Solar Programs in Palo Alto

Considering solar? 
Check out our new solar PV calculator to see if solar PV makes sense for your home!
Enter your address and monthly electric consumption to see the costs and benefits of adding solar to your Palo Alto home (CPAU WattPlan calculator link).

More information on residential solar power (PV) can be found here.

Rebates are still available for residential and commercial solar water heating installations. Please visit the Solar Water Heating program page here.

All PV Partners rebate funds have been fully reserved as of April 22, 2016.  For information about how to apply to the PV Partners program wait-list for projects on small or medium commercial sites click here.

What is the status of the Net Energy Metering program?

The remaining Net Energy Metering capacity is posted online at and will be updated weekly.

New solar customers and existing solar customers who want to expand their systems should apply for a Net Energy Metering Reservation. For more information visit

Net Energy Metering and Billing for Solar Customers

Net Metering is a special billing arrangement for City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) customers with an approved Photovoltaic System (PV) interconnection. CPAU shall read the electric meter monthly and issue a monthly electric charge or credit per the applicable electric rate.

Residential rates are located
here, and Business rates are here.

Monthly billing for solar customers is described in CPAU’s
Net Metering Billing Explanation.

Annual Settlement: If a customer’s PV system has generated more electricity in a year than is consumed, the customer should make an election to determine whether to carry the net surplus electricity forward into the next settlement year, or to cash out using the
Net Surplus Electricity Compensation Rate. To make an election, click here to download CPAU’s Net Surplus Electricity Election Form

Net Energy Metering Aggregation

Net Energy Metering Aggregation is available for a single CPAU account holder with multiple electric accounts for the same parcel or adjacent parcels who wishes to share the net metering bill credits from a single solar power installation across their eligible accounts. There are additional monthly charges for net metering aggregation. Please see the NEM Aggregation Rate, NEM Aggregation Agreement and Rule 29 for terms and conditions.

Harnessing the power of the sun!

Palo Alto is using clean, renewable electric supplies as an integral part of its plans for a more sustainable future.  

We feel investing in solar systems locally and statewide is a great way to achieve our environmental goals.
 By the end of 2016, we expect 32% of the City's total electricity supply will come from solar PV systems located in California.  Click here to view a map of the utility-scale PV system locations.

New Solar Generation:  In December 2016, the City added 60 MW of new solar generation to its renewable supplies, when both the 40 MW Elevation Solar C project and the 20 MW Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B project began commercial operations. With the addition of these two projects, the City now has a total of five utility-scale photovoltaic plants online. Altogether, these five solar projects will supply over one-third of the City’s total electric supply needs on an annual basis. In addition, in March 2016 the City executed a new contract for a 26 MW solar project in Los Angeles County that is scheduled to begin operating in 2021.

Local solar plan:  On April 21, 2014 the Palo Alto City Council approved a resolution to establish the Local Solar Plan to increase the installation of local solar photovoltaic facilities in order to provide 4 percent of the City’s total energy needs by 2023. Future programs under evaluation include a Community Solar Program, Group-Buy solar discount program and a solar donation program. Click here to read the updated Local Solar Plan.

Palo Alto's solar technical potential map is located here.

Watch an interview with Marketing Engineer Lindsay Joye about solar initiatives in Palo Alto.

Local generation: Large in-town systems provide renewable electric generation directly to the utility.   Palo Alto's CLEAN (or feed in tariff) program, offers commercial generators the option of signing a long-term contract to sell the renewable energy to the utility as it is produced.

Solar on City-owned facilities: The City of Palo Alto has solar installed on City-owned sites throughout town.
Click here to see them all.

Streamlined permit process:
 Palo Alto's PV Permitting Instructions are listed here.
Visit the City's Development Center webpage describing their improved permitting procedure.

Learn more about our renewable energy portfolio: The City of Palo Alto has a carbon neutral electric utility portfolio.  This means that we have contracts for large amounts of renewable electricity resources, including solar systems, wind farms, hydroelectric projects and landfill gas facilities. Get the full scoop on these resources.

Last Updated: May 17, 2017