Steps to Installing Renewable Energy

Whether it's for financial, environmental or other reasons, many customers are interested in generating their own renewable energy. PG&E can help you learn what you need to know before installing renewable energy.
Start with energy efficiency
An energy efficiency audit is a critical first step to installing any renewable energy source. Taking Energy Efficiency (EE) measures in advance of installing a renewable system can save you money by reducing your overall energy or water consumption and subsequently reducing the size of the system you'll need to meet your energy needs.

For customers interested in solar or solar water heating, an Energy Efficiency Audit is required by the California Solar Initiative (CSI) to qualify for the available rebates. The Energy Efficiency Audit can be completed using PG&E’s Business Energy Checkup on My Energy, or by contacting your assigned PG&E account manager. 

Pick a renewable energy option
There are several options available to consumers considering renewable energy. It is important to review and discuss your options with your contractor to determine which technology will be best suited for your home or business and your energy needs. Find out if I am eligible for an incentive.

Note: Interconnecting a generating system through Net energy metering (NEM) may make you ineligible for certain Demand Response programs. For more information, please contact PG&E.
How to find a contractor
Qualified contractors are your key to getting the most renewable energy system for your home. Contact independent installation experts to determine the technology and installation that best meets your energy needs and budget.

What your contractor can do to help with
the application process for any incentives

In most cases, the contractor you select will complete and submit all the necessary forms to PG&E and local city agencies for rebates or incentives that are applicable to the renewable power you've chosen.

For solar, you have an option to base your incentive on expected performance of your system and get your payment in one lump sum or base it on the actual performance and receive payment over five years. For solar water heating systems, your incentive is based on the expected performance of your solar installation. Documentation about your location, solar system positioning and equipment specification will be required to be submitted by your contractor.

In addition to assisting you with applying for your incentives, your contractor will plan for and install your renewable energy generation system.

The permitting process and building inspection
When installing solar or solar water heating, your contractor will also schedule an appointment with your local building permit agency to have a certified building inspector approve the solar installation. When the inspection is complete and approved, your solar contractor will send the building inspector's final approval to PG&E.

As part of PG&E's interconnection approval process, PG&E will review your project, and for net energy metering (NEM) participants install a new meter and ensure your new solar, wind or fuel cell installation can be connected to the electric grid and is working properly.

With solar water heating inspections, once the permit is received and your interconnection is approved by PG&E, your rebate can be processed in the final step of your new technology installation. Find out more about connecting to the PG&E grid (interconnection).

Designate your incentive payment to you or your contractor
PG&E will provide you with an incentive once your installation and application is complete. The incentive is issued to your designated party which is often times your contractor. The amount of the incentive is based on the size of the system you actually install and the incentive levels secured at the time your contractor submitted your application.

Claim any applicable tax credits
In addition to an incentive from the California Solar Initiative, you may also be eligible for a federal tax credit. To find out if you qualify, check out the following tax credits and consult your personal tax advisor.

For more information on incentives or financing, check out our financial resource center.

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