• California has always been on the forefront of sustainability in the US. Its policies have been written and changed to reflect that aim, providing financial incentives to consumers who buy electric cars and install solar, and consumers have followed suit. These incentives have been effective, by providing both financial and sustainability benefits, but what homeowners should know is that many of them are going away this year, so to get on sustainability train, and the money-saving train, homeowners should take advantage of the federal and state electric vehicle and solar incentives this year to take advantage of the financial benefits. Let’s take a look at those incentives and their expiration dates, so you can know why 2019 is the best year ever to buy an electric car and install solar.

  • California Electric Car Incentives in 2019

    As far as electric vehicles go, more than half of the nation’s electric vehicles reside in California. The adoption has been impressive: there was an 81% increase in registration of new electric vehicles in the state between 2017 and 2018. While this is still a good distance away from the state’s near-term goal of 1 million electric cars on the road by 2023, clearly the $854 million in rebates given out by the state since 2010 have had some significant effects.

    So what kind of incentives have sparked this adoption? Obviously, having an electric car has its embedded financial benefit: by charging your electric car at home, you no longer have to pay for gas. But what incentives have the government provided?

    The Federal EV Tax Credit

    The IRS is currently providing tax credits of $2,500 to $7,500 for new electric vehicles purchased in the United States. The way that it works is interesting, as the credit varies based on model of electric vehicle and how many units have sold. Most models start at a $7,500 credit, but then, when that particular model reaches 200,000 sales, it begins to phase out. The phase out is as follows: $7,500 for the first and second quarters after the model reaches 200,000 sales, which is considered a grace period. Then, after the grace period, it goes down to $3,750 for the next two quarters, then to $1,875 for the next two quarters, then it is phased out forever.

    List of EV Models that have Fading Tax Credits

    There are a number of electric vehicle models that have already hit the 200,000 limit and have phasing credits that expire in 2019. Here is a full list of the models, and their phaseout periods

  • Vehicle Make & ModelFull Credit - $750050% - $375025% - $18750% - $0
    2014 & 2016 Cadillac ELR1/1/10 to 3/31/194/1/19 to 9/30/1910/1/19 to 3/31/203/31/20 on
    2017–18 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in1/1/10 to 3/31/194/1/19 to 9/30/1910/1/19 to 3/31/203/31/20 on
    2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV1/1/10 to 3/31/194/1/19 to 9/30/1910/1/19 to 3/31/203/31/20 on
    2011-2019 Chevrolet Volt1/1/10 to 3/31/194/1/19 to 9/30/1910/1/19 to 3/31/203/31/20 on
    2014-2016 Chevrolet Spark EV1/1/10 to 3/31/194/1/19 to 9/30/1910/1/19 to 3/31/203/31/20 on
  • So if you’re looking to get one of the very popular Chevy EV’s this year is the last year you can get the substantial 50% or 25% rebate.

  • The California Vehicle Rebate Project

    The California Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) is a California electric vehicle incentive that provides up to $7,000 for the lease or purchase of new zero-emissions vehicles are that are eligible. If the applicant is from a low to medium income household, they qualify for higher rebates. Fuel cell electric vehicles get the highest rebates, and plug-in hybrid electrics get the lower-tier rebates.

    The CVRP ‘Rebate Now’ Program in San Diego

    If you’re a San Diego resident, the CVRP rebate has just become even more attractive. The Rebate Now program, which is available only in San Diego as a pilot program, allows residents to get preapproved for the rebate before even going to a car dealership. Even better, San Diego residents can use that preapproved rebate as a down payment for the EV, so they can go and pick up the electric vehicle by using only the rebate money. It’s an amazing program that all San Diego residents should look in to.

    So as you can see, between Federal, State, and local programs, getting an Electric vehicle has never been cheaper, and for some models, like the Chevy Bolt and Volt, which are extremely popular models, they will never be as cheap as they are now.

    The Electric Car and Solar Combination

    By now you’ve probably heard about the trend of electric vehicle owners going solar, and vice versa. There’s good reason, it really is a match made in heaven. With the combination of the two, you can use your solar to power your electric vehicle, which makes it so you don’t have to pay for gas, or the electricity needed to power the car. So you will literally be powering your car with clean, free energy from the Sun. It is the ultimate level of self sustainability, as well as money saving: a point at which where you no longer will be paying for power, or gas. As you can imagine, with rising gas and electricity prices, the compounding savings can be impressive.

    Those savings alone are substantial. Even without solar, switching from a gas to electric vehicle lowers your cost-per-mile from $.25/mile to about $.05/mile -- even buying that electricity from SDG&E -- and no money spent on tune-ups or oil changes; all you need to buy is tires every so often. If you also have solar, the cost drops to half that much ($.025/mile), unless your panels are paid off and then your cost-per-mile is zero!

  • Solar Installation Incentives in 2019

    Much like buying an electric car, there are incentives for going solar, both Federal and local. Unlike the Federal EV Tax Credits though, the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which is an income Tax Credit of 30% is going away for everyone after 2019. It phases out to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021, and in 2022, goes away forever for residential installations, but stays at 10% for commercial installations indefinitely. So for homeowners who want to install the cheapest solar possible, 2019 is the last year they can get the full tax credit.

    So you see, there are some significant Renewable Energy Tax Credits that are expiring this year. This is the last year you’ll be able to get the substantial 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit as well as the Tax Credit on select electric vehicles like the popular Chevy Bolt, so if you should take advantage of those so you’re not leaving money on the table. You’ll not only be decreasing your carbon footprint, but you will be saving money by powering your home and your car with the Sun. Contact us today to get your free quote!


  • About the Author

    Michael Powers


    Michael is one of the founding partners of Stellar Solar. In 2001, he helped launch The Home Depot’s national solar energy program which is now offering home solar through hundreds of stores in nearly a dozen states. He is a writer and marketing professional with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of energy, market intelligence and leadership training. He currently serves as treasurer and board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that advocates linking renewable energy resources around the world using electricity transmission.