Total Installed Cost
6.44kW from $3.97/Watt
5.52kW from $4.02/Watt
4.6kW From $4.10/watt
3.68kW From $4.22/watt
Solar Loans, Leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA's) are available.
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Eliminate your electric bill
San Diego electric rates are among the highest in the nation. Residential customers paid an average of 17.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kw-hr), the standard unit of electricity consumption, according to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). For the nation as a whole, the average cost is less than 12 cents per kw-hr, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
High average rates don’t explain the whole story of why many San Diego electric bills are so shockingly large. Electric charges are graduated like your income tax. Everyone is allotted a monthly “baseline allowance” of electricity at a reasonable price, currently about 15 cents per kw-hr. Once you consume the baseline amount, rates rise rapidly to a current high of 29 cents per kw-hr, about two and a half times the national average. If your home has air conditioning, a swimming pool, a freezer, or a large amount of lighting, you almost certainly exceed the baseline consumption.
Fortunately, San Diego has more sunshine than most other cities, and this free energy gives homeowners an opportunity to slash their electric bills while improving the health of our planet. By installing a solar electric generating system, homeowners can cut electric bills in half or more while protecting themselves (at least partially) from inevitable rate increases. Here’s how.
How solar power works
Solar electric systems have two main components. The first are solar photovoltaic panels mounted on a south-facing roof or backyard slope. When sunlight strikes these panels, it produces direct-current (DC) electricity similar to the power from a battery. The second component is an inverter that converts DC power into the alternating current delivered to your home by SDG&E.
Solar photovoltaic systems aren’t new. They were developed by NASA and other space agencies in the 1960s to provide power to orbiting satellites. Over the last half century, engineers have made photovoltaic systems cheaper and more efficient.
Unlike gasoline-powered generators or the huge oil and gas burning plants operated by SDG&E, photovoltaic systems have no moving parts. They are silent, highly reliable, and produce no radioactive waste, carbon emissions or oxides of nitrogen that contribute to smog and global warming. Maintenance consists of periodic washing of panels, although many homeowners don’t even bother with this chore.
A safe, secure investment
Adding a solar electric system to your home is an investment, but one that works a little differently than buying savings bonds, bank certificates of deposit (CDs), or shares of stock. Homeowners pay cash for the system and receive monthly reductions in their electric bills. They also receive federal tax credits when they file their income taxes. In well under 10 years these savings will return to homeowners the cost of the solar system plus a profit.
Homeowners can expect an 8 to 12% return from their solar energy investment. Although these rates of return are not as high as one might have earned from buying Qualcomm stock in the 1990s, they are much higher than today’s returns on ultra-safe investments such as US treasury bills or bank CDs.
These calculations assume a 25-year system life. Electric rates are based on SDG&E’s electric rates effective May 2010. If rates rise, the savings a homeowner will enjoy even greater returns.
Savings accrue to homeowners whether or not they are at home using electricity when the sun is shining. SDG&E allows homeowners to benefit from “net metering,” which means that excess electricity produced during the day is used to offset the cost of electricity consumed during evening hours. Electricity produced by home-based solar systems is used by SDG&E to power lights and air conditioning at stores, offices, factories, and other facilities operating during daylight hours.
Benefits to earth
Home-based solar energy systems offer much more than an attractive investment for homeowners. By producing electric power from sunlight, photovoltaic systems reduce the amount of fossil and non-renewable fuels that must be burned to produce electricity. Burning of fuels contributes to both air pollution and thermal pollution of bays and surf zones. And solar electricity produces no carbon emissions, which some scientists believe is contributed to warming of the atmosphere.
Unlike nuclear power, solar energy systems produce no radioactive waste that must be reprocessed or stored for centuries. And unlike wind turbines, solar photovoltaic systems pose no danger to birds.
Home-based solar power generation is most attractive to homeowners with above average electricity consumption who pay high income taxes and can benefit from tax credits. And you must have a south-facing rooftop free from shade of trees or adjacent structures. As advances on solar technology continue to reduce costs, solar power will eventually become attractive to a wider range of homeowners.
SanDiegoSolarPower.com can provide you with precise estimates for installing a solar system in your home together with estimates of costs and savings on your electric bill. For more information please fill out our easy one step form now.
We use Solar World, Sharp, Canadian Solar, and Kyocera solar modules with SMA and enphase inverters.
Our focus and expertise is in residential solar electric systems.