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Solar

SDG&E Rate Increase Alert!

By | Residential, Solar, Utilities | No Comments

SDG&E announces 10.9% rate increase.

SDG&E Rate Increase, Solar Panel Installers San Diego, Solar Panel Financing

You might have noticed this chart in one of your recent SDG&E bills. This year San Diego will be raising their residential rates by 10.9% when we are already 7% higher than the current average California electricity rate and 37% higher than the average national electricity rate. The annual National Rate Study was released recently and the numbers are alarming! For lower consumption users San Diego has the 4th largest average electricity bill in the United States.

If that wasn’t shocking enough, it gets worse for those who consume more energy. San Diego has the highest average electricity cost in the nation by a significant amount! Just under $60 per month than the next highest city, Honolulu.

Last year as part of SDG&E’s Rate Reform plan ( you can find more information about that here ) they decreased the 4 tiered structure down to 2. What this effectively means for customers is people who use lower amounts of electricity likely saw a $1-$7 monthly increase and if you were already on one of the higher tiers your would end up seeing a $5 decrease. This change effectively made the majority of customers pay more for their energy consumption. For those who consume more energy and are now thinking, “well for me that means I save money”, SDG&E wants to change that for you too. Later this year their announced Super User Surcharge will be coming. This will, in their words, “penalize people who have excessive energy consumption” and that means for those of you with higher bills will be seeing that increase in the very near future.

This isn’t something new or a one time change. SDG&E raises the rates an average of 7% annually. The best way to protect yourself from the rising rate hikes is to go solar. We can help you immediately save up to 50% off your monthly energy costs and with us being one of the few certified Tesla Powerwall Installers in San Diego, we can design a system that will maximize your savings for its entire lifetime.

Call us today at 858.547.4300 or click here to get your free solar quote and find out how you can start saving today!

 

7 Stunning Residential Solar Installations

By | Residential, Solar | No Comments

Some people say solar panels can’t be aesthetically pleasing, these people usually belong to HOAs. Today we are going to prove them wrong by showcasing 7 examples of energy-efficient homes that have perfectly integrated solar power. Most homes on this list are from California and a few are from around the world, but all the homes on this list show just how beautifully solar panels can by applied to an array of architectural styles.

1. Venice, California.

Solar Panels Venice CaliforniaDubbed the Solar Umbrella House, this renovated home boasts a collection of environmentally smart upgrades: solar water heating panels, a storm-water recycling system, ethically-sourced materials, and of course, a solar panel array that produces 100% of the home’s power needs. The building’s design provides a modern (and virtually off-grid) take on Paul Richard’s 1953 Umbrella House.

2. Denver, Colorado.

Denver Home With Solar Panels

John and Paige Damiano have learned to work with the elements, both professionally and domestically. As a territory manager for Burton Snowboards, John relies on the area’s snowfall, but as homeowners, the Damiano’s put their faith in the sun with solar water heating and rooftop solar panels. It seems that their commitment is going to pay off too, since Denver actually has more sunny days per year than San Diego!

3. San Francisco, California.

San Francisco Solar PanelsBelieve it or not, this modern San Francisco home is over 100 years old. Thanks to a recent overhaul intended to update and reinforce the structure, the home now sports a more open layout, roof landscaping, a glass penthouse, and bi-facial solar panels. Looking good for a centenarian!

4. San Diego, California.

San Diego Solar PowerPaying respect to San Diego’s historic textile industry, the architects at Jonathan Segal FAIA updated what was previously the textile manufacturers’ union hall. The old block building was transformed into affordable housing and architectural office space, with each unit generating its own power from rooftop solar arrays.

5. Barcelona, Spain.

Solar Panels in SpainThis beautiful building is called Endesa Pavilion and updates the principal of “form follows function” with the concept of “form follows energy.” In keeping with this saying, the south-facing areas open to the solar path based on angles of optimization, while the north-facing walls serve as insulation and protection. Over the course of a year, it will serve as a monitoring station for all aspects of intelligent power management.

6. Italy.

Italian Solar PanelsThis Italian take on a modular getaway is intended to seamlessly integrate the surrounding environment – whether in the woods or on the beach – with the nature of the home, both in style and in purpose. Called the “Green Zero” home, the building aims for zero environmental impact, a goal facilitated by the thin-film solar panels which decorate the wraparound roof.

7. Bessancourt, France.

French Solar PanelsWhen most people think France, they don’t think bamboo. But the experimental brainchild of architects Milena Karanesheva and Mischa Witzmann disrupts this notion with a bamboo-clad and energy-efficient farmhouse outside of Paris. The family home was one of the first Passive Houses in France, meaning the building is ultra-low energy – in fact, it only uses about a tenth of the energy that conventional French homes use!

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

By | Projects, Residential, Solar | No Comments
Do You Know How Much Solar Panels Cost?

