Thinking of Going Solar? A Guide with Cost Saving Resources

Skall + Glassman - April 15, 2024

Harnessing the Sun: Going Solar Powered for Homeowners in Marin County, California

As the world grapples with the effects of climate change, the shift towards renewable energy sources like solar power has become increasingly imperative. For homeowners in Marin County, embracing solar energy not only contributes to a cleaner environment but also offers numerous financial benefits and incentives. Here's a comprehensive guide to going solar in Marin County, complete with resources, incentives, and expert advice.

Why Go Solar in Marin County?

Marin County boasts an ideal climate for solar energy generation, with ample sunshine throughout the year. By harnessing solar power, homeowners can significantly reduce their carbon footprint while enjoying energy independence and cost savings in the long run.

How to pay for solar panels?

The growing interest in solar energy across the U.S. is underscored by the more than 2.5 million homeowners who have already installed solar systems in their homes, viewing it as a smart investment that not only increases property value but also promises significant savings on electricity costs over time. 


With solar panel systems lasting 25 years or more, the potential savings are substantial, especially when considering the escalating costs of electricity over time. For instance, a monthly electricity bill of $150 could accumulate to over $65,000 in the next 25 years, a cost that investing in solar energy could significantly reduce or even eliminate.


Financing solar installations presents homeowners with several options, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Cash purchases and solar loans stand out as the most cost-efficient methods, offering homeownership of the system outright or through fixed monthly payments over a term, typically ranging from five to 25 years. 


While these options ensure that all financial incentives and rebates directly benefit the homeowner, leasing or entering into a power purchase agreement (PPA) might not be as financially beneficial since they do not lead to ownership of the system at the end of the term, despite substantial outlay.


Choosing the right financing option is crucial; cash purchases eliminate future electricity bills and protect against rate increases, but require significant upfront capital. Solar loans facilitate ownership without initial outlay but include interest costs, whereas leases or PPAs offer short-term savings without the benefits of rebates, increased home value, or eventual system ownership. The decision between these options will influence the long-term financial and environmental benefits of solar energy, making it essential for homeowners to carefully consider their situation and goals in the context of available financing methods.


Financial Incentives and Rebates

Several financial incentives and rebates are available to homeowners in Marin County to make the transition to solar power more affordable. These include:

  • California Solar Initiative (CSI): This statewide program provides cash rebates for installing solar energy systems. 
  • Federal Solar Tax Credit: Homeowners can claim a federal tax credit equal to 26% of the cost of their solar panel system, including installation. This incentive helps offset the upfront costs of going solar and is available until 2023.
  • Property Tax Exemption: Installing a solar energy system typically increases a property's value. However, in California, solar panels are exempt from property tax assessments, providing additional financial relief to homeowners.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing: Allows property owners to fund energy efficiency, water efficiency, renewable energy, and seismic improvements, to be repaid through property taxes​​.
  • Local Rebates and Incentives: Marin Clean Energy (MCE), the local community choice aggregator, offers various incentives for renewable energy projects, including solar installations. Homeowners can visit MCE's website or contact their customer service for the latest rebate information.

Marin Resources for Going Solar

For homeowners interested in going solar, there are several resources available in Marin County to facilitate the process:

  • Marin Clean Energy (MCE): MCE offers renewable energy options to residents and businesses in Marin County. They provide resources and guidance on solar installations, including information on rebates and incentives.
  • Marin County Community Development Agency: The Community Development Agency provides permitting and regulatory assistance for solar installations. Homeowners can access information on zoning regulations, permit requirements, and solar contractor licensing.
  • California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA): CALSSA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing solar and energy storage industries in California. They offer educational resources, contractor directories, and advocacy support for homeowners interested in solar energy.

Finding a provider:

You can compare providers, read reviews, get quotes and calculate the cost all in one place, thanks to Additionally, this unbiased site funded by the US Department of Energy, offers many articles and useful tips to help make the change to solar as well as install EV chargers and other green improvements.

Expert Advice

According to solar energy experts, proper planning and research are crucial steps for homeowners considering solar power. It's essential to assess your energy needs, evaluate your property's solar potential, and obtain multiple quotes from reputable contractors. Additionally, homeowners should familiarize themselves with available incentives and financing options to maximize cost savings.

In conclusion, transitioning to solar power offers numerous benefits for homeowners in Marin County, California. From reducing energy costs to mitigating environmental impact, solar energy is a sustainable and financially rewarding investment. By leveraging available resources and incentives, homeowners can embark on their journey towards a cleaner, greener future powered by the sun.


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