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What Upfront Rebates for Residential Solar Are Left Around the States?
Jul21

What Upfront Rebates for Residential Solar Are Left Around the States?

It used to be that homeowners could receive some very generous upfront rebates that could offset 30% or more of the cost of installing a solar system. But as the price of installing solar PV has dramatically dropped over the last three years, so has the upfront rebates offered by states and utilities. In addition to the wide spread decrease in rebate funding and amounts, many programs have switched from upfront payments that defer the cost of installing to performance based incentives that pay you a certain amount for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced by your solar system. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any upfront rebate programs left. In fact, there are many, but they’re just not as generous as they used to be, but then again, installed prices have significantly fallen too. (Also, keep in mind that all solar owners are eligible to receive the 30% solar investment tax credit until 2016 for even more savings and ROI!) With the above in mind, the following is a random sampling of upfront solar rebates that we found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiencies (DSIRE). The links for each program are to the updated information from the actual utility or state authority, so we assume that this information is accurate as of this writing in mid July, 2014. California Upfront Solar Rebates Most of California has exhausted the funds for the state’s California Solar Initiative (CSI) program for home solar, but the good news is that many of California’s municipal utilities are still offering some type of upfront cash rebate. City of Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley Power utility is offering $1.75/W AC for up to 10 kW. For a 5 kW system, that’s $8,750 off the price of installation. However, the amount is actively stepping down as systems go online, so the sooner you install, the higher your rebate. City of Palo Alto’s electric utility is on its last rebate step, so get it while it lasts. Its program gives solar homeowners $.80/Watt AC for solar systems as large as 30 kW. For a 5 kW average system size, that’s $4000 off the price of solar. City of Pasadena has its own Pasadena Solar Initiative (PSI) program that’s now offering an upfront residential solar rebate of $.85/Watt AC up to a 30 kW system size, which pencils out to $4250 in decreased solar install costs for a typical 5 kW home system. Los Angeles’ LADWP municipal utility is offering just $.40/Watt AC for its solar rebate, up to the average 5 kW system size. So, the maximum rebate amount is now just $2,000 and continues to...

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Californians leading the country in solar panel installations

image credit: “SMA Solar Technology AG”. In 2008, Californians installed double the capacity of solar power then the year before according to a report released today by the the California Solar Initiative (CSI). Homes and businesses installed 158 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, despite the recession there is still a strong demand for residential solar electric systems. In December 2008 a record number of Californians put in rebate reservation forms, to secure incentives for their solar electric systems. Solar energy is not only successful in California because of it’s sunny climate, but more importantly the rebates they offer. For example, even though Los Angeles has more solar irradiation then San Fransisco, SF has more solar panels installs than LA. Since SF gives out a rebate on top of the CA state rebate and federal tax credit. Incentives are driving the demand for solar panels here in California. Other states have not put together incentive programs that can match California’s rebate program, why do you think that is? With record corporate layoffs this week and the economy continuing on a downward trend, what do you think is in store for solar power in california this...

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Going solar in California makes the most financial sense.

Let’s compare two states, both with lots of sun exposure. California and Nevada both have an abundance of sunshine, then why does going solar in California make much more sense than Nevada? The financial payback period for solar energy in California is much quicker than any other states. The purpose of this post is to compare two states that have equal sun exposure and demonstrate how much state incentives available for solar energy can do reduce upfront costs for a solar energy system. Residence: Los Angeles, CA – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credits $(2,000) State Incentives $(20,086) ————————————- NET COST $17,914 Residence: Las Vegas, NV – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credits $(2,000) State Incentives $(0) ————————————- NET COST $38000 In comparison, let’s look at commercial photovoltaic systems in both states……. Commercial: Los Angeles, CA – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credit $(12,000) State Incentives $(15,782) —————————————— NET COST $17,584 Commercial: Las Vegas, NV – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credits $(12,000) State Incentives $(0) —————————————— NET COST $28000 ** All calculations assume 30 degree pitch facing south, with no shading issues. As you can see commercial solar energy systems get the largest break from the federal government. The residential sector is capped at $2,000…this federal tax credit is set to expire on December 31st, 2008….unless congress renews it. The latest I have heard about the extension is the house just passed up a bill to extend the credit, hopefully it passes through the senate this time around, although President Bush has already threatened to veto it if the extension of the tax credit for renewable energy comes up to his...

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