As a roofing contractor in South San Francisco, the recent news of solar reforms in my home town are pretty important. If you haven’t heard, San Francisco is leading the country in renewable energy by requiring most new buildings to install solar panels on the roof.
This is a great step toward using 100% renewable energy in the near future, but you don’t need to build a new home in order to take advantage of the benefits solar energy brings. You can make the switch in your home now, and begin reaping the benefits almost immediately.
The Benefits of Solar Power
You can see the latest reforms (NEM 2.0) here.
- It saves money – You might think switching to solar power is expensive, but you would be wrong. The vast majority of people make the switch because it saves money. Most avoid paying anything up front and begin saving immediately. There are several financial options to help get you started.
- Net metering – If you thought just saving on energy costs was a good incentive, San Francisco allows homes that produce excess solar power to sell it back into the grid. That’s right; instead of paying money to the power company, they could be paying you!
- It’s clean – San Francisco has already begun to see the challenges that climate change has introduced. The average residential solar system offsets about 100,000 lbs of carbon dioxide over 20 years.
- Increase the value of your home – Homes with solar panels sell about 20% faster and for 17% more money, according to a study conducted by the NREL. Another study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that an average home’s value increased by $17,000 with the addition of solar panels, and this increase is exempt from property tax increases in California.
- Energy independence – You’ll no longer need to be completely reliant on a third party company for power and subject to the whims of their price changes. The sun won’t be going anywhere for the next few billion years, so all you have to do is sit back and harvest its plentiful energy.
To own, to loan, or to lease?
Figuring out the best way to finance the switch can be challenging, but each option has its merits.
To own – If you can afford to purchase your solar array outright, you will maximize the return on investment compared to your other options. You are eligible for tax breaks and are in a better position if you ever wish to sell your home.
To loan – Solar loans still enable you to buy your system outright so you reap the rewards of ownership, but utilize loans specific to solar energy home improvements. You can usually finance the entire cost of your system and have zero down. Your monthly savings from your electric bill will more than cover the monthly payment of the loan.
To lease – If you’d like to make the switch to solar but prefer not to be on the hook for the system, a solar lease might be for you. With a lease, you are renting the space on your roof to a company who wants to put solar panels up there. You make a small monthly payment to them and you net the difference between your old power bill and their lease payment.
Getting Started with Solar Energy
San Francisco is very friendly to solar power, which is good, considering our power rates are a lot higher than the national average. You not only receive a $2,000 rebate from the city, but an additional $700 for going with a local installer (*cough cough*). Certain zip codes can receive extra benefits in addition to these.
I am often asked about solar panels by customers, and they frequently think they’re too good to be true. Making the switch to renewable energy is easier than it ever has been.
If you’d like to find out what kind of savings you can expect, we can set up a free in-home estimate and help you find the rebates and programs that you will qualify for.
And if you have any lingering questions about solar reform or NEM updates, feel free to contact us, today!
San Francisco’s residential & commercial roofing experts