Solar Basics

building plans

Solar Basics

To install a solar electricity system for your business, you will need to work directly with a solar contractor. They will handle all the permitting as well as the interconnection and incentive application process with SMUD.

Update 4/2/2014

An incentive waiting list became necessary in 2013 to assess remaining funding amounts and evaluate project incentive commitments. All of the projects on the waiting list have been released to move forward and can receive a $200/kW incentive.  These projects and all future projects have 60-days to submit all required documents including:

  • Signed Incentive Reservation Request Form (produced in PowerClerk)
  • Interconnection Application, 1-lines & layout drawings
  • Copy of an executed contract
  • Energy Efficiency Declaration and Audit
  • Step 1: Find out if solar is right for you

    Check your electricity usage history. Find out how much electricity your company used in the past 12 months. Log into your account history. See SMUD business electricity rates here.

    Get a cost-benefit analysis. The Clean Power Estimator helps you narrow the likely costs and savings over time of different sized systems for your home in order to make informed choices.

    Size it right. SMUD pays incentives only on systems designed to offset the amount of electricity you typically use over a 12-month period. State law requires SMUD to pay for excess power that flows from your system back onto the grid, but the amount you receive may be less than retail value.

    Step 2: Make your business energy-efficient

    Your best savings will always be the energy you don’t use. To maximize the benefits of having your own solar power system, make sure the electricity it generates is not lost to energy-inefficiency. Learn more here about saving energy and money, as well as rebates and incentives.

    The State of California requires purchasers to consider efficiency before receiving incentives for solar power systems. Talk with a SMUD auditor before you begin call 1-888-742-SMUD (7683). To perform an on-line analysis, begin here.

    Step 3: Making the purchase

    You’ve analyzed the savings potential of installing a solar power system at your business and taken steps to make it more energy efficient. Good. Now it’s time to begin.

    Selecting a contractor. This may be your most important decision in the whole process. For your own peace of mind it’s best to talk to more than one contractor to evaluate them not only on price, but also on their expertise. SMUD maintains a list of solar contractors who are licensed, insured and who have installed five or more solar electric systems. Contractors do not need to appear on this list for you to receive incentives from SMUD. But they do need to hold a C-10, C-46 or B-General Contractor license. A broader list of solar contractors may be found on the website of the California Solar Initiative.

    Assessing costs. Solar equipment costs have declined over the last few years. Installed system costs can be as little as $4/watt (CEC-AC rating) or perhaps even less.

    Go solar without buying a system. To learn about leasing a solar power system or about Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) go here.

    Frequently Asked Questions. For more information on solar power, check out these frequently asked questions.

    Ask SMUD. For questions or more information about solar electricity for your home, email

    Want solar power for your home?

    Find out how SMUD can help you put the sun to work at home. More

    For Contractors

    Start the PV (photovoltaic) rebate reservation process by submitting a rebate application using PowerClerk.

    If you need a PowerClerk password, or do not have access to SMUD programs through the CSI Program portal, download the SMUD PowerClerk Access Application here. Email completed applications to

    Document Downloads:

    Related Topics

    • The District offers programs to provide equal opportunity to all segments of the business community.
    • SMUD is nationally recognized as a leader in renewable resources and electric transportation.

    Leading the way

    Powering a cleaner environment with renewable energy.

    Solar stabilizes costs

    Solar power yields stable costs, environmental benefits.