Solar panel harness energy of the sun

Are you planning to install solar systems? Do you want to know about the expenses? It is not easy to calculate the exact solar panel cost on a house. You need to collect information about your energy spending and some other factors to get a fair idea. Some websites can help you with this. You can also take the help of the Solar Power Authority that offers a free solar calculator and quote tool. But you need some technical knowledge to get into the details.

If you are looking some guidelines for the estimation, then can go through this article. In this article, you will get a rough estimate of solar panel cost depending on your average electrical consumption and your location. If you have your power bills and you are able to find the average kWh per month, then it will be much easier for you.

How to Get an Estimation

First, collect the electric bills of a year and then notice the difference in the energy consumption in the summer and winter seasons. Now you can average the bills into the monthly kilowatt-hour usage. This is the amount of the average energy that you are using every month. You can also estimate it by the load evaluation calculator. Once you know how much energy you are using per month, then you can focus on the solar system.

You will have to understand how much sun-hours you are receiving on the most average days. If you take the help of any professional service then they can help you sun-hours map to help you to get more accurate information about the sun-hours.

If you are in the San Diego area and would like a free solar estimation, click here. You can also use our solar calculator to estimate how much going solar can save you.

The next thing is the type of the solar system.

You should know what type of the systems will be helpful for you. Two types of the solar systems are widely used, Grid-tied systems and the off-grid systems. The grid-tied system will be an ideal option for those who want to reduce the electrical bill and want a solar panel for the emergency power. Off-grid systems enable you to work and live with the electricity in such areas where the utility power is either too expensive or unavailable. The off-grid system is preferable. With this system, you will have to operate within your means, energy-wise and financially. It is inexpensive as well.

Another factor that affects the cost of the solar system is what percentage of the house you want to offset with the solar system. Many people prefer offset 100 % of their electrical bill for the maximum savings. But if you are starting it, instead of considering 100% offset, you should start it with a smaller system. If you are satisfied with the result then you can expand it later.
Many things decide the cost of the solar system of your home. Some of the key factors are your energy consumption, your location such as how much sun lights you get on an average day, and the type of the solar system. You can take the help of the experts to get the exact estimation.

How Solar Power Works

By | Solar | No Comments

How Does Solar Power WorkAre you looking for a cheaper, efficient, affordable and cleaner source of energy? Perhaps you have been wondering how to enhance energy efficiency in your home at a cheaper cost. For your information, solar power is the way to go. As a matter of fact, solar energy has been proven as the cheapest, efficient and clean source of energy compared to other sources such as hydro-electric power or even petroleum fuels. On the other hand, if you are using other energy sources, you are a living witness of what I am talking about. That is, when it comes to cost, you may spend a lot of money on electricity bills or other fuel that you may be using as a source of energy. In this case, if you want to cut down the costs, you should embrace solar power.

What is Solar Power?

Perhaps you have heard of this and are wondering what solar power is all about. Solar power is all about the sun and the energy that we gain from it. It is all about converting the sun’s energy into a form of electricity through the use of a device; that is a solar panel.

It is worth noting that, the energy from the sun can be harnessed in two ways; that is in heat and in light form. With the use of the Photovoltaic cells, it becomes easier to transform the light energy into electricity that can then be used and stored for future use. Ideally, harnessing this power is a technical process that requires the use of the different equipment that include the following:

Solar Panels

Solar panels have widely been used in most of the households that have embraced the use of affordable and clean energy. With the use of solar panels, you are able to convert the light from the sun into a direct current (DC), but that is not enough. Direct current cannot be consumed directly but there are other processes that are done to convert it into an alternating current through the use of other equipment as discussed below. Solar panels are also made of very sensitive photovoltaic (PV) cells that detect light and then changes it into a current.

Inverter

As mentioned earlier, the solar panel itself produces a direct current that needs to be transformed into a more powerful energy; that is, alternating current (AC). This is an advanced energy form that can be stepped up and stored for major home purposes.

Electrical Panel

An electrical panel is a supply system that is used to divide the electrical power into units depending on the need. That is either for lighting or heating among other home uses. The panel is also called the breaker box since it contains the circuit breakers and the fuses that are needed for safety in case of excess charges.

Utility Meter

The utility meter is very common even if you are using electricity at home. In this case, it measures your daily energy consumption and, therefore, it is a necessary tool that you can use to monitor the energy consumption.

Utility Grid

To ensure continuity and efficiency, it is important that your solar power system is connected to the grid. Why? You should always remember that, during the day, there is always excess energy that is produced due to the presence of sunlight. Therefore, when the sunlight is not there, you also need energy to light up your home at night and that is provided by the grid system. That means you can offset your energy requirements when more energy is saved during the day.

