2023 Solar Incentives Guide for San Mateo, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in San Mateo.
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 March 14, 2023
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What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in San Mateo?
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 are designed to make renewable energy usage more affordable via financial incentives to help people install solar panels on their homes. The incentives might include upfront discounts, cash back or monthly credits towards your utility bill. Some incentives are handled by the federal government, some by the California government and some by your specific utility company, county or municipality. Some solar incentives you might qualify for are:
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): Generally, solar systems that produce over a threshold (generally small) amount of electricity can qualify for SRECs or other similar performance-based incentives. SRECs and the like are typically offered at the state level. SRECs can be sold to your utility company or another buyer, and generally the money you make is normally considered part of your taxable income.
- Rebates: A solar rebate is a partial refund credited to your account after you've paid for your solar panels. These could be offered by your local utility company, your county or your state. The rebates are usually applied before calculating tax credits.
- Tax Exemptions: These may come in the form of property tax exemptions, which would allow you to ignore the value added by your solar panels when paying property tax on your home. You could also look for exemptions on sales tax at the time of purchase.
- Net Metering: Net metering factors in once your solar system is up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your San Mateo utility company, they will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your monthly utility bill. In some places, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other places you may be refunded a percentage of the value.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions that lower the amount of income tax you owe the government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal incentives are the type of incentives that you are most likely to have some familiarity with. You've likely heard of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC. This is a tax credit equal to a specified percentage of the money you spend installing solar panels.
The ITC can be applied to the total cost of installing solar panels, including the panels themselves as well as equipment, labor and accessories. You can claim this credit for panels installed after January 1, 2006 on a primary or secondary residence that you own and that 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 amount you can claim.
Your local San Mateo solar panel installer 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. For solar systems installed between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2032, homeowners may be eligible for a credit for 30% of the total cost. This percentage will decrease annually after 2032 until the Clean Energy Credit ends in 2035. Starting in 2023, it will also be easier to obtain credits for energy storage systems under the new laws.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. To understand how the new Clean Energy Credit might apply to you, reach out to your local San Mateo solar installation company.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are not your only option; tax credits, rebates and more are often offered at the state and local level. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are offered for only a limited time. These local incentives could come from your county or municipality, or from the California government.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in San Mateo
The large number of available solar incentives has helped tremendously increase the use of solar power nationwide over the last 15 years. You may receive solar incentives from the federal government, the California government or from your local utility company. Reach out to your local solar panel installer today to learn more and to save as much money as possible on solar panels for your San Mateo home.
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EcoWatch's San Mateo, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
What if I add solar panels to a rental property, vacation home or commercial property? Do I still qualify for incentives?
While we recommend getting in touch with your local solar installer and/or tax professional to best understand what solar incentives apply to you, many incentives can be claimed on a second home, so long as that home is in the United States and owned by you. There may be additional incentives available for commercial properties specifically, depending on the details.
How much can I save annually on my electric bill if I add solar panels to my San Mateo home?
On average, homeowners in San Mateo who install solar panels save about $1,716.16 per year, or about $32,606.96 over 20 years after making the switch.
How long until the federal solar tax credit ends?
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 switch my appliances out for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any incentives I can claim?
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act provides multiple incentives meant to reward homeowners who make eco-friendly upgrades. Some incentives include tax credits and rebates for installing new electric appliances. You can find more details about these incentives here.
Can I use multiple types of renewable energy to power my home?
You can use multiple types of renewable energy, or a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy, to power your home. Be sure to discuss your plan with your local San Mateo solar installer. They can help you plan your project and also help you understand the various incentives that you might or might 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.