2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Lake Forest, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Lake Forest.
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
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What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Lake Forest?
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
Solar incentives encourage homeowners to make the switch to renewable energy by offering financial incentives meant to lower the burden of solar panel installation and use. You might qualify for different kinds of incentives, such as discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill, depending on your situation. Certain incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the California government and others from the federal government. 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 normally counts as part of your taxable income. In most cases, a certain (small) threshold of energy production must be met before your solar system can earn SRECs or other performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are generally handled by your state government.
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar system is up and running. If you have a net metering agreement with your Lake Forest utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your utility bill each month. In some locations, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in others you might receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.
- Tax Exemptions: These might come in the form of property tax exemptions, which let you ignore the value added by your solar panels when paying taxes on your house. They may also include exemptions on sales tax at the time of purchase.
- Rebates: Rebates, or cash back after a purchase, are normally given before any solar tax credits are calculated. Rebates can be provided by your local utility company, by your state or by your county.
- Tax Credits: These credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions (not deductions) in how much income tax you owe the government.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are likely to be the first thing that you think of when you think about solar incentives. An incentive many people are likely to be familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC is a tax credit for a specified 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, labor, equipment 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 amount you can claim.
Your local Lake Forest solar panel installation expert can provide you with more information about the ITC and how it might apply to your situation.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act laid out new provisions for the ITC, now dubbed the Clean Energy Credit. For solar systems installed between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2032, homeowners can receive a credit equal to 30% of the total cost. The percentage will then decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit expires in 2035. The expansion also makes it easier to get credit for energy storage systems, beginning in 2023.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. The best way to fully understand how the new Clean Energy Credit might apply to you is to reach out to your local Lake Forest solar panel installers with your questions.
State & Local Solar Incentives
There are often state solar incentives available in addition to federal ones. Tax credits, rebates and more might be available at a more local level. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are available for a limited time. They might be offered by the California government, or by your county or municipality.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Lake Forest
You can receive solar incentives from the California government and the federal government, as well as from your local utility company. Growing availability of solar initiatives in the past 15 years has helped increase solar adoption nationwide. Call your local solar panel installer today to discover more about the various programs and to save the most money possible on solar panels for your Lake Forest home.
Best Regional Coverage
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- Some reported issues with customer service
- Customer service varies by local dealer
EcoWatch's Lake Forest, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
How can I learn if I qualify for solar incentives?
Broadly, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar panel system
- installed on a property that you own
- within the U.S.
- within the date range specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including those given out by the California government or by your county/municipality, sometimes have additional qualifications. Talk to your local Lake Forest solar installer to find out what incentives your project will qualify for.
How much will solar panels save me on my electric bill in Lake Forest annually?
On average, homeowners in Lake Forest who install solar panels save approximately $1,409.19 per year, or approximately $26,774.66 over 20 years after making the switch.
What are the environmental benefits of switching to solar energy?
You can lower your carbon footprint by 250 pounds of CO2 annually when you switch to solar panels. This adds up to roughly 5,000 pounds over 20 years. Solar is also a renewable energy source, meaning that switching your home over reduces the drain on our planet's resources.
If I trade in my appliances for ones that utilize solar energy, are there incentives I can claim?
Under the new Inflation Reduction Act, there are several new financial incentives to encourage you to make eco-friendly improvements to your home. More details regarding these incentives, including information about incentives for purchasing new appliances, can be found here.
Can I use solar and another type of renewable energy in combination 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 backup source of non-renewable energy. Make sure that you discuss your proposed plan with your local Lake Forest solar installation expert, to make sure you know what you'll need and what kinds of 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.