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

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

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 Golden Hills 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

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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 Golden Hills?

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

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/


The phrase "solar incentives" refers broadly to financial incentives put in place by solar companies and the government to encourage people to use renewable energy by making installing and using solar panels more affordable. Solar incentives might include upfront discounts, cash back or monthly credits towards your utility bill. Some incentives are provided by the federal government, some by the California government and some by your specific utility company, county or municipality. Categories of solar incentives include:

  • Rebates: Your solar installer might help you claim a rebate, or partial refund after purchase, for your solar system. Counties or states will also sometimes offer limited-time rebates. Any rebates you receive will usually come off your total price before any tax credits are calculated.
  • Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar system is up and running. If you have a net metering agreement with your Golden Hills utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your monthly utility bill. In some places, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other areas you might get refunded a percentage of the value.
  • Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions may come in one of two forms. First, there is sales tax exemption, which is applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption. This allows you to ignore the value added by your solar system when calculating property tax for your home.
  • Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the federal government. (This is different from a tax deduction.)
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for money that typically becomes part of your taxable income. In most cases, you must meet a certain (small) threshold of energy production before your solar system is eligible for SRECs or other performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are generally handled at the state level.

Federal Solar Incentives

When thinking about solar incentives, you probably think of federal incentives first. It's likely that you've heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This is a tax credit that reduces your taxes by a certain percentage of the money you spend installing solar panels.

The ITC can be applied to a solar system installed on your primary or secondary residence in the United States. The solar panels must have been installed on a property you own after January 1, 2006 for you to claim the credit. Initially, the ITC applied to 30% of all system costs (panels, accessories, labor and equipment), although the total amount has fluctuated over time between 26-30%. The installation date of your solar system will determine what percentage you are eligible for. There is no cap on the claim amount.

Your local Golden Hills solar panel installation expert can provide you with more information about the ITC and how it might apply to your situation.

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, added more provisions to the ITC (as well as retitling it the Clean Energy Credit). Homeowners are now eligible for a credit equal to 30% of the total solar system installation costs for projects that began after January 1, 2022 and will be finished by the end of 2032. The percentage will then begin to decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit expires in 2035. Beginning in 2023, it will also be easier to get credits for energy storage systems with the new act.

More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. The easiest way to learn more about how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you is to speak with your local Golden Hills solar panel installation expert directly.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Tax credits, rebates and more might be claimed at multiple levels. Along with federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones, too. These incentives may be given out by the California government, or by your county or municipality. Some are ongoing, while others are available for a limited time.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Golden Hills

The large number of available solar incentives has helped tremendously increase the nationwide adoption of solar energy over the past 15 years. You may receive solar incentives from the federal government, the California government or from your local utility company. Reach out to your local solar panel installation company today to find out more information and to save the most money possible on solar panels for your Golden Hills home.

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EcoWatch's Golden Hills, CA Solar Incentives FAQs

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

While we recommend getting in touch with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to better understand what solar incentives apply to you, many incentives can be claimed on a second home, so long as that home is in the United States and owned by you. There may be other incentives available for commercial properties specifically, depending on the specifics.

How can I find out if I qualify for different 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, might have additional qualifications. Speak with your local Golden Hills solar installer to discover what incentives your project will qualify for.

If my house already has solar panels, can I still claim incentives?

If your solar panels were installed after January 1, 2022, you may qualify for the newly increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. If you installed your system between 2006 and 2021, you may qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the exact installation date. Speaking with a representative from the company that installed your system, or any local Golden Hills solar installer, can help you understand what incentives you might want to apply for.

Who installs solar panels near me?

To learn about the best solar panel installers near you, read our article on the best solar companies in Golden Hills.

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.

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.

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