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California Solar Incentives

Live in another state? See all our Solar Incentives by State

Californians have been long time advocates for solar power. So much so, California has become the nation’s pioneer and leader when it comes to “going solar”. Other states look to California to see the trail that’s been blazed with their California Solar Initiative, a statewide rebate program that's now over.

Nonetheless, all Californians can take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit, which will allow you to recoup 30% of your equipment AND installation costs for an unlimited amount.

There may still be other local rebates from your city, county, or utility. Check below!

California Solar PV Rebates & Incentives

Data from DSIRE. Last updated: 12/11/2016

NameAdministratorBudgetLast UpdatedEnd DateDSIRE ID
Summary
Glendale Water and Power - Solar Solutions ProgramGlendale Water and Power$1.55 for FY 2015-201607/01/1512/11/1623

The Solar Solutions program provides all customer groups with an incentive to install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their homes and buildings. Rebate levels will decrease over time on an annual basis. The rebate levels for future program years can be seen at the website listed above. Systems must be sized to produce no more than 100% of the customer’s past 12 months kWh consumption.

Silicon Valley Power - Solar Electric Buy Down ProgramSilicon Valley Power11/03/1612/11/16120

Silicon Valley Power (SVP) offers incentives for the installation of new grid-connected solar electric (photovoltaic, or PV) systems. Incentive levels will step down over the life of the program as certain installed capacity goals are met. As of October 2016, residential SVP customers are eligible for a rebate of $1.25 per watt AC up to $12,500 (10 kilowatts). Commercial SVP customers are eligible for a rebate of $0.65 per watt AC for systems up to 50 kilowatts (kW). Commercial systems greater than 50 kW but smaller than 1 megawatt (MW) are eligible for a performance based incentive of $0.09 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Performance based incentives are paid to the customer quarterly for a period of five years. Please refer to program web site for current incentive rates.

Customers must have received an energy audit by SVP or other approved entity within the last two years to identify all other energy efficiency opportunities in addition to PV.

Riverside Public Utilities - Residential PV Incentive ProgramRiverside Public Utilities06/17/1512/11/16135
Note: Riverside Public Utilities began accepting reservation appointments for Program year 2015 - 2016 on May 18th. Systems must be installed after July 1, 2015 to qualify. The program will remain open until funding for the year has been exhausted. 
 
The Residential Photovoltaic (PV) System rebate program provides incentives to Riverside Public Utilities customers who purchase and install qualifying photovoltaic systems on their homes. For Fiscal Year 2015-2016, the rebate amount is $0.50 per watt AC and cannot exceed 50% of the total system cost

 

Burbank Water and Power - Residential and Commercial Solar Support ProgramBurbank Water & Power06/29/1512/31/16166

Burbank Water and Power (BWP) is accepting applications for its Fiscal Year 2015-2016 photovoltaic (PV) rebates from July 1, 2015 to August 14, 2015. Winners will be determined through a lottery on August 19, 2015. See website above for more information.  

Burbank Water and Power (BWP) offers customers an up-front capacity-based rebate for photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 30 kW. These incentives decline over time as defined capacity goals are met, eventually declining to zero by the end of 2016. The program may change at any time to address market conditions. See website above for complete details.

Click here to read about BWP's rebates for residential solar water heaters.

SMUD - PV Residential Retrofit Buy-DownSacramento Municipal Utility District05/24/1612/11/16314

SMUD offers an incentive of $500 to residential customers who install grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems. All systems must be permitted and installed by B, C-10, or C-46 contractors. The incentive will be adjusted based on expected system performance, which is affected by factors such as inverter efficiency, orientation, tilt and shading. An incentive calculator can be accessed at https://smud.powerclerk.com/.

The incentive can be paid directly to the customer or the installer. PV equipment listed on the CEC Approved Equipment list is eligible for incentives: http://www.gosolarcalifornia.org/equipment/pv_modules.php and http://www.gosolarcalifornia.org/equipment/inverters.php.

Visit the program web site for more details. 

Ukiah Utilities - PV Buydown ProgramCity of Ukiah11/03/1612/11/16344

Through Ukiah Utilities’ PV Buydown Program, residential and commercial customers are eligible for a $0.28-per-watt AC rebate on qualifying grid-connected PV systems up to a maximum system size of 1 MW. In keeping with SB1, the incentive level will decrease annually on July 1 over the 10 year life of the program. Rebates are available on a first come, first served basis and are limited to $7,000 per residential installation and $25,000 per commercial installation.

IID Energy - PV Solutions Rebate ProgramImperial Irrigation District06/03/1512/11/16358

IID accepted applications for the 2015 PV Solutions Program from Jan. 3, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2015. Winners were determined via lottery. The program is now closed for the remainder of 2015, but another funding round is expected in 2016. 

Through the PV Solutions Rebate Program, Imperial Irrigation District (IID) provides rebates to its residential and commercial customers who install grid-tied photovoltaic systems. Systems less than 30 kilowatts (kW) can receive an upfront incentive based on the expected performance of the system. For 2015 the expected performance based incentive is $0.50 per watt, but may be reduced based on expected performance. 

Systems 30 kW or larger will receive a performance based incentive. System owners will receive payments over a 5 year period based on the actual output of their system. The performance based incentive for systems installed in 2015 is $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Systems up to 1 megawatt (MW) can participate in the program, but commercial systems over 300 kW and government/non-profit systems over 400 kW will receive a prorated incentive. These payments will be prorated based on the ratio of 300 kW or 400 kW to the size of the site. For example, an 800 kW system owned by a non-profit will receive a payments based on half of the system's output. Incentive payments are capped at $550,000 for the 5-year period ($110,000/year).

LADWP - Solar Incentive ProgramLos Angeles Department of Water & Power$30 million per year05/04/1612/31/17501

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's (LADWP) Solar Incentive Program began in 2000, with a funding level of $150 million. The California Solar Initiative, created in 2007 upon the enactment of SB 1, established new guidelines for municipal utilities to follow, and established new funding levels. The LADWP Board of Commissioners approved the Solar Incentive Program Guideline Revisions on September 4, 2007, to comply with SB1. The revised program was suspended in early 2011, but was revised and relaunched on September 1, 2011.

The Solar Incentive Program has 10 phases with declining incentive levels as certain installed megawatt (MW) targets are met. There are separate goals for residential and non-residential participants, and the incentive levels for each will decline irrespective of the other. All incentives are adjusted for expected performance. Systems may be eligible for bonus incentives if they utilize equipment manufactured in LA or if the systems is building-integrated PV.

LADWP’s 10-year, $313 million Revised Solar Photovoltaic Rebate Program began in 2007 and will remain in effect through December 31, 2017, or until the total installed MW goal has been reached.

City of Palo Alto Utilities - PV PartnersCity of Palo Alto Utilities$1.3 million per program year for 10 years. If all of the funds are reserved in a given program year, the rebate level drops to the next program year, and the program stays open.03/11/1612/11/16502

Note: Funds for residential and large commercial rebates have been fully reserved. Rebates are no longer available for residential systems or large commercial systems. 

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) PV Partners Program offers incentives to customers that install qualifying PV systems. The program, which has a budget of approximately $13 million over 10 years, is divided into 10 steps (residential incentives have 12 steps), each funded at $1.3 million. 

Incentive levels as of 3/11/2016 are described below. For current levels, consult the program web site above.

  • Small/Medium Commercial (Rate E-2, E-4) <30 kW: $1.20/watt AC
  • Small/Medium Commercial (Rate E-2, E-4) 30 kW and greater: PBI $0.15/kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 60 months



Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy SystemsCalifornia State Board of Equalization05/25/1612/31/24558

Section 73 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code allows a property tax exclusion for certain types of solar energy systems installed between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2016. This section was amended by AB 1451 in September 2008 to include the construction of an active solar energy system incorporated by an owner-builder in the initial construction of a new building that the owner-builder does not intend to occupy or use. This only applies if the owner-builder did not already receive an exclusion for the same active solar energy system and only if the initial purchaser purchased the new building prior to that building becoming subject to reassessment to the owner-builder. ABX1-15 of 2011 clarified that systems installed through sale-leaseback arrangements or partnership flip structures can benefit from this exclusion. Click here and here for Letters to Assessors from the State Board of Equalization that further explain the impact of ABX1-15.   


Qualifying active solar energy systems are defined as those that "are thermally isolated from living space or any other area where the energy is used, to provide for the collection, storage, or distribution of solar energy." These include solar space conditioning systems, solar water heating systems, active solar energy systems, solar process heating systems, photovoltaic (PV) systems, and solar thermal electric systems, and solar mechanical energy. Solar pool heating systems and solar hot-tub-heating systems are not eligible.

Components included under the exclusion include storage devices, power conditioning equipment, transfer equipment, and parts. Pipes and ducts that are used to carry both solar energy and energy derived from other sources qualify for the exemption only to the extent of 75% of their full cash value. Likewise, dual-use equipment for solar-electric systems qualifies for the exclusion only to the extent of 75% of its value.

System owners should contact the applicable county assessor's office for further information. Click here for a listing of County Assessor offices in California, and here for a December 2008 letter to the assessor that further clarifies the terms of the exclusion.

Pasadena Water and Power - Solar Power Installation RebatePasadena Water and Power05/15/1512/11/16569

Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) offers its electric customers a rebate for photovoltaic (PV) installations, with a goal of helping to fund the installation of 14 megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2017. The rebate amount varies depending on the customer class installing the system and the system's size. Systems up to 30 kilowatts (kW) are eligible for the Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) or can opt for the performance based incentive (PBI). The EPBB provides a one-time lump sum payment after installation and inspection approval based on the system's estimated AC energy output. The energy output is estimated using the California Energy Commission's Clean Power Estimator, which accounts for installation factors such as current and future shading and system orientation. The PBI awards payments based on the actual metered electricity production of the system during its first five years. Larger systems, over 30 kW and up to 1,000 kW, are only eligible for the PBI.

As required by the California Solar Initiative, the PBI and EPBB incentive levels will step down annually over the 10-year life of this program. 

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)U.S. Internal Revenue Service12/21/1512/11/16658

Note: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed in December 2015, included several amendments to this credit which apply to solar technologies and PTC-eligible technologies. Notably, the expiration date for these technologies was extended, with a gradual step down of the credits between 2019 and 2022.  

The federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been amended a number of times, most recently in December 2015. The table below shows the value of the investment tax credit for each technology by year.  The expiration date for solar technologies and wind is based on when construction begins. For all other technologies, the expiration date is based on when the system is placed in service (fully installed and being used for its intended purpose).  

Technology 12/31/16 12/31/17 12/31/18 12/31/19 12/31/20 12/31/21 12/31/22 Future Years
PV, Solar Water Heating, Solar Space Heating/Cooling, Solar Process Heat 30% 30% 30% 30% 26% 22% 10% 10%
Hybrid Solar Lighting, Fuel Cells, Small Wind 30% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Geothermal Heat Pumps, Microtubines, Combine Heat and Power Systems 10% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Geothermal Electric 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Large Wind 30% 24% 18% 12% N/A N/A N/A N/A


  • Solar Technologies. Eligible solar energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Hybrid solar lighting systems, which use solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight, are eligible. Passive solar systems and solar pool-heating systems are not eligible.

  • Fuel Cells. The credit is equal to 30% of expenditures, with no maximum credit. However, the credit for fuel cells is capped at $1,500 per 0.5 kilowatt (kW) of capacity. Eligible property includes fuel cells with a minimum capacity of 0.5 kW that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 30% or higher. 

  • Small Wind Turbines. The credit is equal to 30% of expenditures, with no maximum credit for small wind turbines placed in service after December 31, 2008. Eligible small wind property includes wind turbines up to 100 kW in capacity. (In general, the maximum credit is $4,000 for eligible property placed in service after October 3, 2008, and before January 1, 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 removed the $4,000 maximum credit limit for small wind turbines.) Small wind turbines must meet the performance and quality standards set forth by either the American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009 (AWEA), or the International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-1, 61400-12, and 61400-11 (IEC)
  • Geothermal Systems. The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum credit limit stated. Eligible geothermal energy property includes geothermal heat pumps and equipment used to produce, distribute or use energy derived from a geothermal deposit. For electricity produced by geothermal power, equipment qualifies only up to, but not including, the electric transmission stage. For geothermal heat pumps, this credit applies to eligible property placed in service after October 3, 2008. Note that the credit for geothermal property, with the exception of geothermal heat pumps, has no stated expiration date.


