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With our sunny California skies, harvesting energy from the sun via photovoltaic (PV) solar panels is a great investment. With tax incentives and rebates available for renewable energy, upgrading to solar will reap benefits for many years to come.
How Do I Get Started with Solar?
The first step is to assess your home's location, including roof orientation, trees and other vegetation and obstructions that could shade your roof at various times in the day. We can take a quick look using satellite software to give you a general idea as to how well solar would perform.
As part of the evaluation process, one of our Mason BPP technicians will also conduct an onsite evaluation to get a more precise view of roof angle, roof area, orientation and potential solar capacity. We can provide specific details and specifications based on your utility bills as well as potential energy efficiency upgrades you may be planning.
An excellent online tool for figuring out your solar potential is Google's Project Sunroof. This tool, which we are happy to help you use, gives you sunlight, system and savings potential for your home's specific location.
Upgrade Your California Home's Efficiency Before Going Solar
Because the balance between your photovoltaic solar panel power production and your electricity consumption is critical, it's important to make planned upgrades to electrical appliances and HVAC systems before completing a solar panel installation, if possible.
Mason BPP can conduct a home performance audit to understand your baseline efficiency, then identify areas where efficiency improvements can be made to reduce your monthly electricity bill. Some areas that can improve efficiency include:
Energy Efficient Photovoltaic Solar Panels
Solar panels collect energy in the form of DC (direct current). DC must be converted to AC (alternating current) for household use through an inverter. We prefer to install solar panels equipped with individual inverters that convert the solar energy from DC to AC on each panel. These individual inverters overcome inefficiencies with shading from trees and buildings that often arise when all the panels are connected to a single large converter. We've also found that the solar panels with attached inverters provide a safer installation.
Net Metering Provides Storage
California is one of a handful of net metering states that allows homeowners to send excess solar power back into the power grid. Your utility is responsible for tallying your excess production and applying that reserve toward your energy usage at times when the sun is not shining.
Any remaining energy balance is forfeited after one year, which is why it is important to size your solar panel system to meet approximately 80% of your utility bills.
Financial Incentives Decrease Payback Time
Since solar is such a popular option for homeowners across the San Francisco Bay area, financing options abound. Financing offered through California PACE financing programs has flexible payback terms of up 25 years, and payback costs are included on your property tax bill.
Other incentives include federal tax incentives for up to 30% of total installation cost, as well as various rebates through Energy Upgrade California and BayREN. Other options include leasing solar panels, which offers lower monthly payments but may not be as beneficial over the long term as owning your panels. Be sure to ask about the effective interest rate for solar lease programs.
If you're ready to learn more about adding solar photovoltaic panels to increase your home's efficiency, contact Mason BPP today to arrange for an appointment. We'll take a comprehensive look at your home's performance and work out financing options!
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What Our Customers Are Saying
I was the architect for several firestorm area homes, two of which were built by Mason. All field directives relating to refinement of the structure or the aesthetic were faithfully executed. Lowell Mason built several homes I designed in the early 70's including a custom home for my family.
David J. Reichel, Architect, CA