2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Vista, CA - Tax Credits & Rebates
In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Vista.
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
Why you can trust EcoWatch
What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Vista?
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 help mitigate the cost of installing a solar panel system on your home. This category of financial incentives is intended to encourage more homeowners to switch to renewable energy. Different kinds of incentives, like cash back, discounts or credit towards your monthly utility bill, might be available to you. Some incentives may be offered by the California government, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while other incentives are federal. You might qualify for any of the following types of solar incentives:
- Net Metering: Net metering becomes relevant once your solar panels are up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Vista utility company, they will subtract the value of the excess energy produced by your solar system from your monthly utility bill. In some locations, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in other areas you may be refunded a percentage of the value.
- Tax Credits: Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the amount of income tax that you owe the government. (A tax credit is different from a tax deduction.)
- Rebates: Rebates, or partial refunds after a purchase, are normally applied prior to any solar tax credits being calculated. Rebates may be offered by your local utility company, by your state or by your county.
- Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs can be sold to your utility company (or other buyers) for cash that normally counts as part of your taxable income. Typically, you must meet a certain (small) threshold of energy production before your solar system qualifies for SRECs or similar performance-based incentives. Incentives like these are typically handled by your state government.
- Tax Exemptions: Your solar panel system may qualify for both sales tax and property tax exemptions. Sales tax exemptions are effective 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.
Federal Solar Incentives
Federal incentives are the type of incentives that you are most likely to have some familiarity with. The solar incentive that you may be most familiar with is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which gives you a credit on your taxes equal to a predetermined 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, accessories, equipment and labor. This credit can apply towards solar panels installed on a primary or secondary residence in the United States that you own. 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.
Reaching out to your local Vista solar panel installer is the best way to understand how the ITC may apply to your situation.
In August 2022, the ITC (now titled the Clean Energy Credit) was bolstered by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The Clean Energy Credit re-raises the credit up to 30% for solar systems installed between 2022 and 2032. At this point, the credit percentage will decrease slightly each year until the program expires in 2035. The expansion also makes claiming credit for energy storage systems easier than ever before, starting in 2023.
Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. Your local Vista solar panel company is the best resource for answering your questions about the new Clean Energy Credit and how it applies to you.
State & Local Solar Incentives
Some solar incentives may be offered at the local or state level. Like with federal incentives, these can include rebates, tax credits and more. Incentives may be offered by your county or municipality, or by the state of California. Some incentives might only be available for a limited time, while others are ongoing.
Next Steps for Installing Solar in Vista
Solar incentives may be provided by the federal government, the California government or your local utility company. The large number of available incentives has facilitated the nationwide growth of solar energy use in the last 15 years. We recommend talking to your local Vista solar installer for more information about these incentives and to be sure that you're getting the largest number possible for your solar system.
Best Regional Coverage
- Great warranty coverage
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- Some reported issues with customer service
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EcoWatch's Vista, CA Solar Incentives FAQs
How do I know if I qualify for certain solar incentives?
Broadly, 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 those run by the California government or by your county/municipality, could have additional qualifications. Talk to your local Vista solar installer to find out what incentives your project will qualify for.
What are the top solar panel installation companies near me?
To find the right solar panel installer for you, check out our guide to Vista's top solar panel companies.
What are some environmental benefits of adding solar panels to my home?
Solar energy is renewable — by changing where you get your energy, you can help reduce the strain on our planet's resources. You can also lower the CO2 emissions from your home by 250 pounds yearly, or roughly 5,000 pounds over 20 years.
If I switch my appliances out for ones that utilize solar energy, are there credits that I can claim?
The new Inflation Reduction Act creates a variety 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 receive incentives both towards the up-front cost of solar panels, and later as reimbursement?
Yes, you can claim both tax credits and rebates towards the cost of your solar panels. Depending on precisely which incentives you are claiming, they may apply in a different order. Make sure that you talk to your solar installer or a local tax professional to confirm that you are claiming incentives correctly and that you're 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.