The simple and straightforward answer is that there are no assessment increases for the “newly constructed” addition of any “active solar energy system.” This protects consumers from paying increased property taxes because they added solar panels to their home.
An assessment increase based on the cost of a new solar energy system could turn out to be a substantial amount. The net cost of the construction of a solar energy system to the consumer can be very reasonable and low due to rebates or tax credits, however the actual amount charged to the consumer can appear to be very large. We have seen the costs of residential systems from about $30,000 to $80,000 which would result in a $300 to $800 increase in annual property taxes. Such amounts could be a deciding factor in whether or not to purchase such a system and knowing that the new system will not result in an increase in property taxes can help with the decision.
This does not mean that all solar systems are excluded from being assessed. When a house with a solar energy system sells, the house is generally assessed at the sales price, which includes the solar system. Also, solar energy systems used for the heating of swimming pools are also assessed.
As I am publicizing this and other exemptions and exclusions I want to remind the taxpayers of the county that if you’re doing something that you suspect may affect your property taxes or just have a general question about assessed values, don’t hesitate to contact the Assessor’s Office. A simple inquiry can save substantial amounts of money while making planning easier and more reliable.
Jim RooneyAmador County Assessor