You’ve probably heard the old adage “nothing in life is free”. However, what about free solar panels in California? In truth, free solar is not exactly free but it comes pretty close. Thanks to many ways you can recoup costs such as- rebates, incentives, PACE loans, power purchase agreements. With all this, going solar for zero money down and no additional money out of pocket, just got easier. And don’t forget the savings you’ll realize on your energy bills. Now to find out, which option is right for you and which is the closest option to free?

California Credits

The best credit you’re bound to find on a solar panel installation comes from the California Solar Initiative. This initiative provides funds to add solar panels to single-family and multi-family affordable housing units. This rebate requires that homeowners fall into a certain income range and they must be customers of specific utilities. The California solar tax credit is a great option to take care of a portion of your installation cost. Although, it won’t cover the entire cost of your solar energy system, so it’s not totally free. However, it is a great incentive for those who qualify!

‘Free’ Solar with PACE

The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is an interesting solution for California homeowners looking for free solar installation. Here’s how it works. The program is funded by bonds that finance the installation of solar panels, which are essentially given to homeowners at no up-front cost. However, because the deal is for financing, the cost will have to be repaid. Payments are spread out over the course of 20 years and are applied to the homeowner’s property tax bill. It’s important to understand that this is not actually a free solar panel installation, although there is no initial cost. That being said, if the energy savings are great enough, they may cover the cost of the annual property tax assessment, essentially paying for themselves.


PPA Solar Panel Installation

Some companies offer another solution that’s free solar upfront by way of a power purchase agreement or PPA. This includes the installation of the solar panels at no cost to the homeowner but the agreement is that the homeowner will pay for the solar energy produced. After this, the installer will technically maintain ownership of the panels themselves. Therefore, with this option, you would not be eligible for California’s solar tax credit as you would not own your system. Even so, this option could reduce energy costs when compared to traditional energy providers, and it will help homeowners do their part for the environment. This is the main reason why most homeowners are interested in adding solar panels in the first place. All things considered, it’s not a bad way for homeowners to cut their carbon footprint without the initial expense of installing solar panels.


While there may not necessarily be a concrete way to obtain solar panels for free, there are various ways to go solar for no additional money! Additionally, by utilizing the different incentives you’re able to go solar in California for a considerable amount less than other areas. What are you waiting for? Get your quote today!