California Rebates Offer Cash Back For Installing Solar Power

Solar power has proven slow to catch on with consumers. High installation costs have prevented solar power systems from being widely adopted. No one wants to pay for a source of energy that could cover only about ten to 20 percent of total energy costs at such expense. Measured in 2010 dollars, installation costs were as high as $12 per watt in 1998. They fell to $7 per watt in 2010. (1) They are even lower now in 2012. However, they are still too high to convince most customers to purchase solar power systems.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 introduced a federal tax credit for solar power to the tune of 30 percent of the installed cost. This effectively reduces the cost of installing solar power. Multiple states like California have local tax incentives to nudge consumers in the direction of purchasing solar power capacity. California has a booming solar market thanks to state goals and incentives.

California, especially southern California, receives a lot of sunlight throughout the year, especially in the summer. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that California gets about six kilowatt-hours per square meter per day. (2) This is consistent with the NREL’s estimate for other southwestern states like New Mexico and Arizona. California is thus positioned to reap plenty of electricity savings and environmental benefits from solar power.

Customers who install solar power on their properties can get cash rebates back as a reward for buying solar capacity. The California Solar Initiative or CSI has a budget of over $2 billion from 2007 to 2016. At that time, the rebate program will likely end. Customers can use these rebates to offset the cost of installing solar power.

Installation companies like Verengo Solar can help customers get the equipment installed so they can reap the cash from the rebates. Getting a Verengo solar panels rebate is simple. The customer simply needs to complete five steps.

First, the customer needs to have an energy efficiency audit of their property. The audit will determine how energy is wasted and how much the customer can save. The next step is to find a solar installation company like Verengo Solar. The installation contractors from Verengo will apply for the rebates on the customer’s behalf. After the application has been approved, Verengo contractors will install the system and make sure it runs properly. The customer can claim his rebate once the system is fully operational.

The CSI program was started by the California Public Utilities Commission and is run through two utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison. Verengo Solar installs solar panels for customers of these utilities as well as customers throughout the state. Once the panels are installed, customers can reap multiple benefits.

Solar panels do not have greenhouse gas emissions or pollutants such as sulfur dioxide. The environmental impact from the panels is minimal. Under California’s statewide mandatory net metering law, electric utility customers can sell their excess electricity back to the grid at the going rate. Any electricity sold in this manner is credited to the customer’s next bill. Solar thus reduces electricity prices in two ways. The first is by lowering electricity consumption from the grid. The second is by earning credits back by being part of the grid.

Data Sources
(1) http://www.nrel.gov/gis/images/map_pv_national_lo-res.jpg
(2) http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/lbnl-5047e.pdf