California Financial Incentive Programs

For Individuals, Non-Profits, Companies

  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Rebates
  • Incentives
  • Tax Exemptions

The state of California as well as the utilities and many local communities offer a wide spectrum of incentive programs. The most prominent program was created for the solar energy market. The Go Solar California Campaign established one of the most comprehensive nationwide solar incentive programs to date – The California Solar Initiative.

For the home builder, business owner, non-profit organization, or individual it may be difficult to identify the right program. The following table intends to provide an overview of the most important programs.

TypeScopeNameRenewable TypeSector
Grant ProgramsLocalSanta Monica Green Building Grant ProgramPassive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Bio-Gas, Daylighting, Small HydroelectricCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Construction, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential, Institutional
StateSchool Facility Program – Modernization GrantsNo specific technologiesPhotovoltaics, Other Distributed Generation Technologies
Utilitysee for details
Loan ProgramsLocalBerkeley FIRST (Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology)PhotovoltaicsCommercial, Residential
Palm Desert Energy Independence ProgramSolar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, PhotovoltaicsCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Agricultural
Santa Monica - Solar Santa MonicaSolar Water Heat, PhotovoltaicsCommercial, Residential
StateEnergy Efficiency Financing ProgramCHP/Cogeneration, Other Distributed Generation TechnologiesSchools, Local Government, Public Hospitals
Utilitysee for details
Rebate ProgramsLocalMarin County Solar Rebate ProgramSolar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Solar Pool HeatingCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools
San Francisco Solar Energy Incentive ProgramPhotovoltaicsCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Multi-Family Residential
StateCalifornia Solar InitiativeSolar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, PhotovoltaicsCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Fed. Government, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential, Agricultural, Institutional, (All customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE; Bear Valley eligible only for NSHP)
CSI - Pilot Solar Water Heating ProgramSolar Water HeatCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Agricultural, Institutional
New Solar Homes Partnership – NSHPSolar (Photovoltaics)Home Builders (Residential, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential)
Emerging Renewables ProgramWind, Fuel Cells using Renewable FuelsCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Schools, Low-Income Residential, Agricultural, Institutional
Self-Generation Incentive Program Wind, Fuel CellsCommercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Fed. Government, Institutional
Utilitysee for details
Other IncentivesGreen Buildingssee for details
ProductionCalifornia Feed-In TariffSolar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Electric,Commercial, Industrial, Residential
SCE Biomass Standard ContractLandfill Gas, Biomass, Municipal Solid Waste, Anaerobic Digestion, Fuel Cells using Renewable FuelsCommercial, Industrial, Agricultural
City of Palo Alto Utilities – Solar Renewable Energy Credit Purchase ProgramPhotovoltaicsCommercial, Industrial
Alternative Fuel and Vehiclessee for details
Tax ExemptionsProperty Tax ExemptionProperty Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy SystemsSolar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Commercial, Industrial, Residential



Wind and Fuel Cells