2023 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 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 Rancho Santa Margarita?
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
The term "solar incentives" refers to a wide range of financial incentives designed to make installing and using solar panels more affordable. This is done to encourage people to switch to renewable energy. Solar incentives might include upfront discounts, cash back or monthly credits towards your utility bill. Some incentives are handled by the federal government, some by the California government and some by your utility company, county or municipality. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:
- Net Metering: Don't forget to speak to your Rancho Santa Margarita utility company about signing a net metering agreement. This will allow you to receive credit towards your monthly utility bill for the value of excess energy your solar panels generate. You could receive either a dollar-for-dollar credit or a percentage of the value.
- Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are normally applied prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Solar rebates may be provided by your local utility company, by your county or by your state.
- Tax Exemptions: Your solar system may qualify for both sales tax and property tax exemptions. Sales tax exemptions are effective at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions allow you to exclude the value that solar panels add when calculating property taxes on your home.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): In most cases, solar systems that produce over a threshold (usually small) amount of electricity qualify for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and performance-based incentives in general are typically offered at the state level. When you receive an SREC, you can sell it to your utility company or another buyer, and this is usually considered part of your taxable income.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the total amount of tax you owe the government. These are different from tax deductions.
Federal Solar Incentives
When people think of solar incentives, federal incentives are likely the first thing that comes to mind. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is likely the most commonly known federal solar incentive. The ITC allows you to claim a tax credit for a set percentage of the cost of your solar system.
The ITC applies to the total cost of installing solar panels, including the panels themselves as well as accessories, labor and equipment. This credit can be claimed for panels installed after January 1, 2006 on a primary or secondary residence that you own and that is located in the United States. The tax credit ranges from 26-30% of total costs depending on when your project was completed. There is no maximum claim amount.
Your local Rancho Santa Margarita solar panel installer can provide more information about the ITC and how it might apply to your situation.
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, added more provisions to the ITC (as well as retitling it the Clean Energy Credit). The new Clean Energy Credit now runs until 2035. American homeowners can now receive a 30% credit for solar systems that began installation on or after January 1, 2022 and will be done by December 31, 2032. This new credit will then decrease annually until its expiration. Starting in 2023, the expansion to the program will also make credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. The best way to 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
Rebates, tax credits and more can be provided at multiple levels. On top of federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones, too. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are offered for only a limited time. Local solar incentives might come from your county or municipality, or from the California government.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Rancho Santa Margarita
You can apply for and 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 nationwide solar energy use enormously. We suggest talking to your local Rancho Santa Margarita solar installation expert to learn more about these incentives and to ensure that you're getting the most money possible for your solar system.
Best Regional Coverage
- Great warranty coverage
- Representatives are experts on local policies
- Concierge service ensures steady communication
- Slightly limited service offerings
- Price-match guarantee
- Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
- Best solar battery on the market
- Some reported issues with customer service
- Customer service varies by local dealer
EcoWatch's Rancho Santa Margarita, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What if I am planning to add a solar system to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property? Can I still qualify for incentives?
Many solar incentives are intended to apply to a property located within the United States that you own, and most secondary residences fall under this distinction. Other solar incentives may be available for commercial properties, depending on the details. We recommend speaking with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to better understand what incentives apply to your specific situation.
How can I find out if I qualify for specific solar incentives?
In most cases, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar panel system
- installed on property you own
- within the U.S.
- between the dates 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 Rancho Santa Margarita solar installer to discover what incentives your project may qualify for.
Who installs solar panels near me?
To find the best solar panel installer in your area, check out our guide to Rancho Santa Margarita's top solar panel companies.
What are 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. A solar system can also lower your home's CO2 emissions by 250 pounds a year, or around 5,000 pounds in 20 years.
How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?
The Clean Energy Credit (previously called the federal solar tax credit, or ITC), currently ends on January 1, 2035. Currently set at 30%, the credit will drop to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.
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.