2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Saratoga, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Saratoga.
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 Saratoga?
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
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 designed to mitigate the cost of installing solar panels on your home. This category of financial incentives is in place to encourage more people to convert their home partially or fully to renewable energy. Incentives may include things like discounts, cash back or credit towards your monthly utility bill. Some incentives are offered by the federal government, while others are handled by the state of California 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. This allows you to exclude the value added by your solar system when calculating property tax for your home.
- Tax Credits: These credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions (not deductions) in how much in taxes you owe the federal government.
- Rebates: A solar 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 state or your county. The cash back that you get from the rebates is normally applied before calculating tax credits.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar performance-based incentives are usually handled at the state level. Once your solar panel system meets a predetermined threshold (usually a small amount of energy production), you can receive SRECs that can be sold to your utility company or other buyers. The money you make from the sale is usually considered part of your taxable income.
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar system is up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Saratoga utility company, they will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your utility bill each month. In some places, this credit is dollar-for-dollar, while in others you may receive a refund equivalent to a percentage of the value.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal solar incentives are likely to be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about solar incentives. The solar incentive that you're most likely to have heard of is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides a credit on your taxes equal to a percentage of the cost of your solar system.
The ITC covers solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 and allows you to deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, equipment, accessories and labor. This credit can apply towards solar panels installed on a primary or secondary residence that you own in the United States. The original claim amount was 30% of the total cost, although certain projects may qualify for only 26%, depending on the details. There is no maximum claim amount.
Wondering how the ITC applies to your specific situation? Contact your local Saratoga solar panel installer to get more information.
In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act laid out new provisions for the ITC, now dubbed the Clean Energy Credit. Under the new program, solar installation projects begun after January 1, 2022 and finished by December 31, 2032 may be eligible for a 30% tax credit. The amount of the credit will then decrease slightly each year until the current Clean Energy Credit expires in 2035. Starting in 2023, the expansion will also make it easier to get credit for energy storage systems.
More information about the new Inflation Reduction Act can be found here. The best way to learn more about how the new Clean Energy Credit might apply to you is to talk with your local Saratoga solar panel installation expert.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives are often also offered at the local or state level. Similar to federal incentives, these can include rebates, tax credits and more. These incentives may be handled by your county or municipality, or by the California government. Some are ongoing, while others are available for a limited time.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Saratoga
Nationwide solar energy use has increased enormously in the last 15 years, in part thanks to the increase in availability of solar incentives. You might receive these incentives from your local utility company, the federal government or the California government. It is a good idea to talk to your local Saratoga solar installation company to learn more about these incentives and to make sure that you're getting all of the money you can for your solar panels.
Best Regional Coverage
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EcoWatch's Saratoga, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
How much can I save on my electric bill annually if I install solar panels on my house in Saratoga?
Typically, homeowners in Saratoga who install solar panels save around $1,691.78 per year, or around $32,143.87 over 20 years after they make the switch.
What are some of the environmental benefits of switching to solar?
Solar energy is a renewable energy source — by changing 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 yearly, or around 5,000 pounds in 20 years.
When does the federal solar tax credit end?
The federal solar tax credit, formerly called the ITC and now titled the Clean Energy Credit, is set to end on January 1, 2035. The current 30% credit will end in 2032, replaced by a 26% credit in 2033 and a 22% credit in 2034.
Can I apply for incentives both towards the initial cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can claim both rebates and tax credits towards the cost of your solar panels. Depending on precisely which incentives you are receiving, they may apply in a different order. Be sure to talk to your solar installer or a local tax professional to ensure that you are claiming the correct incentives and getting the most money you can.
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.