Power to the People
Is now the time to switch to solar energy?
511 homes in SDG&E service territory installed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
Last 12 months:
installed solar PV.
According to Solare Energy
The City of Chula Vista produces the most solar energy in the entire county, as a rebate program has more and more San Diego homeowners thinking about going green.
The demand for solar power is heating up as San Diegans reap the benefits of life off the grid.
According to the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Solar Initiative is the nation’s largest solar program, resulting in more than one gigawatt of customer-generated solar energy since April 2012. That’s enough juice to power up about 700,000 homes.
In the past, going green has been considered something of a rich man’s game. Not anymore. A recent CPUC report found that more low- and middle-income homeowners were able to afford the cost of going solar.
According to Sullivan Solar Power’s Director of Community Relations, Erica Johnson, San Diego is the solar power capital of the nation. Of the communities here, she says Chula Vista ranks highest in terms of total wattage produced on county rooftops.
And demand is increasing.
“Since 2007, the first year of the California Solar Initiative state rebate program... the number of solar customers has been growing an average of 50 percent per year,” says Jose Luis Contreras, president of San Diego-based Solare Energy, Inc. “All this while most other sectors in construction, especially in California, have been contracting.”
Local companies like Solare Energy and Sullivan Solar Power are offering special programs and added incentives on top of the state rebate.
Sullivan’s countywide San Diego Solar Power rebate program is limited to 500 local homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis. San Diego County homeowners should have a monthly bill that exceeds $150 in order for the panels to make financial sense. The average home is a 5,000-watt system, give or take. Going solar would eliminate $197 worth of electric bill. The surplus power goes back into the grid, and as for the money, SDG&E sends you a check at the end of the year for your overproduction (3 cents per kilowatt hour, the wholesale rate).
“You will save money from day one,” Johnson says.