California is currently the nation's largest market for solar power installations; it has great sun, great solar policies, relatively high conventional (non solar) electricity rates, and a vibrant solar installer eco-system. So how does a homeowner start the process of finding the right system and the "best" deal for their particular situation?
California home solar power system pricing shows a tight cluster of what homeowners are actually paying, which reflects the maturity and the competitiveness of the California solar market. Additionally, we've seen the dramatic reduction in prices for home solar power in the state over the last ten years. When shopping for a California home solar power system one of the first questions that comes up is how much will the system cost? The price of the actual solar equipment plus the installation, permitting, labor and other items add up to the total system cost, which then becomes the baseline of the economic payback of the system. Let's take a look...
The San Francisco California Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the "Better Roofs Ordinance" that will require new construction in the city to install solar energy systems on the roof. The new ordinance includes requirements for both residential solar power systems and commercial solar power systems, including either photovoltaic electric or solar hot water systems, or both.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is voting on an ambitious bill to put solar power systems on most all new rooftops in the city that have the appropriate site requirements. The bill is sponsored by Supervisor Scott Wiener and is called the "Better Roofs Ordinance", which if passed would make San Francisco a leading city in the country requiring rooftop solar.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a California Utility said in an announcement they hit a significant milestone for 2015 with 29.5% of retail electricity coming from renewable clean energy. That number actually exceeded the State targets of 23.3% for years 2014 through 2016, using a variety of generation sources, and puts them on track to achieve the very ambitious California State goals of 33% renewables by 2020, and 50% by 2013. The utility leads the nation with residential rooftop solar installations connected to the grid.
From the perspective of homeowners and businesses looking to go solar, the bigger the solar rebate the better. From the perspective of the utilities and government agencies that finance those rebates, often the opposite is true.
Usually, the decided upon rebate level ends up somewhere between these two parties' preferences.
That appears to be the case with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), which on Tuesday announced it will in September relaunch its solar energy rebate program at a new, lower level. Back in April, the utility suspended the program, citing record demand and dwindling coffers.
Once reopened, DWP's solar incentive program will offer residential rebates
Judging from a 2006 survey, a remarkable number of U.S. homeowners have become interested residential solar energy in recent years.
As a result, more and more U.S. homebuilders are actively building out their solar-powered home offerings. Big-name builders like Pulte Homes, Meritage Homes and KB Home have all been jockeying for top spot as the provider solar-powered, energy-efficient homes.
KB Home is the latest to notch a success.
The Los Angeles-based homebuilder yesterday announced the grand opening of a solar home community in Lancaster, California. Situated in Antelope Valley, KB Home's Arroyo community is the first in the area to offer solar energy systems as a standard feature on all new homes.
To be sure, the standard systems on offer aren't particularly large.
With its ample sunshine and relatively high electricity rates, southern California offers what are arguable the country's most favorable conditions for solar power. The decision makers at San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) seem to understand this -- and are aiming to take advantage.
In partnership with AMSOLAR Corporation, SDUSD will see some 23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed atop 80 roofs at 22 sites across San Diego. At 5 megawatts (MW) in size, the system as a whole is expected to provide 64 percent of the required electricity for each site, while generating 11 percent of SDUSD district-wide electricity consumption.
Like most larger-scale solar power projects in the commercial and government sector, the San Diego Unified School District project will be completed under the terms of a power purchase agreement (PPA),
Lakeside Dairy in California's central valley has installed a big solar power system that will cut its use of conventional electricity by 75 percent.
Developed, designed and installed by SPG Solar -- one of the biggest commercial solar installers in California -- the 891-kilowatt (kW) solar array comprises 3,240 Suntech solar panels and two big Solaron inverters.
According to GetSolar's online solar power calculator, an 890-kW DC solar power system in the dairy's region should produce around 1.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in its first year of operation. That's enough juice to power about 100 typical U.S. homes annually.
Like many businesses, Lakeside Dairy installed the system in part to help smooth operating costs.
"The recent volatility of milk prices