We finally got our solar system online. We decided to go with SolarCity and their Solar Lease program – you pay $1000 upfront and then a monthly fee. The theory is that the total of your electricity bill + Solar Lease fee will be cheaper than the electricity bill without solar. Hopefully we’ll be saving some money – but realistically I hope to break even. We’ll at least be green.
Electrical companies in California charge based on tiered pricing. Each household is assigned a baseline allowance – how this baseline is calculated is bit of a mystery. Known parameters are your location – inland areas have a higher allowance because of air-conditioning needs, average electrical use of your neighbors, and the season – summer or winter. For our utility company, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the price of electricity is:
- 2 cents per kWh within the baseline allowance (summer rate, winter is 4 cents per kWh).
- 4 cents per kWh at 100%-130% of the baseline.
- 20 cents per kWh at 130%-200% of the baseline.
- 22 cents per kWh at over 200% of the baseline.
So any electricity you use beyond 130% of your baseline, you’ll be paying 10 times more per kWh – you want to stay within the baseline. Before solar our usage was almost 300% of the baseline – our baseline is about 300 kWh. Another big chunk of your electricity bill is the electrical energy charge (cost of producing the electricity), which is 10 cents per kWh. So with our solar system, I hope it’ll reduce our utility supplied electrical usage to be within the baseline or at least within 130% of the baseline.
Because the house was designed with solar in mind, the 23 solar panels on the roof are completely hidden behind the roof parapet.
We also had our mailbox repaired after the tree trimmer’s truck ran over it.