2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Oakland, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Oakland.
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 May 04, 2023
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What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Oakland?
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 are designed to mitigate the cost of installing a solar panel system on your home. Financial incentives like these are designed to encourage more Americans to convert their home partially or fully to renewable energy. Incentives may include things like discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits. Some incentives are offered by the federal government, while others are provided by the state of California or by your specific utility company, county or municipality. Types of solar incentives might include:
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): In most cases, solar systems that produce over a specific (generally small) amount of electricity will qualify for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are typically given at the state level. You can sell SRECs to your utility company or another buyer, and the money you receive is normally considered part of your taxable income.
- Net Metering: Net metering is an incentive you can get after your solar system is up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Oakland utility company, they will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your utility bill each month. In some places, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in others you may receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.
- Tax Exemptions: Your solar panels may qualify for exemptions on both sales and property tax. Sales tax exemptions come into effect at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions allow you to exclude the value that solar panels add when you are calculating property taxes on your home.
- Tax Credits: Unlike tax deductions, tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of income tax that you owe the federal government.
- Rebates: Solar companies may help you claim a rebate, or partial refund after purchase, for your solar system. States or counties will also offer limited-time rebates at various times. Any rebates you receive will usually come off the total price before any tax credits are calculated.
Federal Solar Incentives
When someone says "solar incentives," you likely think of federal incentives first. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is probably the most well-known federal solar incentive. The ITC provides you with a tax credit for a predetermined percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC originally covered 30% of the cost of solar panel installation, and has fluctuated slightly over time between 26-30%. The installation date of your solar system will determine what percentage you qualify for. The cost of installation includes the panels themselves as well as the cost of equipment, accessories and labor. There is no maximum claim amount. The ITC can be applied to solar panels installed after January 1, 2006 on your primary or secondary residence. The residence must be in the United States and owned by you.
To understand exactly how much money the ITC could save you, get in touch with your local Oakland solar panel installation expert.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act made revisions to the ITC, now called 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. Beginning in 2023, it will also be easier to qualify for credits for energy storage systems under the new laws.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. The best way to fully understand how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you is to speak with your local Oakland solar panel company directly.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are not your only option; tax credits, rebates and more are often offered at the state and local level. The incentives — which might be provided by the state of California, or by your county or municipality — may be offered for only a limited time, or on an ongoing basis.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Oakland
There are a variety of solar incentives: those offered by local utility companies, those offered by the federal government and those offered by the California government, to name a few. Solar energy utilization has increased enormously in the last 15 years, thanks to these incentives. If you're prepared to make the change to solar energy, getting in touch with your local Oakland solar panel installation expert is an excellent place to start.
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EcoWatch's Oakland, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What if I am planning to add a solar system to a rental property, vacation home or commercial property? Will I still qualify for incentives?
Many solar incentives are intended to apply to a property you own that is located within the United States; most secondary residences will fall under this distinction. There may be other solar incentives available for commercial properties, depending on the specifics. We recommend talking to your local solar installer and/or tax professional to fully understand what incentives apply to your specific situation.
How do I learn if I qualify for different solar incentives?
It's a smart idea to get in touch with your local Oakland solar installer for a better understanding of which incentives your project will qualify for. In most cases, solar incentives apply to new solar systems installed on a property you own (in the U.S.) within a specified date range. Some incentives, such as those provided by the California government, may have other requirements.
If I installed solar panels on my house a few years ago, can I still claim incentives?
You should plan to talk to a representative from the company that installed your solar panels — or reach out to a local Oakland solar installer — to learn about 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 panels installed between 2006 and 2021 may qualify for a tax credit of 26-30%.
What are some of the environmental benefits of switching to solar energy?
Solar energy is renewable — by changing where you get your energy, you can help reduce the strain on our planet's resources. You can also lower your home's CO2 emissions by 250 pounds a year, or around 5,000 pounds in 20 years.
Can I qualify for incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can claim both rebates and tax credits towards the cost of your solar panels. Depending on which incentives you are eligible for, they may apply in a different order. Be sure to talk to your solar installer or a local tax professional to confirm that you are claiming the correct incentives and getting the most money possible.
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.