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Talk To A Solar Expert
Solar Energy

5339 Prospect Rd., #334
San Jose, CA 95129
Toll-Free: 1.877.414.0077
Tel: 408.894.9999
Fax: 408.894.9295

Rebates & Incentives

Many financial incentives exist for customers installing solar PV systems including rebates from the California Solar Initiative, a Federal Investment Tax Credit/Grant, an accelerated depreciation schedule, and Renewable Energy Credits (REC's). Incentive programs for PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E are identical, but they otherwise vary by the local utility company serving the customer. Many local cities or counties also are implementing their own renewable energy incentive programs. Please contact us to find out more about the benefits available to you!

  • Rebates: The California Solar Initiative provides rebates to solar PV customers in accordance with the following table. The level of the rebates decreases over time as the cumulative amount of solar power installed increases. The rebate rates also vary depending on whether the customer is residential, commercial, or non-profit/government. Current levels are shown in the table below, but customers should check with their local utility company on the latest available rebate level.
AdministratorCustomer Class *Current StepInitial MW in StepUnused MW from Previous StepsRevised Total MW in StepIssued Conditional Reservation Letters (MW)MW RemainingMW Under Review
PGE Residential


41.10 1.01 42.11 13.22 28.89
Non-Residential 9 83.40



SCE Residential


32.60 1.08 33.68 21.19
12.49 0.99


77.10 23.56 100.66 53.86
46.81 2.38
CCSE (SDG&E) Residential


9.70 0.73 10.43 5.22 5.21


17.30 6.95 24.25 8.87



* The non-residential customer class includes commercial, private, government, and non-profit participants.

1. At this time, PG&E has received enough Non-Residential applications that are currently under review to meet our Step 8 and 9 capacities. New Non-Residential reservations are likely to receive Step 10 incentive rates. Please be aware that the incentive rate is not determined until a project is approved for a reservation.

EPBB Payments (per Watt)PBI Payments (per kWh)
  Step    Statewide 
  MW in Step 
  Residential  Non-ResidentialResidentialNon-Residential
  Commercial    Government/ 
1 50 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
2 70 $2.50 $2.50 $3.25 $0.39 $0.39 $0.50
3 100 $2.20 $2.20 $2.95 $0.34 $0.34 $0.46
4 130 $1.90 $1.90 $2.65 $0.26 $0.26 $0.37
5 160 $1.55 $1.55 $2.30 $0.22 $0.22 $0.32
6 190 $1.10 $1.10 $1.85 $0.15 $0.15 $0.26
7 215 $0.65 $0.65 $1.40 $0.09 $0.09 $0.19
8** 250 $0.35 $0.35 $1.10    $0.05 (a)/$0.044 (b)      $0.05 (a)/$0.044 (b)     $0.15 (a)/$0.139 (b)  
9** 285 $0.25 $0.25 $0.90    $0.03 (a)/$0.032 (b)      $0.03 (a)/$0.032 (b)      $0.12 (a)/$0.114 (b)  
10** 350 $0.20 $0.20 $0.70 $0.03 $0.03 $0.10

** Per Senate Bill 585, PBI payments have been revised to reflect a 4% discount rate which creates new PBI rates for Steps 8, 9, & 10.  Steps 8a and 9a are the original CSI Incentive rates, while 8b and 9b are revised rates.  In compliance with the Final Decision released by the California Public Utilities Commission, these new incentive rates are effective 12/2/2011.

Source: Last Updated 01/19/2012

  • Federal Tax Credit/Grant: The Federal Investment Tax Credit/Grant for commercial and business owned systems is 30% of the total solar system cost with no cap. This can equate to tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars dependent upon the solar system size. The credit can also be carried forward 15 or back three years. As of 2009 through 2010, the tax credit is also available as an outright grant.
  • MACRS 5-Year Accelerated Depreciation: Business owned systems may be eligible for the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ref: IRS form 4562) which allows for the complete depreciation of the solar system cost in just a six year period. The depreciation schedule for the system cost beginning in year 1 is: 20%, 32%, 19.2%, 11.5%, 11.5%, 5.8%.
  • Renewable Energy Credits (REC's): The owner of the solar PV system earns one Renewable Energy Credit for each 1,000 kWh of solar power produced. The REC's can then potentially be sold on the open market. The market for REC's is greatly driven by the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) which dictate the percentage of power utility companies must derive from renewable sources in a given timeframe. In California the RPS is 20% by the year 2010.
  • Local Incentives- Some local cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley have their own solar PV incentives programs which can add to the savings when installing a system. Some examples are:
    • San Francisco, CA- The city legislature passed a 10-year, $3.5M GoSolarSF program which offers incentives of up to $10,000 for businesses to install solar systems.
    • Palo Alto, CA- The city of Palo Alto has a Solar REC Purchase program that provides up to $600,000 to buy the REC's for the power produced by solar systems.
    • Santa Monica, CA- The city now waives the building permit fees for solar systems and has a Green Building Grant program which provides $20,000-35,000 for LEED certification of commercial buildings.
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