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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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CEC - New Solar Homes Partnership   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/23/2013
Program Overview:
State: California
Incentive Type: State Rebate Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Residential, Construction, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential
Amount:Varies by customer class and system performance (see below)
Eligible System Size:Minimum: 1 kW AC
Maximum: 100% of a home's expected electrical load
Equipment Requirements:Must use CEC-certified PV modules and inverters.
Systems must be grid-connected.
Inverters and modules must each carry a 10-year warranty.
PV modules must be certified to UL 1703 by a nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL)
Inverters must be certified to UL 1741 by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). They also must have completed the Energy Commission's required weighted efficiency testing.
Installation Requirements:Systems must be installed by appropriately licensed California solar contractors
Self-installs are also acceptable
Although not required, installation contractors are encouraged to become certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:Remains with system owner
Program Budget:Up to $425 million over 10 years
Web Site:
Authority 1:
NSHP Guidebook (2013)

In January 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a program – the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – to provide more than $3 billion in incentives for solar projects with the objective of achieving participation levels accounting for 3,000 MW of solar capacity by 2017. Senate Bill 1 was signed by the Governor in August 2006, expanding the CSI to include publicly-owned utilities with a total ratepayer-funded budget of $3.5 billion.

Aside from the solar programs administered by the publicly-owned utilities, two programs serve the investor-owned electric service territories. One is overseen by the CPUC, which provides incentives for existing residential homes and existing and new commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties. The other program, the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP), is administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and provides incentives for solar on new home construction. To be eligible for the NSHP incentive, the home must receive electricity from one of the following investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and Bear Valley Electric Service.

Launched on January 2, 2007, the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) is a 10-year, $400 million program to encourage solar in new homes by working with builders and developers to incorporate into the homes high levels of energy efficiency and high-performing solar systems. The NSHP specifically targets the market-rate and affordable housing single-family and multifamily sectors, with the goal of achieving 400 MW of installed solar electric capacity on new homes, and to have solar electric systems on 50% of all new homes built in California by the end of 2016.

Incentives are determined by the housing type and the expected performance of the system, which depends on factors like equipment efficiency, geographic location, orientation, tilt, shading, and time-dependent valuation. These factors are then compared to a reference system in San Jose, California. To qualify for incentives, the residential dwelling unit must achieve at least 15% higher energy efficiency than the current Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (please refer to the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook for specific details and program requirements). The incentive is paid once the system is installed, operational, and has met all program requirements.

There are four incentive levels available:

Tier I Incentive: Expected Performance Based Incentive (EPBI) level as of July 23, 2013 is $1.50/watt. This applies to projects that have an energy efficiency compliance margin of at least 15 percent better than the Building Energy Efficiency Standards as specified in Chapter II, Section B.

Tier II Incentive: The EPBI level as of July 23, 2013 is $1.75/watt. This applies to projects that have an energy efficiency compliance margin of at least 30 percent better than the Building Energy Efficiency Standards and a space-cooling compliance margin of at least 30 percent better than the Building Energy Efficiency Standards as specified in Chapter II, Section B.

Residential Areas of Affordable Housing Projects: The EPBI amount as of July 23, 2013 is $2.20/watt. This applies to affordable housing projects of all sizes.

Common Areas of Affordable Housing Projects: There is currently no incenitve for solar electric systems serving the common areas of affordable housing projects.

All incentives will decline over time as specific megawatt targets are achieved. Refer to the NSHP Guidebook and contact the program administrator for complete details.

  Public Information Officer
California Energy Commission
New Solar Homes Partnership
1516 Ninth Street, MS-45
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512
Phone: (800) 555-7794
Web Site:
NCSU - home
Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.