The rooftop solar industry has seen nonstop growth in the state for more than a decade, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times
. In fact, the report states, almost 13,500 megawatts had been installed across California, which is six times as much energy as the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the state’s single largest source of electricity.
It’s also important to remember that the installation of solar panels on a home does not result in a reassessment of the home. In plain terms, the installation of solar panels is not considered an exemption to the new construction rule, solar panels are considered an exclusion.
The California State Board of Equalization explains it this way: “The property tax incentive for the installation of an active solar energy system is in the form of a new construction exclusion. Therefore, the installation of a qualifying solar energy system will not result in either an increase or a decrease in the assessment of the existing property.”
A property owner who adds an active solar energy system to an existing structure does not have to file for the exclusion. The exclusion should be automatically granted when the assessor receives a copy of the building permit.
An active solar energy system is a system that uses solar devices isolated from the living space or any other area where the energy is used to provide for the collection, storage, or distribution of solar energy.
As a caveat, such a system does not include solar swimming pool heaters, hot tub heaters, passive energy systems, or wind energy systems.
California law also provides that under certain circumstances the initial buyer of a building with an active solar system may qualify for a reduction in the assessed value of the property. In order to qualify for this reduction, a claim form must be completed and signed by the buyer and filed with the Assessor’s Office. You can access these forms at the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Solar and Seismic webpage
Article Courtesy of County of Los Angeles Office of the Assessor, All rights reserved.