  • Microturbines. The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum credit limit stated (explicitly). The credit for microturbines is capped at $200 per kW of capacity. Eligible property includes microturbines up to two megawatts (MW) in capacity that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 26% or higher.

  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum limit stated. Eligible CHP property generally includes systems up to 50 MW in capacity that exceed 60% energy efficiency, subject to certain limitations and reductions for large systems. See the note at the bottom of this page for more details. The efficiency requirement does not apply to CHP systems that use biomass for at least 90% of the system's energy source, but the credit may be reduced for less-efficient systems. This credit applies to eligible property placed in service after October 3, 2008.

  • Production Tax Credit-Eligible Technologies. Technologies that are eligible for the Production Tax Credit (PTC) were eligible to opt for the ITC in lieu of the PTC if construction commenced prior to January 1, 2015. As of January 1, 2015, only wind energy systems are eligible to claim the ITC in lieu of the PTC.  

In general, the original use of the equipment must begin with the taxpayer, or the system must be constructed by the taxpayer. The equipment must also meet any performance and quality standards in effect at the time the equipment is acquired. The energy property must be operational in the year in which the credit is first taken.

Significantly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 repealed a previous restriction on the use of the credit for eligible projects also supported by "subsidized energy financing." For projects placed in service after December 31, 2008, this limitation no longer applies. Businesses that receive other incentives are advised to consult with a tax professional regarding how to calculate this federal tax credit.


* Combined heat and power systems can only receive the full credit if the system has an electrical capacity of 15 MW or less, and a mechanical energy capacity of of 20,000 horsepower or less, or an equivalent combination of electrical and mechanical energy capacities. Larger combined heat and power systems (up to a maximum of 50 MW and 67,000 horsepower) can qualify for a reduced tax credit equal to the ratio between the actual system capacity and 15 MW.  For example, a 45 MW system can qualify for a tax credit worth 15/45 of the otherwise allowable credit. 

History

The federal business energy investment tax credit available under 26 USC § 48 was expanded significantly by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424), enacted in October 2008. This law extended the duration -- by eight years -- of the existing credits for solar energy, fuel cells and microturbines; increased the credit amount for fuel cells; established new credits for small wind-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems; allowed utilities to use the credits; and allowed taxpayers to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax (AMT), subject to certain limitations. The credit was further expanded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted in February 2009. The credit was most recently amended by The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015, which extended the expiration date, but also introduced a step-down in the value of the credit for solar technologies and PTC-eligible wind. 


Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Personal)U.S. Internal Revenue Service05/26/1612/11/16666

According to Section 136 of the U.S. Code, energy conservation subsidies provided (directly or indirectly) to customers by public utilities* are non-taxable. This exclusion does not apply to electricity-generating systems registered as "qualifying facilities" under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). If a taxpayer claims federal tax credits or deductions for the energy conservation property, the investment basis for the purpose of claiming the deduction or tax credit must be reduced by the value of the energy conservation subsidy (i.e., a taxpayer may not claim a tax credit for an expense that the taxpayer ultimately did not pay).

The term "energy conservation measure" includes installations or modifications primarily designed to reduce consumption of electricity or natural gas, or to improve the management of energy demand. Eligible dwelling units include houses, apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, boats and similar properties. If a building or structure contains both dwelling units and other units, any subsidy must be properly allocated.

The definition of "energy conservation measure" implies that utility rebates for residential solar-thermal projects and photovoltaic (PV) systems may be non-taxable. However, the IRS has not ruled definitively on this issue. Taxpayers considering using this provision for a renewable energy system should discuss the details of the project with a tax professional. Other types of utility subsidies that may come in the form of credits or reduced rates might also be non-taxable, according to IRS Publication 525.


* The term "public utility" is defined as an entity "engaged in the sale of electricity or natural gas to residential, commercial, or industrial customers for use by such customers." The term includes federal, state and local government entities.

Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS)U.S. Internal Revenue Service01/11/1612/11/16676

Note: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed in December 2015, extended the "placed in service" deadline for bonus depreciation. Equipment placed in service before January 1, 2018 can qualify for 50% bonus depreciation. Equipment placed in service during 2018 can qualify for 40% bonus depreciation. And equipment placed in service during 2019 can qualify for 30% bonus depreciation. 

Under the federal Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS), businesses may recover investments in certain property through depreciation deductions. The MACRS establishes a set of class lives for various types of property, ranging from three to 50 years, over which the property may be depreciated. A number of renewable energy technologies are classified as five-year property (26 USC § 168(e)(3)(B)(vi)) under the MACRS, which refers to 26 USC § 48(a)(3)(A), often known as the energy investment tax credit or ITC to define eligible property. Such property currently includes*:

  • a variety of solar-electric and solar-thermal technologies
  • fuel cells and microturbines
  • geothermal electric
  • direct-use geothermal and geothermal heat pumps
  • small wind (100 kW or less)
  • combined heat and power (CHP)
  • the provision which defines ITC technologies as eligible also adds the general term "wind" as an eligible technology, extending the five-year schedule to large wind facilities as well.

In addition, for certain other types of renewable energy property, such as biomass or marine and hydrokinetic property, the MACRS property class life is seven years. Eligible biomass property generally includes assets used in the conversion of biomass to heat or to a solid, liquid or gaseous fuel, and to equipment and structures used to receive, handle, collect and process biomass in a waterwall, combustion system, or refuse-derived fuel system to create hot water, gas, steam and electricity. Marine and hydrokinetic property includes facilities that utilize waves, tides, currents, free-flowing water, or differentials in ocean temperature to generate energy. It does not include traditional hydropower that uses dams, diversionary structures, or impoundments.

The 5-year schedule for most types of solar, geothermal, and wind property has been in place since 1986. The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) classified fuel cells, microturbines and solar hybrid lighting technologies as five-year property as well by adding them to § 48(a)(3)(A). This section was further expanded in October 2008 by the addition of geothermal heat pumps, combined heat and power, and small wind under The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.

Bonus Depreciation

The federal Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, enacted in February 2008, included a 50% first-year bonus depreciation (26 USC § 168(k)) provision for eligible renewable-energy systems acquired and placed in service in 2008. The allowance for bonus depreciation has since been extended and modified several times since the original enactment, most recently in December 2015 by the Consolidated Appropriations Act Of 2015 . Equipment placed in service before January 1, 2018 can qualify for 50% bonus depreciation. Equipment placed in service during 2018 can qualify for 40% bonus depreciation. And equipment placed in service during 2019 can qualify for 30% bonus depreciation. 

Bonus Depreciation History

The 50% first-year bonus depreciation provision enacted in 2008 was extended (retroactively for the entire 2009 tax year) under the same terms by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), enacted in February 2009. It was renewed again in September 2010 (retroactively for the entire 2010 tax year) by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297). In December 2010 the provision for bonus depreciation was amended and extended yet again by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853). Under these amendments, eligible property placed in service after September 8, 2010 and before January 1, 2012 was permitted to qualify for 100% first-year bonus depreciation. The December 2010 amendments also permitted bonus depreciation to be claimed for property placed in service during 2012, but reverted the allowable amount from 100% to 50% of the eligible basis. The 50% first-year bonus depreciation allowance was further extended for property placed in service during 2013 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8, Sec. 331) in January 2013. The Tax Increase Prevention Act Of 2014 (H.R. 5771, Sec. 125)extended  these provisions through to December 31, 2014, and thus retroactively for the 2014 tax year.

For more information on the federal MACRS, see IRS Publication 946, IRS Form 4562: Depreciation and Amortization, and Instructions for Form 4562. The IRS web site provides a search mechanism for forms and publications. Enter the relevant form, publication name or number, and click "GO" to receive the requested form or publication. For guidance on bonus depreciation, including information relating to the election to claim either 50% or 100% bonus depreciation, retroactive elections to claim 50% bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2010, and eligible property, please see IRS Rev. Proc. 2011-26.


*Note that the definitions of eligible technologies included in this entry are somewhat simplified versions of those contained in tax code, which often contain additional caveats, restrictions, and modifications. Those interested in this incentive should review the relevant sections of the code in detail prior to making business decisions.

Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Corporate)U.S. Internal Revenue Service05/26/1612/11/16727

According to Section 136 of the U.S. Code, energy conservation subsidies provided (directly or indirectly) to customers by public utilities* are non-taxable. This exclusion does not apply to electricity-generating systems registered as "qualifying facilities" under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). If a taxpayer claims federal tax credits or deductions for the energy conservation property, the investment basis for the purpose of claiming the deduction or tax credit must be reduced by the value of the energy conservation subsidy (i.e., a taxpayer may not claim a tax credit for an expense that the taxpayer ultimately did not pay).

The term "energy conservation measure" includes installations or modifications primarily designed to reduce consumption of electricity or natural gas, or to improve the management of energy demand. Eligible dwelling units include houses, apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, boats and similar properties. If a building or structure contains both dwelling units and other units, any subsidy must be properly allocated.

The definition of "energy conservation measure" implies that utility rebates for residential solar-thermal projects and photovoltaic (PV) systems may be non-taxable. However, the IRS has not ruled definitively on this issue. Taxpayers considering using this provision for a renewable energy system should discuss the details of the project with a tax professional. Other types of utility subsidies that may come in the form of credits or reduced rates might also be non-taxable, according to IRS Publication 525. 


* The term "public utility" is defined as an entity "engaged in the sale of electricity or natural gas to residential, commercial, or industrial customers for use by such customers." The term includes federal, state and local government entities.

Energy-Efficient Mortgages06/24/1512/11/16742

Homeowners can take advantage of energy efficient mortgages (EEM) to either finance energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, including renewable energy technologies, or to increase their home buying power with the purchase of a new energy efficient home. The U.S. federal government supports these loans by insuring them through Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) programs. This allows borrowers who might otherwise be denied loans to pursue energy efficiency, and it secures lenders against loan default.

FHA Energy Efficient Mortgages
The FHA allows lenders to add up to 100% of energy efficiency improvements to an existing mortgage loan with certain restrictions. FHA mortgage limits vary by county, state and the number of units in a dwelling. See website for more details. These mortgages were previously limited to $8,000. In June 2009, HUD issued Mortgage Letter 2009-18 which announced the removal of the dollar cap. The maximum amount of the portion of an energy efficient mortgage allowed for energy improvements is now the lesser of 5% of:

  • The value of the property,
  • 115% of the median area price of a single-family dwelling, or
  • 150% of the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit

Loan amounts may not exceed the projected savings of the energy efficiency improvements. These loans may be combined with FHA 203 (h) mortgages available to victims of presidentially-declared disasters and with financing offered through the FHA 203 (k) rehabilitation program. FHA loan limits do not apply to the EEM. Homebuyers must submit a Home Energy Rating (HER), contractor bids, and a FHA B Worksheet. This process may become streamlined in 2009 as a result of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which requires HUD to report to congress with ways to remove the administrative barriers and increase consumer participation and awareness of these financing options.

Borrowers may include closing costs and the up-front mortgage insurance premium in the total cost of the loan. The loan is available to anyone who meets the income requirements for FHA’s Section 203 (b), provided the applicant can meet the monthly mortgage payments. New and existing owner-occupied homes of up to two units qualify for this loan. Cooperative units are not eligible. Homebuyers should submit applications to their local HUD Field Office through an FHA-approved lending institution.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Energy Efficient Mortgages
The VA insures EEMs to be used in conjunction with VA loans either for the purchase of existing homes or for refinancing loans secured by the dwelling. Homebuyers may borrow up to $3,000 if only documentation of improvement costs or contractor bids is submitted, or up to $6,000 if the projected energy savings are greater than the increase in mortgage payments. Loans may exceed this amount at the discretion of the VA. Applicants may not include the cost of their own labor in the total amount. No additional home appraisal is needed, but applicants must submit a HER, contractor bids and certain other documentation. The VA insures 50% of the loan if taken by itself, but it may insure less if the total value of the mortgage exceeds a certain amount.

This mortgage is available to qualified military personnel, reservists and veterans. Applicants should secure a certificate of eligibility from their local lending office and submit it to a VA-approved private lender. If the loan is approved, the VA guarantees the loan when it is closed.

Conventional EEMs
Conventional mortgages are not backed by a federal agency. Private lenders sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which in turn allows homebuyers to borrow up to 15% of an existing home’s appraised value for improvements documented by a HER.

Fannie Mae also lends up to 5% for Energy Star new homes. Fannie Mae EEMs are available to single-family, owner-occupied units, and Fannie Mae provides EEMs to those whose income might otherwise disqualify them from receiving the loans by allowing approved lenders to adjust borrowers’ debt-to-income ratio by 2%. The value of the improvements is immediately added to the total appraised value of the home.