Power Guide and Monitoring System

The power guide monitoring system actually works to ensure that there is great efficiency in terms of energy production. That is to say, it ensures that the solar power system and production is always running smoothly and as expected. In addition, in case there is an error or a fault that needs to be repaired, you will always be alerted by this awesome system.

How Does Solar Power Work?

How Solar Power WorksHaving learned about the equipment that is involved in the whole process, it is now time that you learn on how the whole system work in generating electricity. That is from arranging the solar panels in position, converting the sunlight rays into a direct current, and finally into an alternating current (AC) that can be consumed. In this case, the following are some of the steps that make up the whole process:

Step 1: Installing the Solar Panels

The first step of harnessing the sunlight rays is through the installation of the solar panels. As mentioned earlier, the solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells that are sensitive to light. In most cases, the panels are placed on the top of the roofs and facing the direction where it will capture as much sunlight as possible. Therefore, if you are installing the solar panels, it is always the best practice to ensure that, when on the top of your roof, there are no obstacles that can obstruct them from receiving the sunlight throughout the day. If possible, the solar panels should either face north-east or north-west and should be inclined at the right angle.

Step 2: Collecting the Sun’s Rays

As previously mentioned, the solar panels have photovoltaic cells that are very sensitive to light. The cells capture the sun’s rays that can then be converted into current. In addition, the panel is made from silicon and thus increasing its sensitivity. That means, even during a cloudy day, the panel can still register some power being harnessed but not as when the sky is clear.

Step 3: Converting to Direct Current (DC)

Once the solar panel is exposed to light, the photovoltaic cells (PV) converts this light energy that is received into a direct current. Of course, direct current can be used in batteries for small scale functions that may not require large amounts of current. However, in a situation where you want to step up and utilize the energy for greater benefits, there is a need to step it up. One of the greatest disadvantages of using direct current is that the power is not saved and therefore when the sun is obstructed, the energy that is produced reduces drastically thus limiting its operation.

Step 4: Converting to Alternating Current (AC)

The direct current that is harnessed is then transmitted into an inverter that does the conversion. The inverter as discussed earlier inverts the direct current into an alternating current (AC) that can then be used for heavier duties. For your information, alternating current is just the same as that electricity that is transmitted through the poles. Either hydro or geo.

Step 5: Power Distribution

Once the power has been converted, it then becomes an electricity that can be distributed through a main system. If you are using it in your home, once it has been converted, it can then be channeled into your home wiring system just like any other kind of electricity. In this case, you can distribute your electricity to the lighting system, cookers or heaters among other appliances that has got the capacity to utilize electric power.

Step 6: Credit for Unused Electricity

In this case, perhaps your production capacity is far much higher than your consumption capacity. Then what happens? Of course, you will gain from this situation. At this point, whatever power is not consumed is fed into the public grid such that, during the night or when the production capacity is low, you can utilize this power. In addition, any power that is unutilized is rewarded since the supplier may use the same to carry out other duties or to supply to less productive zones. Therefore, depending on the consumption capacity and the company, you may gain some credits that will reduce your cost at the end of the month.

Why You Should Use Solar Energy in Your Home

How Much You Can Save Going SolarWhy should I embrace solar energy? Perhaps you are asking yourself such a question. In this case, you might want to shift your focus or just want to get an opinion of which type of energy is suitable for your home. Either way, you are right. It is a great opportunity for you to gain some of the awe-inspiring insights that will surely save you from your bills.

As a matter of fact, majority of people are migrating to this type of energy. There has been a lot of campaigns and public education about solar and the industry has seen great strides in the way people are responding to it. Why? Perhaps there is a hidden secret that you should know about the solar power. Indeed, there are many benefits that you will gain by embracing this invaluable idea. Apart from cutting down your costs, there are also other benefits that come alongside using solar power. Before dwelling on the costs, lets have a look at some of the other impressive benefits that you will surely come across:

Income Generation

If you are a business oriented individual, then this is also the right idea that you can venture into. It is very simple. In this case, if you are producing a lot of current in your home and you cannot consume it all, then, you can extent this to your neighbors at a fee. Of course, they will help you gain some passive income and at the same time, you are enjoying your electricity at home.

Higher Property Value

Installing solar power in your home will automatically improve the value of your home. At some point, you might want to sell your property and for sure, it will attract a great price as compared to when you do not have a source of energy. Therefore, if you want to enhance the value of your property, this is one of the surest tricks of adding value.

Solar power also comes with other benefits that have been witnessed by most of the consumers. Of course, it surpasses other electricity sources by far. In this case, some of the other benefits just to mention include the fact that, solar power is environmental friendly and therefore, there are no dangerous emissions such as the greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the solar power ensures energy security. That is, you should not have to worry about rationing or blackouts since you can manage your energy according to your home needs.

