Homes with Heart – Heather Coombs-Perez

I recently received a phone call from a solar energy company asking about my energy bills and pitching me on the benefits of solar power— to the environment, my pocketbook and the California energy grid. Interested to learn more, I contacted Michael Parsons of MAP Productions, a local Culver City installer, to give me the low-down.

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) was developed to help create megawatts of new solar-generated electricity, which would help move the state towards a clean energy future, while offering cash back incentives for homes, businesses, farms, schools, and government and non-profit organizations.

What this essentially means, is that if you install photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that are either roof-mounted, ground-mounted or building-integrated—in other words, panels that generate electricity—you will be eligible for rebates to offset their installation cost. Also, if you change out your existing space heater, or air conditioning units in favor of PV technology, you can also apply for a rebate. In addition, CSI-Thermal rebates are available for solar hot water systems that displace the use of electricity or natural gas.

According to Parsons, anyone who owns a property and buys their electricity from one of California’s three investor-owned utilities, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison or San Diego Gas & Electric, is eligible to receive cash-back from a solar installation through the CSI. The amount of cash-back will vary depending on the size of the solar unit installed and whether the incentive is given as an upfront lump sum based on the expected performance of the system, or as a monthly payment based on the actual performance over a five year period.

Typically, a residential installation will cost between $21,000 – $29 000, approximately $7,000 of which may be available as a federal tax credit, with a further $4,000 – $5,500 also given as a rebate by your electricity provider. The installer will take an energy audit to see what your historical electricity use is and determine which system is best to install. They will also examine any other factors that may have an impact on the cost of installation such as the current electrical system and wiring, and the condition of the roof where the panels will be mounted.

When you add it all up, it certainly sounds like a win-win situation. And have no fear—going solar doesn’t mean you’re “off the grid”. To the contrary, the grid is actually buying power from you on days when the sun is high in the sky and you’re churning out megawatts. When it’s cloudy, you are still eligible to draw electricity from the grid to keep your household running smoothly.

In terms of the resale value of your home and the return on investment, being able to tell prospective buyers that the electricity company sends you a check each month for the power you sell them, can only be seen as a plus!

If you think you might be in the market for a solar installation, or just want to learn more, you can contact Michael Parsons at MAP Productions at 310-753-7040. To see what it can add to the value of your home, call me for a free consultation at 310-259-7419 or email [email protected].

The Actors' Gang

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