Freddie Mac offers EEMs for one- to four-unit dwellings and also helps raise the effective income of the borrower to qualifying levels by allowing lenders to increase the borrower’s income by a dollar amount equal to the estimated energy savings. Any energy efficiency improvements can qualify, and these mortgages can be combined with both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Borrowers should apply directly to the lender. Click here for more details.

ENERGY STAR Partnership for Lenders
To promote EEMs and lenders who offer them, the federal ENERGY STAR program offers a partnership program for lenders who provide EEMs to borrowers. Becoming a partner allows lenders to utilize the Energy Star brand to promote themselves as Energy Star partners offering EEMs. To become a lender, partner lenders must first provide proof that they know how to write EEMs. To maintain their partnership benefits, lenders must write a certain number of EEMs per year. Energy Star does not have a lender certification program or process. Click here for more information about ENERGY STAR's lender partnership program, and here to access the partner locator tool. As of August 2011, the federal ENERGY STAR program lists 25 lenders who offer EEMs and/or ENERGY STAR mortgages to applicants buying homes that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR requires that its lender partners provide EEMs to qualified borrowers regardless of whether it is an FHA EEM, Fannie Mae EEM, or VA EEM.

USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) GrantsU.S. Department of Agriculture02/11/1612/11/16917

Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development issues periodic Notices of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the Federal Register. The most recent solicitation for the REAP program was posted in October 2015. The next Notice of Funding Availability will be published in the Federal Register and on the USDA website here.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

Renewable energy projects for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project's cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less. For more information on grant, loan guarantees, loan financing, and opportunities for combinations thereof, visit the USDA website. 

In 2015, a total of $63 million in grants and loans was awarded. For a complete list of 2015 projects, click here.

Application due dates are published annually in the Notice of Funding Availability. 

Eligibility

Grants and Guaranteed Loans are generally available to small businesses and agricultural producers and other entities as determined by USDA. To be eligible for REAP grants and guaranteed loans, applicants must demonstrate sufficient revenue to cover any operations and maintenance expense as well as any applicable debt service of the project for the duration of the guaranteed loan or grant. Rural small businesses must be located in rural areas, but agricultural producers may be located in non-rural areas.

Eligible project costs include purchasing energy efficiency improvements or a renewable energy system, energy audits or assessments, permitting and licensing fees, and business plans and retrofitting. For new construction the replacement of older equipment with more efficient equipment may be eligible as a project cost only when a new facility is planned to be more efficient and similarly sized than the older facility. Working capital and land acquisition are only eligible for loan guarantees.

For more information regarding applicant and project eligibility for loans and grants, visit the USDA REAP eligibility webpage, read the eligibility requirements in the most recent Solicitation of Applications for REAP funding in the Federal Registry, and/or contact your state rural energy coordinator.

Regional rural energy coordinators provide loan and grant applications upon request.

History

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (H.R. 2419), enacted by Congress in May 2008, converted the federal Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program,* into the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Similar to its predecessor, the REAP promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of (1) grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and (2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Congress has allocated funding for the new program in the following amounts: $55 million for FY 2009, $60 million for FY 2010, $70 million for FY 2011, and $70 million for FY 2012. REAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to these mandatory funding levels, up to $25 million in discretionary funding may be issued each year. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) extended discretionary funding for FY 2013. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the USDA to offer these programs and removed the mandate to offer grants for feasibility studies.

* The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program was created by the USDA pursuant to Section 9006 of the 2002 federal Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. Funding in the amount of $23 million per year was appropriated for each fiscal year from FY 2003-2007. In March 2008, the USDA announced that it would accept $220.9 million in applications for grants, loan guarantees, and loan/grant combination packages under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. The application deadline was June 16, 2008.

Land grant colleges and universities are referred to in the summary table as "schools" and "institutional" eligible sectors. K-12 schools are not eligible for this grant.

Tribal Energy Program GrantU.S. Department of Energy07/31/1512/11/16918

Note: The DOE Office of Indian Energy has decided the awardees of the third round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Renewable Energy Project Development Assistance Program. The program provides Tribes with technical assistance to further the development of community- and commercial-scale renewable energy projects.  The five 2015 award recipients are the Blue Lake Rancheria (Blue Lake, Calif.), the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians (Grand Portage, Minn.), the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin (Oneida, Wis.), the Picuris Pueblo (Penasco, NM) and the Ute Mountain Tribe (Towaoc, Colo.) For more information, click here.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Tribal Energy Program promotes tribal energy sufficiency, economic growth, and employment on tribal lands through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The program provides financial assistance, technical assistance, and education and training to tribes for the evaluation and development of renewable energy resources and energy efficiency measures.

DOE's Tribal Energy Program consists of program management through DOE headquarters, program implementation and project management through DOE's field offices, and technical support through DOE laboratories. Program management for the Tribal Energy Program is carried out by DOE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program, which provides programmatic direction and funding to DOE field offices for program implementation. DOE's Golden Field Office solicits, awards, administers, and manages financial assistance agreements.

Program funding is awarded through a competitive process. Click here to view current program funding opportunities, here for other tribal-energy related funding opportunities, and here to apply for technical assistance.

Roseville Electric - Solar Rebate ProgramRoseville Electric08/15/1612/11/161091

Note: Incentive amounts offered through this program will step down over time based on participation rates.  See website above for the most recent incentive details.

Roseville Electric has implemented solar rebate programs in order to meet the three statewide goals in Senate Bill 1: to install 3,000 megawatts (MW) of distributed solar PV by the end of 2016, to establish an industry in which solar energy systems are a viable mainstream option in 10 years, and to place solar energy systems on 50% of new homes within 13 years. Photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) are eligible to receive a rebate based on expected performance of $0.24 per watt-AC. The incentive is paid in a single payment once the system is installed, operational, and has met all program requirements. Commercial systems 10kW-100kW receive separate performance based incentives paid quarterly based on actual kilowatt-hours (kWh) produced by the system. The contract lasts 5-10 years and pays $0.019/kWh - $0.039/kWh based on system size (stepping down with SB-1 program phase-out).

Retrofit projects are expected to undergo an Energy Efficiency Audit or Proof of Title 24 compliance within the past 3 years with possible commitment to future efficiency upgrades. New construction projects must meet energy efficiency levels substantially greater than the requirements of Title 24 (Part 6).

Roseville Electric incentives, per SB1 mandate, will decline over the life of the program, with the program’s application process closing by the end of 2016. The incentive is expected to decrease in a series of steps till 2016; the next step will bring the incentive down to $0.24/W. Incentives from other incentive programs (State of California or federally sponsored incentive programs other than tax credits) must be declared at the time of reservation.

San Diego County - Green Building ProgramCounty of San Diego03/11/1612/11/161105

The County of San Diego has a Green Building Incentive Program designed to promote the use of resource efficient construction materials, water conservation and energy efficiency in new and remodeled residential and commercial buildings. As part of the program, for qualifying resource conservation measures, the County will reduce building permit and plan check fees by 7.5% and grant expedited plan checks. To qualify for these conservation incentives, the project must comply with the program requirements for either natural resources conservation, water conservation, or energy conservation

Other rebates and incentives may be available to those building greener and more efficient homes and buildings. For more information, see program website above.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax CreditU.S. Internal Revenue Service01/14/1612/11/161235

Note: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed in December 2015, extended the expiration date for PV and solar thermal technologies, and introduced a gradual step down in the credit value for these technologies. The credit for all other technologies will expire at the end of 2016. 

A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. The maximum allowable credit, equipment requirements and other details vary by technology, as outlined below.


Solar-electric property

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.


Solar water-heating property

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • Equipment must be certified for performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.
  • At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling's water must be from solar in order for the solar water-heating property expenditures to be eligible.
  • The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating property for swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.


Fuel cell property

  • The maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt (kW).
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The fuel cell must have a nameplate capacity of at least 0.5 kW of electricity using an electrochemical process and an electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
  • In case of joint occupancy, the maximum qualifying costs that can be taken into account by all occupants for figuring the credit is $1,667 per 0.5 kW. This does not apply to married individuals filing a joint return. The credit that may be claimed by each individual is proportional to the costs he or she paid.
  • The home served by the system must be the taxpayer’s principal residence.


Small wind-energy property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2008, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.


Geothermal heat pumps

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2008, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The geothermal heat pump must meet federal Energy Star criteria.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.



Significantly, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 repealed a previous limitation on the use of the credit for eligible projects also supported by "subsidized energy financing." For projects placed in service after December 31, 2008, this limitation no longer applies.


History

Established by The Energy Policy Act of 2005, the federal tax credit for residential energy property initially applied to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 extended the tax credit to small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, effective January 1, 2008. Other key revisions included an eight-year extension of the credit to December 31, 2016; the ability to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax; and the removal of the $2,000 credit limit for solar-electric systems beginning in 2009. The credit was further enhanced in February 2009 by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.

Turlock Irrigation District - PV RebateTurlock Irrigation DistrictMore than $23 Million over 10 years03/11/1612/31/161565

Note: The Non-Residential Solar Rebate Program is fully subscribed. Applications received will be placed on a waitlist and will only be eligible for a rebate if a pending project is cancelled.

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) offers an incentive program to their customers who install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. In keeping with the terms of the California Solar Initiative, the incentive payment levels will decline over the life of the program in 10 steps as certain MW levels of PV systems are installed within the District. As of March 2016, the residential incentive is on the 9th step at $0.57 per watt AC of installed capacity, and the commercial program is fully subscribed. Residential systems 30 kW or larger will receive a performance-based incentive (PBI) for the actual electricity produced by the system. PBI payments are made monthly for a period of 5 years.

All existing customers will be required to have an energy efficiency audit conducted for their home or business as part of the PV reservation. This audit will be provided by TID.

Consult the program website above for the current rebate level.

Burbank Water & Power - Green Building Incentive ProgramRebates03/31/1612/11/161660

The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit organization that promotes the design and construction of buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. The Green Building Council developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System in order to more accurately provide incentives those using these practices. The LEED Green Building Rating System issues points across five categories to those striving to attain LEED status for new commercial construction or major renovation of commercial buildings, as well as multifamily and mixed-use developments that are five units or greater, or four stories or higher.  Rebates provided by Burbank Water & Power correspond to the following point totals and LEED certification levels:

  • Certified (40–49 points) - $15,000
  • Silver (50–59 points) - $20,000
  • Gold (60–79 points) - $25,000
  • Platinum (80 points and above) - $30,000

Incentives are on a first come first serve basis. More information can be found on the web site listed above.

California Solar Initiative - PV IncentivesSCE, CSE, PG&E$1.95 billion over 10 years06/18/1512/11/162362

Note: All three utilities have reached their budget limits for residential installations are no longer accepting applications. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (CSE) have also reached their budget limits for non-residential systems and are no longer accepting applications. As of June 2015, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) is nearing its budget limit for non-residential systems. Click here for the current status for each utility.    

In January 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a program -- the California Solar Initiative (CSI) -- to provide more than $2.3 billion in incentives for photovoltaic (PV) projects with the objective of adding 1,940 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity by 2016. The CSI includes the general market program (described here), the Single-family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program and the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program. The CSI is one element of the greater Go Solar California Campaign, which includes the New Solar Homes Partnership and the incentives offered by the Publicly Owned Utilities,  and which has a total target of 3,000 MW of new solar capacity by 2016. 

General Market CSI incentive levels automatically step down over the duration of the program in 10 steps based on the aggregate capacity of solar installed. In this way, incentive reductions are linked to levels of solar demand rather than an arbitrary timetable.

Expected Performance-Based Buydowns for systems under 30 kW began in 2007 at $2.50/W AC for residential and commercial systems (adjusted based on expected performance) and $3.25/W AC for government entities and nonprofits (adjusted based on expected performance). The incentive levels decline as the aggregate capacity of PV installations increases. Incentives will be awarded as a one-time, up-front payment based on expected performance, which is calculated using equipment ratings and installation factors such as geographic location, tilt, orientation and shading. Click here for current incentive levels for each utility. Systems under 30 kW also have the option of opting for a performance-based incentive rather than the incentive based on expected performance.

Performance-Based Incentives (PBI) for systems 30 kW and larger began in 2007 at $0.39/kWh for the first five years for taxable entities, and $$0.50/kWh for the first five years for government entities and nonprofits. The incentive levels decline as the aggregate capacity of PV installations increases. PBI will be paid monthly based on the actual amount of energy produced for a period of five years. Residential and small commercial projects under the 30 kW threshold can also choose to opt in to the PBI rather than the upfront Expected Performance-Based Buydown approach. However, all installations of 30 kW or larger must take the PBI. Click here for current incentive levels for each utility

The program is managed by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and the Center for Sustainable Energy.