Coming back to the bigger advantage, everyone would wish to cut down the costs or the energy bills that might be huge and unaffordable sometimes. Some of the sources, for instance, are very expensive and can be draining to rely on the same source in the long-run. Then what is the big benefit?

Saves on Electricity Bill

Basically, solar power is one of the cheapest sources of energy for homes among other uses. If you want to cut down the energy costs, then solar power is the way to go. How does solar power reduce the energy costs? As mentioned earlier in this article, solar power is just the same as any other kind of electricity. Therefore, you can use it to perform any other domestic function at a cheaper cost as compared to other sources that are expensive.

Another significant benefit is that, every excess power that you generate in your home can be fed into the grid and even supplied to other users and hence gaining you some credits that will eventually reduce your utility bill at the end of the month and therefore, your home energy costs are minimized.

Conclusion

In summary, solar power is actually the current trend in the energy sector and is being advocated for by most of the organizations. Not only will you cut down the energy costs for your home but also, you will be safeguarding your environment and making it suitable for future generations. It is, therefore, a clarion call for everyone to consider shifting to this invaluable source that comes with great benefits and fewer costs.

The Ultimate Guide to Residential Solar

By | Installations, Prices, Residential, Solar, Uncategorized | No Comments

Residential Solar Roofing

Solar power has been in existence for a considerable amount of time; however, it was not until recently that it became embraced by people globally. This was after the realization of the need to turn to green energy in efforts of realization of the Millennium development Goals. Due to this reason, people are still very green in this industry and this, in turn, poses a great challenge. If you would like to buy a car today, you will have several people to consult and guide you on the car market. Should you make a mistake, you will probably say next time you will make a better decision.

When it comes to solar panels, things don’t run this way. Installing solar systems is considered to be more expensive than acquiring your first car. Most people who have solar systems installed have only been using it for several years. Among these people, only a handful have used solar panels to their full life cycles. Unlike buying a car, buying solar panel is a crucial affair and this means that there are no rooms for mistakes. It’s for this reason that we felt the need to come up with a complete guide, we call it “ The Ultimate Guide to Residential Solar.” We want to guide you and ensure you know what to look for before buying your residential solar system.

Enjoy reading.

Roofing

To begin with, you need to ask yourself. Do you have a good roof that can support solar panels? This step can be easily overlooked, but it’s critical. Is your house always covered by shades for the better part of the day or throughout the year? Does it have a favorable solar window that can justify the cost of solar panels? If your roof passes this, you need to ensure it’s in good shape structurally. If your roof looks like it needs some repair in the next few years to come, it’s better to repair it first before starting the installation process. That way you would save on costs that would have incurred if you would have sought for a technician to disconnect the solar systems for you in order to start the renovation. It’s thus important to visualize the future of your residential home. If it’s unobstructed at the moment but you have planted some trees nearby, then your solar systems might end up being short lived. You also need to factor in your neighbor as well. If they plan to build a skyscraper in the next few years, then solar panels might simply not work for you.

Improve Efficiency

Before installing residential solar panels, you first need to ensure you have done everything that can improve efficiency. The amount of solar energy you will need to produce will largely depend on how much energy you use. For this reason, it will make more sense if you trim down your energy use before paying for the solar panels. An energy audit ensures you improve efficiency as much as consumption is concerned, and this is what you need to do before drawing the blue prints.

Type of Solar System You Need

Two prominent solar systems are primarily the photovoltaic cells which turn sunlight into electricity and the thermal one which uses sunlight to heat air or water. If your residential home consumes a lot of power for heating or if you live in locations where heating fuel is expensive when compared to electricity, then, your solar investment can break sooner, advises Timothy Wilhelm. Timothy coordinates electrical technology, and he teaches about solar installation in Kankakee Community College, Illinois.

Connecting to the Grid

Although details vary depending on location, it’s, however, paramount that you need first to seek out logistics before connecting with a utility. Are there fees to pay? How long does it take for you to get hooked up to the utility? How will you be credited for the electricity you generate once you are connected? These are some of the considerations you have to ponder on.

Credibility of Your Installer

Once you hire someone to install solar panels in your residential home, you need to realize that as much as it’s about home improvements, there are logistics that come into play. The connection touches on the already installed electrical works. Kelly Larson, an electrical contractor in California with over 20 years experience says “You need not hire someone who has never done any electrical work to come and make changes in your house.” Credentials and references play a significant role. You are looking for a company that will be with you all the way. They will stick around and come to help you when things fail. Though solar systems don’t have major problems as they are not moved up and down, you still need a company that sticks with you for the lifetime of your installation.

