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Solar Incentives

Solar Panels

There are many programs and resources to help individuals and businesses go solar, including a federal tax credit and many financing options. And remember, the less energy a house uses, the less solar equipment is needed.

  • The Bay Area SunShares program is now open for registration. SunShares is a renewable energy program that makes it easier and more affordable for Bay Area residents to go solar or purchase an electric vehicle (EV). SunShares offers a 15% discount on solar installation from vetted solar providers and a generous discount on select EVs. Plus, you can still take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit. 

  • Looking to install solar panels? EnergySage connects consumers with multiple solar energy quotes and financing options from multiple contractors through an easy-to-read web platform. These options enable consumers to choose the right solar option for them. Just enter your zip code to get started! Visit the EnergySage website.

  • Go Solar California is a one-stop shop for solar programs, rebates, tax credits, and information on installing and interconnecting solar electric and solar thermal systems.

  • MCE electricity customers can learn more about MCE's generous net energy metering program for rooftop solar.

  • MCE electricity customers interested in installing renewable energy systems can take advantage of MCE's Feed-In Tariff program, which offers a standard 20-year contract and a fixed price per kWh generated.

  • PACE Financing allows property owners to finance energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy, and electric vehicle infrastructure upgrades to their property by repaying the cost of the improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. Some lenders may require the PACE assessment to be repaid before refinancing or selling your home. There are many options for financing solar, including home equity loans and PPA agreements, so consider what is best for you.

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit

In December 2016, Congress approved extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit. The tax credits have different expiration dates and values by year for residential and commercial projects. Starting in 2019, they are set at 26% and step down over several years. For more information about tax credits, see the Financing page.

Comparison of Solar Financing Options

 

Payment Option

 

Direct Payment

 

Loan (PACE and Green Loan)

 

Lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

 

Advantages

 

Least expensive option

Claim a federal tax credit

No monthly payment

Does not impact your credit score

Own the solar system

 

Most available option for homeowners

Low upfront investment, sometimes no down payment

Own the solar system

 

Low monthly fees

No down payment or low upfront investment

Often includes maintenance and guarantee agreement

Pay for solar monthly, at a rate potentially lower than your current utility

 Disadvantages  

Significant upfront cost

 

Homeowner must have good credit and/or enough equity in home to finance system

 

Do not own system

PPA-specific requirements

20-year payment on system

Restrictions on roof modifications