Incentives for Other Solar Electric Generating Technologies
The CSI Handbook released in January 2008 clarified the eligibility of other solar electric generating technologies which either produce electricity or displace electricity. Incentives for other solar electric generating technologies are available for CSI incentives effective October 1, 2008. The CPUC specifically recognizes electric generating solar thermal as including dish stirling, solar trough, and concentrating solar technologies, while technologies that displace electricity include solar forced air heating, and solar cooling or air conditioning. The budget for electric displacing technologies is capped at $100.8 million. While solar water heaters can also displace electricity, the CPUC excludes them from the CSI because they incentives for solar water heaters through a separate program.


CSI Program Administrators:

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
Web Site: www.pge.com/solar
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Contact Person: Program Manager, California Solar Initiative Program
Telephone: 877-743-4112

Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) (on behalf of SDG&E)
Web Site: www.energycenter.org
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Contact Person: Program Manager
Telephone: 858-244-1177

Southern California Edison (SCE)
Web Site: http://www.sce.com/solarleadership/gosolar/california-solar-initiative/default.htm
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Contact Person: Program Manager, California Solar Initiative Program
Telephone: 1-800-799-4177
 

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)U.S. Internal Revenue Service04/16/1512/11/162510

Note: IRS Notice 2015-12 announced the availability of close to $1.4 billion in remaining volume cap for New CREBs. On March 5, 2015, the IRS opened the rolling volume-cap application window for governmental bodies and cooperative utilities, as well as a closed-end application period for public power providers.    

Readers should also note that the terms "New" and "Old" CREBs are used in the following summary to distinguish between prior CREB allocations and the New CREB authorizations made by the U.S. Congress in 2008 and 2009. The use of the term "New CREBs" has legal significance in that New CREBs authorized under 26 USC § 54A and 54C have substantially different rules than prior CREB allocations authorized under 26 USC § 54.


Clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs) may be used by certain entities -- primarily in the public sector -- to finance renewable energy projects. The list of qualifying technologies is generally the same as that used for the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). CREBs may be issued by electric cooperatives, government entities (states, cities, counties, territories, Indian tribal governments or any political subdivision thereof), and by certain lenders.  The bondholder receives federal tax credits in lieu of a portion of the traditional bond interest, resulting in a lower effective interest rate for the borrower.* The issuer remains responsible for repaying the principal on the bond.

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (Div. A, Sec. 107) allocated $800 million for new Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs). In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Div. B, Sec. 1111) allocated an additional $1.6 billion for New CREBs, for a total New CREB allocation of $2.4 billion. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 also extended the deadline for previously reserved allocations ("Old CREBs") until December 31, 2009, and addressed several provisions in the existing law that previously limited the usefulness of the program for some projects. A separate section of the law extended CREBs eligibility to marine energy and hydrokinetic power projects.

Participation in the program is limited by the volume of bonds allocated by Congress for the program. Participants must first apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a CREBs allocation, and then issue the bonds within a specified time period. The New CREBs allocation totaling $2.4 billion does not have a defined expiration date under the law; however, recent IRS solicitations for new applications require the bonds to be issued within 3 years after the applicant receives notification of an approved allocation (see History section below for information on previous allocations). Public power providers, governmental bodies, and electric cooperatives are each reserved an equal share (33.3%) of the New CREBs allocation. IRS Notice 2015-12, however, divided the remaining volume cap differently: $516,565,691.35 for public power providers, $597,134,963.60 for governmental bodies, and $280,778,469.00 for cooperative utilities.

The tax credit rate is set daily by the U.S. Treasury Department. Under past allocations, the credit could be taken quarterly on a dollar-for-dollar basis to offset the tax liability of the bondholder. However, under the new CREBs allocation, the credit has been reduced to 70% of what it would have been otherwise. Other important changes are described in IRS Notice 2009-33.

CREBs differ from traditional tax-exempt bonds in that the tax credits issued through CREBs are treated as taxable income for the bondholder. The tax credit may be taken each year the bondholder has a tax liability as long as the credit amount does not exceed the limits established by the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005. Treasury rates for prior CREB allocations, or "Old" CREBs are available here, while rates for New CREBs and other qualified tax credit bonds are available here.

In April 2009, the IRS issued Notice 2009-33, which solicited applications for the New CREB allocation and provided interim guidance on certain program rules and changes from prior CREB allocations. The expiration date for New CREB applications under this solicitation was August 4, 2009. Further guidance on CREBs is available in IRS Notices 2006-7 and 2007-26 to the extent that the program rules were not modified by 2008 and 2009 legislation. In October 2009, the Department of Treasury announced the allocation of $2.2 billion in new CREBs for 805 projects across the country. A new solicitation (IRS Announcement 2010-54) was issued in September 2010 for roughly $191 million in unallocated New CREB bond volume available only to electric cooperatives. The award announcement for this allocation was made in March 2011. It remains to be seen if or when the IRS will issue new funding announcements for Old CREB allocations which were not issued by the December 31, 2009 deadline, or New CREB allocations which miss the three-year issuance period.

History
The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) established Clean Energy Renewable Bonds (CREBs) as a financing mechanism for public sector renewable energy projects. This legislation originally allocated $800 million of tax credit bonds to be issued between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007. Following the enactment of the federal Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, the IRS made an additional $400 million in CREBs financing available for 2008 through Notice 2007-26.

In November 2006, the IRS announced that the original $800 million allocation had been reserved for a total of 610 projects. The additional $400 million (plus surrendered volume from the previous allocation) was allocated to 312 projects in February 2008. Of the $1.2 billion total of tax-credit bond volume cap allocated to fund renewable-energy projects, state and local government borrowers were limited to $750 million of the volume cap, with the rest reserved for qualified municipal or cooperative electric companies.

For further information on CREBs, contact Zoran Stojanovic or Timothy Jones of the IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel at (202) 622-3980. Questions on recent IRS Notice 2009-33 can be directed to Janae Lemley at (636) 255-1202.


*In March 2010 Congress enacted H.R. 2847 (Sec. 301) permitting New CREB issuers to make an irrevocable election to receive a direct payment -- a refundable tax credit -- from the Department of Treasury equivalent to and in lieu of the amount of the non-refundable tax credit which would otherwise be provided to the bondholder. This option only applies to New CREBs issued after the March 18, 2010 enactment of the law. In April 2010 the IRS issued Notice 2010-35 providing guidance on the direct payment option.

USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Loan GuaranteesU.S. Department of Agriculture02/11/1612/11/162511

Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development issues periodic Notices of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the Federal Register. The most recent solicitation for the REAP program is available here. The next Notice of Funding Availability will be published in the Federal Registry and on the USDA website.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

Renewable energy projects for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project's cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less. For more information on grant, loan guarantees, loan financing, and opportunities for combinations thereof, visit the USDA website.

In Fiscal Year 2015, a total of $82.9 million in grants and $161.2 million in loans were awarded. For a complete list of Fiscal Year 2015 projects click here.

Application due dates are published annually in the Notice of Funding Availability.

Eligibility

Grants and Guaranteed Loans are generally available to small businesses and agricultural producers and other entities as determined by USDA. To be eligible for REAP grants and guaranteed loans, applicants must demonstrate sufficient revenue to cover any operations and maintenance expense as well as any applicable debt service of the project for the duration of the guaranteed loan or grant. Rural small businesses must be located in rural areas, but agricultural producers may be located in non-rural areas.

Eligible project costs include purchasing energy efficiency improvements or a renewable energy system, energy audits or assessments, permitting and licensing fees, and business plans and retrofitting. For new construction the replacement of older equipment with more efficient equipment may be eligible as a project cost only when a new facility is planned to be more efficient and similarly sized than the older facility. Working capital and land acquisition are only eligible for loan guarantees.

For more information regarding applicant and project eligibility for loans and grants, visit the USDA REAP eligibility webpage, read the eligibility requirements in the most recent Solicitation of Applications for REAP funding in the Federal Registry, and/or contact your state rural energy coordinator.

Regional rural energy coordinators provide loan and grant applications upon request.

History

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (H.R. 2419), enacted by Congress in May 2008, converted the federal Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program,* into the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Similar to its predecessor, the REAP promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of (1) grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and (2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Congress has allocated funding for the new program in the following amounts: $55 million for FY 2009, $60 million for FY 2010, $70 million for FY 2011, and $70 million for FY 2012. REAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to these mandatory funding levels, up to $25 million in discretionary funding may be issued each year. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) extended discretionary funding for FY 2013. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the USDA to offer these programs and removed the mandate to offer grants for feasibility studies.

* The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program was created by the USDA pursuant to Section 9006 of the 2002 federal Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002Funding in the amount of $23 million per year was appropriated for each fiscal year from FY 2003-2007. In March 2008, the USDA announced that it would accept $220.9 million in applications for grants, loan guarantees, and loan/grant combination packages under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. The application deadline was June 16, 2008.

Land grant colleges and universities are referred to in the summary as "schools" and "institutional" eligible sectors. K-12 schools are not eligible for this grant.

Modesto Irrigation District - Photovoltaic Rebate ProgramPV Program Coordinator07/01/1512/11/162709

Note: As of May 20, 2015, all funding for 2015 has been exhausted. See program website for updates. 

Modesto Irrigation District offers a photovoltaic rebate program for all of their electric customers. The peak output capacity of a system must be 1 kW or greater to participate. Systems up to 30 kilowatts (kW) in capacity can receive an up-front capacity-based incentive. Systems greater than 30 kW and up to 1,000 kW (1 MW) can receive a performance-based incentive. The rebate levels will decline over time.


CEC - New Solar Homes PartnershipCalifornia Energy CommissionUp to $425 million over 10 years05/25/1612/11/162744

The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) is administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and provides incentives for solar on new home construction. To be eligible for the NSHP incentive, the home must receive electricity from one of the following investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and Bear Valley Electric Service.

Launched on January 2, 2007, the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) is a 10-year, $400 million program to encourage solar in new homes by working with builders and developers to incorporate into the homes high levels of energy efficiency and high-performing solar systems. The NSHP specifically targets the market-rate and affordable housing single-family and multifamily sectors, with the goal of achieving 360 MW of installed solar electric capacity on new homes, and to have solar electric systems on 50% of all new homes built in California by the end of 2016.

Incentives are determined by the housing type and the expected performance of the system, which depends on factors like equipment efficiency, geographic location, orientation, tilt, shading, and time-dependent valuation. These factors are then compared to a reference system in San Jose, California. To qualify for incentives, the residential dwelling unit must achieve certain energy efficiency levels (please refer to the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook for specific details and program requirements). The incentive is paid once the system is installed, operational, and has met all program requirements.

Incentive levels:

Market Rate Housing, Affordable Housing Common Areas, and Affordable Housing Systems Owned by Non-Tax-Exempt Entities

Code-Compliant: Expected Performance Based Incentive (EPBI) level as of May 25, 2016 is $0.50/watt. This applies to buildings that comply with the 2013 Standards prior to claiming the solar compliance credit for the 2013 Standards. 

Tier I Incentive: Expected Performance Based Incentive (EPBI) level as of May 25, 2016 is $0.75/watt. This applies to projects that have an energy efficiency compliance margin of at least 15 percent better than the Building Energy Efficiency Standards as specified in Chapter II, Section B of the guidebook.

Tier II Incentive: The EPBI level as of May 25, 2016 is $1.25/watt. This applies to projects that have an energy efficiency compliance margin of at least 30 percent better than the Building Energy Efficiency Standards and a space-cooling compliance margin of at least 30 percent better than the Building Energy Efficiency Standards as specified in Chapter II, Section B of the guidebook.

Affordable Housing Residential Unit Projects With Tax-Exempt System Owners

Code-Compliant: Expected Performance Based Incentive (EPBI) level as of May 25, 2016 is $1.50/watt. This applies to buildings that comply with the 2013 Standards prior to claiming the solar compliance credit for the 2013 Standards. 

Residential Dwelling Units: Expected Performance Based Incentive (EPBI) level as of May 25, 2016 is $1.85/watt.

All incentives will decline over time as specific megawatt targets are achieved. Refer to the NSHP Guidebook and contact the program administrator for complete details.