To Lease or to Buy

After you have decided you are ready to go the solar way, you need to do a cost-benefit analysis by trade off. While buying your solar systems is cost intensive, it still tables bigger dividends. On the other hand, leasing will grant you access to cheaper electricity though the benefits here are limited. You will have to pay the company the agreed on the amount and when the lease is up, they may as well decide to take away their systems and your residential home will be in jeopardy. Owning the system will pay the cost of purchase in the long run. You thus need to do a good comparison on the total life cycle cost of the lease and weigh it against ownership benefits. Wilhelm advises that you need to keep in mind that while the solar system can last for decades, some appliances like the power inverter have a shorter lifespan. While budgeting, it’s thus good to factor in the cost of system replacements.

Financial Incentives

With the federal government recent efforts of giving incentives to people ready to go green, it’s good to inquire and learn if there are incentives or government subsidies that you can capitalize on while doing solar panel installation. Some solar rebates can, in fact, pay off. The federal government provides tax credits for solar panels, and this can cut costs by up to 30%. Some states, however, might lack such rebates but before you make a conclusion, consult first. Your solar installation team should be in a position to give you a good guide on how to get the maximum rebate.

If you are in the San Diego area and would like us to find out the best solar rebate options for you, contact us.

Building Permits

Before installing solar systems in your residential home, it’s good to ensure that you have the required or proper building permits. This step is crucial because if you simply overrule it, you might have to bring down and redo the entire project once more. Regulations differ from city to city. In some, you are required to have at last a three-foot clearance around your roof. Some will, however, allow you to install the systems up to the very edge. In the USA, building permits are issued at local levels; this explains why there are differences in requirements as you move from one city to another. Besides building, you further need to ensure that your solar panel system meets the requirements of electrical codes.

Electricity Output

Another factor you have to consider before getting solar panels installed in your residential home is electricity output. Ideally, one panel produces around 250 watts of electricity; this means that for you to have at least 2.5 kW a day, you need ten panels. Settling for a smaller number of panels will thus mean that you will have limited the amount of electricity you can produce and it will also reduce the money you receive from feed-in tariff. A normal household requires 3.5kW of electricity a day, and that equates to 4,800 kW a year. Such statistics imply you have to dig deep in your pocket if you want to power your residential home fully on solar panels. If it’s difficult, you might consider getting some bit of electricity from the national grid system as well.

Amount of Money You Want to Spend

Another factor you have to consider before installing residential solar systems is the amount of money you want to spend versus the amount of money required. Money defines everything. Money is the determining factor from the type of solar panel to buy all the way up to who will install for you. You might be wishing to have one of the largest solar systems installed in your residential home, but you may only have a buck or two in the bank. The cost of installation is largely determined by the brand of the panel, type of the panel and the size of the panel. Other factors are labor and number of batteries that you may need to store power that is generated by the solar panel.

Use of the Solar Panel

The main reason you might want to set up a solar system is maybe you want to have a mere backup at times when there is a blackout in your area. Another reason may be to run your kitchen or to power one or two appliances that you recently acquired. Another person may want to fully utilize solar energy in everything he or she does. Some solar systems might be connected to the grid systems using a grid inverter. In this scenario, if there is a major blackout or if there some maintenance being done on the national grid, they don’t want electricity to feed into their grid and for this reason, you may also be in a blackout. For this reason, you have to clearly define the need and use of your solar panel before you calculate the cost of installation.

Types of Residential Power Installation

When it comes to residential solar power installation, you need to understand that there are two types of them. The first type connects your solar panel system to the main electricity grid. This is by far the most common type of solar installation. The grid connection system allows you to feed energy back to the grid system via your meter. With this option, you are rewarded by the power company for the amount of energy you have added to their system. The second type of residential power system is referred to like the stand alone solar power system. With this system, the cost of connecting solar panels to the main grid system is prohibitive. In this system, the solar panels charge a battery which in turn gives power to the house. Usually, a generator is kept on the stand by to back up power to the systems.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Residential Solar System?

Most solar companies will give you a free quote or estimate, including us! If your residential house is not so big, solar installation will take less than a day. It’s very rare to find incidences where solar installation in a residential has taken more than two days.

If you are in the San Diego area and would like a free quote please click here.

Solar Power Installation on Residential Homes

In most cases, solar installation is done on the roof, however, should you prefer your residential solar systems to be installed somewhere else; it can always be done but a cost. They will only need to erect free-standing solar panels in your preferable area. To get maximum solar energy, companies’ advice that you tilt your solar panels at a certain angle that is uniquely dependent on your geographic location. For most people, an angle of 30 degrees does well.

Solar Inverter

Depending on the type of installation, you might need to purchase some solar inverters. Inverters convert current from DC, direct current, to 240V AC electricity which is suitable for your home. Most inverters tend to be smaller than standard suitcases and are placed near the main electric switch boards.

Residential Solar Power Maintenance

To maintain your solar panels, you need to at least clean them every year. Since most solar panels are immovable, they should be able to last you up to twenty years or more.

