2024 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 2024 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 Jose solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated June 24, 2024

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 Jose?

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 propertyThe 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

Santa Clara Water & Sewer - Solar Water Heating Program

Incentive Type:
Leasing Program

City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Single-family residential gas-displacing systems: $18.59 per therm displaced
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

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/


The phrase "solar incentives" includes 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 credit towards your monthly utility bill. Some incentives are given by the federal government, some by the state of California and some by your specific utility company, county or municipality. Categories of solar incentives include:

  • Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are typically applied prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Solar rebates might be offered by your local utility company, by your state or by your county.
  • Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions (not deductions) in the amount of tax that you owe the federal government.
  • Tax Exemptions: These might come in the form of property tax exemptions, which can let you exclude the value of your solar system when paying property tax on your home. You may also qualify for an exemption on sales tax at the time of purchase.
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for money that is generally considered part of your taxable income. Typically, there is a small threshold of energy production to meet before your solar system qualifies for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and similar incentives are generally handled at the state level.
  • Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant after your solar system is up and running. If you have a net metering agreement in place with your San Jose utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your monthly utility bill. In some locations, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in other places you may receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.

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 for Leasing

Sunrun

★★★★★
4.0
  • Expansive service area
  • Many financing options
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Some reported issues with door-to-door sales

Federal Solar Incentives

Federal incentives are the kind of incentives that you are most likely to have heard of. You might have heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This incentive is a tax credit equal to a predetermined percentage of the money you spend on your solar system.

The ITC can be applied to solar systems installed after January 1, 2006, and allows you to deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, accessories, equipment and labor. You can receive this credit for a solar panel system installed on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. Originally, you could claim 30% of the total cost, although certain projects may qualify for only 26%, depending on the details. There is no maximum amount you can claim.

To better understand how the ITC might apply to your situation, reach out to your local San Jose solar panel installation expert and ask for more information.

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, made some changes to the ITC (as well as renaming it to the Clean Energy Credit). The Clean Energy Credit runs until 2035. Your solar installation project undertaken between 2022 and 2032 may qualify for a 30% tax credit; the amount will then decrease slightly on a yearly basis until the current program ends. The expansion also makes claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before, beginning in 2023.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. To fully understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you, reach out to your local San Jose solar installers.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Some solar incentives are often also provided by state and local governments. Similar to federal incentives, these could include rebates, tax credits and more. Incentives may be given by your county or municipality, or by the state of California. Some incentives may be available for only a limited time, while others are ongoing.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in San Jose

The expanding number of solar incentives available has contributed greatly to the increase in the adoption of solar energy nationwide over the past 15 years. You can get solar incentives from the federal government, the California government or from your local utility company. Speak with your local solar panel installation expert today to find out more information and to save as much money as possible on a solar system for your San Jose home.

EcoWatch's San Jose, CA Solar Incentives FAQs

Who installs solar panels near me?

To find the best solar panel installation companies near you, take a look at our article on the top solar companies in San Jose.

How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?

The Clean Energy Credit (formerly called the federal solar tax credit, or 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.

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

Yes, you can use multiple types of renewable energy to power your home — for example, a combination of solar and wind power. You can also combine renewable energy generation with a backup source of non-renewable energy. You should discuss your plan with your local San Jose solar panel installer, to make sure you know what you'll need and what incentives you may or may not qualify for.

What if I am planning to add solar panels 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; most secondary residences will fall under this distinction. Other solar incentives may be available for commercial properties, depending on the specifics. We recommend reaching out to your local solar installer and/or tax professional to best understand what incentives apply to your specific situation.

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.

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