2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Menlo Park, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Menlo Park.
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 Menlo Park?
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 designed to make renewable energy usage more affordable through financial incentives for those who install solar panels on their homes. You might be eligible for various kinds of incentives, such as cash back, discounts 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:
- Net Metering: Net metering factors in once your solar panels are up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Menlo Park utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your utility bill each month. In some areas, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in others you may make back a percentage of the value.
- Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions may 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, which allows you to exclude the value added by your solar system when calculating property tax for your house.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions that lower the amount of income tax you owe the federal government. (This is different from a tax deduction.)
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar other performance-based incentives may be available to you if your solar system produces more than a specified (usually small) amount of electricity. Performance-based incentives are normally handled by the state government. You can sell the SRECs you receive to your utility company or other buyers, and the money you make is generally considered part of your taxable income.
- Rebates: A rebate is a partial refund given after you've purchased your solar panels. Rebates may be offered by your local utility company, your county or your state. The rebates are usually applied before tax credits are calculated.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are probably the first thing that you think of when thinking about solar incentives. You might have heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This is a tax credit equal to a predetermined percentage of the money you spend on 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, labor, equipment and accessories. You can claim this credit for solar panels installed on a primary or secondary residence that you own in the United States. The original claim amount was 30% of the total cost, although depending on when the project was completed, your credit may range from 26-30%. There is no maximum amount you can claim.
Talking to your local Menlo Park solar panel installation expert is the best way to understand how the ITC applies to your situation.
The ITC was renewed and increased in scope after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. It's also now called 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. At this point, 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 qualify for credits for energy storage systems under this new program.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Menlo Park solar panel installation experts can answer any questions you have and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives are often also provided at the state and local level. As with federal incentives, these can include tax credits, rebates and more. Incentives might be offered by your county or municipality, or by the state of California. Some incentives are available for only a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Menlo Park
The expanding number of solar incentives available has enormously increased the nationwide adoption of solar energy over the last 15 years. You might qualify for solar incentives from your local utility company, the California government or the federal government. Getting in touch with your local Menlo Park solar panel installation expert is the best first step towards getting the most money possible when you switch to solar energy.
Best Regional Coverage
- Great warranty coverage
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- Concierge service ensures steady communication
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- Some reported issues with customer service
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EcoWatch's Menlo Park, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
Can I get any financial incentives when I add solar panels to a rental property, vacation home or commercial property?
While we recommend talking to your local solar installer and/or tax professional to fully understand what solar incentives apply to you, many incentives apply to a second home, provided that it is in the United States and owned by you. There may be other incentives available for commercial properties specifically, depending on the details.
How do I know if I qualify for certain solar incentives?
Typically, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar system
- installed on property you own
- within the U.S.
- within the date range specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including those run by the California government or by your county/municipality, sometimes have additional qualifications. Talk to your local Menlo Park solar installer to learn more about what incentives your project will qualify for.
If my house already has solar panels, can I still claim incentives?
Your best bet is to talk to a representative from the company that installed your solar panels — or call a local Menlo Park solar installer — to better understand which incentives you might qualify for. If your system was installed after January 1, 2022, you likely qualify for the recently increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. Solar systems installed between 2006 and 2021 may qualify for a tax credit of 26-30%.
Who installs solar panel systems near me?
To find the best solar panel installer in your area, check out our guide to Menlo Park's top solar panel companies.
Can I apply for 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 precisely which incentives you are receiving, they may apply in a different order. Make sure that you speak with 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.
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.