2024 Solar Incentives Guide for Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates

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

You'll learn about:

  • Local & State Solar Incentives
  • Federal Tax Credits (Updated for 2024 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 Rancho Santa Margarita solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated February 03, 2024

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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 Rancho Santa Margarita?

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" refers to a range of financial incentives put in place to make installing and using solar panels more affordable. This is done to encourage people to switch to renewable energy. Various types of incentives, including cash back, discounts or credit towards your monthly utility bill, might be available to you. Certain incentives may be provided via the state of California, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while others are federal. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:

  • Net Metering: Net metering is an incentive you can get after your solar panels are up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Rancho Santa Margarita utility company, it will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your monthly utility bill. In some areas, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other places you may get refunded a percentage of the value.
  • Tax Exemptions: Your solar panel system could qualify for both sales tax and property tax exemptions. Sales tax exemptions come into effect at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions let you exclude the value added by your solar panels when calculating property taxes on your home.
  • Rebates: A rebate is a partial refund after the purchase of your solar panels. These could be offered by your local utility company, your county or your state. The rebates are usually applied before calculating tax credits.
  • Tax Credits: These credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions (not deductions) in the amount of tax that you owe the government.
  • 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, there is a small threshold of energy production to meet before your solar system can earn SRECs or other performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are typically handled by your state government.

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Federal Solar Incentives

Federal incentives are the type of incentives that you are most likely to have some knowledge of. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is likely the most commonly known federal solar incentive. The ITC provides you with a tax credit for a specific percentage of the cost of your solar system.

The ITC applies towards solar systems installed after January 1, 2006, and lets you deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, labor, accessories and equipment. You can receive this credit for a solar panel system installed on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. Originally, you could claim 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.

To understand exactly how much the ITC could save you, talk to your local Rancho Santa Margarita solar panel installation expert.

In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act expanded and extended the ITC, now titled the Clean Energy Credit. The Clean Energy Credit lasts until 2035. Solar installation projects started after January 1, 2022, and completed by the end of 2032 may qualify for a 30% tax credit. This amount will then decrease slightly each year until the end of the current program. Beginning in 2023, it will also be easier to get credits for energy storage systems under this new program.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. The easiest way to fully understand how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you is to reach out to your local Rancho Santa Margarita solar panel installers with your questions.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are not your only option; rebates, tax credits and more are often offered at the state and local level. Certain incentives are ongoing, while others are only available for a limited time. They may be given by the California government, or by your county or municipality.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Rancho Santa Margarita

Solar incentives may come from your local utility company, the California government or the federal government. The growing number of available solar incentives has facilitated the nationwide growth of solar energy use in the last 15 years. We recommend talking to your local Rancho Santa Margarita solar installation company for more information about these incentives and to be sure that you're getting all the money you can for your solar panels.

EcoWatch's Rancho Santa Margarita, CA Solar Incentives FAQs

How much will solar panels save me annually on my electric bill in Rancho Santa Margarita?

When you add solar panels to your Rancho Santa Margarita home, you can expect to save around $1,428.42 per year, or approximately $27,140.04 over 20 years.

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 lessen the strain on our planet's resources. Solar panels can also reduce your home's CO2 emissions by 250 pounds a year, or around 5,000 pounds in 20 years.

If I change out my appliances for ones that can use solar energy, are there any benefits that I can claim?

The new Inflation Reduction Act creates several new financial incentives for making 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 claim incentives for adding solar panels to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property?

Many solar incentives are intended to apply to a property located within the United States that you own, and most secondary residences will fall into this category. There may be other solar incentives available for commercial properties, depending on the specifics. We recommend speaking with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to better understand what incentives apply to your specific situation.

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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