2023 Solar Incentives Guide for San Rafael, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in San Rafael.
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 Rafael?
Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System
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
The phrase "solar incentives" generally refers to financial incentives put in place by solar companies and the government to encourage the adoption and use renewable energy by making the installation and use of solar panels more affordable. Incentives may include things like discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill. Some incentives are provided by the federal government, while others are handled by the California government or by your specific utility company, county or municipality. Types of solar incentives might include:
- 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, which allows you to exclude the added value of your solar system when calculating property tax for your home.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar performance-based incentives might be available to you if you have a solar system that produces over a specified (usually small) amount of electricity. Performance-based incentives are typically handled by the state government. You can sell your SRECs to your utility company or other buyers, and the money you make is normally considered part of your taxable income.
- Rebates: A solar rebate is a partial refund after the purchase of your solar system. These could be offered by your local utility company, your state or your county. The cash back that you get from the rebates is normally applied before tax credits are calculated.
- Tax Credits: Different from tax deductions, tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the federal government.
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant after your solar system is up and running. If you have a net metering agreement with your San Rafael utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your utility bill each month. In some places, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other places you might receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.
Federal Solar Incentives
When you hear the term "solar incentives," federal incentives might be the first thing that comes to mind. The solar incentive that you're most familiar with is probably the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides a credit on your taxes equal to a certain percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC applies to the total cost of installing a solar system, including the panels themselves as well as equipment, accessories and labor. 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. From its original value of 30% of the total cost, the credit has fluctuated slightly between 26-30%, and you may qualify for varying percentages depending on when your project was completed. There is no maximum amount you can claim.
Reaching out to your local San Rafael solar panel installation expert is the best way to learn more about how the ITC could apply to you.
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. Now, solar installation projects that are completed between 2022 and 2032 can qualify for a 30% tax credit. This credit amount will then decrease slightly each year until the end of the current Clean Energy Credit in 2035. Starting in 2023, it will also be easier to obtain credits for energy storage systems under the new laws.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. To understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you, talk to your local San Rafael solar installation company.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives are often also provided at the state and local level. Similar to federal incentives, these can include tax credits, rebates and more. These incentives might be handled by the California government, or by your county or municipality. Some incentives may be available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in San Rafael
Solar incentives can be provided by your local utlity company, the California government or the federal government. The variety of available incentives has contributed to a large increase in solar energy use in the last 15 years. Contact your local solar panel installer today to learn more and to save the most money possible on solar panels for your San Rafael home.
Best Regional Coverage
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EcoWatch's San Rafael, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
If I already have a solar system installed on my house, can I still claim incentives?
If your solar system was installed after January 1, 2022, you may qualify for the recently increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. If your system was installed between 2006 and 2021, you may qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the year it was installed. Talking to the company that installed your system, or any local San Rafael solar installer, can help you learn more about what incentives you qualify for.
How much will solar panels save me annually on my electric bill in San Rafael?
After adding solar panels to your house in San Rafael, you can expect to save approximately $1,671.49 per year, or approximately $31,758.34 over 20 years.
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 reduce the strain on our planet's resources. A solar system can also lower your home's CO2 emissions by 250 pounds a year, or around 5,000 pounds over 20 years.
Can I apply for incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
The order that incentives will be applied in might vary depending on which incentives you are eligible for but typically yes, you can claim multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Check with your solar installer or a local tax professional to be sure you are claiming all possible incentives and applying them in the correct order.
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 ideas with your local San Rafael solar installation expert. They can help you plan your project and also help you understand the various incentives that 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.