Residential Solar Power Benefits

Solar energy is green energy. It thus has lots of advantages. To begin with, it’s a renewable source of energy. It’s also readily available and in abundant quantities. Solar energy is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Solar power reduces electricity costs, and this means that your home will end up saving more as far as costs of energy is concerned. In addition to that, solar panels are silent unlike generators and can be redistributed or shared. It also receives government support or aid.

Disadvantages of Residential Solar Energy

One of the major drawbacks of this type of energy is that it is expensive to setup and install. It’s also intermittent in that at times, access to solar energy is interrupted. Interruptions are mostly weather or climate oriented. Lastly, it requires a considerable amount of space.

The Bottom Line

Solar panels provide clean energy that is pollution free. It has more advantages both economically and environmentally. We hope that this article will go a long way in helping you make the right decision as far as installing residential solar energy is concerned.

SDGE Bill Ready Notification

By | Customer Support, Net Metering, Residential, Solar, Utilities | 2 Comments

Understanding Your SDGE Bill Ready Notification

SDGE has changed the format of their Bill Ready Notification in an effort to provide some quick insight to customers, however – as per usual, they seem to have made the information more confusing and convoluted than before. In an effort to help our customers understand their energy consumption and SDGE billing, this page will explain how to read SDGE’s notification.

Time-of-Use Rate Example
DR-SES & EVTOU2

SDGE Bill Notification - Time of Use

The terminology used on this new SDGE Bill Ready Notification is confusing, perhaps even incorrect. SDGE shows two initial sections, CONSUMPTION and GENERATION, but these only represent CONSUMPTION from the utility or GENERATION sent to the utility. SDGE does not have the ability to measure “behind-the-meter” consumption, which is energy produced by your solar PV system and consumed immediately on-site. The only energy (and data) they see is when your system is producing more energy than you are currently consuming or when you are drawing electricity from the grid, such as at night or on a cloudy day.

These categories shouldn’t be labeled as CONSUMPTION and GENERATION, but more accurately as IMPORT and EXPORT. If you read these sections as SDGE implies, you would assume that your solar panel system is under-producing. Because SDGE does not have full data for production, they can only provide limited insight into your system’s performance. These numbers are “netted,” however, which does give you some good insight into your monthly performance for Net Metering. In the NET ENERGY box (located below the incorrectly labeled CONSUMPTION and  GENERATION), you’ll be able to see an accurate account of the difference between these two numbers. If this number is a positive number, that means you imported more electricity from SDGE than you exported during the billing period. If this is a negative number, that means you exported more electricity to SDGE than you imported. A positive number will mean that you’re deducting from your cumulative Net Metering balance, while a negative number means you’re adding energy credits to be used later.

To get an accurate assessment of your system’s production, look at the online monitoring system for your inverters (Enlighten for Enphase customers, SunnyPortal for SMA customers). Through this system, you can pull energy production reports (customizable to the correlating billing period). This report will show you overall system generation, including “behind-the-meter” electricity which is consumed immediately on-site. This number should match or exceed the production expectations set by Solare Energy, though sometimes it may be a little less, depending on weather during the selected period. Solare Energy takes into account factors such as weather variations when designing systems, so rest assured that over the annual period, your system will produce enough electricity to meet or exceed expectations.

Tiered Rate Example
& Enphase Reporting 

The Tiered Bill Ready Notification shown below also has a few discrepancies in the information presented by SDGE. The most obvious mistake is listed in the NET ENERGY box that shows a negative number (more electricity exported to the utility than imported from the utility), yet the text states “You consumed more energy than you generated this period.” This is an obvious mistake, as the “netted” total is listed directly above this statement, on the graph toward the bottom of the page, as well as in the My Account section on SDGE’s website. As this is a new format they’re sending out, it appears that they haven’t yet performed a detailed quality check of these automated emails. Rest assured, if you see this, they will hopefully correct this error before you receive next month’s notification.

While the graph on SDGE’s notification email is the best resource for accurately understanding your NET ENERGY for this billing period, it only represents electricity exported to the utility, and doesn’t include “behind-the-meter” consumption. By running a report for the same period through Enphase Enlighten monitoring, you can see that the system produced 600kWh for the period, well above expectations (even with a few cloudy/rainy days). Taking the NET ENERGY number from SDGE (300kWh) and comparing to the Enphase Enlighten reported production (600kWh), you’ll see that the home in this example consumed about 300kWh over the 29 day cycle, which is on par for this customer’s typical usage. While the tiered rate structure is a bit easier to understand, it usually earns less credit per kilowatt-hour than the time-of-use rate structures.

SDGE Bill Notification - Tiered Rate
Enphase Enlighten Reporting

Net Metering for California

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Solar Net Metering 2.0 for California

NET METERING 2.0 FOR SOLAR IN CALIFORNIA

The California Public Utilities Commission has finalized the decision on Net Metering 2.0 for grid-connects solar in California. The decision, announced January 28th, 2016, preserves much of the value for homeowners and businesses looking to save money on their energy costs by installing solar panels.

