Jon Cunningham

Author and Native San Diegan

This website is designed for my gardening and solar books. It includes the Interstate Water System (IWS) and other renewable energy options. Profits from these books and from bonus rewards support educating everyone about Solar and IWS.

Solar, Our Sustainable Future – Fall 2021

Solar energy systems can be added to your home and come in the following packages and different prices.

1. Buy a complete system for say, $20,000 outright. If you stay hooked up to your local grid, they will supply and charge you for any needed extra electricity. Through a system called net metering, you can get credit for an extra electricity
your panels produce. In California the tax rebate is 26% for 2021.

2. Same as 1), but you have a generator and battery backup which can have an optional hookup to the grid.

3. Same as 1) and 2), except you make a down payment, say $5000, and pay off the remaining balance over ten to twenty years. You can work the numbers so that your monthly payments are the same as your previous electrical bill.

4. Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is very popular and what we chose to do.

There are no upfront costs or purchase costs, taxes, leases or liens, installation costs or insurance costs, and there is a twenty year warranty. The PPA is an agreement between the solar company and their customer. The way they make money is by providing power through the solar energy system at a lower rate than the local utility. They are able to do this because they don’t have costs of transmission lines and infrastructure such as in the case of the utility. The customer buys the power at a predetermined low rate per kilowatt with a ceiling rate of no more than 2.9% (this is for our particular company). The customer still pays for gas but pays for electricity only if they use more than the solar produces in a year. The customer has their own solar company website, which keeps track of everything. The only thing we pay for is gas, a minimum connection fee, and any extra power we use beyond the total system annual production, which is settled in what they call a True Up fee at the end of the year. The utility company sends a monthly gas bill and a monthly electric statement (the part that you don’t pay) of your date net reading. Our solar company sends a monthly solar electric statement, which we pay online, for the kilowatts produced by our solar system. To buy the solar system outright would have been $20,000, by using the above three options. Our solar company offers a very nice money incentive for referrals.

Be sure to get a hard written copy of your contract and read it carefully. If you are told there is no lien on your house it could be a lien on the solar energy system that could affect future property sales or transactions. If acquiring a solar energy system, and a credit check is needed, be sure to know how the check will be done and how often it might affect your future financial transactions. Be sure to check out, and be comfortable with how your solar system is handled in case of selling your home.

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