Know the basics before installing a solar system


(KTSF by Jessie Liang)

San Francisco, CA – The purpose of installing the solar system at home is to improve energy efficiency and save money. However, the solar system may not apply to every home because of the cost. The solar specialist advises the homeowner to do some research whether the solar system could maximize your savings on both energy and money.

Before installing the solar system for your home, you must find a contractor who is certified by the government in order to qualify for incentives. The contractor would do a preliminary assessment for the homeowner.

The spokesman for the SFPUC Power Enterprise Jim Chien says, “The measurement of houses, the condition of the house, and the electricity usage for a household are all different. If you have a contractor, the installer would do an assessment for you.”

What documents does the homeowner need to provide to his installer? Chien says, “You need to check your PG&E’s bill for the electricity annual usage and payment. Then the contractor would calculate your installing cost.”

The three incentives are from federal, state and local governments. The total amount from incentives deducts from the total cost, the rest of amount is the homeowners’ up to front cost. In addition, the contractor would provide your a report for your energy saving. You could use your own cost by dividing the total of energy you saved. For example, to offset your home solar cost in San Francisco is about 10 to 15 years. “We suggest you to install your solar system when you have a new roof. That could help you to save time and cost,” said Chien.

A solar system for a single house in San Francisco could maximum generate about 2.2 kw electricity per hour. The extra electricity you stored now could sell back to the utility company. Beside the credit on your bill, you can also get cash rebate from the utility company. The new policy is approved by California Public Utilities Commission early this year.

PG&E spokeswoman Fiona Chan says, “Within last 12 months, if your solar system generate more electricity than your used, then you could get cash rebate based on 4 cents per 1 kw.”

Chan said the qualified customers for cash rebate will receive their notice in advance.

San Francisco residents want to look for more information, please visit and search “GoSolarSF”. For others in the Bay Area, please visit and search “Solar and Renewable” for details.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF.  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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