2023 Solar Incentives Guide for San Carlos, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates

In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in San Carlos.

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.
Get a free quote from one of our trusted San Carlos solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

Why you can trust EcoWatch

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 San Carlos?

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/


Solar incentives are designed to make renewable energy usage more affordable via financial incentives for individuals who install solar panels on their homes. Incentives could include things like discounts, cash back or credit on your utility bill each month. Some incentives are handled federally, while others are provided by the state of California or your utility company, county or municipality. You might qualify for any of the following types of solar incentives:

  • Rebates: A rebate is a partial refund after the purchase of your solar panels. These may be offered by your local utility company, your state or your county. The discount that rebates offer is normally applied to the price of solar panels before tax credits are calculated.
  • Tax Exemptions: Tax exemptions can come in one of two forms. First, there is sales tax exemption, applied at the time you purchase your solar panels. The second is property tax exemption. This allows you to ignore the value added by your solar system when paying property tax on your home.
  • Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions (not deductions) in how much in taxes you owe the federal government.
  • Net Metering: Net metering is an incentive you can get once your solar panels are up and running. If you have in place a net metering agreement with your San Carlos utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your utility bill each month. In some locations, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in other places you might receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar performance-based incentives may be available to you if you have a solar system that produces over a specified (generally small) amount of electricity. This category of incentives is normally handled at the state level. You can sell your SRECs to your utility company or other buyers, and the money you receive in return is normally considered part of your taxable income.

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal solar incentives are likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think about solar incentives. The solar incentive that you may be most familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides a credit on your taxes equal to a percentage of your solar system's cost.

The ITC can be applied 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, as long as it 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.

To best understand how the ITC might apply to you, call your local San Carlos solar panel installation expert and request more information.

In August 2022, the ITC (now called the Clean Energy Credit) was bolstered by the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act. Homeowners can now qualify for a credit equal to 30% of the total solar system installation costs for projects started after January 1, 2022 and completed before the end of 2032. The percentage will then decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit ends in 2035. Starting in 2023, the program expansion will also make claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before.

More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. Your local San Carlos solar panel company is the best resource for answering your questions about the new Clean Energy Credit and how it applies to you.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Some solar incentives are often also provided by state and local governments. Similar to federal incentives, these could include tax credits, rebates and more. Some incentives are offered for only a limited time, while others are ongoing. Your local incentives could come from your county or municipality, or from the California government.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in San Carlos

Solar incentives may be provided by your local utility company, the federal government or the California government. The growing number of incentives available has helped nationwide use of solar energy increase greatly in the last 15 years. Your local San Carlos solar panel installation expert can provide you with more details about which incentives you can apply for, and get you feeling good about making the change to renewable energy today.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • 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 San Carlos, CA Solar Incentives FAQs

Can I get any financial incentives when I add solar panels to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property?

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

How much will solar panels save me annually on my electric bill in San Carlos?

On average, San Carlos homeowners who install solar panels save approximately $1,716.16 per year, or approximately $32,606.96 over 20 years after they make the switch.

Who installs solar panel systems near me?

To find the right solar panel installer for you, check out our guide to San Carlos' best solar panel companies.

I want to switch my appliances out for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any benefits I can claim?

The new Inflation Reduction Act creates a number of new financial incentives for making eco-friendly improvements to your home. More details about these incentives, including information about incentives for purchasing new appliances, can be found here.

Can I use a combination of multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?

Yes, you can employ multiple types of renewable energy to power your home — for example, a combination of wind and solar. You can also combine renewable energy generation with a non-renewable backup source of energy. You should discuss the details of your plan with your local San Carlos solar installation expert, to make sure you know what you'll need and what incentives you will or won't 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.

Follow us