For property tax purposes, the addition of an Active Solar Energy System is currently not defined as new construction and is not subject to supplemental assessment. This means that the system will not change your taxable value. Some other improvements built solely to support the system (such as a new patio or carport) may also be excluded as new construction. However, the solar energy systems are not permanently excluded from assessment. The solar energy system becomes assessable whenever the property is reassessed. This occurs for ownership changes or for a Proposition 8 decline in value. In those situations, the system will be included as part of the overall value.
Active solar energy system is defined as, "a system that uses solar devices which are thermally isolated from living space or any other area where the energy is used, to provide for the collection, storage, or distribution of solar energy." It does not include solar swimming pool heaters or hot tub heaters. The system may be used for any of the following:
- Domestic, recreational, therapeutic, or service water heating
- Space conditioning (heating or cooling the air in a building to a comfortable level)
- Production of electricity
- Process heat (industrial applications)
- Solar mechanical energy
Newly Constructed Buildings
California law provides that the initial purchaser of a building with an active solar energy system may qualify to have the solar energy system excluded from the assessed value. Fill out Form BOE 64-SES, Initial Purchaser Claim for Solar Energy System New Construction Exclusion, located on the forms page. It must be signed by the buyer and filed with the Assessor. A property owner who adds an active solar energy system to an existing structure does not file this form.
Adding Solar to an Existing Structure
A property owner who adds an active solar energy system to an existing structure does not file BOE 64-SES. Instead, we will mail a solar permit questionnaire to the owner for details on the solar energy system. It is important the correct information be submitted showing the system type, capacity, and details about the ownership of the system. Once the permit questionnaire is completed and returned, the exclusion may be granted.