California has one of the best solar insolation ratings in the country. Considered a pro solar state, California continues to lead the way to offer homeowners an incentive to install solar panels on their homes.
Incentives come from a variety of sources such as federal, state, and local.
The federal government provides up to 30 percent renewable energy tax credit for those homeowners who have added solar panels to their homes. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 signed into law under President George W. Bush, extended the Investment Tax Credit to the end of 2016. This act removed the cap allowing homeowners to take more than a $2,000 credit on the purchase and installation of a solar panel system. The Income Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners to take a tax credit of up to 30% of installed costs. The federal savings along with state or city/county incentives can make installation of solar panels much more affordable to the homeowner.
The state of California has the California Solar Initiative (CSI) whose goal is to have solar panels on a million homes across the state and producing 3,000 megawatts of new, solar generated electricity by 2017. It has over a $2 billion budget to meet this objective. To help reach this goal, the main utility companies in the state are sponsoring a rebate programs, incentives for installation of solar panels on existing homes, and financial incentives and or support for home builders of new homes including low income. There are also incentives in place to reward those homes that have high performing solar systems.
San Diego Gas and Electric currently has a program, Net Energy Metering (NEM), where if a home with solar panels produces more energy than they can use, the homeowner can earn credit on their bills for putting back energy into the SDG&E grid and use it later. Other gas and electric companies might have something similar or different. Contact your local utilities provider for their current rebates or programs.
San Diego County currently has a Green Building Incentive Program. This program is designed to promote energy efficiency in new or remodeled homes through use of materials, or water conservation. The incentive gives a reduction in building permit fees, 7.5% reduction in plan check, and a quickly plan check turn around. To qualify for under energy, you must submit documentation showing compliance to the Building Division. For other qualifications to this program, or to see if your county has a similar program, check with your county.
With California under sunshine most of the year it’s easy to see why thousands of California’s have installed solar panels. Now, with federal, state, and city solar installation incentives, solar panels are the way to go for today’s homeowners looking for ways to save money throughout the whole process.
Once your solar panels are installed in there optimum place, there is very little maintenance involved in the actual upkeep of the panels. Since dirty or dusty solar panels could decrease the efficiency output of solar energy keeping them clean would be to your benefit.
In other parts of the country that receive a fair amount of precipitation, the panels would be kept clean when rain comes by. In San Diego, since it receives little rain, you main need to wipe down the panels if too much dust accumulates on them. The best way this is done is usually with some mild soapy water and a squeegee or a mop about 2 or 3 times a year. Other obstacles that might decrease solar power efficiency would be bird droppings, leaves, or trees growing in the way creating too much shade over your panels. By keeping the solar panels clean and clear, it will keep your solar panels working in optimum condition.
Any other areas that need little to no maintenance would include the joints and frames. Roof “flashing” would be checked only if any roof leaks are detected. All of the above would be installed in prime condition and only in extreme weather or situations would there ever be a problem. The solar panels are installed to the highest quality and will bring many years of free energy harvested from the sun’s rays.