Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy provides multiple benefits. Here are some highlights.
- Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home powered through emergencies and blackouts. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery backup.
- Reduced carbon footprint: Solar is one of the universe's most abundant clean energy sources, meaning you can lower or beat your home's dependence on "traditional" sources.
- Smaller power bills: Producing some or all of your own energy will cut power costs long-term.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Santa Cruz Homeowners?
Governments and power companies often incentivize homeowners for embracing solar. Here are some of the rebates, tax credits or other programs you could qualify for.
Incentive Type: Property Tax IncentiveWebsite: boe.ca.gov
100% of system value; 75% of system value exemption for dual-use equipment
Incentive Type: PACE FinancingWebsite: wrcog.us
Eligible products can be financed for up to 25 years, depending on the useful life of the eligible product.
Minimum financing: $5,000
The financing may not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the market value of the property, up to the first seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) of the property’s market value, and ten percent (10%) of the remaining value of the Property above seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) minus any PACE assessment on the property The total amount of any annual property taxes and assessments shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the property's fair market value, determined at the time program financing is approved.
Incentive Type: PACE Financing
Incentive Type: Rebate ProgramWebsite: selfgenca.com
For projects 30 kW or larger, 50% of incentive will be received up-front; 50% will be received based on actual kWh production over the first 5 years. For projects under 30kW, 100% of the incentive will be paid up front.
Incentives will step down over time. See below for incentive amounts.
Incentive Type: Feed-in TariffWebsite: ladwp.com
$0.17/kWh adjusted by a time of delivery multiplier
Base price will step down over time as certain MW goals are met
Incentive Type: Rebate ProgramWebsite: gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov
Step 1 Incentive Rates (contact utility to determine current incentive levels):
Single Family Residential Incentives:
Systems that displace natural gas: $29.85 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: Funding has been exhausted
Systems that displace natural gas: $20.19 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: $0.42 per estimated kWh displaced *** Note, funding has been exhausted in this category for SCE and PG&E
Solar Pool heating: $5.00 per estimated therm displaced
Incentive Type: Personal Tax CreditWebsite: ecowatch.com
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.
How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Santa Cruz
Choosing a company is the first step toward an effective and valuable solar energy system. Here are some essential aspects to consider while shopping for a solar installer.
Licensing and Training
California requires solar companies to hold licenses for each type of equipment they install, which can include solar pool heaters, photovoltaic (PV) systems, HVAC, water heaters, and boilers. Contractors must complete a highly comprehensive educational series, gain four years of field experience, and pass written exams to earn licensure. Look for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), among the solar sector's most trusted trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.
Cost of Solar Panels in Santa Cruz
Your solar panels' model will affect how much energy you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost the most but perform the best. Polycrystalline panels generate less, but they're a great traditional option for low budgets. Thin-film panels are excellent for non-traditional roof shapes and cost the least, but don't work well for large residential installations.
If you want to charge an electric car or use your solar power in cloudy weather, you can pay extra for add-ons. By choosing the right components, you can make your panel array more productive and convenient to use. Not every solar contractor provides these optional components, so look for a company that installs them if it's essential for you.
You can expect to pay about $17,350 on average for a five-kilowatt solar energy system in Santa Cruz. Use the table in this section to get an idea of how much Santa Cruz solar companies might quote for your specific system.
|Solar Panel Cost
|Solar Home EV Charger
Financing Solar Energy in Santa Cruz
Solar providers offer multiple different financing options to increase your savings and lower your costs. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are solar leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs), cash payments and solar loans. Though it involves a large up-front payment, cash is the most economical choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. Solar loans are the second most effective option. As with a home or auto loan, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for cost-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) lets you pay a monthly rate based only on the energy you use, similar to an electric bill. We usually don’t recommend these two options because you won't own the panels and cannot use solar incentives. Look for installers that offer two or more payment plans to find the right fit for your budget.
The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Santa Cruz.
A 26% federal tax credit applies to new home solar systems purchased through 2032. Additional incentives may be available through local governments, usually in the form of rebates and special financing programs.
|Solar System Capacity
|Estimated Payback period
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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Santa Cruz
How much money could I save by going solar in Santa Cruz?
Is solar energy easily accessible in Santa Cruz?
Will solar energy systems improve my Santa Cruz home value?
Could I still use solar power if I live in a wooded, rainy, or dark area?
What's the average solar system size in Santa Cruz?
What is the average payback period for Santa Cruz solar panels?
How many estimates should I get before making a final solar company decision?
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