes equal to a percentage of the cost of your solar system.
The ITC can be applied to solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 and under this program you can deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, equipment, labor and accessories. You can receive this credit for solar panels installed on a primary or secondary residence that you own in the United States. The original amount you could claim was 30% of the total cost, although certain projects may qualify for only 26%, depending on the details. There is no maximum claim amount.
Curious how the ITC might apply to your specific situation? Reach out to your local El Cerrito solar panel installer to get more information.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act expanded and extended the ITC, now dubbed the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit has increased the current credit up to 30% for solar installation projects started after January 1, 2022 and completed by the end of 2032. After this, the percentage will see a slight decrease annually until the program expires in 2035. The expansion to the program also makes claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before, beginning in 2023.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. To best understand how the new Clean Energy Credit might apply to you, reach out to your local El Cerrito solar installers.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Rebates, tax credits and more can be claimed at multiple levels. In addition to federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones, too. Certain incentives are ongoing, while others might only be available for a limited time. Incentives might be offered by the California government, or by your county or municipality.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in El Cerrito
Solar incentives can come from the federal government, the California government or your local utility company. The variety of solar incentives available has contributed to a large increase in solar energy use in the last 15 years. Contact your local solar panel installation company today to find out more information and to save as much money as possible on solar panels for your El Cerrito home.
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EcoWatch's El Cerrito, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
How do I learn 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.
- within the date range specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including ones handled by the California government or by your county/municipality, might have additional qualifications. Talk to your local El Cerrito solar installer to find out what incentives your project may qualify for.
What are some environmental benefits of adding solar panels to my house?
You can lower your carbon footprint by 250 pounds of CO2 annually by installing solar panels. This adds up to roughly 5,000 pounds over 20 years. In addition, solar power is a renewable energy source, which means that switching your home over lessens the drain on our planet's resources.
When does the federal solar tax credit end?
The federal solar tax credit, previously called the ITC and now titled the Clean Energy Credit, is set to end on January 1, 2035. The current 30% credit will end in 2032, replaced by a 26% credit in 2033 and a 22% credit in 2034.
Can I receive incentives both towards the initial cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can claim both tax credits and rebates towards the cost of your solar panels. Depending on which incentives you are eligible for, they may apply in a different order. Be sure to talk to your solar installer or a local tax professional to confirm that you are claiming the correct incentives and that you're getting the most money possible.
Can I use both solar and another type of renewable energy to power my home?
Yes, you can employ multiple types of renewable energy to power your home, such as a combination of wind and solar. You can also combine renewable energy generation with a non-renewable backup source of energy. Be sure to discuss your plan with your local El Cerrito solar installation expert, so that you understand what you'll need and what kinds of incentives you might or might 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.