2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Los Altos Hills, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Los Altos 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 Los Altos Hills solar installers to see how much you can save.
Please enter a valid 5-digit zip code!
By EcoWatch Local Advisors
Data Analysis: James Savino
Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister
Updated May 04, 2023
Why you can trust EcoWatch
What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Los Altos Hills?
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
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program
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
Solar incentives are intended to make renewable energy usage more affordable through financial incentives for individuals who install solar panels on their homes. These incentives may include upfront discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill. Some incentives are handled by the federal government, some by the California government and some by your specific utility company, county or municipality. You might qualify for any of the following types of solar incentives:
- Tax Exemptions: These can come in the form of property tax exemptions, which allow you to exclude the value of your solar system when calculating the taxes you pay on your home. They may also include exemptions on sales tax at the time of purchase.
- Rebates: Some solar companies will 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 be deducted from the total price before any tax credits are calculated.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for cash 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 other performance-based incentives. Incentives like these are generally handled by your state government.
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar panels are up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Los Altos 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 credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in other places you may get refunded a percentage of the value.
Federal Solar Incentives
When you hear the term "solar incentives," federal incentives are likely the first thing that comes to mind. You've likely heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This incentive is a tax credit that reduces your taxes by a specified percentage of the money you spend on solar panels for your home.
The ITC applies to the value of solar panels installed on your primary or secondary residence in the United States. The solar panels have to have been installed on a property you own after January 1, 2006 for you to be eligible for the credit. Initially, the ITC applied to 30% of all system costs (panels, equipment, labor and accessories), although the total amount has fluctuated over the last few years between 26-30%. The amount you qualify for will depend on when your solar system was installed. There is no cap on the amount you can claim.
Wondering how the ITC applies to your specific situation? Contact your local Los Altos Hills solar panel installer to get more information.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act made revisions to the ITC, now referred to as the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit bolsters the current credit, increasing it up to 30% for solar systems installed between 2022 and 2032. After 2032, the percentage will see a slight decrease annually until the end of the program in 2035. Beginning in 2023, it will also be easier to get credits for energy storage systems under this new program.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. Your local Los Altos Hills solar panel installer can answer any questions you have and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Tax credits, rebates and more might be provided at multiple levels. In addition to federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones as well. Incentives may be handled by the state of California, or by your county or municipality. Certain incentives may be available for only a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Los Altos Hills
The nationwide use of solar energy has increased enormously in the past 15 years, in part thanks to the increase in availability of solar incentives. You can obtain these incentives from your local utility company, the federal government or the California government. When you're prepared to make the change to solar energy, calling your local Los Altos Hills solar panel installation expert is an excellent place to start.
Best Regional Coverage
- Great warranty coverage
- Representatives are experts on local policies
- Concierge service ensures steady communication
- Slightly limited service offerings
Best Warranty Coverage
- Industry-leading warranty coverage
- Expansive service area
- Some reported communication issues
- No leases or PPAs
EcoWatch's Los Altos Hills, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What are the highest-rated solar panel installation companies near me?
To learn about the top solar panel installation companies near you, take a look at our article on the top solar companies in Los Altos Hills.
When does the federal solar tax credit end?
The federal solar tax credit, formerly called the ITC and now named the Clean Energy Credit, is slated 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.
If I change out my appliances for ones that can use solar energy, are there any incentives that I can claim?
The new Inflation Reduction Act creates a number of 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 qualify for incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can receive both tax credits and rebates towards the cost of your solar panels. Depending on precisely which incentives you are claiming, they may apply in a different order. Make sure that you talk to your solar installer or a local tax professional to ensure that you are claiming incentives correctly and that you're getting the most money you can.
Can I use a combination of multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?
You can power your home with multiple types of renewable energy, or a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy. Be sure to talk through your plan with your local Los Altos Hills solar installation expert. They can help you plan your project and educate you on the various incentives that you will or won't 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.