Roseville Electric - Residential New Construction Rebate ProgramRoseville Electric04/23/1512/11/162810

Roseville Electric provides financial incentives to encourage local builders to construct energy efficient homes which incorporate  photovoltaics (PV). Participating builders can choose from three program options: BEST Homes, Optional PV, or PV- Only - Standard Feature. The programs have different requirements, which are specified on the program website, but the PV rebates are the same. As of January 15, 2015, rebates are on the 10th and final step of $0.24 per CSI rated AC Watts. 

Plumas-Sierra REC - PV Rebate ProgramPlumas-Sierra REC$140,000 annually for 10 years05/15/1512/11/162833

Plumas-Sierra REC offers an incentive for its customers to install photovoltaic (PV) systems on homes and businesses. Rebates are available for qualifying systems between one kilowatt (kW) and 25 kW; the rebate amount is based on the installed capacity. The rebate level will decreases by 7% annually over the 10-year life of the program. 

The program is available to residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and non-profit members of Plumas-Sierra REC. There are annual incentive caps for each customer class. If the rebate funds in any rate class have not been fully reserved by July 1 of any program year, the remaining rebates will be available to any other member type. Applicable caps based on rate class will still apply.

Residential members must include the "Residential Energy Efficiency Checklist" along with the application. Members may be exempt if the home complies with the 2001 or 2005 CA Title 24 Energy Code. (Submit a copy showing compliance with CF-1R Form, prepared by a Certified Energy Plans Examiner). Commercial members are encouraged to consider contracting for an energy efficiency study prior to PV system installation.

Lodi Electric Utility - PV Rebate ProgramApproximately $6 million over 10 years.05/19/1501/01/182836

Note: Lodi Electric Utility accepted applications for program year 2015 from January 2 - 30, 2015. The program is fully subscribed for 2015.  

Lodi Electric Utility offers rebates to its residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers who install photovoltaic (PV) systems. The rebate program is funded with approximately $6 million to support systems installed between January 1, 2008 and January 1, 2018. The total amount available for qualified installations in 2015 was $525,000, with $285,000 reserved for residential installations and $240,000 for non-residential installations. The rebate for both residential and non-residential PV systems installed in 2015 was $1.68/watt.

 

Truckee Donner PUD - Photovoltaic Buy Down ProgramTruckee Donner Public Utility District$1.77 Million over 10 years06/03/1512/31/162838

As required by Senate Bill 1 of 2006, Truckee Donner PUD incentive levels will step down annually during the 10 year program. For program year 2015 the incentive level is $2.55 per watt AC, adjusted based on expected-performance. 2015 incentives are capped $7,650 for residential systems and $12,750 for commercial. Systems up to 1 MW may be installed, but the rebate will be applied to just the first 3 kW for residential and 5 kW for commercial systems.

City of Lompoc Utilities - PV Rebate ProgramCity of Lompoc Utilities06/03/1512/11/162840

City of Lompoc Utilities provides rebates to its electric customers who purchase and install photovoltaic (PV) systems. The rebate is $1.00 per watt-AC. The incentive amount may not exceed 50% the cost of the system, up to a maximum of $50,000.

To qualify for the rebate the system must meet all the criteria as defined by the Lompoc City Electric interconnection agreement for self-generating electric systems and the requirements set forth by the California Energy Commission.

Azusa Light & Water - Solar Partnership ProgramAzusa Light & Water06/29/1512/31/162841
This program is fully subscribed through fiscal year 2014/2015. New applicants will be placed on a wait list in the order they were received. 
 
Azusa Light & Water provides rebates to customers who install photovoltaic (PV) systems through the utility's Solar Partnership Program. The rebate amount for 2013 is $0.51 per rated watt. As a condition of receiving the rebate, customers must transfer ownership of all renewable energy credits (REC) associated with the system. If the customer elects to retain ownership of the RECs, the customer will receive not receive a rebate. Customers may lease the system from a third party and still qualify for a rebate if the following conditions are met:
  • The term of the lease is at least 20 years.
  • The system is operated at the expected generation capacity for the full 20-year term.
  • The customer has an opportunity to own the system after the 20-year term.
  • The lease payments may not be based on energy production from the equipment, which could be interpreted as a retail sale of electricity.
  • The incentive payment will be paid directly to the customer, not the third party.

 

Riverside Public Utilities - Non-Residential PV Incentive ProgramRiverside Public Utilities06/17/1512/11/162874
Note: Riverside Public Utilities began accepting reservation appointments for Program year 2015 - 2016 on May 18th. Systems must be installed after July 1, 2015 to qualify. The program will remain open until funding for the year has been exhausted. 
 
The non-residential photovoltaic (PV) rebate program provides financial incentives for Riverside Public Utilities' business customers to install qualifying PV systems on their facilities. For Fiscal Year 2015-2016, the rebate amount is $0.50 per watt AC and cannot exceed $50,000. 

Leased systems and PPAs are not eligible to participate. 

 

City of San Francisco - Solar Energy Incentive ProgramSan Francisco Public Utilities Commission$5 million for FY 2014-201505/27/1612/11/162888

The City and County of San Francisco, through the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), are providing incentives to residents, businesses and non-profits who install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their properties. Systems must be at least one kilowatt (kW) in capacity, and there is no maximum size limit to participate. Different incentive levels are available whether the property is residential, commercial, low-income residential, non-profit, or multi-unit residential.

See the website above for full details. 

City of Healdsburg - PV Incentive ProgramCity of Healdsburg05/29/1512/11/162893

Through the City of Healdsburg's PV Buy-down Program, residential and commercial customers are eligible for rebate on qualifying grid-connected PV systems. In keeping with SB1, (the California Solar Initiative mandating that utilities put into place programs to assure that 3000 megawatts (MW) of solar installations on homes is in place within 10 years) the incentive level will decrease annually over the 10 year life of the program. The program is currently on Step 8, with rebates of $0.62 per watt for residential and $0.59 per watt for commercial installations.  Larger systems may be installed, but the program will only reward individual rebates for the first 4 kW of a residential system and 20 kW of a commercial system. Rebates are available on a first come, first served basis. For utility contact information, click here.

Merced Irrigation District - PV Buydown ProgramMerced Irrigation District$450,000 per year06/03/1512/11/162894

Merced Irrigation District (MID) offers its residential, commercial and non-profit customers a rebate for installing solar electric photovoltaic (PV) systems on their homes and offices. For 2015, the rebate is $1.00 per watt (adjusted based on the expected performance of the system) with a maximum of $3,000 for residential systems and $25,000 for non-residential systems.

U.S. Department of Energy - Loan Guarantee ProgramU.S. Department of Energy08/18/1612/11/163071
Note: President Obama and DOE issued new supplemental guidance for Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy (REEE) Projects that adds $500 million of loan guarantee authority, making the total available approximately $4.5 billion. It also released guidance to clarify the types of Distributed Energy Projects it can support under the Title XVII program. The additional loan guarantee authority was officially available as of October 2015.

Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 created the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Loan Guarantee Program. The program was reauthorized and revised by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 by adding Section 1705 to EPAct. The 1705 Program was retired in September 2011, and Loan Guarantees are no longer available under that authority. DOE, however, still has authority to issue Loan Guarantees under the old Section 1703 Program.  

Under Section 1703, DOE is authorized to issue loan guarantees for projects with high technology risks that "avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases; and employ new or significantly improved technologies as compared to commercial technologies in service in the United States at the time the guarantee is issued." Loan guarantees are intended to encourage early commercial use of new or significantly improved technologies in energy projects. The loan guarantee program generally does not support research and development projects.

Loan guarantees are provided in response to open solicitations. The application is a two part process; applicants that meet the specified requirements laid out in Part I receive an invitation to submit a Part II application. The updated supplemental guidance for Renewable Energy Projects and Energy Efficiency Projects includes an application solicitation schedule, with final Part I and Part II application due dates to November 30, 2016 (extended in a Fifth Supplement released June 2016). Up to $3 billion is available in loan guarantees for projects in renewable energy, efficient end-use, and efficient generation, transmission, and distribution technologies (plus an additional amount that may be imputed based on the credit subsidy cost of the loan guarantee authority). See the program website for more details on eligibility and the application process. 

Section 1703 requires either an appropriation to cover the Credit Subsidy Cost (the expected long term liability to the Federal Government for providing the loan guarantee), or payment of the Credit Subsidy Cost by the borrower. A credit-based interest rate spread will be added to certain loans receiving a 100% loan guarantee from DOE and financing from the Federal Financing Bank. Rates and more information are available here.


 

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs)U.S. Internal Revenue Service06/16/1612/11/163098

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, enacted in October 2008, authorized the issuance of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) that may be used by state, local and tribal governments to finance certain types of energy projects. QECBs are qualified tax credit bonds, and in this respect are similar to new Clean Renewable Energy Bonds or CREBs. The October 2008 enabling legislation set a limit of $800 million on the volume of energy conservation tax credit bonds that may be issued by state and local governments. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted in February 2009, expanded the allowable bond volume to $3.2 billion. In April 2009, the IRS issued Notice 2009-29 providing interim guidance on how the program will operate and how the bond volume will be allocated. Subsequently, H.R. 2847 enacted in March 2010 introduced an option allowing issuers of QECBs and New CREBs to recoup part of the interest they pay on a qualified bond through a direct subsidy from the Department of Treasury. Guidance from the IRS on this option was issued in April 2010 under Notice 2010-35.

With tax credit bonds, generally the borrower who issues the bond pays back only the principal of the bond, and the bondholder receives federal tax credits in lieu of the traditional bond interest. The tax credit may be taken quarterly to offset the tax liability of the bondholder. The tax credit rate is set daily by the U.S. Treasury Department; however, energy conservation bondholders will receive only 70% of the full rate set by the Treasury Department under 26 USC § 54A. QECB rates are available here. Credits exceeding a bondholder's tax liability may be carried forward to the succeeding tax year, but cannot be refunded. Energy conservation bonds differ from traditional tax-exempt bonds in that the tax credits issued through the program are treated as taxable income for the bondholder.

For QECBs issued after March 18, 2010, the bond issuer may make an irrevocable election to receive a direct payment from the Department of Treasury equivalent to the amount of the non-refundable tax credit described above, which would otherwise accrue to the bondholder. The direct payment comes in the form of a refundable tax credit to the issuer in lieu of a tax credit to the bondholder. This option was formerly limited to Build America Bonds (see 26 USC § 6431, H.R. 2847 and IRS Notice 2010-35 for details). The advantage of either option is that it creates a lower effective interest rate for the issuer because the federal government subsidizes a portion of the interest costs.

In contrast to CREBs, QECBs are not subject to a U.S. Department of Treasury application and approval process. Bond volume is instead allocated to each state based on the state's percentage of the U.S. population as of July 1, 2008. Each state is then required to allocate a portion of its allocation to "large local governments" within the state based on the local government's percentage of the state's population. Large local governments are defined as municipalities and counties with populations of 100,000 or more. Large local governments may reallocate their designated portion back to the state if they choose to do so. IRS Notice 2009-29 contains a list of the QECB allocations for each state and U.S. territory. Implementing allocations and reallocations most often, but not always, takes place through State Energy Offices. As of this writing some states have yet to assign implementation responsibilities to a specific state agency.

The definition of "qualified energy conservation projects" is fairly broad and contains elements relating to energy efficiency capital expenditures in public buildings that reduce energy consumption by at least 20%; green community programs (including loans and grants to implement such programs); renewable energy production; various research and development applications; mass commuting facilities that reduce energy consumption; several types of energy related demonstration projects; and public energy efficiency education campaigns. In July 2012 the IRS issued Notice 2012-44 clarifying the meaning of "capital expenditures" and "green community program", and providing guidance on meeting the 20% energy consumption reduction requirement for energy -efficiency related capital expenditures in publicly-owned buildings (see 26 USC § 54D and IRS Notice 2012-44 for additional details). Renewable energy facilities that are eligible for CREBs are also eligible for QECBs.

California Solar Initiative - Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) ProgramSCE, CCSE, PG&E$108 million05/18/1512/31/213305

Note: This program is currently closed. However, AB 217 of 2013 made several changes to this program. Among other changes, the expiration date was extended to December 31, 2021 or whenever funds are exhausted, and the budget was increased. Specifiically, the bill added an additional $108 million to be divided between the SASH and MASH programs. As of August 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is implementing these legislative changes through proceeding R. 12-11-005.    

The California Solar Initiative (CSI), enacted by SB 1 of 2006, provides financial incentives to customers in investor-owned utility (IOU) territories of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued Decision 08-10-036 in October 2008, establishing a $108 million solar incentive program for the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program.

The Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program provides higher incentives to offset the project costs of installing solar on multifamily affordable housing buildings in California. The goal of the MASH program is to incorporate high levels of energy efficiency and high performing solar systems to help enhance the overall quality of affordable housing.

MASH Track 1:
Provides fixed rebates based on the size and expected performance of the system installed. Incentives range from $1.90 - $2.80 per watt depending on whether common area load or tenant load is offset.

MASH Track 2:
Status: Closed
On July 20, 2011 the CPUC issued Decision 11-07-031, which affected the MASH program in a number of ways. One of the changes shifted all remaining Track 2 funds to Track 1.


These incentive amounts are based on expected performance. Incentives are awarded to owners or operators of existing multifamily affordable housing that meets the definition of low-income residential housing in Pub. Util. Code § 2852. In general, a multifamily housing complex fits the definition if it is financed with low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, or local, state or federal loans or grants.

To ease the integration of these systems, the CPUC asked that PG&E, SCE and SDG&E adopt "virtual net metering" tariffs which allow participants to allocate the kWh credits associated with the system across multiple accounts at one site. Contact your utility for more information.

MASH Program Administrators:

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
Website: http://www.pge.com/lowincomesolar/
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 877-743-4112
Mailing Address:
PG&E Solar and Customer Generation - MASH
PO Box 7433
San Francisco, CA 94120

Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE)
Website: http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/multifamily-affordable-solar-housing
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 858-244-1177
Mailing Address:
9325 Sky Park Court, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92123-1502

Southern California Edison (SCE)
Website: http://www.sce.com/mash
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 800-799-4177 (General Questions) or
866-584-7436 (Program Administration)
Mailing Address:
Attn: MASH Program Manager
SCE Customer Solar & Self-Generation
Southern California Edison
P.O. Box 800
Rosemead, CA 91770-0800
 

Sonoma County - Energy Independence Program01/13/1612/11/163334

The Federal Housing Financing Agency issued a statement in July 2010 that was critical of PACE programs. Many PACE programs, including Sonoma County's, were temporarily suspended in response to the statement, waiting for further direction from the federal agency. At their July 13 Board meeting the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors elected to re-open this program.

Sonoma County's Energy Independence Program gives property owners the option of financing energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bills. The program is similar to others in California authorized by AB 811 of 2008, but was the first county-wide program. Eligible equipment must be permanently attached to existing buildings, new construction does not qualify. The property tax assessments are attached to the property, not the property owner. If the property is sold, the assessment stays with the property.

Sonoma County expects to offer fixed rates which are at or below the rates participants could otherwise receive on home equity loans from financial institutions. An exact interest rate will be determined at the time the contract is signed. Once the contract is signed, the interest rate will be fixed for the life of the assessment, although the county may reduce the rate if it is able to do so after negotiating long term financing for the program. The Energy Independence Program can be combined with utility and state rebates, but financing will only be available for the post-incentive cost. Tax credits, on the other hand, will not affect the amount of financing available.

A key Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) enhancement effective July 1, 2011, is the requirement of achieving 10% energy efficiency improvement on the property prior to (or along with) the financing of renewable generation upgrade projects. This approach supports SCEIP’s regional goal to “reduce and produce,” plus strengthens the market position of the SCEIP assessment portfolio.

Beginning March 1, 2011, the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program offers rebates for Energy Analyses performed by certified HERS II Raters. Submit your application, utility authorization, final invoice, rating certificate and recommendations report to SCEIP, and SCEIP will pay up to 75% of the total directly to the rater.
 
The following improvements are eligible for funding through the Energy Independence Program:

  • Photovoltaic systems
  • Solar water heater systems
  • Cool roof systems
  • Reflective roofs and coatings
  • High efficiency HVAC systems and HVAC system sealing
  • Duct and home sealing
  • Evaporative coolers
  • Efficient natural gas storage water heaters
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Attic and wall insulation
  • Reflective insulation or radiant barriers
  • Whole house fans and attic fans
  • High efficiency windows and glass doors
  • Window filming
  • Weather stripping
  • Efficient skylights
  • Solar tubes
  • Additional building openings to provide addition natural light
  • High efficiency lighting installation
  • High efficiency pool equipment
  • Electric vehicle plug-in stations
  • Geothermal exchange heat pumps
  • Solar thermal systems for pool heating
  • Custom efficiency improvements at commercial and industrial facilities
  • For complete list, see Eligible Improvements at www.sonomacountyenergy.org

Commercial and industrial properties must first have Pacific Gas and Electric perform an energy audit before participating in the program. Energy audits are not required for residential participants, but they are strongly recommended. The sum of all debt associated with the property cannot exceed 100% of the value of the property. Prospective participants should fully review the program website for additional requirements and restrictions.

As of January 2016, this program has funded more than $73 million in projects. 

Lassen Municipal Utility District - PV Rebate ProgramLassen Municipal Utility District$140,000 per year07/01/1512/11/163569

Lassen Municipal Utility District (LMUD) is providing incentives for its customers to purchase solar electric photovoltaic (PV) systems. Rebate levels will decrease annually over the life of the program. Through June 30, 2016, rebates of $2.60 per watt-AC up to $3,000 are available for residential systems. Commercial systems can receive a rebate of $1.81 per watt-AC up to $19,000. Rebates are only available for systems up to 50 kilowatts (kW).

Systems must be interconnected and must meet all other requirements detailed in the program guidelines. Homes wishing to receive a rebate must have an LMUD administered energy audit performed and must agree to pursue any efficiency improvement identified with a three year payback or less.

City of Shasta Lake Electric Utility - PV Rebate ProgramCity of Shasta Lake Electric Utility06/03/1512/11/163586

Note: This program is currently not accepting applications. Check the program web site for information regarding future solicitations.

City of Shasta Lake Electric Utility is providing rebates to their customers for the purchase of photovoltaic (PV) systems. The rebate levels will decrease annually over the life of the program. Interested customers should contact Efficiency Services for more information.

California Solar Initiative - Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) ProgramGRID Alternatives$108.3 million05/18/1512/31/213673

Note: AB 217 of 2013 made several changes to this program. Among other changes, the expiration date was extended to December 31, 2021 or whenever funds are exhausted, and the budget was increased. Specifically, the bill added an additional $108 million to be divided between the SASH and MASH programs. As of August 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is implementing these legislative changes through proceeding R. 12-11-005.    

The California Solar Initiative (CSI), enacted by SB 1 of 2006, provides financial incentives for installing solar technologies through a variety of smaller sub-programs. Of the $3.2 billion in total funding for the CSI, $216 million has been set aside for programs to help fund photovoltaic (PV) installations on low-income housing. Half of that $216 million is funding the Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program, and the other half is funding the Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program. The SASH program is being administered on behalf of the investor-owned utilities by GRID Alternatives. Income-eligible customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) may participate. In general, the household's total income must be 80% of the area median income (AMI) or less.


Twenty percent of the total funds for the SASH program ($21,668,000) will be dedicated to providing fully subsidized 1 - 1.2 kW systems to qualifying households. Qualifying households are owner-occupied and the total income for the household is up to 50% of AMI. Households making more than 50% of AMI, but less than 80% of AMI can be eligible for a partially subsidized system according to the following table:

Federal Income Tax Liability Qualifying Low-Income CARE-Eligible Homeowners Qualifying Low-Income Homeowners not eligible for CARE
$0 $7.00/W-AC $5.75/W-AC
$1.00 - $1,000 $6.50/W-AC $5.25/W-AC
$1,000+ $6.00/W-AC $4.75/W-AC



Before a PV system is installed through the SASH program, all appropriate energy efficiency measures should be pursued. If an applicant's income status qualifies for the Low Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE) program, GRID Alternatives' staff will the assist applicant in enrolling in the LIEE program. If a client does not qualify for the LIEE service, GRID Alternatives' staff will conduct a basic residential energy audit.

Contact GRID Alternatives for more information.

Sales and Use Tax Exclusion for Advanced Transportation and Alternative Energy Manufacturing ProgramState Treasurer's Office$100,000,000 per year02/18/1601/01/214054

SB 71 of 2010 established a sales and use tax exclusion (STE) for eligible projects on property utilized for the design, manufacture, production or assembly of advanced transportation technologies or alternative source (including energy efficiency) products, components, or systems. The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) is administering the program.

To date, the Program has approved financial assistance for private entities in the following fields: electric vehicle manufacturing, solar photovoltaic manufacturing, landfill gas capture and production, biogas capture and production (dairies and waste water treatment plants), demonstration hydrogen fuel production, electric vehicle battery manufacturing, biomass processing and fuel production, and others.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must show the property to be purchased will be used to design, manufacture, produce or assemble an eligible advanced transportation technology or alternative source product – including energy efficiency – component or system.
  • This definition includes manufacturers of alternative source electricity generation equipment such as solar panels or wind turbines. But it excludes the purchase of that equipment for power generation.

Application Evaluation

  • Applications that meet the project definition criteria will be evaluated based on criteria developed and specified in the program regulations.
  • These evaluation criteria are designed to measure and quantify the fiscal and environmental benefits of the project and to compare the benefits to the cost of the STE.
  • Applicants will receive points in the areas of fiscal benefits and environmental benefits which will translate into a numerical score.
  • Applications that receive a total of 1,000 or more points and a total environment benefits score of 100 or more points will be recommended to the CAEATFA Board for approval.

 Program Restrictions

  • There are no STE minimum or maximum limits for individual projects.
  • Applicants will be required to make at least twenty five (25) percent of the purchases identified in their application within one year of application approval.
  • All purchases must be made within three years following application approval, unless CAEATFA grants a longer time period.

Prior Use

  • CAEATFA will be able to extend the STE to any qualified property for which the participating party can make a representation that there has been no functional use of the qualified property prior to it being conveyed to CAEATFA.

Fees

  • Application Fee – equal to .0005 of the total purchase price of qualified property identified in the application. The minimum application fee shall be a minimum of $250 and shall not exceed $5,000. Payment of the fee is required for a submitted application to be considered complete.
  • Administrative Fee – equal to .004 of the total purchase price of the qualified property purchased. The administrative fee shall be a minimum of $15,000 and shall not exceed $350,000.

Those interested in participating in the SB 71 Program should contact the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority.
 

 

City of San Francisco - GreenFinanceSF03/01/1612/11/164091

GreenFinanceSF is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for commercial properties. GreenFinance SF uses an "open-market" PACE model in which individual property owners identify their own project lenders and negotiate all the financing terms with them. The City collects loan repayments from the participant through a special tax lien on the property and disburses payment to the project lender. The special tax lean should provide greater security to the lender, who should be able to provide more favorable financing terms to the property owner.

The property must be located in the City and County of San Francisco must e current in the payment of all obligations secured to the property including property taxes, assessments and tax liens within the past 3 years. The GreenFinance SF lien will be a senior lien, and the property owner must receive written consent from all lenders with existing liens on the property.  The property owner must also have a professional energy and/or water audit conducted on the property, and the improvements being targeted by the financing must be identified as opportunities or recommendations by the auditor. If a renewable energy system is financed, the property owner must also implement energy efficiency measures resulting in a 10% improvement in building energy performance.

See program website for additional rules and restrictions.

Corona Department of Water & Power - Solar Partnership Rebate ProgramCorona Department of Water & Power$2,118,000 over 10 years05/26/1512/11/164170

Corona Department of Water & Power is providing rebates for residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems. The rebate amount for 2015 is $0.78 per watt up to $2,340 for residential systems and $19,500 for commercial systems. Customers must submit an application and receive approval prior to beginning the installation. See website above for complete details and requirements.

USDA - High Energy Cost Grant ProgramUSDA Rural Utilities Service$10 million (2015 solicitation)06/09/1612/11/164359

NOTE: The most recent solicitation for this program closed December 14, 2015. Please check the program website for information on future solicitations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers an ongoing grant program for the improvement of energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities in rural communities. This program began in 2000. Eligibility is limited to projects in communities that have average home energy costs at least 275% above the national average. Retail power suppliers serving rural areas are eligible to apply for grant funding, including non-profits (cooperatives and limited dividend or mutual associations), commercial entities, state and local governments entities, and tribal governments. Under the most recent solicitation for projects, a total of $7 million was available for qualifying projects. Under this solicitation grants ranging from $50,000 to $3 million were available for a variety of activities, including:

  • Electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities;
  • Natural gas or petroleum storage or distribution facilities;
  • Renewable energy facilities used for on-grid or off-grid electric power generation, water or space heating, or process heating and power;
  • Backup up or emergency power generation or energy storage equipment; and
  • Weatherization of residential and community property, or other energy efficiency or conservation programs.

