2023 Solar Incentives Guide for St Helena, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in St Helena.
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 St Helena?
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 meant to help mitigate the cost of installing solar panels on your home. This category of financial incentives is designed to encourage more people to switch their home over to renewable energy. Different types of incentives, like cash back, discounts or credit towards your monthly utility bill, might be available to you. Certain incentives may be handled by the California government, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while other incentives are federal. Types of solar incentives might include:
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs are credits that can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for money that normally counts as part of your taxable income. In most cases, you must meet a certain (small) threshold of energy production before your solar system can earn SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. Incentives like these are generally handled at the state level.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits lower, dollar-for-dollar, how much income tax you owe the government. Tax credits are different from tax deductions.
- Tax Exemptions: Your solar panel system may qualify for exemptions on both sales and property tax. Sales tax exemptions come into effect at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions let you ignore the value added by your solar panels when you are calculating property taxes on your home.
- Net Metering: You can sign a net metering agreement with your St Helena utility company that will apply to all or a percentage of the excess electricity that is generated by your solar panels. They will then subtract this value from your monthly utility bill.
- Rebates: Your solar installer might 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 come off your total price before any tax credits are calculated.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal incentives are the type of incentives that you are most likely to have heard of. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is the most commonly known federal solar incentive. The ITC provides a tax credit for a set percentage of your solar system's cost.
The ITC originally covered 30% of the total cost of installing a solar system, although that number has fluctuated slightly over the last few years between 26-30%. The percentage you qualify for will depend on when your solar system was installed. The total cost of installation 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 in the United States and owned by you.
Your local St Helena solar panel installer can provide more information about the ITC and how it might apply to your situation.
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, expanded and extended the ITC (as well as retitling it the Clean Energy Credit). Homeowners can now qualify for 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. This percentage will then decrease annually until the Clean Energy Credit ends in 2035. Beginning in 2023, it will also be easier to claim credits for energy storage systems with the new act.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. The best way to understand how the new Clean Energy Credit applies to you is to get in touch with your local St Helena solar panel installers.
State & Local Solar Incentives
In addition to those provided at the federal level, there are often also state solar incentives. Tax credits, rebates and more may be available at a more local level. Certain incentives are ongoing, while others are offered for only a limited time. These local incentives might come from the California government, or from your specific county or municipality.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in St Helena
Nationwide solar energy use has gone up significantly in the last 15 years, in part due to the growth in the number of solar incentives. You might receive these incentives from your local utility company, the California government or the federal government. If you're ready to make the change to solar energy, getting in touch with your local St Helena solar panel installation expert is a great first step.
Best Regional Coverage
- Great warranty coverage
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- Concierge service ensures steady communication
- Slightly limited service offerings
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- Some reported issues with customer service
- Customer service varies by local dealer
EcoWatch's St Helena, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
How do I learn if I qualify for solar incentives?
In most cases, solar incentives apply to:
- a new solar panel system
- installed on property you own
- within the U.S.
- within the date range specified by a particular incentive.
Specific incentives, including ones handled by the California government or by your county/municipality, sometimes have additional qualifications. Get in touch with your local St Helena solar installer to discover what incentives your project will qualify for.
I already have solar panels installed. Are there any incentives that I qualify for?
If your solar panels were installed after January 1, 2022, you may qualify for the newly increased 30% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. If you installed your system between 2006 and 2021, you may qualify for a tax credit between 26% and 30%, depending on the exact installation date. Speaking with a representative from the company that installed your solar system, or any local St Helena solar installer, can help you understand what incentives you qualify for.
What are the best solar panel installation companies near me?
To find the right solar panel installer for you, check out our guide to the top solar companies in St Helena.
I want to trade in my old appliances for ones that are more energy-efficient. Are there any benefits I can get?
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act introduces multiple incentives that 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 apply for incentives both towards the initial cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
The order in which incentives are applied might vary depending on which incentives you are eligible for but generally yes, you can claim multiple types of incentives for your solar project. Talk with your solar installer or a local tax professional to ensure you are claiming all possible incentives and applying them in the correct order.
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.