Solar energy isn ’ t just environmentally conscious — it ’ s also one of the fastest-growing segments of California ’ s construction industry . The Department of Labor estimates that nationally , more than 200,000 new jobs will be created in the solar energy field over the next four years . Many will come right here in California , which tends to be on the leading edge of every construction trend .
The Momentum Starts Here
The cost of electricity continues to increase each year causing hardship and discomfort for many families and businesses . We homeowners know about Peak Day Pricing , “ tiers ” or perhaps , “ tears ” ( if we want to run our hot tub , heat our pool or even our own house ). When we use electricity beyond our allowable “ baseline ” usage ( which is the reasonable rate ), we are charged more money per watt . As we elevate to the next tier or tiers we start paying double , triple and more . If we conserve electricity during peak hours , we can save money on our electric bills . If not , this is where electricity really gets expensive and this is where solar can come to the rescue .
The Beauty of Solar
The beauty of solar is it can eliminate those high-tier cost by producing energy during the peak day hours . Instead of using PG & E ’ s electricity , solar panels capture the needed electricity by converting the Direct Current ( D . C .) from the sun to Alternating Current ( A . C .) that ’ s the power your home uses . The cost of solar has significantly dropped over the past three years and for those who have a tax burden , you can still write off about 30 % of your investment as a tax credit . Solar can be an awesome investment if you select the right solar panels and the right installer . All solar is not created equal .
Beware of companies offering super cheap panels ! Many of these “ cheap panels ” are from off-shore manufacturers that are closing their doors each year leaving homeowners without recourse . Do your research on the panel manufacture . Ask how have their panels tested against other panels , do they utilize fully automated production lines for quality assurance or cheap manual labor , how long have they been in business , how financially strong are they , and do they have strong ties in the US . These are all important for consumer protection .
Know about your installer ; their reputation , experience with solar and if it ’ s a roof-top installation , what kind of a warranty will they provide for your roof under the panels .
There are so many affordable solar options right now for homeowners and businesses , even non-profits . You can own your solar energy , lease it or buy it over time . The great thing is your payments , if any , are normally far less than your current electric bill and in some cases can eliminate most of your bill and can protect you from electric rates increases for years to come — saving you literally thousands upon thousands of dollars . Just think if we could have locked in the prices of gasoline 20 years ago when it was under a $ 1 per gallon — we ’ d be singing every time we go to the pump .
In November 2012 , PG & E had all small and medium size business customers transition from flat rates to timeof-use rates . Beginning November 2014 , small and medium business customers will automatically transition to Peak Day Pricing . This will increase business energy cost once again , during the hours that most businesses have higher demand and it doesn ’ t stop there . For more information , rate schedules and energy saving tips . see PG & E . com .