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The 4 Best California Solar Incentives

California solar incentives can save you tons of money. Learn more about how to save money on solar panels with this guide.
Solar Panels
6 minutes
Written by:
Joey Cheek
Updated on:
February 5, 2023

California offers financial incentives to residents and businesses that switch to solar power. Installing solar panels is an excellent option for many people because it helps them save money on energy costs and is suitable for the environment. However, that assumes you can afford the system. It's less of a hassle than you might think, thanks to these solar incentives in California. 

Take the SmartSolar Quiz to find the solar panel solution that’s right for your home.  

What Are Solar Incentives?

An entire year's worth of the world's energy needs can be met by the sunlight that hits the earth's surface in just over an hour and a half. Photovoltaic (PV) panels and mirrors that concentrate solar radiation are two examples of solar technologies that accomplish this. This power can be used to charge batteries or heat water, or it can be used to power electrical generators.

Putting in a 6 kilowatt (kW) monocrystalline solar panel system will cost the typical California homeowner about $16,860. Some solar panels may cost less, but the average cost of installing solar panels in California is between $14,460 and $19,260. However, going solar at home can save you a lot of money in the long run. Homeowners who install renewable energy systems are eligible for various rebates and tax credits from local, state, and federal governments. Local, state, and federal rebates are available for those who install systems that meet specific criteria.

Solar Incentives in California To Help You Save Money

If you're worried about the high price of solar panels, you can lower that price by taking advantage of available solar incentives. The cost of having solar panels installed on your home can be reduced by taking advantage of available incentives, which can take the form of any discount or program that helps to offset those costs. Numerous cost-cutting measures exist in California, where solar power is widely available. Find the best solar rebates in California right here. The county and city levels may also have resources you can take advantage of. The power company in your area may even have suggestions to help you cut costs.

1. Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act is a federal tax credit that many homeowners in California could qualify for, helping to reduce the cost of solar panels significantly. As a tax credit, this reduces how much you owe the federal government each year on income taxes dollar-by-dollar. 

Depending on the year you install a solar panel system, you could save as much as 30%. Here's how it works. You install a qualifying solar panel system. Then, you can take a tax credit of up to 30% of the total cost of the solar panel system. That will include costs associated with the equipment purchase, installation costs, and other factors. 

You can only take the tax credit for what you owe that year. Outside of this, there is no limit to how much money you can use to reduce your federal taxes.

2. Self-Generation Incentive Program

The Self-Generation Incentive Program is one of the many options for reducing the cost of installing solar panels in their homes. This is a rebate. It can be used to support existing and new energy resources. There are requirements that you must meet to qualify for this rebate.

This program enables you to receive a rehab of between $150 and $1,000 per kWh of battery storage. If your solar system qualifies, this is an excellent way to reduce the amount of money you spend installing a solar panel system.

3. Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program

The Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program allows those with low-income qualifications to obtain cash incentives for the solar power system they have installed. It is available for those who receive electricity through PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E. 

There are several qualifications you need to meet. However, for many people, using this tool can help reduce the overall cost of installing solar panels.

4. Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

Adding solar panels to their homes can lead to higher property taxes for many people. That is because solar panels can increase the value of the house. As the value of your home goes up, so does the overall cost of taxes levied on your property. The Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion is one tool to help you to avoid this higher cost.

In short, when you add a solar panel system, your taxes will not go up initially. As long as your property meets the qualifications under the program, your taxes do not go up just because of the solar panel system. Remember that property taxes will stay the same over time.

The Benefits of Solar Panels in California

Investing in solar panels in California offers many benefits. These incentives for California homes are just a few reasons to invest. Over the last decade, solar prices have fallen significantly, making investing in solar more affordable than ever.

Top Benefits of Solar Panels:

  • Solar panels add value to your home. Many consumers seek out solar panels when considering the options available in the housing market. With a solar panel system, your home could be worth more and more desirable.
  • You will see a reduction in the amount of energy you need to use from the utility company. This can be significant savings for many homes, even eliminating how much you pay for solar. 
  • You can sell the utility company your excess power through net metering. Though laws continue to change here, many people can reduce their electric bills by sending extra energy to the electric company.

In addition to all these benefits, turning to solar power can help you do your part to reduce carbon emissions. As long as solar panels are recycled properly and made sustainably, they can be one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact.

How to Determine How Much Solar Will Cost You

California solar incentives can help to save you money, but you still want to know how much it could cost you. There are some excellent ways to determine this.

The following factors play a role in the cost of a solar panel system in California:

  • The size of the solar panel system you install
  • The type of solar panels, including the overall energy efficiency of solar panels
  • The complexity of your roof if you plan to install a rooftop solar panel system
  • Who you buy from – companies charge different rates, and that can impact how much you pay for coverage
  • How you buy them – you can finance them to reduce initial costs, but you'll pay more in interest over time

To help you determine how much solar panels will cost you, turn to our team at SmartSolar. You can learn more about how solar can improve your home's energy needs and boost your bottom line. When you reach out to us, you'll know more about how solar could work for your home.

Joey Cheek

How to Get Started with Solar Energy

Converting to solar power makes economic sense in the Golden State. Depending on where you live, the sun's yearly radiation could make it more straightforward than you think to convert your home to solar energy. Important here is to put money into solar power systems planned precisely to maximize output. We can assist you in this matter. 

Take the SmartSolar Quiz to find the solar panel solution that’s right for your home.

Join the thousands of satisfied customers who have cut their energy bills by up to 90%. Switch to solar today!
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Meet the author:

Joey Cheek

Joey Cheek spent 10 years on the US National Speedskating Team where he competed in two Olympic Games, winning gold, silver, and bronze medals. He attended Princeton before diving into the startup and tech world. In 2011 he launched a livestreaming platform for sports before leading a team of engineers building next-gen news and content apps for Fortune 100 companies. He is the CEO and co-founder of, whose mission is to move the earth to cheap, abundant, carbon-free energy.

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