Installing Solar at Your Home

Take advantage of solar incentives with the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP), a 10-year, $350 million program managed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) to encourage solar in existing residential homes and new home construction.

Earn Incentives

To participate in the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and earn incentives for installing a solar system on your existing home, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Complete an energy audit.

(Print and submit a copy with application)

Performing an energy audit is a requirement for participation in the program. There are two ways to complete an audit:

There are three ways to be exempt from an audit:

  • Provide a copy of an energy audit completed in your home in the past 36 months
  • Provide a copy of your home’s ENERGY STAR or LEED certification
  • Submit a copy showing your home complies (CF-1R form prepared by a Certified Energy Plans Examiner) with the 2001 or 2005 CA Title 24 Energy Code

Acting on the audit is not a requirement at this time. However, PG&E recommends you take action with our rebates for energy-efficiency products such as appliances, lighting, heating and air conditioning and more. Visit our Rebates section for more information.

STEP 2: Contact and choose an installer to do a solar site survey.

A solar installer will site survey your home to determine if solar installation is possible and right for you. Since solar systems produce power only when the sun is shining and work best on clear summer days when the sun is perpendicular to the module surface, finding the right site for your system is important. Your property should have clear, unobstructed access to the sun for most of the day, throughout the year. Remember that shading from trees, other buildings or other parts of your house will substantially reduce the amount of electricity your system can produce. It's also wise to consider how the system will affect site aesthetics.

It's a good idea to interview potential installers and obtain at least 3 bids before making your selection. Factors you should consider include company reputation, warranty service, installed-system price and energy output. In addition, make sure you check the status of the installer's contractor license. The {State of California's Contractors State License Board} has licensing information. You may also want to consult the CEC's list of contractor contacts or FindSolar.com. Self-installations are acceptable as long as your installation adheres to proper building permits and local codes.

There are many types of solar systems. Use PG&E's resources and your installer to help determine what's best based on your home, site, energy needs and budget.

STEP 3: Complete and submit applications for CSI.

Rebate Application
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) offers financial incentives to PG&E electric customers who install solar systems from 1 kilowatt (kW) up to 1 megawatt (MW) for onsite generation.

Interconnection Application
The Net Energy Metering (NEM) application is required if you opt to install your PV system to operate in parallel with the utility grid. You will need to enter into an interconnection agreement with PG&E by submitting the appropriate application forms.

Two interconnection options are available:

Obtain Permits
Contact your city or county building department. You'll need building and/or electrical permits from your city or county building department to legally begin installation. Usually your installer obtains these for you. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to address permitting costs and responsibilities with the installer at the start of the process. If applicable, you'll also need to make sure you've complied with all your homeowner association’s rules and covenants.

STEP 4: Schedule a final building inspection.

Contact your local permitting agency to schedule your building inspection. The permitting agency will either approve it or require you to make corrections or modifications to your system. Once the installation of your system’s equipment is complete and tested, you will need to receive these final approvals.

STEP 5: Schedule final utility inspection.

Please send the final, signed approval form from your building inspection to PG&E in order to schedule an onsite utility inspection and meter installation. After a passing inspection, PG&E will provide the written authorization for parallel operation.

STEP 6: Claim your incentive and tax credits.

Complete the CSI application process to claim your incentive.
In addition, you may be eligible for tax credits for your system. The Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) is a good place to learn more.

More Resources

Contact Us

We value your feedback. For questions or comments about solar at your home or business, please contact us by e-mail, phone or mail.

E-mail
BusinessCustomerHelp@pge.com

Phone
Business Customers 1 (800) 468-4743
Residential Customers 1 (800) 933-9555
Solar Hotline 1 (415) 973-3480

Our PO Box
PG&E Integrated Processing Center
California Solar Initiative
P.O. Box 7265
San Francisco, CA 94120-7265

Our Street Address (for overnight deliveries)
PG&E Integrated Processing Center
California Solar Initiative
77 Beale Street, Mail Code BOB1U
San Francisco, CA 94105-1814