• Orange County is the California that everyone dreams of: beautiful beaches, world-class surfing, and endless sunshine that together form the perfect trifecta of California cool. 

    It’s the place of dreams - but there are certain realities that Orange County residents are facing these days with Southern California Edison (SCE) raising rates 14.4% in 2021. On top of this, experts are telling the California Public Utility Commission to prepare themselves for electricity rates that are projected to outpace inflation over the next 10 years. 

    That’s why we recommend to go solar - and soon. Why? There are specific solar incentives that Orange County residents should utilize. And these incentives aren’t just for solar! In fact, there is a new trifecta of California cool: and that involves your energy independence. 

    There are solar incentives, home battery incentives, and even electric vehicle (EV) incentives that are there for the taking. Together they complement each other to help Orange County homeowners reach “Zero Net Energy”, a term that means you don’t consume any electricity for your home and vehicle beyond the energy you produce with your home solar system.

    It’s quite amazing - we have many customers who have achieved this and have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars due to their lack of energy and gasoline bills. Let’s; check out the incentives and see how they complement each other. 

    Residential Solar Incentives for Homeowners in Orange County 

    Net Metering for Solar Systems:

    Southern California Edison has a net metering program for homeowners with solar. Basically: you get credit for generating excess solar energy. You get to use these credits for when your solar installation isn’t generating enough power so that everything evens out and in theory you shouldn’t ever have to have SCE an electric bill again. 

    Keep in mind that for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) your system puts into the grid, you get a credit on your bill for the full retail rate of that kWh. Keep in mind that you will also use the time-of-use (variable based on time of day and season) rate.

    Federal Solar Tax Credit:

    The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) you can receive a 26% tax credit based on the value of the system that you purchased. This means if you were to purchase a $22,000 solar system, you would be awarded a $5,720 tax credit that you can use for this tax year or roll it over to next year if necessary. 

    This is only for people who purchase their system with cash or via a loan. People who lease a solar system wouldn’t be eligible. Keep in mind that the 26% ITC has only been extended through 2022. It’s time to go solar now instead of later. 

    Home Battery Incentives:

    SCE has a host of incentives and rebates for virtually every type of Orange County homeowner.

    If you want to install a home battery system in Orange County: our team at Stellar Solar is here to help. We are located in Oceanside (half an hour south of San Clemente) and have installed solar and home battery systems in Orange County for decades. Don’t forget: just like a solar system, adding a battery can add serious home value: making your home attractive to potential buyers.

    For good reason, solar batteries have become very popular. Due to the desire for offsetting ‘Time-Of-Use’ charges and safeguarding your home from power outages, solar batteries are hugely desirable. We are one of the first certified Tesla Powerwall installers in southern California and if you wish to install a solar battery backup in Orange County - we can help.

    The Self-Generation Incentive Program is fantastic for covering a large percentage of costs for installing self-generating energy storage systems. This program is made for high-fire risk areas or other qualifying communities in Orange County. 

    Backup batteries are designed to provide power for your home when an outage occurs. They can also help you lessen your electricity usage to save money on bills. Feel free to check out the SCE website for full details. Stellar Solar installs a range of solar batteries for residential properties across southern California. Check out our solar battery backup page for further details. 

    There are more incentives that SCE offers such as electric portable power stations, portable power generators, and smart thermostats. You can receive rebates from $75 up to $500 for these products. Check out the SCE Marketplace website for further details. 

    Electric Vehicle Incentives

    Think of this as a bonus section: if you’ve purchased a solar or home battery system - why not use them to power your electric vehicle and run your entire life with sun power? Remember - over time you can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in gas and electric bills. Imagine the satisfaction knowing you don’t need to worry about rising gasoline and electricity prices!

    Electric vehicles are in vogue in Orange County and in the world at large. Charging your car with a home battery to avoid escalating gas prices is an environmental and a fiscal decision. Who needs gas when you can power your car with the California sun. 

    For starters, the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP): this provides clean vehicle rebates up to $4,500 for Orange County residents. CVRP rebates vary based on the type of vehicle that you purchase. Incentives depend on the vehicle type. 

    At the highest range: fuel-cell vehicles can receive a $4,500 rebate whereas battery electric vehicles are eligible for a $2,000 rebate. Additionally, hybrid vehicles can receive $1,000, and zero-emission motorcycles are eligible for $750. Check out the CVRP website for full details and information on additional incentives for financially qualifying individuals. 

    There is also the California Clean Fuel Reward: a rebate for Orange County residents who purchase (or even lease!) new Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) or Battery Electric (BEV) vehicles. Qualifying individuals can receive a rebate up to $1,500. You simply need to identify an eligible vehicle and a participating auto retailer. 

    Want more information? View EV rebates and incentives on the Clean Fuel Reward website. 

    Massive Sunshine Savings in Orange County

    There are a lot of incentives available for people who want to ‘go green’. Who wouldn’t want to rid themselves of high gasoline prices and no longer depend on California utilities who will inevitably raise your electric bill?

    If you purchase a solar system in Orange County you’re eligible for a host of local and Federal incentives. If you get a home battery and electric vehicle, then the combined incentives can be jaw-dropping if you are a homeowner in Southern California Edison territory. 

    Below is an example of the potential savings for a homeowner who goes all out on the solar trifecta:

    • The Orange County homeowner purchases a solar system and takes advantage of the 26% Federal Tax Credit: their system costs $30,000 and thus, they are awarded a credit for $8,000 in taxes.

    • They purchase a portable power generator as a backup for potential outages, and through the Self-Generation Incentive Program they save $500 on the price tag.

    • They decide to purchase an electric vehicle that is eligible for the California Clean Vehicle Project and save $2,000.

    • While researching incentives, they realize that their vehicle is eligible for the California Clean Fuel Reward - bingo - that’s another $1,500 saved.

    • Finally, they utilize the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program and save an entire $5,000 to top everything off. At this point, they can’t believe how many incentives are available and the dollar figures that they saved. 

    In this example, the homeowner saves a grand total of $17,000. 

    And that’s just the beginning: you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over the lifetime of your solar system and electric vehicle. 

    With SCE rates rising 7% in 2020 and 14% in 2021 - many Orange County homeowners are doubtful about their capability to pay electricity bills moving forward into the future. 

    SCE has stated that rate increases are due to anticipated costs from 2021-2024 to decrease wildfire risk and improve safety. It doesn’t help that electricity costs are rising due to increased heat on top of this.  

    Want to go solar in Orange County? Our team of experienced solar energy professionals take an educational, no-pressure approach. Our team currently follows current distancing and masking guidelines throughout the installation process. 

    Contact us to schedule a fast, zero-pressure virtual solar consultation. We offer a plethora of solar panel, inverter and battery storage solutions for every type of home and budget.

  • 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.