2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Sacramento, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Sacramento.
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 Sacramento?
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
SMUD - PV Residential Retrofit Buy-Down
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
The phrase "solar incentives" refers to a wide range of financial incentives implemented to make installing and using solar panels more affordable. This is done to encourage people to switch to renewable energy. You might be eligible for different types of incentives, such as discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits, depending on your situation. Some incentives come from your specific utility company, county or municipality, some from the state of California and others from the federal government. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and other performance-based incentives are typically handled by your state government. Once your solar system meets the qualification threshold (typically a small amount of energy production), you are eligible to receive SRECs that can then be sold to your utility company or other buyers. The money you make is generally considered part of your taxable income.
- Rebates: Solar rebates can be offered by your county or state, or by your local utility company. These rebates are essentially partial refunds that are applied after you purchase a solar system and before tax credits are calculated.
- Net Metering: Be sure to talk to your Sacramento utility company about signing a net metering contract. This allows 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.
- Tax Credits: Different from tax deductions, tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government.
- Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions can come in two forms. The first is sales tax exemption, which is applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption. This allows you to ignore the added value of your solar system when paying property tax on your house.
Federal Solar Incentives
When you think about solar incentives, you probably think of federal incentives first. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is probably the most commonly known federal solar incentive. The ITC provides you with a tax credit for a specific percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC can be applied to solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. Originally, the tax credit was for 30% of the total cost — for panels, equipment, labor and accessories — although the percentage may range from 26-30%, depending on when your solar system was installed. There is no cap on the claim amount.
Your local Sacramento solar panel installation expert can give you more information about the ITC and how it might apply to your situation.
The ITC was both renewed and expanded by 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 installations undertaken between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2032. At this point, the percentage will be reduced slightly each year until the end of the program in 2035. Starting in 2023, it will also be easier to claim credits for energy storage systems under the new laws.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. Your local Sacramento solar panel installation experts can answer your questions and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives may be provided at the state and local level. As with federal incentives, these can include tax credits, rebates and more. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are only available for a limited time. Solar incentives might be offered by your county or municipality, or by the California government.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Sacramento
Solar incentives can be provided by your local utility company, the federal government or the California government. The large number of solar incentives available has contributed to a large increase in solar energy use in the last 15 years. Speaking with your local Sacramento solar panel installation expert is the right first step towards getting all the incentives you qualify for when you switch to solar energy.
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EcoWatch's Sacramento, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What if I want to add a solar system to a rental property, vacation home or commercial property? Will I still qualify for incentives?
While we recommend getting in touch with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to fully understand what solar incentives apply to you, many incentives will apply to a second home, so long as that home is in the United States and owned by you. There may be other incentives available for commercial properties specifically, depending on the specifics.
How do I know if I qualify for specific solar incentives?
It's a smart idea to get in touch with your local Sacramento solar installer for a better understanding of which incentives your project will qualify for. Typically, solar incentives apply to new solar systems installed on a property you own (in the U.S.) between the dates specified by the incentive. Some incentives, such as those provided by the California government, may have other requirements.
How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?
The Clean Energy Credit (previously called the federal solar tax credit, or the ITC), currently ends on January 1, 2035. Currently set at 30%, the credit will drop to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.
If I switch my appliances out for ones that can use solar energy, are there incentives I can claim?
The new Inflation Reduction Act creates a number of new financial incentives to encourage you to make 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 use solar and another type of renewable energy in combination to power my home?
Yes, you can employ multiple types of renewable energy to power your home, such as a combination of wind and solar. You can also use both renewable energy sources and a non-renewable backup source of energy. Be sure to discuss your proposed plan with your local Sacramento solar installation expert, to get an understanding of what will be needed and what types of incentives you may or may not qualify for.
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.