2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Santa Maria, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Santa Maria.
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 Santa Maria solar installers to see how much you can save.
Please enter a valid 5-digit zip code!
By EcoWatch Local Advisors
Data Analysis: James Savino
Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister
Updated May 04, 2023
Why you can trust EcoWatch
What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Santa Maria?
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 intended to make renewable energy usage more affordable via financial incentives to help people install solar panels on their homes. Different kinds of incentives, including discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill, might be available to you. Some incentives may be offered by the state of California, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while other incentives are federal. Categories of solar incentives include:
- Rebates: Solar companies may help you claim a rebate, or partial refund of your purchase, for your solar system. Counties or states will also sometimes offer limited-time rebates. If you receive a rebate, that amount will usually be deducted from your total price before any tax credits are calculated.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): In most cases, solar systems that produce over a threshold (generally small) amount of electricity qualify for SRECs or other performance-based incentives. SRECs and the like are typically offered at the state level. You can sell SRECs to your utility company or another buyer, and this is usually considered part of your taxable income.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits decrease, dollar-for-dollar, the total amount of tax you owe the government. Tax credits differ from tax deductions.
- Net Metering: Make sure you speak to your Santa Maria utility company about signing a net metering contract. This will allow you to get a credit towards your monthly utility bill for the value of excess energy your solar panels generate. You might receive either a dollar-for-dollar credit or a percentage of the value.
- Tax Exemptions: These can come in the form of property tax exemptions, which can let you exclude the value added by your solar panels when paying taxes on your home. You could also look for exemptions on sales tax at the time of purchase.
Federal Solar Incentives
When thinking about solar incentives, federal incentives may be the first thing that comes to mind. 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 certain percentage of the cost of your solar system.
The ITC initially applied to 30% of the cost of installing solar panels, although it has fluctuated slightly over the years between 26-30%. The installation date of your solar system will determine what percentage you qualify for. The total installation cost includes the panels themselves as well as the cost of labor, equipment and accessories. 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.
Speaking with your local Santa Maria solar panel installation expert is the best way to learn more about how the ITC could apply to you.
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, made some changes to the ITC (as well as retitling it the Clean Energy Credit). Homeowners can now receive 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. The program expansion also makes it easier to get credit for energy storage systems, starting in 2023.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. To better understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you, talk to your local Santa Maria solar installation expert.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives are often also offered at the local or state level. Like with federal incentives, these can include rebates, tax credits and more. These incentives — which might be handled by your county or municipality, or by the state of California — could be offered on an ongoing basis, or for only a limited time.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Santa Maria
Solar energy use nationwide has increased enormously in the last 15 years, in part thanks to the growth in the number of solar incentives. You might receive these incentives from the California government, the federal government or your local utility company. We suggest talking to your local Santa Maria solar installer for more information about these incentives and to ensure that you're getting the most money possible for your solar system.
Best Regional Coverage
- Great warranty coverage
- Representatives are experts on local policies
- Concierge service ensures steady communication
- Slightly limited service offerings
Best Warranty Coverage
- Industry-leading warranty coverage
- Expansive service area
- Some reported communication issues
- No leases or PPAs
EcoWatch's Santa Maria, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
Can I receive any incentives when I add solar panels to a vacation home, rental property or commercial property?
While we recommend talking to your local solar installer and/or tax professional to fully understand what solar incentives apply to you, many will apply to a second home, provided that it is in the United States and owned by you. There may be additional incentives available for commercial properties specifically, depending on the details.
Who installs solar panel systems near me?
To find the best solar panel installers near you, take a look at our article on the best solar companies in Santa Maria.
What are some environmental benefits of installing solar panels on my home?
Solar energy is renewable — by changing where you get your energy, you help lessen the strain on our planet's resources. Solar panels can also lower your home's CO2 emissions by 250 pounds annually, or around 5,000 pounds over 20 years.
I want to trade in my old appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any incentives I can apply for?
The new Inflation Reduction Act creates a number of new financial incentives to encourage you to make eco-friendly improvements to your home. More details on these incentives, including information about incentives for purchasing new appliances, can be found here.
Can I use a combination of solar and another type of renewable energy to power my home?
Yes, you can utilize multiple types of renewable energy to power your home — for example, a combination of geothermal and solar. You can also use both renewable energy sources and a non-renewable backup source of energy. You should discuss your proposed plan with your local Santa Maria solar panel installer, to get an understanding of what will be needed and what kinds of incentives 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.