THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SOLAR
Solar is, hands down, the first choice to power a home or business in the Bay Area. It is far cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable than anything else.
Any building with a roof that gets about four to five hours of daily sunshine is a prime candidate for solar. Solar energy costs about 50 to 75% less than the energy you buy from the utility. The cost of solar energy remains constant over time, while utility rates increase by 6.75% on average each year. The cost differential adds up to tens of thousands of dollars—often hundreds of thousands—in savings over the first twenty years alone.
A house with between 400 and 1,000 square feet of unshaded roof space, oriented somewhere towards the east, south, or west, will accommodate a productive solar PV system. For commercial buildings space requirements vary significantly with the nature of the business activity, and the related energy usage.
The cost benefits of solar are greatest for households with large electricity bills. The more electricity you use, the more you pay per unit for additional electricity. Solar “cuts from the top,” reducing not only the amount of electricity you need to buy, but also the rates you pay for it.
Ways to purchase energy for your household or business, ranked from best to worst:
- Own a solar PV system. Cash is better than financing, but either way you reap substantial benefits. You will save tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars by producing your own energy.
- A distant second is a lease or PPA agreement, which basically means that you rent a solar PV system, or buy the power off a system owned by a third party. In both cases the third party keeps most of the cost benefits. A lease or a PPA is better than buying power from the utility, but not by much.
- The worst alternative by far is to buy energy from the local utility. It is the most expensive, the dirtiest and the most unpredictable way to cover your energy needs. Utility power should be your last choice for powering a house or business if solar is an option.
In addition to producing energy at the lowest rate available anywhere, solar is clean, silent, good for all living things, and renewable. Here are the main components of the solar system that will be installed on your property:
Sunpower Solar Modules
Sunpower modules are constructed with robust tempered glass and anodized aluminum frames. They are typically installed on your roof, but can also be installed on a ground mount. They are weatherproof, resist corrosion, carry at least a 25-year warranty, and will produce electricity for around 40 years. The modules convert sunlight into direct current (DC) energy.
The energy from the solar panels flows to the inverter. The inverter is a box about two foot square, and about a foot deep. It is usually installed next to your main electrical panel, aka breaker box. The inverter converts the DC current into alternating current (AC) energy, which is what your appliances use.
The solar PV system is connected to your electric system through your electric service panel. Your solar PV system communicates with your smart electricity meter, and makes the exchange of energy between the solar PV system and the grid automatic and seamless.