The California Solar Initiative is set to finally end this year for San Diego County Residents. Starting in 2007, the CSI created a declining subsidy designed to last through 2016. However as solar panel costs dropped, solar leases arriving on the industry scene, and solar purchases outpacing expectations, the program will end early perhaps even leaving the industry closer to standing on its own.
The subsidy began at $2.50 per installed watt, or about $12,500 for a 5kW home. This is currently at $0.20 per watt, or $1,000 for a 5kW system. Luckily for the industry, solar costs have actually fallen faster than the subsidy. The cost of a subsidized 6kW photovoltaic solar system in 2007 would have been around $40,000. Today, primarily because the price per watt has almost halved, an equivalent system could actually cost less; around $32,000 with no state subsidy.
This is seen by many as time to take advantage of California’s solar rebate before it runs out. We are currently on step 10, which is the final step for the California Solar Initiative rebate. As of today there is only 14% of the Step 10 remaining at the rate of $.20 per AC watt. That’s free money while it’s still available to you. As the average residential solar system is 5 kW, there is only room for 358 more reservations. With a signed contract, it's possible to lock in rebate money for you. If you are on the fence about solar, now is the time to act.