Solar homes in state multiplying

July 12, 2013

images-3Home solar systems were installed by California homeowners at a record rate last year, with the equipment generating a total of 391 megawatts of electricity, according to data released by the government. (San Francisco Chronicle)

A rebate program for solar installations is nearly over, but the pace of installations is increasing.

The rebate program was initiated in 2007 and used $2.4 billion in ratepayers’ money. The program has achieved about 66 percent of its total goal, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Costs of installation has dropped since the program began, suggesting to officials that a vigorous solar industry is emerging, one that will be capable of growth without government subsidies.

When the rebate program ends, homeowners who generate more solar power than they use will still have access to credits on utility bills.

That’s a benefit, incidentally, that utility companies are lobbying to terminate.



  1. kettle says:

    Charts: The Smart Money Is on Renewable Energy and at the same time American use less energy per capita as time passes.

    Better, smarter energy choices save money for everyone.

    (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  2. Myself says:

    A lot more residential roof top solar could have been put in with the money that was wizzed away in the Carissa Plans for putting those two plants in out there and tearing up that part of the county, I still don’t understand how that mess got to be.

    On another note a friend of mine put solar in at his house its been running for about 2 years now and the payment to the electric company for last year to even up the usage was about 350 $, the monthly bill before was in the 200 $ range, pretty decent savings if you ask me, the only downside is the 15 year payoff for the setup, but electric isn’t going to get any cheaper.

    (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      You mentioned the 15 year payoff. Here is something else a lot of people don’t realize. You pay off in 15, the average life expectance of solar (equipment) is 15 years. So about the time you get it paid off you will just about be ready to start all over again. Little thing in the fine print they don’t tell people.

      (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
      • pasowino says:

        Not everyone has a 15 year payoff on the system. On top of that the panels are warrantied for 25-years. On top of that, rooftop solar arrays will continue to make power for 40-50 years or even longer. Believe it or not, I have a couple of solar panels on my roof that were commissioned in 1983 and they are still going fine.

        The payback on the system is completely dependent upon how much you’re currently paying for your energy and how much you pay for the installation of the system. I just helped a friend spec and install a system and his payback is 6-years. (His bills for $350-450 per month prior to install).

        Does solar make sense for everyone? No. Is it economical and a good thing to do for some people? Yes.

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
    • pasowino says:

      You’re crazy if you think more solar could have been installed on peoples roof tops than was installed out in Carrizo Plains. Roof top solar can’t even come close to the economies of scale of a project of that size.

      (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  3. r0y says:

    I truly feel bad for anyone who falls for this. The ones gaming the system, I expect that. But the innocent granny or whatever that actually believes the misinformation about solar energy. That just burns me up.

    You know it’s a scam when they school district is forced into it (nice back-room deal there… cut down all those trees that ordinary citizens would never be able to touch, and put up parking “shade” panels. Well, at least there’s some shade… that’s about all they’ll ever be useful for).

    I’m not coming at this from an “anti-tree hugger” (ironically, as trees were the first things to go in the school parking lots); but from an engineering perspective. The KW return is DISMAL. Though we’ve been trying to reduce, reduce, reduce (to make what paltry generation solar does seem useful), we’re nowhere near there.

    Solar works if one consumes little to no power already, and has mostly clear, sunny skies and a generous (i.e. forced) energy company that will spin the meter 1-to-1 on over-generated electricity (i.e. you putting back into the grid). It’s a serious lifestyle change, and I’ve yet to meet anyone that thought (after 5+ years) that solar anything was a good idea (remember the solar hot water heaters? Yeah, me either.

    (-5) 23 Total Votes - 9 up - 14 down
    • obispan says:

      Yeah, you are “coming at this as an anti-tree hugger” perspective, as evidenced by your enormous stupidity. PV power WAS uncompetitive and heavily subsidized, so was nuclear power. That is no longer the case with PV but still is with nuclear. Also, as electricity cannot be stored, need for generation capacity is driven by peak demand. PV power is produced during peak hours. Adding to your enormous stupidity, solar water is making a huge comeback, especially if you had a system and the piping through the house is there. PG&E has daylong Saturday classes about both at Cal Poly a couple times a year. Free, and includes breakfast and lunch. Technology changes dumba**.

      (-3) 19 Total Votes - 8 up - 11 down
      • r0y says:

        Very nice, except you completely neglected to address the points I raised, dodging them like an agenda-driven droid, properly programmed.

        Of course PV generates during peak hours… what you left off was: generates next to nothing.

        As for subsidies (ignoring that you just bring in nuclear to what? show how efficient “green” energy is? I’m not clear on your red herring, particularly):
        In the United States, the federal government has paid US$74 billion for energy subsidies to support R&D for nuclear power ($50 billion) and fossil fuels ($24 billion) from 1973 to 2003. During this same time frame, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency received a total of US$26 billion. However, many of the “subsidies” available to the oil and gas industries are general business opportunity credits, available to all US businesses Whereas renewable energy subsidies are CASH in someone’s pocket (think “bribes”).

        Also, how much energy is generated from nuclear (50 bill in subsidies), fossil fuels (24 bill) and green (26 bill)? You think renewable is as wide-spread, widely used and efficient as fossil fuels or nuclear? Did we get the bang-for-the-buck? Hmmm?

        In fact, if one were to take out HYDRO-ELECTRIC (a technology in widely in use for decades) and the burning of WOOD (yes, that too pads the “renewable” category – they need it) the Wind/Solar/Biofuel (i.e. burn our food) would be PATHETICALLY small. Like much less than 1% of energy generated and consumed. All that for only $24 billion in bribed… er “credits”

        Oh well, I’m sure you’ll find a way to ignore all that, since it does not follow the narrative being propagandized currently.

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
        • pasowino says:

          Generates next to nothing? Explain. My roof top solar array generates approx 540- KWH per month. That’s about all the power I use at my house. It takes up a 11’x20′ space on my roof.

          (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
          • kettle says:

            This person speaks the truth based on real facts and few words.

            And perhaps some wine :)

            (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
        • obispan says:

          “Agenda-driven droid”? No that’s you. Rush has preached against PV for 20 years and can’t change the sermon. Why does PG&E support PV? They want to shut down their third-world diesel peaker plants that they still rely on in the summer when the spot price of electricity goes thru the roof. Peak PV output in California a just a little short of Diablo’s total with both reactors at full power. I’m pro-solar and nuclear. Burning fossil fuels at 35% efficiency is just plain stupid. r0y, the Bush Crime Family, their Saudi equivalent Bin Ladens, and the Koch brothers are afraid of losing their grip on the energy business.

          (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • kettle says:

      School district politics aside R0y you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Solar electric in California.

      r0y says:”believes the misinformation about solar energy”

      r0y says: “Solar works if one consumes little to no power already, and has mostly clear, sunny skies”

      False! A residential photovoltaic system installed on a South side of Los Osos home can generate 75% of needed kilowatts and pay itself off in less that 7 years and has a 25 year major component warranty.
      The calculation includes some cost for repairs during the 25 years. Germany has solar pv all over the place.

      Bonus: the only lifestyle change required is to not make stupid energy related decisions such as not replacing the 20 year old fridge.

      Please stop spreading the misinformation.
      You get to make up your own opinion and electric bill but not your own facts.

      (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
  4. hijinks says:

    Way to go, California! One inaccuracy in story, however. The solar rebates are not “taxpayers’ money.” They come from a small public purpose surcharge on utility bills, the same fund that marks down the cost of compact fluorescent bulbs, among other things.

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down

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