Bay Area Family Goes Solar to Save Money
Check out this blog post from 3rdGenBruin about how going solar can actually save you a lot of money:
First, I moved to solar for economic reasons, not environmental reasons. The environmental stuff is nice and I’m glad I’m able to do my part, but I really did this to save money.
The company I’m using is SolarCity. They are fairly popular in the Bay Area, but I think they are moving nationwide if they haven’t already. I chose them for two main reasons: 1) lease program (described below) and 2) good reputation in a nascent industry.
The process started with a call and them coming out to do a site audit. They have to check the slope of your roof, look for shade issues (tall trees, buildings, etc.) and a few other factors. I was lucky in that I basically had an ideal setup. This doesn’t happen for everyone. First, I have a two story house and the roof gets lots of sun. Second, I have nearly the ideal slope for solar. From my latitude in northern California, either the ideal is a 22 degree slope and mine was 23 degrees or vice-versa. Basically, I was 1 degree off from perfect. This was for both my south facing and western facing roof slopes.
I had a choice to lease either a 4 Kw system (on just the south slope) or a 6.7 Kw system (4Kw on south slope, 2.7kw system on west slope) and I opted for the larger system. Basically, my monthly payments (lease plus new electric bill) were estimated to be the same and I liked the idea of generating more power.
The setup consists of the panels on my roof setup as basically two separate systems and two inverters attached to a backyard wall near the electric panel. There are no batteries or any other storage facility on site. There are definitely wires going to the roof and to the electrical panel and it isn’t the most attractive thing ever on a house, but it is an area that doesn’t get viewed very often and even if it was it isn’t that bad.