Pays to go solar

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Return on Investment



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9 solar panels mounted on the roof along with micro inverters. Requires only a 15 amp, two-phae wire to be run to a circuit breaker. No extra equipment on the side of the house. The system was mounted flush to the roof per CA law (unless you want to hire an engineer), which for my house means the panels make about 10% less electricity. The cost to engineer the system the extra permitting issues are not worth the hassle. The state should make it possible to elevate the panels when installed using pre-appoved railing systems.

Other Benefits:

Enphase has an app that allows you to watch the power being generated and to run reports. Lots of fun to watch the panels make the households energy needs. Fog and rain decreases electrical generation by up to 90%.

Maintenance Requirements:

Needed to repair two shingles broken by the installers, but no leaks or other maintenance.

Efficiency or Sustainability Improvements:

Have modern windows, a solar powered attic exhaust fan, high efficiency heating, and insulation.

My Motivation:

The idea of free electric and that my cash investment is like earning 3 to 5% annual tax free returns on my money. Not alot, but worth it consider my house is carbon-free with respect to electricity.


Find ways to save your money to pay cash for solar panels in CA. Buy only micro-inverters with 25 year guarantee. The investment is well-worth it. Leasing and loans makes the investment less appealing and not worth the hassle unless you want to waste money and your time. Also put pressure on state politicians to make the electrical companies pay and rebate customers for peak power that is sold to the house next door at top-dollar rates.

Experience with Installer:

My installers from Energysage were well worth the money. The system cost me about 10% more to have it installed than to buy the panels and equipment retail and do the work myself.

Additional Notes:

El Cerrito did not keep the permitting process simple like they are required by state law. Their inaccurate records cost me two weeks of generation, and I had to take time off work to get the process back on track. You cannot use your solar power until the city signs off and the electrical company OKs your application. Essentially the electric company steals about 3 weeks of electrical generation during the electric company approval process.

Open House Info:

Standard installation. Nothing worthwhile to see.

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