Despite protests and efforts by California’s Investor-Owned Utilities, the CPUC upheld their proposed decision with only a few very minor modifications. Overall, grid-connected solar customers will receive close to retail value for all energy pushed to the grid, and will have this agreement grandfathered for 20 years. Some changes from NEM 1.0 include an initial interconnection fee that should be $75-$150, as well as some additional “non-bypassable” charges amounting to a few cents per kilowatt/hour difference for energy obtained from the utility.

*This ruling applies to Net Metering 2.0 customers ONLY. If you’ve already installed a solar panel system, you’re grandfathered in under Net Metering 1.0 for 20 years from the date you received permission-to-operate from SDGE.
CLICK HERE FOR NET METERING 1.0 CAPACITY STATUS UPDATE.

Summary of Net Metering 2.0

Continues Retail Rate Credit For Energy Production

The CPUC has decided to keep retail rate credits for energy produced by your solar panel system that is not immediately consumed on-site. All energy pushed to the grid will be credited at the retail rate corresponding with your current rate structure with SDGE (customers have the option of staying on tiered rate structure or switching to DR-SES, a solar time-of-use rate structure).

Adds Nominal Non-Bypassable Charges

While retail rate credit for overproduction is retained, there are some minor changes to the cost of energy consumed from the utility. Called “non-bypassable charges” and amounting to two or three cents per kilowatt-hour, these charges will be incurred by NEM 2.0 customers as they draw electricity from the grid and cannot be offset by solar production.

Continues Grandfathering For 20 Years

An important aspect in being able to calculate the value provided by your solar panel system, installations under NEM 2.0 will be grandfathered for 20 years from the date the system is approved for interconnection. This ensures that you see the return on investment you expect.

Includes Time-of-Use Stipulations

For SDGE customers, the approved decision includes a stipulation regarding time-of-use (TOU) rates. All customers signing up under NEM 2.0 will be required to switch to a new TOU rate structure after five years from the date this structure is enacted (expectations are that this will be put into action sometime early next year).

Californians Support Solar!

The California Public Utilities Commission has finalized this significant decision, once again showing that California is leading the way for our nation’s clean energy future. While other states (such as Hawaii and Nevada) have bowed to the pressure of their utilities and undermined net metering and solar, California has emphatically stated its position on the value of solar and a clean energy future for our state and our children. Though California’s investor-owned utilities fought to prevent solar-friendly regulation, the CPUC has listened to the voices of California’s citizens and solar industry workers. Thanks to your support of solar and a clean energy future, we have ensured an economic environment that encourages investment in solar.

NOW Is Your Time To Go Solar

While this ruling and the recent extension of the 30% Federal Tax Credit are strong signals that we support solar, utilities and conventional energy proponents will not rest in their efforts to undermine the value and security of clean energy. The CPUC did include a stipulation in this final decision that California’s Net Metering will be revisited again in 2019. This timing coincides with the first step-down of the federal tax credit, which means if you want to get the best value possible for your solar investment, you need do it before more changes occur.

Stop paying SDGE for over-priced electricity. Start producing your own energy and take advantage of Net Metering credits for excess sent back to the grid. The federal AND state governments are pushing to give you the best opportunity to save money by installing photovoltaic solar panels and producing your own clean energy. It’s time to GO SOLAR NOW!

Solar Tax Credit Extension

Solar Tax Credit Extension

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Solar Tax Credit Extension

THE FEDERAL SOLAR TAX CREDIT HAS BEEN EXTENDED

If you’ve been looking into solar for your home or business, you probably already know that the federal government has passed the bill including the extension of the ITC (or federal solar tax credit). This is a strong signal to American consumers that solar is supported and you too can save money on your energy costs by installing solar panels for your home or business. Solar energy is here to stay, and you still have the opportunity to get on board!

As part of the 2,000+ page Omnibus Bill that recently made its way through Congress and across the President’s desk, the Investment Tax Credit for solar and wind was extended, allowing homeowners and businesses to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for 30% of the cost of their clean energy project. With the cost of solar panels at an all-time low and a variety of financing options, the time has never been better to make the decision to go solar.

solar tax credit extension schedule

Get In NOW and Start Saving Immediately!

Whether you purchase your solar panel system outright, or choose one of several $0 down financing options, you too can claim your 30% federal solar tax credit and get cleaner power for less. You’ve waited long enough. Now it’s your time to save!

Declare Your Energy Independence With Solar!

