Cash Rebates for Solar In San Diego Are Going, Going...Almost Gone!


Wildly-Popular California Solar Initiative (CSI) Cash Rebates Are Offered on a First-Come, First-Served Basis; Rebates Combinable with 30% Tax Credits to Drive More Solar Savings

By Martin Learn, Guest Columnist
President, HES Solar

Earlier this year, I introduced this column with compelling ways solar electric (PV) systems can help property owners slash energy costs, improve property values and qualify for solar tax credits and cash rebates that can put thousands of dollars back into their pockets with $0 down – and within months of interconnection.

The state of California’s recent decision to reinstate the wildly-popular cash rebates for residential solar has proven a powerful incentive to driving 4Q solar adoption, while helping many of us in the industry hit the ground running in 2014.

But these cash rebates (which amount to 20c per installed watt) are in limited supply. They’re provided to residential customers on a first-come, first-served basis – and going fast!

As a business owner who’s been helping San Diego County residents monetize the sun since 2001, I’ve too often seen homeowners who can truly benefit from solar solutions overlook their potential because of industry misconceptions.

Let’s shed some light on more of the pervasive solar myths that are keeping homeowners from realizing thousands of dollars in solar tax credits, cash rebates and energy bill savings by harnessing free energy from the sun.

Solar Myth #4: Now May Not Be the Best Time to Go Solar, As Prices May Continue to Fall

The costs associated with of solar electric systems have plummeted 40-60% over the course of the past six years. And while the industry continues to look for ways to drive down costs, the energy prices you’re paying SDG&E just keep going up. A watt of power generated by the sun today will be worth even more to you and your family in 5, 10 – even 20 years. And solar procrastination means you could lose out on newly-reinstated California Solar Initiative (CSI) cash rebates, which are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis. These cash incentives combine with today’s 30% federal tax credits to drive savings that may not be around for long.

Solar Myth #5: The Longevity of Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) Panels Is Over-stated

In our last column, we learned that not all solar electric (PV) panels are created equal, nor perform with the same levels of efficiency. While warranted for up to 25 years, many have a design life of over 40 years. There are modules still operating today that were manufactured in the 1950’s! It’s an often-overlooked fact that solar is more of an investment than a home improvement. How many home improvements can you name that pay for themselves over time – and then continue to pay YOU for decades to follow?

Solar Myth #6: Solar Has Limited Rooftop Applications, Design Options

Solar is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition for homeowners. New racking systems allow for faster (more cost-effective) solutions on a variety of rooftops, from concrete to shingle to Spanish tile. For more difficult gabled rooftops, where shading can be a problem, terrestrial-based structures, carports, gazebos, pole-mounts and building-integrated designs are gaining in popularity. New inverter options also allow for split-rooftop arrays to optimize power production. And let’s not forget about the benefits of being able to fuel your electric vehicles (EVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) with electricity generated from the sun.

There are myriad ways to help keep your bank account full by filling your EV tank with clean, renewable energy from the sun. Give HES Solar’ energy experts a call to determine how you can install a solar solution that powers your home, Jacuzzi, pool *and* vehicle while keeping your energy bill at those lower SDG&E rate tiers, where you’re paying 15-cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) instead of 36-cents a kilowatt hour.

“I knew I had the right company within my first five minutes with the sales rep,” noted La Jolla resident and HES Solar customer Jim W., who recently posted his HES experience on Yelp! “When he first came in, I suggested we cover the roof with panels. ‘No,’ he said, ‘you do not want to do that. Solar is cost effective only to get you out of Tier 3 and 4 electric rates.’ He then went through our energy usage history and drew up a plan.”

The bottom line, of course, is whether the customer’s system is cost effective. Jim’s answer? “Absolutely!! My payback will be ten years with current electricity rates. That translates to putting money in a CD and getting 10%. The system will be paid for in ten years and then I have another fifteen years of warranty-protected production,” he added.

With over 500 best-in-class commercial, residential and government solar electric installations to date, HES Solar is a premier SunPower dealer, equipped to assess your needs, ensure you have the best equipment available and provide a system design that considers aesthetics, long-term performance and optimum return on your solar investment (ROI).

Was adding to your savings account one of your 2014 resolutions? How about living more sustainably? Perhaps investing in home improvements that allow you to live more comfortably without additional cost?

With a 12-year A+ BBB rating, stellar bonding and licensing credentials (including NABCEP* certification – the gold industry standard of solar installers), HES Solar takes the guesswork out of your home solar investment.

Our credible, honest approach to providing customers with systems that meet their economic, sustainable lifestyle, quality and aesthetic standards is why we’ve earned and maintained a 5-star Yelp! rating from our customers.

Call us today at (619) 350-0032 for a free in-home savings assessment — or for a credible second opinion — and learn how much you can save, without the time-share pressure tactics many of today’s big solar advertisers impose.

It was American actor Zachary Scott who came up with the timeless saying, “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you *didn’t* do.”

As someone who’s benefitting from solar as I write this column, I have to agree. What have you got to lose…other than a check from the State of California, a 30% 2014 tax credit on the overall cost of your solar system and hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in annual savings on your energy bill?

Think of all you could do with the money you save by harnessing clean, renewable energy from the sun. Not just today, but for the next 25, 30…even 40 years.

Join me here next month for more solar myth-busting.

*NABCEP is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners

Martin Learn is President and Founder of HES Solar, Inc., a San Diego-based designer and installer of best-in-class commercial and residential solar electric solutions who has been helping San Diegans monetize the sun since 2001. A 32-year solar expert, Learn serves on the Energy and Water Policy Committee of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce and was recently elected by his industry peers to serve on the San Diego Board of CALSEIA, the California Solar Energy Industries Association. He uses clean, renewable solar energy to live comfortably off-grid in Julian, California