This grant program is not limited to renewable energy or energy conservation and efficiency measures, but these measures are eligible for this grant program.

Marin Clean Energy - Feed-In TariffMarin Clean Energy15 MW of projects06/17/1512/11/164556

Assembly Bill 117, passed in 2002, allows communities in California to aggregate their load and to procure electricity from their own preferred sources. Under the authority of this law, California’s first community choice aggregator, Marin Clean Energy (MCE), was launched in May of 2010. The Marin Energy Authority comprises each city and town in Marin as well as the communities of Belvedere, Fairfax, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon, and the County of Marin. The original legislation mandated that the customers of each supporting community would automatically be enrolled in Marin Clean Energy unless they chose not to participate by opting out.

Among the varied sources of renewable energy pursued by MCE are local installations of renewable energy. To streamline the procurement process for small local renewable energy systems, MCE has designed a feed-in tariff which provides long-term contracts to renewable energy system owners. The pricing for the tariff is determined by the total capacity remaining for the program before the contract is signed, and the characteristics of the renewable energy system:

  • Peak - 90% or more of the system's electric output is produced and delivered to MCE between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. Based on typical energy production profiles, solar technologies fall into this category.
  • Baseload - System typically generates electric output around the clock with an annual capacity factor greater than 75%. Based on typical energy production profiles, landfill gas, biomass and fuel cells fall into this category.
  • Intermittent - Energy delivery profile cannot be considered Peak or Baseload. Based on typical energy production profiles, wind energy systems fall into this category.

As shown in the table below, systems with a Peak Energy delivery profile earn the highest per-MWh payments, and prices will decline as more systems sign contracts:

Aggregate rated capacity of all participating
projects prior to contract execution
Peak Energy Prices
(20 year term, $/MWh)
Baseload Energy Prices
(20 year term, $/MWh)
Intermittent Energy Prices
(20 year term, $/MWh)
 < 2 MW  $137.66  $116.49 $100.57
 > 2 MW, < 4 MW  $120.00  $105.00  $95.00
 > 4 MW, < 6 MW   $115.00  $100.00  $90.00
 > 6 MW, < 8 MW  $110.00  $95.00  $90.00
 > 8 MW, < 10 MW  $105.00  $95.00  $90.00
 > 10 MW, < 12 MW  $95.00  $95.00  $90.00
 > 12 MW, < 15 MW  $90.00  $90.00  $90.00

System owners obligated to sign a contract for a 20-year term. Individual projects are limited to 1 MW, and MEA will accept a total of 15 MW under this tariff unless MEA's Board of Directors votes to expand the program. Feed-in tariff participants are not eligible to participate in any net metering option for energy deliveries from the same facility.

 

Moreno Valley Electric Utility - Solar Electric Incentive ProgramMoreno Valley Electric Utility07/01/1512/11/164670

Moreno Valley Electric Utility provides rebates to its electric customers for the purchase of photovoltaic (PV) systems. System must be on the same premises as the customer to qualify. Systems 30 kilowatts (kW) or less can receive an upfront incentive of $1.00 per Watt up to $10,000 for a residential system and $50,000 for small commercial systems, or 50% of cost, whichever is less. Systems larger than 30 kW up to 500 kW can receive a performance-based incentive of $0.04 per kWh for 4 years. Incentives for systems over 500 kW and up to 1 MW will be determined on a case-by-case basis. See website above for more information.

 

 

City of San Diego - Sustainable Building Expedited Permit ProgramCity of San Diego Development Services05/27/1612/11/164790

In 2002, the City of San Diego passed a Resolution R-298001, which amended the Sustainable Building Policy to allow for expedited permitting for sustainable buildings. Sustainable buildings are defined in Policy Number 900-14, and the expedited permitting program is described in Policy Number 600-27. The Sustainable Building Policy is scheduled to be revised every three years.
New residential, commercial, and industrial development projects are all eligible for expedited permitting. The expedited permitting process is estimated to take 75% as much time as the normal permitting process. The policy also prioritizes project types in the case that the expedited permitting program is full. Sustainable projects that also qualify as "Affordable Housing" projects receive second priority, and all other sustainable building projects receive fourth priority.
In order to qualify for expedited permitting as a sustainable building, a project must utilize either photovoltaics to generate a "certain percentage" of the project's energy needs, or achieve LEED Silver certification. Program materials, including a checklist and form, are available on the program web site above.

Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM)CPUC05/17/1612/11/164979

Note: This program completed its sixth and final mandated auction in 2015. CPUC Decision 14-11-042  allows the utilities to continue using RAM as a mechanism for meeting a portion of their RPS requirements. Future RAM solicitations will be issued at the discretion of the utilities. Some of the parameters put in place by the CPUC will be lifted, but the essence of the RAM program will remain. Namely, utilities will select projects based on lowest price, and selected projects will be granted standard non-negotiable contracts. See the utility websites below for more information. 

The Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December 2010 with a goal of installing 1,500 megawatts (MW) of new distributed generation. RAM was designed to streamline the procurement process for distributed generation projects between 3 MW and 20 MW* in capacity while ensuring the lowest costs for ratepayers.  

The RAM is a reverse auction which was originally scheduled to occur twice annually for each of the three investor-owned utilities in the state. Each utility was responsible for procuring their proportionate share of the 1,500 MW total based on their relative electricity sales. 

Each bid is screened by the utility for viability and then selected based on price, starting with the least cost project, until the utility reaches their MW limit for that auction. Any capacity remaining at the end of the auction period was added to the next auction. Winning bids are given a standard contract from the utility. The CPUC can then approve executed contracts through a Tier 2 advice letter.  

The sixth and final RAM auction closed in August 2015. The utilities are no longer required to conduct new RAM auctions, but are authorized to voluntarily use the mechanism to meet their general renewable energy procurement targets. 

See the following links for more information about the utilities' renewable energy procurement options:

* CPUC Decision 14-11-042 lifted the size restrictions (3 MW - 20 MW) for future utility-developed RAM solicitations. For future solicitations, the utilities may establish project size requirements based on their specific procurement needs at the time of the solicitation.  

City of Palo Alto Utilities - Palo Alto CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now)City of Palo Alto UtilitiesUp to 3 MW of projects06/17/1512/11/165124

City Palo Alto Utility's Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) program provides fixed payments for electricity produced by approved photovoltaic systems over a fixed period of time. This type of program is commonly referred to as a feed-in tariff. Originally, the program allowed participants to choose between 10-year, 15-year and 20-year contracts. As of June 2015, the only option is a 20-year contract for a price of $0.165 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

There is no minimum or maximum system size to participate. The solar generating facility may be located anywhere in Palo Alto city limits as long as it complies with all City codes and interconnection requirements. Systems may be ground-mounted, roof-mounted, or mounted on carports, though the utility recommends investigating the codes and requirements applicable to the site prior to submitting an application.

Applicants must submit a reservation deposit of $20 per kW. Winning projects will have one year to complete construction. If the project is completed within the year, the deposit will be returned to the applicant. Projects that take longer to become operational may sacrifice a portion of their deposit.

See the program web site listed above for more information on this program.

Energy Efficiency Financing for Public Sector ProjectsCalifornia Energy CommissionOver $20 million05/25/1612/11/165131

Cities, counties, public care institutions, public hospitals, public schools and colleges, and special districts in California can apply for low-interest loans from the California Energy Commission for energy efficiency projects in their buildings and facilities. Residential and commercial projects and non-profit institutions are not eligible for these funds.

Entities eligible for 0% loans include:

  • School districts
  • Charter schools
  • County office of educations
  • State special schools
  • Community college districts

Entities eligible for 1% loans include:

  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Special Districts
  • Public College or University (except community colleges)
  • Public Care Institutions/ Public Hospitals
  • University of California
  • California State University

There is no minimum loan amount, but the maximum loan amount per application is $3 million. The loan term cannot exceed the useful life of loan-funded equipment, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the estimated annual energy cost savings from the projects. The exact loan term will be determined such that the energy savings will cover the loan payments.

For a project to be considered, it must have proven energy savings and meet the eligibility requirements of the loan program. Examples of projects include:

  • Lighting systems
  • Pumps and motors
  • Streetlights and LED traffic signals
  • Energy management systems and equipment controls
  • Building insulation
  • Energy generation including renewable energy and combined heat and power projects
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment
  • Waste water treatment equipment
  • Load shifting projects, including thermal energy storage

Full details and application packets are available at the web site above.

Los Angeles County - Commercial PACE01/13/1612/11/165180

Businesses in Los Angeles County may be eligible for the county's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE programs allow businesses to finance energy and water efficiency projects which are repaid through a special assessment on the business's property taxes. The property must be located within Los Angeles County, and within the boundaries of a city that has adopted a resolution to join the County-wide PACE district. As of January 2016, 85 of 88 cities in Los Angeles County have passed resolutions opting into the LA County PACE Program. 

The technologies listed above are examples of eligible improvements, but other technologies that are permanently affixed to the property, and have proven energy or water savings, may be eligible on a case-by-case basis. The LA County Commercial PACE Program utilizes an “open market” approach, where property owners may negotiate project-specific terms with the PACE investor of their choice, including banks that holds the first mortgages.

More information is available on the website above.

Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program11/03/1612/11/165181

Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) is offering homeowners in WRCOG participating jurisdictions an opportunity to finance energy and water efficiency projects in their homes. The Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Program is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. PACE programs allow homeowners to finance energy improvements, and to repay the financing through special assessments on their property taxes. In most cases the property tax assessment will stay with the property if it is sold, though the buyer's lender may impose restrictions on the transfer.

A wide variety of energy and water efficiency products permanently affixed to the property can qualify for this program. Light bulbs, appliances, and other products not permanently affixed to the property are ineligible for this program. Only contractors registered with the program or a property owner who has signed a Self-Install Agreement may install the financed equipment.

See the web site above for complete details.

Western Riverside Council of Governments - Large Commercial PACE03/31/1612/11/165182

Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) is offering business owners in WRCOG participating jurisdictions an opportunity to finance energy and water efficiency projects for their commercial properties. The HERO Commercial Program is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. PACE programs allow businesses to finance energy improvements, and to repay the financing through special assessments on their property taxes. 

CaliforniaFIRSTRenewable Funding03/11/1612/11/165309

The CaliforniaFIRST Program is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for non-residential properties. PACE programs allow property owners to finance the installation of energy and water improvements on their buildings and to pay the amount back through their property taxes. CaliforniaFIRST is available to commercial, industrial, agricultural, and multi-family (over 5 units) buildings in one of the 120 participating cities or the unincorporated parts of the 14 participating counties. Click here to see all the local governments that are participating.

Eligibility is generally determined by the property records and value, and the property must meet general underwriting criteria established by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA). The property must be current in payment for all obligations secured by the property, including mortgages, property taxes, and assessment and tax liens, for the past 3 years. There cannot be any notices of default or foreclosure filed against the property within the last 5 years. The current property owner also cannot have a record of bankruptcy in the past 7 years. Lenders may request additional information and have additional criteria.

More information and a complete list of the currently approved energy and water efficiency technologies are available at the web site above.

Partial Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Agricultural Solar Power FacilitiesCalifornia State Board of Equalization03/31/1612/11/165351

California provides a partial exemption of the state's sales and use tax for farm equipment and machinery. The exemption only applies to taxes levied by the State, and not sales and use taxes levied by local governments. Further, the exemption does not apply to the taxes imposed or administered pursuant to sections 6051.2 and 6201.2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law, the Transactions and Use Tax Law, or section 35 of article XIII of the California Constitution.

The California State Board of Equalization issued a Special Notice in November 2012, clarifying that photovoltaic (PV) systems that are used to provide electricity to farm equipment and machinery may qualify for the partial exemption. For any farm equipment or machinery to qualify for the partial exemption, it must be used primarily in producing and harvesting agricultural products. "Primarily" means 50% or more of the time. In the case of PV, according to the Special Notice, 50% or more of the electricity produced by the system must be used to provide power to farm equipment and machinery. The system does not need to be directly connected to the equipment to qualify. The system can be connected to the local electrical grid and used to offset the farm's electrical use through a net metering arrangement with the local utility. Applicants will need to demonstrate, however, that the farm equipment annually consumes at least half of the amount of electricity annually produced by the PV system.

Leased equipment also qualifies for the partial exemption. For more information, including a sample Partial Exemption Certificate, can be found on the web site above.

