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

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

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 Hillsborough 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 Hillsborough?

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 term "solar incentives" broadly refers to financial incentives implemented by the government and by solar companies to encourage the use of renewable energy by making solar panels more affordable. 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 state of California, 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 can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for money that is generally considered part of your taxable income. In most cases, there is a small threshold of energy production to meet before your solar system qualifies for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. Incentives like these are generally handled at the state level.
  • Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are normally given before any solar tax credits are calculated. Rebates might be provided by your local utility company, by your county or by your state.
  • Tax Exemptions: These may come in the form of property tax exemptions, which can let you ignore the value of your solar system when calculating the taxes you pay on your house. You may also qualify for an exemption on sales tax at the time of purchase.
  • Tax Credits: Unlike tax deductions, tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government.
  • Net Metering: You may be able to sign a net metering agreement with your Hillsborough 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 utility bill each month.

Federal Solar Incentives

When thinking about solar incentives, you probably think of federal incentives first. The solar incentive that you're most likely to have heard of 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 and allows you to deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, labor, accessories and equipment. You can receive 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 depending on when the project was completed, your credit may range from 26-30%. There is no maximum claim amount.

To find out exactly how much the ITC could save you, speak with your local Hillsborough solar panel installer.

In August 2022, the ITC (now titled the Clean Energy Credit) was expanded and extended by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The Clean Energy Credit is valid 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 then decrease slightly on a yearly basis until the current program ends. Starting in 2023, the program expansion will also make claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Hillsborough solar panel installer can answer any questions you have and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit may apply to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Not all solar incentives are federal; tax credits, rebates and more are often offered at the local or state level. These incentives might be provided by the California government, or by your county or municipality. Some incentives may be ongoing, while others are available for a limited time.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Hillsborough

The expanding number of solar incentives available has helped tremendously increase the nationwide adoption of solar energy over the past 15 years. You might qualify for solar incentives from your local utility company, the California government or the federal government. Your local Hillsborough solar panel installation expert can help you learn more about which incentives you can apply for, and get you feeling good about making the change to renewable energy today.

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EcoWatch's Hillsborough, CA Solar Incentives FAQs

How can I learn if I qualify for specific solar incentives?

It's a good idea to talk to your local Hillsborough solar installer for a better understanding of which incentives your project may qualify for. Usually, solar incentives apply to new solar systems installed on property you own (in the U.S.) between the dates specified by the incentive. Some incentives, like those provided at the level of the California government, might have additional requirements.

If I installed solar panels on my house a few years ago, can I still claim incentives?

You should plan to talk to the company that installed your solar system — or get in touch with a local Hillsborough solar installer — to better understand which incentives you may qualify for. If your system was installed after January 1, 2022, you likely qualify for the newly increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. Systems installed between 2006 and 2021 may qualify for a tax credit of 26-30%.

How much can I save annually on my electric bill if I install solar panels on my house in Hillsborough?

When you add solar panels to your home in Hillsborough, you can expect to save approximately $1,716.16 per year, or approximately $32,606.96 over 20 years.

Can I receive incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?

The order that incentives will be applied in might vary depending on which incentives you are claiming but typically yes, you can claim multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Check with your solar installer or a local tax professional to make sure you are claiming all possible incentives and applying them in the correct order.

Can I use multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?

You can use multiple types of renewable energy, or a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy, to power your home. Be sure to discuss your plan with your local Hillsborough solar installation expert. They can help you plan your project and educate you on the various incentives that 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.

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