2023 Solar Incentives Guide for San Jose, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in San Jose.
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 San Jose?
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
Santa Clara Water & Sewer - Solar Water Heating Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program
Single-family residential electricity or propane-displacing systems: $0.54 per kWh displaced
Multifamily and Commercial gas-displacing systems: $14.53 per therm displaced
Multifamily and Commercial electricity or propane-displacing systems: $0.42 per kWh displaced
Low-Income Multifamily gas-displacing systems: $19.23/therm displaced
Low-Income Multifamily Electric or Propane Displacing systems: $0.56/kWh displaced
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Solar incentives are meant to help mitigate the cost of installing solar panels on your home. This category of financial incentives is in place to encourage more people to make the switch 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 state of California and some by your utility company, county or municipality. Some broad categories of solar incentives include:
- Rebates: A rebate is a partial refund credited to your account after you've paid for your solar panels. Rebates could be offered by your local utility company, your county or your state. The rebates are usually applied before calculating tax credits.
- 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 exclude the added value of your solar system when paying property tax on your home.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government. (This is different from a tax deduction.)
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): In general, solar systems that produce over a threshold (usually small) amount of electricity will qualify for SRECs or other similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and the like are typically offered by your state government. When you receive an SREC, you can sell it to your utility company or another buyer, and generally the money you make is normally considered part of your taxable income.
- Net Metering: Don't forget to speak with your San Jose 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 may receive either a dollar-for-dollar credit or a percentage of the value.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are likely to be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about solar incentives. The solar incentive that you're most familiar with is probably the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which gives you a credit on your taxes equal to a predetermined percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC was originally for 30% of the total cost of installing a solar system, although it has fluctuated slightly over time between 26-30%. The percentage you qualify for will depend on when your solar system was installed. The total cost of installation includes the panels themselves as well as the cost of accessories, labor and equipment. There is no maximum amount you can claim. The ITC applies to solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 on your primary or secondary residence. The residence must be owned by you and in the United States.
Your local San Jose solar panel installation expert can give you more information about the ITC and how it may apply to your situation.
In August 2022, the ITC (now referred to as the Clean Energy Credit) was bolstered by the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act. For solar system installations that begin after January 1, 2022 and are completed by the end of 2032, homeowners can receive a credit equal to 30% of the total cost. The percentage will then decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit expires in 2035. Starting in 2023, it will also be easier to claim credits for energy storage systems under the new laws.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local San Jose solar panel company can answer any questions you have and explain how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
There are often also state solar incentives in addition to those provided by the federal government. Rebates, tax credits and more might be available at a more local level. Some incentives are ongoing, while others might only be available for a limited time. These incentives may be given by your county or municipality, or by the California government.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in San Jose
The large number of available solar incentives has contributed greatly to the increase in the adoption of solar energy nationwide over the last 15 years. You can get solar incentives from the California government, the federal government or your local utility company. Call your local solar panel installation expert today to discover more about the various programs and to save the most money possible on solar panels for your San Jose home.
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EcoWatch's San Jose, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
How can I find out if I qualify for different solar incentives?
Generally, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar panel system
- installed on a property that you own
- within the U.S.
- within the date range specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including those run by the California government or by your county/municipality, may have additional qualifications. Speak with your local San Jose solar installer to discover what incentives your project will qualify for.
Who installs solar panel systems near me?
To learn about the top solar panel installers near you, read our article on San Jose's top solar panel companies.
What are some environmental benefits of adding solar panels to my home?
Solar energy is renewable — by switching where you get your energy, you help lessen the strain on our planet's resources. Solar panels can also reduce the CO2 emissions from your home by 250 pounds annually, or around 5,000 pounds over 20 years.
When does the federal solar tax credit end?
The Clean Energy Credit (formerly named the federal solar tax credit, or the ITC), is slated 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 trade in my old appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any benefits I can claim?
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act includes provisions for a number of incentives that reward homeowners for making eco-friendly upgrades. Some incentives include tax credits and rebates for installing new electric appliances. You can find more details about these incentives here.
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.