 

California Enterprise Development Authority (Figtree PACE) - Statewide PACE ProgramFIGTREE Energy Financing01/13/1612/11/165378

FIGTREE Energy Financing is administering a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program in a number of California cities and counties through a partnership with the Pacific Housing & Finance Agency (PHFA) and the California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA). PACE programs allow property owners to borrow money for energy improvement projects which are repaid through their property taxes. A number of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can be financed through FIGTREE's PACE program. Residential and commercial properties which meet the program's criteria, and are located in one of the participating cities or counties are eligible. Full details of the program and a list of the participating cities and counties are available at the web site above. 

FHA PowerSaver Loan Program03/07/1612/11/165631

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) through its PowerSaver loan program offers three financing options for homeowners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in their residences. For all three PowerSaver products, borrowers must select from a list of approved PowerSaver lenders. Please check the HUD website to find a list of participating FHA approved lender for the program. PowerSaver products are not currently offered in all states, so all potential applicants are encouraged to first check the program website to ensure product availability in their location. 

Eligibility

Homeowners must have following requirements to be eligible for the program:

  •  Minimum credit score of 660
  •  Maximum total debt to income ratio of 45% (monthly income divided by monthly debt payments)
  • Maximum combined loan-to-value: 100%
  • Property type: One-unit, owner-occupied, principal residence properties only
  • Appraisal requirement: exterior-only inspection appraisal or other FHA method of valuation
  • PowerSaver insures lien position in the first place, or second place, and also insures loans without lien, as long as the loan amount is less than $7,500. 

Eligible Measures

Eligible home energy upgrades include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • A whole home upgrade through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Replacing doors and windows
  • Upgrading heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems and hot water systems
  • Home automations systems and controls (e.g., smart thermostats)
  • Installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar thermal hot water systems, small wind power, or geothermal heat pumps

PowerSaver Home Energy Upgrade—Up to $7,500

This unsecured consumer loan is intended for smaller projects (e.g., insulation, air and duct sealing, water heating, replacing heating and cooling equipment, etc.). It does not require a home appraisal or lien on the property. Single-family homeowners may qualify for the loan if they have manageable debt and a credit score of 660 or higher. Interest rates vary, but typically range from 4.99% to 7.75%. PowerSaver participating lenders, markets, and contact information is available here.

PowerSaver Second Mortgage (Title I)—Up to $25,000

This Title I loan is intended for financing larger retrofit projects, including energy efficiency, PV, solar hot water, geothermal, or other renewable energy projects. A home appraisal or equity is generally not required, but PowerSaver lenders may request it if required by their investor. Borrowers cannot currently have an existing home equity loan, a second lien, or second mortgage to qualify for this product. Interest rates vary but typically range from 4.99% to 9.99%, and the maximum loan term is 20 years. PowerSaver Title I participating lenders, markets, and contact information is available here.

PowerSaver Energy Rehab (203(k))—First mortgage up to FHA loan limits

This 203(k) loan is for home purchase or refinance, targeting either home buyers wishing to combine home improvements with a home purchases or to homeowners wishing to include home improvements when refinancing an existing mortgage. It is FHA-insured up to 100% for a home purchase or refinance, plus the cost of a home improvement project. Current loan limits for a single-unit property vary by area from $217,500 to $625,000 (higher amounts are permitted for two-, three- and four-unit properties); specific loan limits for an area can be found at this website. In order to qualify as a 203(k) PowerSaver loan, at least $3,500 of the home improvements must consist of eligible PowerSaver measures. PowerSaver 203(k) participating lenders, markets, and contact information is available here.

The two types of PowerSaver 203(k) loans are Standard and Streamlined. Standard 203(k) loans are for major improvements, where a home improvement project costs at least $5,000 and includes $3,500 in energy upgrades. The Streamlined 203(k) loans are for minor home improvements, where the home improvement project cost must not exceed $35,000. A HUD consultant is only required for oversight of home improvements for Standard 203(k) loans. 



Bear Valley Electric Service - Solar Initiative Program$1,286,35006/29/1512/31/225649

Bear Valley Electric Service is providing an incentive for their residential customers to install photovoltaic (PV) systems. Systems must be sized to provide no more than 90% of the calculated or estimated annual energy consumption of the property. Incentives will step down overtime as participation milestones are met. Individual incentives will be adjusted from the base incentive rate based on expected performance. See website above for more information.  

Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT)07/21/1612/11/165665

Note: Program Period 17 for the Re-MAT program began in July 2016. The feed-in tariff program for bioenergy projects was established by SB 1122, and the CPUC approved rules for the new program in December 2014. 

All investor-owned utilities and publicly-owned utilities with 75,000 or more customers must make a standard Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT) available to their customers. As the ReMAT is meant to help the utilities meet California's renewable portfolio standard (RPS), all green attributes associated with the energy, including renewable energy credits (RECs), transfer to the utility with the sale. Any customer-generator who sells power to the utility under this tariff may not participate in other state incentive programs. The tariffs will be available until the combined statewide cumulative capacity of eligible generation installed equals 750 megawatts (MW) for the general ReMAT program, and 250 MW for the bioenergy ReMAT program. Each utility will be responsible for a portion of those cumulative totals based on their proportionate sales.

The CPUC has regulatory authority over the investor-owned utilities, but not publicly-owned utilities. Therefore, the rules adopted by the CPUC do not apply to the publicly-owned utilities. Instead, the governing board of each publicly-owned utility is wholly responsible for developing their tariffs within the parameters established by the legislature in CA Public Utilities Code § 399.32 (formerly CA Public Utilities Code § 387.6). The collective share of the 750 MW program capacity established by the legislature for which the investor-owned utilities are responsible is 493.6 MW. The remaining 256.4 MW is to be divided between the publicly-owned utilities. Investor-owned utilities are solely responsible for the 250 MW bioenergy program.


Investor-Owned Utilities (General ReMAT program)

The California ReMAT allows eligible customer-generators to enter into 10-, 15- or 20-year standard contracts with their utilities to sell the electricity produced by small renewable energy systems (up to 3 megawatts (MW)). The CPUC has separated the technologies eligible to participate in the feed-in tariff into three project type categories: Baseload (bioenergy and geothermal), As-Available Peaking (solar), and As-Available Non-Peaking (wind and hydro). The ReMAT starting price is based on the weighted average of the three investor-owned utilities highest executed contract resulting from the Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) auction held in November 2011. Based on the results of that auction the starting price was $89.23 per megawatt-hour (MWh). As of July 2016, the current price for Baseload and As-Available Non-Peaking resources remains $89.23 per MWh; the current price for As-Available Peaking resources is $61.23 per MWh.

The CPUC built in price adjustment mechanisms to allow the program to adapt to changing market conditions. Interested generators must start by submitting a program participation request with the utility. The utility will establish a queue on a first-come first-served basis for each product type and will extend a ReMAT price offer to the applicants. The applicant can either accept or reject the contract. The price adjustments are only triggered if at least five projects with different developers for a certain product type apply. If no projects accept the Re-MAT, or less than 50% of the initial starting capacity for that project type accept the Re-MAT after its first two months, then the price will be escalated by $4 per MWh for the third and fourth months. The price will continue to escalate in subsequent two-month blocks until the subscription capacity is equal to 50% or more of the initial starting capacity for that project type. Similarly, if the program demonstrates excessive interest, the Re-MAT will be adjusted downward every two months.


Investor-Owned Utilities (Bioenergy ReMAT program)

SB 1122 of 2012 requires the investor-owned utilities to operate a separate ReMAT program for a cumulative total of 250 MW of bioenergy projects, separate from the wider 750 MW program. The legislation subdivided the 250 MW limit across different bioenergy sources:

  • 110 MW for biogas from wastewater treatment, municipal organic waste diversion, food processing, and codigestion
  • 90 MW for dairy and other agricultural bioenergy
  • 50 MW for bioenergy using byproducts of sustainable forest management

The CPUC, in consultation with the California Energy Commission (CEC), the State Air Resources Board, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, may reallocate the 250 MW requirement among the categories if they determine the allocations referenced above are not appropriate. 


Publicly-Owned Utilities

All publicly-owned utilities with 75,000 or more customers are required to develop feed-in tariffs by July 1, 2013. In determining the rate to pay under the tariffs, publicly-owned utilities must consider:

  • The value of every kilowatt-hour (kWh) on a time of delivery basis
  • Avoided costs for distribution and transmission system upgrades
  • The ability of systems to offset peak demand on the distribution circuit
  • All current and anticipated environmental and greenhouse gas reduction compliance costs

CA Public Utilities Code § 399.32 provides more guidance for publicly-owned utilities in developing their tariffs, including conditions in which the utility may limit the program.

Customers of publicly-owned utilities with 75,000 or more customers should contact their utility for more information. Customers of one of the investor-owned utilities can contact the appropriate program administrator for more information:


LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program100 MW of Projects05/26/1612/11/165685

Note: LADWP accepted applications for the fifth allocation of the 100 MW FiT Set Pricing Program in March 2015. This program is the first component of a 150 megawatt (MW) FiT Program, and is designed to support 100 MW. The full 100 MW of contracts will be offered in five allocations occurring every six months. A plan for the additional 50 MW program is still in development. See the website above for more information.

LADWP is providing a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program to support the development of renewable energy projects in its territory. All technologies eligible for compliance with the state's renewables portfolio standard are eligible for the FiT, though LADWP expects the majority of projects to be photovoltaic (PV) systems. Project must be registered as RPS-compliant with the California Energy Commission to be participate.

The full 100 MW of contracts awarded through this program will be offered in five allocations occurring every six months. For each allocation, 4 MW of capacity will be reserved for small projects between 30 kW and 150 kW. If the small projects reach their reserved capacity limit before the total reserved capacity is met for a Tier, the remaining small projects will qualify under the total reserved capacity allocation until that category is exhausted. During the first five business days of each application period, all submitted applications will be prioritized on the FiT Reservation List by lottery. Applications received after the first five business days will prioritized in the order they are received.

The amount LADWP will pay for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced will be a product of the Base Price of Energy (BPE) multiplied by the appropriate Time-of-Delivery (TOD) Multiplier. The BPE is scheduled to decline as each 20 MW allocation is subscribed. The TOD multiplier varies by time of day and time of year with the highest multiplier being available between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM during June through September. The full schedule for BPE prices and TOD multipliers can be seen in the tables below.

Base Price of Energy

Tier Level Total MW Capacity Reserved Small Project MW Capacity Reserved Pricing (per kWh)
1 0-20 0-4 $0.17
2 20-40 4-8 $0.16
3 40-60 8-12 $0.15
4 60-75 12-16 $0.14
5 75-100 16-20 $0.13

 

Time of Delivery Multiplier 

  High Peak Low Peak Base
Period M-F (1:00 pm - 5:00 pm)

M-F (10:00 am - 1:00 pm)

M-F (5:00 pm - 8:00 pm)

M-F (8:00 pm - 10:00 am)

All day Saturday and Sunday

High Season (Jun - Sep)

2.25 multiplier 1.10 multiplier 0.50 multiplier
Low Season (Oct - May) 1.30 multiplier 0.90 multiplier 0.50 multiplier

Program participants must pay application fees, interconnection study fees, development security deposits, and interconnection fees. These fees and additional program requirements can be found at the web site above.

 

Pacific Power - Blue Sky Community Project FundsPacific Power03/16/1612/11/165866

Note: Pacific Power is currently accepting applications for 2016 Funding Awards. The deadline for submittal is May 31, 2016 5 PM PT. 

Pacific Power's Blue Sky program is a voluntary program for customers to support renewable energy. A portion of the voluntary payments through the program is used to fund new community-based renewable energy projects within Pacific Power's service territory.

Eligible renewable energy resources include wind, solar PV, geothermal, low-impact hydropower, pipeline or irrigation canal hydropower, wave or tidal energy, and low-emissions biomass. Projects must be grid connected, less than 10 MW, locally owned, and non-residential. 

Funding awards are made annually. Projects are evaluated based on project feasibility, costs, financing, additionality, community benefit, and recognition of the Blue Sky program. Total funding varies and the funding allocated to individual projects depends on the number of other applications and how well the project meets the program's criteria. Application timelines and materials are available on the program website. Projects that have received funding through other Pacific Power programs, such as the California Solar Incentive Program, are not eligible to receive a Blue Sky grant. Applicants are encouraged to seek cost-share funding or in-kind donations from other sources to strengthen the application.

Applicants must enroll as a Blue Sky Business Partner upon receiving a funding agreement. Award recipients will need to submit quarterly progress reports during project construction and a final report upon project completion. 

Renewable energy certificates associated with the project will be awarded to Pacific Power in proportion to the funding provided by the Blue Sky program.