If you’ve ever bought an item at the store, mailed in a post card, and received cash back, you already understand how solar rebates work. Whether managed by local state governments or individual utilities, the overall process is the same.
When used correctly, this popular solar incentive can instantly reduce the total upfront cost of your photovoltaic (PV) installation—parts & labor.
Why Do Solar Rebate Programs Exist?
Many states have renewable portfolio standards mandating that a certain portion of all power come from green energy sources. Solar rebate programs help to encourage PV adoption by driving down installation costs for homeowners and businesses.
Of all the solar incentives out there, these state-level rebate programs are the simplest to use:
- In some cases, you physically mail in the rebate form in order to receive the benefit.
- In other cases, PV installers quote their prices with the rebate already included and handle all paperwork on your behalf.
Like most green incentives, solar rebates are designed to reward early adopters. They operate on a regressive scale, with the biggest payouts going to those who take advantage of this incentive as quickly as possible.
For example, California’s solar rebate program started with a $2,000 per kilowatt bonus for all first-comers. Those who joined the program later on received fewer and fewer cash back rewards.
What Are the Main Benefits of Solar Rebates?
Although some jurisdictions use tax credits, the majority of solar rebate programs give actual cash (or checks).
Imagine knocking 10%, 15%, or even 20% off the total cost of your solar PV installation. With instant savings like these, you can dramatically shorten the payback period of your investment and boost the long-term ROI of your system.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Solar Rebate Programs?
Actually, there are a couple downsides of solar rebates:
1. Too Many Options
One disadvantage is that solar rebate programs vary so much from region to region. Some states actually offer competing rebates from local utilities. This makes the landscape more confusing for solar customers. But it also creates many more opportunities to drive down installation costs. So in a way, this disadvantage is also a benefit—especially since we can help you apply for solar rebate programs in your area.
2. Limited Supply
Another downside is availability. Solar rebates aren’t simply regressive—they’re also in limited supply. California’s core solar rebate program, for example, has already expired completely. There still exist other smaller rebates in the state, but most of the big money is gone.
This is a common theme among solar incentives. Those who take advantage early on reap the largest rewards (and pay the lowest prices). So if you’re thinking about going solar, now is the time to act. In 6 months, all of the solar rebates in your region could disappear.
Maybe they already have.
To find out if you live in a state that still offers solar rebates, contact us today for a free consultation.