I've been a lurker on this board for quite some time - I come here
Last year my wife and I had 14 Sunpower panels (2.5KW) put on our San
Francisco home. I've been really impressed by the efficiency and
output of these panels, even in winter. We're on track to have no
electric bill due at the end of the year.
One thing we found is that so many of our neighbors were interested in
solar, but hadn't for various reasons - primarily:
- didn't know how
- believe it's to expensive
- it's too confusing/complex (regulations, rebates, technology,
shading, orientation, ...)
- don't see solar on anyone else's roof
- waiting for the major technological breakthrough just around the
We were surprised to see there was so much genuine interest in solar,
but not much knowledge. So we created and launched a very simple site,
solar4sf.org, to help educate our neighbors about solar. We managed to
help quite a few people with the site, but discovered there were still
some pretty major barriers to solar.
One thing that seemed to be working was community solar purchasing. We
noticed a few of these programs being run by various solar installers
in neighboring suburbs of SF, but never in SF itself. So we decided to
create a new program/initiative called 1 Block Off the Grid (http://
www.1bog.org). The idea is to get enough people together to go solar
so that we can aggregate their demand and bid out the business to
drive costs down. Our initial goal is to get enough solar installed to
take one block "off the grid" (not literally one single block - nor
literally off the grid).
We launched 1BOG.org 2 weeks ago and the response has been amazing.
Over 50 people have signed up in SF alone, and we've seen a swell of
interest in Washington, DC now. The program is definitely not intended
to be limited to SF. If you'd like to learn more about what we're
doing and how it works, please visit the site or drop me a line -
I'm not sure if you have run into this particular issue yet, but there are
parts of San Francisco and Oakland (downtown areas) where PG&E will not
allow customers to interconnect to the grid and export power because they
are on a Secondary Network.
This probably doesn't affect many potential residential customers wanting to
install grid tied systems, but it is something that the folks in San
Francisco need to be aware of before they invest in a lot of expensive
Phil, thanks for bringing that to my attention. Did not know about
that. I had heard of issues deploying solar in downtown SF - probably
related to this very issue.