Solar Programs in Palo Alto

Considering solar? 

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

Information on residential solar power (PV) can be found

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.

How much solar PV is in town? 

As of May 9, 2016, the total capacity of all Palo Alto PV systems was 7.6 MW, representing 80% of the Net Energy Metering Cap. This amount of local solar generates about 1% of Palo Alto's annual electric energy needs.

California state law requires electric utilities to offer net energy metering and billing to solar customers until the total amount of solar capacity reaches 5% of the utilities' peak demand.  The City of Palo Alto is developing the Net Energy Metering (NEM) Successor program for customers that install solar PV after the Net Energy Metering cap has been reached. The most recent proposed NEM Successor program report can be found

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: The Frontier Solar plant is nearing completion of construction, and when it begins commercial operation in early June, will be the City’s third utility-scale photovoltaic plant to come online. The Frontier Solar project will generate an output of 20 megawatts (MW) solar electric energy, which is enough to serve more than 5% of Palo Alto’s total electric needs each year, or enough to power about 6,000 homes.

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 2015 update to the 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 9, 2016