Solar Properties

In 1980, voters approved Proposition 7 (SCA 28) which amended section 2(c) of article XIII A of the California Constitution and gave the Legislature the authority to exclude construction of active solar energy systems from property tax assessment. This exclusion is incorporated in Revenue and Taxation Code section 73 which provides that the term newly constructed does not include the construction or addition of any active solar energy system for property tax purposes.

There are a number of resources currently available to provide guidance to California County Assessors' staff on the proper procedures associated with applying the exclusion. In addition, the resources can be used to inform taxpayers of the benefit. We hope that the below information will be useful in promoting uniformity in the implementation of the new construction exclusion for active solar energy systems.

Guidelines for Active Solar Energy Systems New Construction Exclusion were approved by the Members of the State Board of Equalization on November 15, 2012 following an extensive process involving interaction of Board staff with government officials and the public.

Letters To Assessors (LTAs) provide an ongoing advisory service for county assessors and others interested in the property tax system in California. The letters present Board staff's interpretation of rules, laws, and court decisions on property tax assessment. The following LTAs pertain to assessment or procedural issues involving solar energy system properties in California.

List of letters to assessors
Letter to Assessor Date Title
80/182 12/9/80 New Construction/Solar Exemption
81/10 1/20/81 Solar Energy System
81/71 6/19/81 Solar Energy Exemption and Windmills
81/94 8/13/81 Assembly Bill 375, Active Solar Energy System
90/79 12/13/90 Sunset of Solar Exclusion from New Construction
91/51 6/21/91 Active Solar Energy Systems, Exclusion of Certain New Construction from Assessment
95/04 1/16/95 Sunset Date of Active Solar Energy Systems
2004/051 9/20/04 Solar Energy New Construction Exclusion
2005/056 9/22/05 Extension of Solar Energy New Construction Exclusion
2008/037 5/21/08 Solar Energy Property Tax Incentive
2008/071 12/15/08 Solar Energy System Exclusion Form
2011/030 8/12/11 Solar Energy Property Tax Incentive – Recent Legislation
2013/063 12/16/13 Solar Energy Systems on Nonprofit Properties
2013/042 9/23/13 Solar Energy Systems: Construction in Progress and the Sunset Date
2014/037 8/8/14 Active Solar Energy System New Construction Exclusion: Sunset Date Extension
2015/007 1/21/15 Active Solar Energy System Exclusion and Section 69.5. Base Year Value Transfer Claims

Frequently asked questions and answers pertaining to active solar energy systems in California.

Annotated legal opinions are summaries of the conclusions reached in selected legal rulings of California State Board of Equalization counsel. The following legal opinions pertain to questions involving active solar energy systems:

List of legal opinion
Annotated Legal Opinion Date Title
610.0085 4/11/86 Solar Energy System Exclusion
610.0087 1/17/2006 Solar Energy System Exclusion
610.0088 9/17/2008 Solar Energy System Exclusion
610.0089 6/11/2012 Solar Energy System Exclusion
610.0090 2/5/2013 Solar Energy System Exclusion
660.0270 4/4/2011 Solar Power Taxable Possessory Interests
610.0091 1/13/2014 Solar Energy System Exclusion
610.0092 2/20/2014 Solar Energy System Exclusion