With 260 days of sunshine each year, San Diego’s a great place for solar power. The mild coastal weather helps, too—solar panels actually perform at their absolute best in cooler weather, rather than blazing heat. Good deals are available on solar through rebates in San Diego, and combined with a high cost of regular electricity, it’s possible to get payback on your solar panels in about 10 years. Here are the basics on solar rebates and other incentives for San Diego.
California Solar Initiative
San Diego residents can get solar rebates through the state’s Solar Initiative, which has a goal of adding 3000 megawatts of solar power by 2017. San Diego Gas & Electric is one of three investor-owned utilities that are part of the state program. In order to qualify, you’ll need to have roof or ground space that gets unobstructed sunlight from 11am to 6pm throughout the year.
Like many rebate programs, the payment amounts in the California Solar Initiative are decreasing over time to encourage early adoption. The very first homeowners to get the rebate earned $2.50 per watt, but the rebate keeps dropping as the program fills up. Now, residential rebates have reached “tier 10,” which means they’re $0.20 per watt. If you’re a homeowner in San Diego with a typical 5-kilowatt size solar system, that means you could qualify for a $1000 rebate.
If you’re considering going solar, it’s good to do it now, because there are limited rebates left. To see the most up-to-date status of the California Solar Initiative, including the current stage SDG&E has reached, check out the “Trigger Tracker” on the Go Solar California website.
Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes Program
Some San Diegans can also qualify for a rebate through the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program. This unique incentive is only available for lower-income families (you need to earn 80% or below of the median family income in San Diego), and you also need to live in a home that’s classified as affordable housing. If you qualify, you’re in luck—you may be able to get a rebate that covers the entire cost of your new solar system! The size of the solar rebate is based on your income level. Learn more at the Grid Alternatives website.
Property Tax Exemptions for Solar in San Diego
The state of California exempts solar installations from property tax. That’s great news, since the value of your home will go up by several thousand dollars when you add solar panels—if you reduce your electricity bill by about $1,000 per year, you can estimate that you’ve increased the value of your home by $20,000. All of that new value won’t be taxed.
Net Metering in San Diego
San Diego Gas & Electric offers net metering, so you can get the full retail value of the electricity you produce with your solar panels. Any extra power you produce will go into the grid, and when you need it later, you can take it from the grid at no cost. A special meter keeps track of the electricity running in both directions. It’s a great way to make it even more cost-effective to get solar power.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
Homeowners in San Diego can also take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. The credit is valued at 30% of the total system cost—for example, on a system that starts at $25,000 you can save $7,125 through the tax credit alone.
Read more about San Diego solar rebates and tax credits on our full San Diego page.