California Solar Rebates and Incentives

California Solar Initiative

Program Type State Rebate Program
Technologies Solar space heat, solar thermal electric, photovoltaics
Amount Dependent on system size
Required Documentation Verification of project cost, calculation of expected system output
Official Web Site


The California Solar Initiative offers home and business owners cashe rebates when they install solar panels. The program was well funded when it was created in 2007 and it was expected to continue for nine years. However, Pacific Gas & Electric has already exhausted its rebate funds and has closed the program.

Other utilities, including Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, are still operating the rebate program, though they offer much lower rebates today than they did when the initiative started.

Getting the rebate for a photovoltaic system involves taking a few preliminary steps. First, you need an energy efficiency audit of your home in order to maximize the efficiency of what you already have. Second, find a solar installer registered with the California Energy Commission. They should apply for the incentive on your behalf. After the state informs you of approval you have a year to install or have the system installed. When that’s done, send in the paperwork and wait for the rebate to arrive.

Residential customers can also opt for the PBI, meaning you’ll get a monthly payment for five years based on how much power your system is actually generating. If you opt for the lump-sum rebate you can recoup up-front costs quicker, but you will not be paid the extra PBI incentive over the first five years. 

California also offers rebates for solar water heaters.

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