Solar Rebates and Incentives

Disclosure: Any information regarding taxes, tax credits and depreciation is for your information.  HelioNation recommends that you seek the advice of a tax professional or CPA to verify whether you would be eligible to take advantage of the rebates and tax benefits provided by a solar system.

Federal Tax Incentives for Residential Solar Customers

In October 2008, Congress passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 or the “Bailout Bill”.

  1. Extended the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar through 2016.
  2. Eliminated the cap of $2000 for the tax credit, so that residential customers could benefit from a tax credit worth 30% of the cost of installing their solar electric system.  Previously, only commercial applications could receive the 30% tax credit.

State Rebates and Incentives

A HelioNation-Approved Solar Installer will inform you of your current state and local rebates.  For solar installations in San Diego, there are 2 options for rebates.

California Solar Initiative

The California Solar Initiative or CSI rebate was set up by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2007 to reach it’s goal of 3,000 megawatts of installed solar within 10 years.  The incentives started at $2.50/watt and have since been reduced 6 times to $0.65/watt for San Diego Solar customers.  At the current rebate level, the CSI rebate covers approximately 10% of the installed cost.  Most solar installers will carry this rebate for their customers, meaning homeowners will pay for the cost of their solar installations after the CSI rebate has been calculated.  The CSI rebate levels can be reviewed here.

New Solar Homes Partnership

The New Solar Homes Partnership or NSHP was designed to give increased rebates to anyone building a new home.  Currently the rebate level is $2.50/watt, which is almost 4 times the CSI rebate.  This rebate covers approximately 40% of the initial upfront cost of installing solar panels.  The guidelines were changed in 2010 to limit the rebate to the first 7.5 kW of installed solar based on the AC wattage.

Tax Incentives for Business Owners

Business owners may be able to take advantage of the 5-year Accelerated Depreciation schedule.  The tax incentives involved in this provision make the investment in a Solar Electric System even more attractive, as it reduces the amount of time that the system is paid for by another 2-3 years.

Tax Incentives for Commercial Property Owners

The Federal Investment Tax Credit still applies to commercial properties as it has before the “Bailout Bill.”  Commercial properties still receive the uncapped 30% federal tax credit.

Tax-Exempt Entities

Non-profits, certain religious organizations, most governments and others may not realize the same benefits due to their tax-exempt nature.