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Useful links to solar information

This information is provided as a service only.  The Center for Climate Protection and Solar Sonoma County is not responsible for content.  Not seeing it here?  Let us know!

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)

Clean Power Exchange (CPX) - The Center for Climate Protection's non-profit resource for Community Choice Energy roll-outs throughout California. Follow the excitement as it happens!

Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) - Sonoma County's Own!

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Air District is pleased to announce Cycle 2 of the Charge! Program, an incentive program that offers grant funding for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at Bay Area transportation corridors, workplaces, multi-family dwelling units (MDUs) and trip destination locations. The goal of the Charge! Program is to rapidly expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in order to accelerate the Bay Area’s adoption of EVs and ultimately to achieve the region's EV deployment goals of 110,000 EVs by 2020 and 247,000 EVs by 2025. (12/22/2015)

Lease & PPA vs Ownership

You want to own your solar panels.
Your federal taxes are high enough to qualify for the 30% solar investment tax credit.
You want to maximize the financial benefits of going solar.

Lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
You don’t care about owning the panels.
Your federal taxes are too low to qualify for the solar investment tax credit.
You value immediate financial savings over larger long-term savings.

PACE Financing - Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is an opportunity for property owners to finance energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy generation improvements through a voluntary assessment. These assessments will be attached to the property, not the owner, and will be paid back through the property tax system over time, making the program not only energy efficient but also affordable. Follow the next link for a handy PACE shopping tool... - Handy tool for comparing different PACE providers

Net Energy Metering (NEM) - PG&E vs Sonoma Clean Power

Both PG&E and SCP offer Net Energy Metering (NEM) for solar, but there are some important differences in the way the programs are implemented. Sonoma Clean Power offers some key advantages. These pages include links that show you how to understand your NEM statement showing energy credits:

If you purchase energy from Sonoma Clean Power - 

If you purchase energy from PG&E -

Pathway to Better Buildings

Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) guide to commercial building energy efficiency (PDF)

Renewable Energy Code, Sonoma County

Sonoma County Renewable Energy Regulations - If you are planning a large or commercial PV solar system, your first stop would be to review the Renewable Energy Code as it relates to your property and proposed use.

A standard rule of thumb is that it takes 5 acres of land for ground-mounted solar to produce one (1) MW of power. Note that the code determines how much of your land can be covered by the solar panels.

Understanding your PG&E Utility Bill - If you think your bill is difficult to understand, you are not alone!  This informative video and discussion should help.

Solar Quote Consultations by SCEIP - The County of Sonoma offers FREE in-office consultations for those considering going solar!

Schedule your appointment: Call (707) 565-6470 or email

The consultations are:
  • No cost
  • Completely unbiased
  • Useful to compare bids from different companies
  • Helpful at any stage in the process
  • Available for residential and commercial
You will learn about:
  • Design considerations
  • Equipment options
  • Average costs
  • Financing options
  • Utility rate impacts

Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Systems - Fear not!  Your new rooftop solar system will not increase you assessed property value

Solar Systems May Increase the Resale Value of Your Home - Adding rooftop solar to you home has been shown to increase resale value

How Net Energy Metering (NEM) works (graphic)

{click to enlarge)
How Net Metering Works

Heat Pump Systems - Heat pumps are a better way to heat and cool air and water. Super efficient, and all-electric!

Solar Permitting Guidebook - Solar Permitting Guide for contractors and jurisdictions. Gets into the weeds, but useful for system owners and installers alike.

Solar Power your Recreational Vehicle

When you hit the road in your RV -- motorhome, 5th wheel, or trailer -- be sure to power your 'coach' with the sun! It's no fun to pull into a nice quiet camp setting, only to fire up a dirty, noisy gasoline power electric generator. Your camping neighbors don't appreciated it, either! Here are some local resources for installing a PV solar system on your RV, including inverter and battery storage:
  • Ben Mojica at Enriched Mobile Electronics, 707.528.3351, -- they do exceptional work on mobile electronics and van conversions
  • GTRV, Mike Reed, -- Well-known van conversion specialist in Sebastopol.
  • Real Goods, -- Up in Hopland. They have a long history of solar innovation. They sell the parts, but don't do installations as of January 2018, but check in with them.

Rebuilding After the Fires

Rebuild With Solar - You've been through a horrific event. So much loss. Here's a way to mitigate some of your loss, by rebuilding in an energy efficient and sustainable way... Power your new home with electricity from the sun! Here are some tips for you and your builder to help you along.

Renewable Auction Mechanism Map ('Heat Map') -- This is getting into the weeds quite a bit, but if you want to know what the available grid and transformer capacity is for a given address, this is for you. The map is designed to help contractors and developers find potential project sites. The map shows electric transmission lines, distribution lines and substations in PG&E service areas. It also lists information such as operating voltages, line and transformer capacity and substation names. 

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. But it *is* scheduled to expire:
  • 2016 – 2019: The tax credit remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system. This means that in 2017, you can still get a major discounted price for your solar panel system.
  • 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2022 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.