California Renewable Energy Programs

Posted by on Apr 20, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

California Renewable Energy Programs

California, with its abundant natural resources, has a long history of support for renewable energy.

California Solar Initiative

California Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) was signed into law in 2006 and provides $2.1 billion to be used over 10 years for incentives to build commercial and residential solar systems in a program called the California Solar Initiative (CSI). Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO) will be the administering entities for these incentives, and beginning January 1st, 2007 the CSI will pay performance-based incentives and estimated performance-based incentives for new solar installations.

Residential/ Small Commercial Incentives

For systems less then 100kW AC in size, the state will pay an upfront, one time payment on the system’s expected performance known as Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB). This is based on various factors such as location, tilt, azimuth and shading. The efficiency percentage of your system is used to calculate your rebate, our systems have the highest efficiency percentage in the industry, which directly conveys to dollars in your pocket.

Commercial Incentives

For systems over 100kW AC up to 1 Megawatt in size are eligible for the actual performance of the system over a 5 year period. The commercial system owner will receive monthly payments based on the number of kWh produced and what part of the rebate they were locked into. These rates are designed to decline over time, so please contact a California Solar Systems solar sales consultant as soon as possible to make sure you qualify for the highest rebate possible.

Added Incentives by Area (in addition to the rebates)

Here are some incentives that are in addition to your local utility rebates and the 30% Federal Tax Credit that you may not be aware of that could be available in your area.

Cities – (links below are to external websites)

Anaheim - Permit Fee Waiver for Energy Efficiency

Azusa - Over Production Payback

Fullerton - Green Building Fee Waiver

Long Beach - Residential Solar Water Heating Rebate Program

Palo Alto Utilities - Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Program

San Bernardino County - Green Building Incentive

San Diego - Green Building Program

Santa Monica - Building Permit Fee Waiver and Expedited Permitting for Green Buildings

Sonoma County - Energy Independence Program (SCEIP)


California - Feed-In Tariff

California - Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems

California - Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (addition to CSI Thermal – see below)

California Solar Initiative - Solar Water Heating Rebate Program

California Energy Commission - New Solar Homes Partnership


The CPUC’s California Solar Initiative (CPUC ruling – R.04-03-017) moved the consumer renewable energy rebate program for existing homes from the Energy Commission to the utility companies under the direction of the CPUC. This incentive program also provides cash back for solar energy systems of less than one megawatt to existing and new commercial, industrial, government, nonprofit, and agricultural properties. The CSI has a budget of $2 billion over 10 years, and the goal is to reach 1,940 MW of installed solar capacity by 2016.

The Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership, a $400 million program, offers incentives to encourage solar installations, with high levels of energy efficiency, in the residential new construction market for investor-owned electric utility service areas. The goal of the NSHP is to install 400 MW of capacity by 2016.