Stop paying SDGE for over-priced electricity. Start producing your own energy and take advantage of Net Metering credits for excess sent back to the grid. California’s inverstor-owned utilities are continually trying to undermine the value in rooftop and ground mount solar panel systems for homes and businesses. With the extension of the federal solar tax credit, and a favorable successor to Net Metering in the works, the federal AND state governments are pushing to give you the best opportunity to save money by installing photovoltaic solar panels and producing your own clean energy.

Net Metering Status Update

By | Net Metering, Prices, Residential, Solar, Utilities | No Comments

ACT NOW – BEFORE THE NET METERING RULES CHANGE

Net metering, the agreement customers enter into with SDGE when they install solar, is going to be changing soon. The California Public Utilities Commission has finalized NEM 2.0, which will go into effect once solar production capacity reaches 5% of peak energy demand. Customers who have already installed a solar panel system, and those who install soon, are grandfathered in for the next 20 years and will receive retail rates for the surplus energy they produce and put back onto the grid. Net Metering 2.0 has been announced and retains much of the value of the current program, with a few minor modifications.

Current Net Metering Status (as of March 31, 2016)

94.47%

This represents the current NEM Installations and Applications in Queue (Cumulative MW Installed under NEM + NEM MW in Queue). This number is calculated by SDGE and was last updated on March 31, 2016.  Of the 617 MW available under the current Net Metering Agreement (5% of peak demand), 582.9 MW are already installed or in the queue (4.72% of peak demand). 34.1 MW remain until the current Net Metering Agreement closes.

WHEN WILL THE NEM CAP BE REACHED?

Some solar companies in San Diego had been claiming that “the sky is falling” since mid-2015. However, the timelines provided by more reliable sources (SDGE, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Solar Energy Industries Association) estimate different dates when the NEM cap could be reached.

CALSEIA ESTIMATE: May-June 2016
CPUC ESTIMATE: March-July 2016
SDGE ESTIMATE:
 July-December
 2016

SDGE Net Metering Changes

NOW IS THE TIME TO GO SOLAR!

With the current net metering agreement coming closer to the cap in SDGE’s territory, those who act now can benefit by locking-in retail rate credit for surplus energy production for the next 20 years! Net Metering 2.0 will still help homeowners and businesses save significantly on their energy costs, but does include a nominal upfront fee and some non-bypassable charges for energy consumed from the grid.

If you’ve been thinking about going solar, it’s time to get serious or risk missing out on the best value with solar and SDGE. Request a free quote and see how much you could be saving.

Enjoy Comfort & Savings – Live Better With Solar.

Data for Net Metering Status provided by SDGE.
View the full report at: www.sdge.com/clean-energy/net-energy-metering/overview-nem-cap

Solare Energy Recognized with 2015 Guildmaster Award

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Recognized for excellence and customer satisfaction for solar installation in San Diego.

Customer Satisfaction Is Our Highest Priority – And It Shows!

Thank You To All Our Customers Who Participated In The Survey.

Solare Energy, Inc. Recognized among North America’s Best Customer Service Leaders within the Residential Construction Industry
GuildQuality’s 2015 Guildmaster Award Honors Solare Energy, Inc.

San Diego, California, May 19, 2015 – Solare Energy, Solar Installation Contractor in San Diego, California, has been awarded a 2015 Guildmaster Award for exceptional customer service. GuildQuality, an independent customer satisfaction surveying company, has powered the Guildmaster Award since 2005 to celebrate service excellence in the building, remodeling, contracting, and home services professions.

Solare Energy was selected as one of the over 300 North American builders, remodelers, developers, and contractors recognized by GuildQuality for their superior delivery of customer care.

Over the past few months, GuildQuality reviewed numerous survey responses submitted by customers of Guildmaster candidates. In granting awards, GuildQuality considers two primary metrics for each candidate: the percentage of customers who would recommend and the percentage of customers who responded. Solare Energy achieved a recommendation rate of greater than 90% from their customers, who were surveyed through GuildQuality.

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For more on the 2015 Guildmaster Award and qualifications, visit www.guildquality.com/guildmaster/.

About Solare Energy

Solare Energy provides residential, commercial, and non-profit customers in San Diego County with smart energy solutions that integrate solar and energy efficiency systems to provide the highest energy, economic, and environmental benefits to customers.

800-411-SOLAR      www.SolareEnergy.com

About GuildQuality

GuildQuality helps builders, remodelers, and contractors manage their most valuable asset – their reputation. Our members rely on our service to gather customer feedback, measure satisfaction and continuously improve their business. Supported by comprehensive reporting and marketing tools, GuildQuality helps its members stand out in a competitive market. For more information, visit www.GuildQuality.com.

“Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction – and it shows. Recognition for our efforts is great, yet the achievement we truly value is knowing that our customers are satisfied and eager to recommend us to friends, family, and neighbors with the assurance that we’ll do the job right and provide the best value possible to each and every customer.”

-Robert Shaw, Marketing Manager

*Your information will never be shared or sold.