Tax credits, rebates, and other solar incentives in Los Angeles have helped helped many thousands of homeowners across the Southland go solar in recent years. If you have recently installed a solar system in your home or are considering doing so, you should make sure you take advantage of any incentives for which you qualify, even as they change or are revised. Let’s take a quick look at the main tax credits for California homeowners who go solar and how to go about pursuing them.

The Property Tax Incentive

What Is It?

Homeowners who build from the ground up are eligible for a variety of solar incentives. For instance, the LA County Office of the Assessor—as well as those in some other CA counties—will give you a one-time break of up to 100% of the value of the solar system.

How Do You Get It?

Contact your local assessor’s office before purchasing solar to see which property tax benefits are available to you. They will also tell you what paperwork to retain and submit when the time comes. Your installer should also be able to discuss this tax credit option with you.  

The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit or Investment Tax Credit

What Is It?

If you add solar to your California home, don’t forget about what can be the biggest solar tax credit of them all: The Renewable Energy Tax Credit (also known as the Investment Tax Credit, or ITC). This is the 30% off your solar system you may have heard about. If you add solar to your home, this incentive counts toward any tax liability you have for the year. You may also carry some of that benefit forward if you can’t use it all in a given year.

How Do You Get It?

For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program, which administers the tax credit. Your installer should also be able to help you navigate any forms required to secure your tax credits, with details such as system size, and the make and model of various components. For the ITC, you’ll need form 5695, which you’ll submit with your 1040 at tax time.

NOTE: The federal tax credit for installing solar is currently at 30%, but it will fall starting in 2020; you’ll need to have your system up and running before then to claim the full 30%.

The California Solar Initiative

What Is It?

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is a state-run rebate program to help the state’s homeowners go solar. There are also additional incentives available specifically for adding energy storage (batteries) to your solar system. The program has been so popular that rooftop solar system rebates for several major utility service areas, including Southern California Edison (SCE), have been exhausted.

How Do You Get It?

Homeowners in other parts of California should check to see if the CSI is still helping people in their area. Rebates are still available in municipal electric utility service areas. To check on rebates still available for your area, check here.

Beyond County and Federal Tax Credits

If you are still looking for incentive options, you should check out all the rebates, utility bill credits, and other incentives available to help you go solar. If you want a better idea of where to start looking, check out our 2017 guide to solar power incentives in Los Angeles. If you have any questions about tax credits or financing, or any other aspect of going solar, contact us. We’ve helped thousands of LA-area homeowners add rooftop solar, and we’d like to help you too.