2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Riverside, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Riverside.
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 Riverside?
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 mitigate the cost of installing a solar panel system on your home. These financial incentives are designed to encourage more homeowners to convert their home partially or fully to renewable energy. Solar incentives can include cash back, upfront discounts or monthly credits towards your utility bill. Some incentives are offered by the federal government, some by the California government and some by your utility company, county or municipality. You might qualify for any of the following types of solar incentives:
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant after your solar panels are up and running. If you have a net metering agreement with your Riverside utility company, the company 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 other areas you might receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.
- Tax Exemptions: Your solar panels may qualify for both sales tax and property tax exemptions. Sales tax exemptions are applied at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions let you exclude the value that solar panels add when calculating property taxes on your house.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs are credits that can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for cash that typically becomes part of your taxable income. Generally, there is a small threshold of energy production to meet before your solar system can earn SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. These kinds of incentives are generally handled at the state level.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions (not deductions) in the amount of tax that you owe the federal government.
- Rebates: Solar companies may help you claim a rebate, or partial refund of your purchase, for your solar panels. States or counties will also offer limited-time rebates at various times. Any rebates you receive will usually come off your total price before any tax credits are calculated.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal incentives are the kind of incentives that you are most likely to have some knowledge of. You've likely heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. The ITC is a tax credit that reduces your taxes by a predetermined percentage of the money you spend on your solar system.
The ITC can be applied to solar panels installed on your primary or secondary residence in the United States. The solar system has to have been installed on a property you own after January 1, 2006 for you to claim the credit. Initially, the ITC applied to 30% of all system costs (panels, labor, accessories and equipment), although the covered amount has fluctuated over the years between 26-30%. The amount you qualify for will depend on when your solar system was installed. There is no cap on the claim amount.
To better understand exactly how much the ITC could save you, speak with your local Riverside solar panel installation expert.
In August 2022, the ITC (now titled the Clean Energy Credit) was bolstered by the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act. The Clean Energy Credit has increased the current credit up to 30% for solar installation projects started after January 1, 2022 and completed by the end of 2032. After 2032, the percentage will see a slight decrease annually until the program expires in 2035. The expansion also makes credits for energy storage systems even easier to claim, beginning in 2023.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. To understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you, talk to your local Riverside solar installers.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Rebates, tax credits and more can be provided at multiple levels. Along with federal solar incentives, there are often state and local ones, too. Certain incentives are ongoing, while others may only be available for a limited time. Incentives might be offered by the California government, or by your county or municipality.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Riverside
The variety of solar incentives available has enormously increased the use of solar power nationwide over the last 15 years. You may receive solar incentives from your local utility company, the federal government or the California government. We recommend talking to your local Riverside solar installer to learn more about these incentives and to be sure that you're getting all of the money you can for your solar system.
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EcoWatch's Riverside, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
If I installed solar panels on my house a few years ago, can I still claim incentives?
An excellent idea would be to talk to someone from the company that installed your solar panels — or reach out to a local Riverside solar installer — to better understand which incentives you may qualify for. If your solar panels were 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%.
What are the environmental benefits of switching to solar energy?
Solar energy is a renewable energy source — by switching where you get your energy, you can help lessen the strain on our planet's resources. A solar system can also reduce the CO2 emissions from your home by 250 pounds annually, or around 5,000 pounds in 20 years.
When does the federal solar tax credit end?
The Clean Energy Credit (previously called the federal solar tax credit, or the ITC), is scheduled to end on January 1, 2035. Currently set at 30%, the credit will drop to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.
I want to change out my appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any incentives I can claim?
The new Inflation Reduction Act provides several incentives meant to reward homeowners for making eco-friendly upgrades. Some of these incentives include rebates and tax credits for installing new electric appliances. You can find more details about these incentives here.
Can I apply for incentives both towards the initial cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
The order in which incentives are applied could vary depending on which incentives you are eligible for but generally yes, you can claim multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Get in touch with your solar installer or a local tax professional to verify you are claiming all the incentives you are eligible for and applying them in the correct order.
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.