How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar in San Jose California
California leads the world in renewable solar power. Its abundance of year round sunshine makes the state an ideal location for solar panel installation. San Jose homeowners considering going to solar power should act sooner rather than later to take advantage of certain rebates and incentives that are set to expire. The rebates and incentives can significantly reduce the up front or out-of-pocket expense associated with solar panel installation.
About Solar Power
Solar power has been in use for decades most notably by NASA as early as 1958. Solar power is both a renewable and sustainable energy source. Their function is to utilize panels of photovoltaic cells, which are used to absorb the sun’s radiation. Electrons, a byproduct created during the absorption process and are harnessed to produce electricity.
Solar panel systems used in residential applications often produce between 4KW and 10KW depending on the size of the home. An average sized home encompassing roughly 2000 square feet is often equipped with a 4KW to 5KW solar panel system. The solar arrays are most often installed on a rooftop due to space limitations but can also be installed on the ground when adequate land is available. Optimum conditions require that the solar panels be installed at a 30-degree angle in areas subjected to the most hours of sunlight during the day. Since cloud cover and rainy days limit or decrease their electricity output, you would also want to avoid placing them in shaded areas. he more sunlight solar panels receive, the more electricity they will produce.
A typical residential solar panel system is composed of four main components:
- Solar Panels – Photovoltaic cells encased in the panels convert sunlight to direct current — DC — electricity.
- Inverter – The inverter converts DC electrical current into alternating — AC — electricity.
- Main Electric Service Panel – Once the electricity produced by the solar panels passes through the converter, it flows thought the service panel to your home or the power grid.
- Net Meter – Measures the electricity you draw from the grid as well as the excess solar electricity that flows into the grid from your solar panel system.
Some California cities have enacted laws or ordinances restricting or prohibiting certain landscaping or construction practices that would obstruct sunlight to existing solar panel systems. These ordinances apply to both you and your neighbors.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Solar Power Systems
Benefits of Solar
- Solar energy provides earth with a clean, renewable, infinite energy source
- Solar energy is abundant with the sun producing over 20,000 times more energy per day than the earth consumes
- It is an eco-friendly energy source producing little to no pollution
- Reduces the exposure of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in our atmosphere
- Solar panel systems have an expected lifespan of 25 years with only periodic cleaning and adjustments necessary
Considerations Before Going Solar
- Out-of-pocket expense can be high during initial installation
- Solar panel electricity production is intermittent, producing power only when sunlight is available
- Since solar panel systems require space, they are often installed on rooftops due to the lack of available land
Before Getting Started
California’s solar power initiative programs provide many cost-cutting benefits for solar panel installation. However, one of the stipulations required by the state is that you have a complete energy audit performed on your home. The state prefers that your home meets or exceed the standards set forth but California’s Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) building efficiency standards. To comply with these standards, your home utilizes energy efficient components such as insulated windows, adequate insulation and Energy Star Rated appliances.
Permits and Fees
Installing solar panels in San Jose, California will entail acquiring applicable building permits and paying corresponding fees. It is recommended you hire a licensed solar contractor to design the system, pull necessary permits, and install and activate your solar system. Their experience allows them to navigate through all the red tape involved when installing a solar panel system. The permitting process and corresponding fees are available online.
Solar Energy Incentives
There are several incentives San Jose’s homeowners can take advantage of when choosing to install solar systems.
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit allows taxpayers to claim a credit of 30-percent of qualified expenditures for systems that serve residential properties in the United States of America. The credit applies to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. Expenditures include costs of labor, site preparation, assembly and piping or wiring to interconnect the system to your home.
California’s Net Metering Cap
Under California’s net metering rules, customers are reimbursed for the electricity their solar systems produce at the same rate they are charged for electricity from the grid. According to GreenTech Media, new net metering rules are in motion between two of California’s largest utilities to reduce the amount they pay customers for the solar power they produce.
In addition to the solar incentives above, California has enacted laws prohibiting the increase of property values and property taxes relative to the installation of a solar panel system. As an average solar panel system increases a homes value between $17,000 and $20,000 dollars, this law provides homeowners with a significant tax savings.