The California Solar Initiative (CSI), also known as the Millions Solar Roofs program, has a overall goal to help create a self sustaining solar photovoltaic market in California. The idea is to provide a rebate program to encourage consumers to by solar pv systems. This will allow the solar market to grow and as volume go up costs will go down and eventually reach a point were incentives are no longer needed. Overall the program provides $3.3 billion dollars in incentives to create 3,000 megawatts of new solar generated electricity by 2017.
The CSI rebate for homeowners can pay for close to one-third of the cost of a PV system. Not too shabby. The rebate is usually paid to homeowners in a one time payment called the Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) Incentive. The current incentive is $2.20 per watt based on the CEC-AC rating. To calculate the rebate, you multiply the your PV systems CEC -AC rating in watts by the current incentive. For example if your PV systems CEC-AC rating is 2500 watts (2.5 kilowatts) at the current incentive level your rebate would be: $2.20 x 2500 = $5,500. Two things to note:
The CSI Rebate goes down over time as more systems are installed. To find out the current incentive level go to http://www.gosolarcalifornia.org/csi/
The rebates are calculated using the CSI-EPBB calculator. This is available to the public and you can use it to check the rebate you should be getting for your PV system.