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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Property Tax Exemptions in California

Answer: No, solar swimming pool heaters and hot tub heaters are not considered active solar energy systems. As a result, they are not excluded from new construction assessments. The exclusion applies to systems that generate electricity or heat water for general use.

Answer: When an active solar energy system is installed, it is not assessed separately. This means that the existing assessment value of the property remains unchanged. The exclusion applies to the added value of the solar energy system.

Answer: No, whether you own or lease the active solar energy system does not affect the exclusion. The system is excluded from assessment regardless of the ownership structure. The assessor’s office coordinates information with the business property auditor-appraiser when construction permits are issued.

Answer: Yes, the new construction exclusion is still applicable. If the active solar energy system meets the criteria outlined in Property Tax Rule 122.5 and qualifies as a fixture (real property), it is excluded from the definition of new construction. Ownership of the system does not affect the exclusion, and there are no specific use requirements for the energy produced.

Answer: No, the new construction exclusion for solar energy systems is not limited to California residents or entities. There are no residency provisions that restrict the owner of a solar energy system from claiming the exclusion.

Answer: To be eligible for the exclusion as an initial purchaser, the qualifying improvements must be completed on or after January 1, 2008. If you purchased a home with an integrated solar energy system before this date, you cannot claim the exclusion.

Answer: No, if a builder is fully assessed for a newly constructed home on the lien date (January 1) and the subsequent purchaser buys the property after the lien date, the initial purchaser is not eligible for the solar energy system new construction exclusion. The exclusion only applies to the builder who was assessed on the lien date.

Answer: In such cases, the first buyer exclusion may apply. This allows the solar exclusion to be conveyed to the first buyer of a building incorporating an active solar energy system, provided certain criteria are met. The buyer must purchase the building before it becomes subject to assessment and file the appropriate claim form.

Answer: No, there is no specific form or filing required to receive the exclusion for an active solar energy system. The assessor usually discovers the installation through the building permit. If you believe you have been assessed incorrectly, you should contact your county assessor for further assistance.


Understanding the nuances of solar energy system exclusions is crucial for homeowners, builders, and businesses in California. By clarifying common questions and addressing key concerns, we aim to provide you with the information needed to navigate the process effectively. Remember to consult with your county assessor or seek professional advice for the most accurate and up-to-date guidance on solar energy system exclusions in California.

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