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County Assessor request related to new solar and ESS; do I qualify for the exclusion?


Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
East Bay NorCal
I feel like this solar thing is just a giant pain in the backside. Between PG&E, Solar Paperwork, and Fire codes, it seems there is no escape from getting my head kicked in.

I'm in Contra Costa County, California and the Assessor's Office just sent me a notice of appraisal related to the permit that was issued for my PV + ESS install. The Office of Assessor wants me (the homeowner) to submit information back to them for my own statement related to the permits that were filed for my Solar and ESS. It sounds like this information will be used to measure the taxable value of my home.

This request is unclear to me on 3 topics.

1) The original permit request that Sunrun submitted to the County in August contains all the information that the Assessor is seeking now. The new form I received is requesting a diagram of the new construction, a vicinity map, copy of my contract with Sunrun, and a site plan. It's almost like the county is testing to see if my own rendition matches what was submitted by Sunrun. I asked Sunrun if they could send me the paperwork of the original permit request so I knew exactly what to base things off of. But I've heard crickets from them on this topic.

2) New solar additions on existing homes in California should be excluded from property tax re-assessment under Senate Bill 871. However, there's an interpretation where the exclusion does not apply to me since Senate Bill 871 only excludes "new construction". And I was told by someone at the County that a new solar array on an existing home is NOT "new construction" since the home isn't new. But the form the Assessor's office sent me literally says "property owner's statement on new construction."
California property tax exemptions for PV systems extended to 2025
CAA e-Forms Service Center - Contra Costa: BOE-64-SES

3) Is a "new construction" ESS project also excluded from the possible higher property value assessment? The language I saw in Senate Bill 871 doesn't seem to expressly call out ESS, Battery, Storage, etc. Should I expect a slightly higher tax basis after this assessment due to the Powerwalls? I've searched, and it doesn't sound like many people in California are being hit with this issue.

I feel like the language in the BOE-64-SES form would count my situation to qualify for the exclusion on both the PV and ESS.

"Active solar energy system" means a system that, upon completion of the construction of a system as part of a new property or the addition of a system to an existing property, uses solar devices, which are thermally isolated from living space or any other area where the energy is used, to provide for the collection, storage, or distribution of solar energy."

But the County person I spoke with didn't seem to agree with me over the phone. Very. Annoying. Red. Tape.
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Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
Monterey, CA
I wonder if you could not appeal your case to the county supervisors?
I had no such issues in 2012.
Or, take them to court after installation to reduce the new assessment?

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