8 Benefits of Installing Solar Panels in San Diego

Jess Hutton | October 20, 2015 | Industry Knowledge

San Diego enjoys over 260 days of sunshine each year – making it an ideal location to install home solar panels! The city has an average monthly Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) of 5.26-kilowatt hours per square meter per day (kWh/m2/day). Need more reason to go solar? Read on to learn more about the benefits of installing solar panels in San Diego:

1. California’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)

California’s robust renewable portfolio standard (RPS), requires all utilities to source 33 percent of their electric generation from renewable resources by 2020. The result? San Diegans can choose from incentives offered by utilities, the state, counties, and even some municipalities.

2. Lower Energy Bills

The most obvious benefit of using solar panels is lower electricity bills. For homeowners, these savings depend on a variety of factors, including the size and quality of the panels. Customers may have all of their energy needs met by their PV system during the day and may only have to rely on the grid at night.

3. San Diego Net Metering

By connecting their solar panel system to the grid, homeowners can sell their excess energy back to the utility company. Through net metering, local utility companies pay homeowners for their excess power that runs to the grid.

4. Property Tax Exemption

A great benefit of home solar panels in San Diego is California exempts solar installations from property taxes. San Diegans save money on taxes and also on their monthly electricity bill.

5. Greater Home Value

The value of any home usually increases when solar panels are installed. For San Diegans, that added value is tax-exempt because of the property tax exemptions discussed above.

6. Protection Against Fluctuation In Electricity Prices

Without solar panels, San Diego homeowners contend with rising electricity rates – a 3.5% increase every year.

7. San Diego Solar Power Incentives, Tax Breaks and Rebates

The city of San Diego offers tax credits and rebates to help homeowners obtain a solar power system:

  • Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes Program: If the income of a homeowner is under the median family (as defined under the criterion of affordable housing), they can qualify for a rebate that may cover the entire cost of the system.
  • San Diego Solar Tax Credits: Residents who install a solar panel system before or during 2016 are eligible for this tax credit, which accounts for 30% of the system’s value.
  • California Solar Initiative: The California Solar Initiative (CSI) offers a cash rebate or performance-based incentive through utility companies to homeowners who install solar power-generating equipment on their property.

8. San Diego Solar Financing Options

Residents have a number of financing options to consider including a solar lease, loan or PPA, depending on a homeowner’s unique situation. These options are explained below:

  • Solar Leases are similar to Power Purchase Agreements in that a third party pays for and owns the system. However, with this financing mechanism a customer pays a fixed monthly fee not tied to actual energy use, and is responsible for system performance, operations, and maintenance.
  • A Solar Power Purchase Agreement is a financial arrangement in which a third-party developer owns, operates, and maintains the PV system, while the customer agrees to site the system on its property and purchase the system’s electricity. This financial arrangement allows the customer to avoid upfront installation costs and usually have lower electricity costs.
  • Secured Financing: Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) and Home Equity Loans (HELs): HELOCs are forms of revolving credit in which a home serves as collateral. A HEL is a loan that has a fixed rate and term and also uses a home as collateral.

For San Diegans, PV systems can help lower electricity bills, increase the value of their home, and offer protection from fluctuating prices as the cost of electricity rises. In addition, those with solar panels can exempt the equipment from their property taxes. With the availability of net metering with their local utility, homeowners can also get reimbursed for a portion of the cost of purchase and installation of panels through the California Solar Initiative and the 30% investment tax credit.









Featured image by kate bartnik/Flickr


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