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solar in CA? where to start? - Page 4

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Posted by GoGreenForLife on March 14, 2007, 6:34 pm
As of Jan. 1st, in order to get the CSI rebate (state rebate), one has
to have a license contractor install the system, unless the owner is a
licensed contractor.

George K

Alter SYstems, LLC
Go Green for Life (tm)

Posted by Roderick on March 14, 2007, 11:45 pm
On Mar 14, 3:07 am, jeremy...@my-deja.com wrote:

My impression was that panel prices were slightly lower than this time
last year.  Do shop around.  That's one argument for waiting -
eventually, prices WILL come down.  It might be years, though.  Right
now, the most expensive part of a 3 kW system will be panels

That price could be about right with batteries.

For a grid-tied system, I'd figure on about $7k after all rebates.

If you want to try installing it yourself, you might get this cost
down another $-4k, again, after rebates.  Take a look at


As far as I know, you can still self-install, you just get a smaller
rebate.  However, the difference in rebate will not pay for a
certified installer.  I could be wrong about self-install being
eligible, but that's my impression.  Try taking a look at this page,
and read the guidebook, updated on 12/2006:


The self-install absolutely does not affect the Federal rebate.  In
fact, on the tax form 5695, there was very little to fill out, except
the amount I spent on the PV array.

If your concern is primarily financial, it might pay to wait.  There's
a cap of $000 on the federal rebate right now for residential
installations.  If the law is changed to remove that cap, then you'll
get another $000 or so of rebate after tax.  If you live in the PG&E
area, it will be hard to justify the cost of your PV system if you're
going off-grid.  If you go grid-tied, and only use solar to generate
the most expensive part of your electricity (say, the tier 3 only, or
2 and 3), then the system can pay back quickly.

If you typically don't use a whole lot of electricity, anyway, the
system may never pay back, in terms of electricity costs.  For Time-of-
use metering, PG&E has a minimum charge of $2 - $ for minimum
electricy use, and $ to lease the meter, which continues forever,
even long after you could have bought the meter, outright.  If you go
with the E-1 rate, your meter is free, and the minimum charge per
month is about $.  Now, if your whole electricity bill was, say about
$00 a year, either of those minimum charges would be significant.  I
would resist replacing my meter in this situation, and just go with
E-1.  You can change rates once every 12 months, so you could always
go time-of-use later.  You may have trouble going back to non-time-of-
use after PG&E installs the fancy meter.  Or they may try to lease it
to you for that same $ a month.

Posted by dold on March 15, 2007, 5:04 am
A neighbor was debating the cost of attaching a new home to the grid,
verses just going solar off-grid.  The cost of the grid connection was
about equal to the rebates for grid-attached solar.  Free backup ;-)

I was going to calculate what my 3800w system would have done financially
if it were a 2500w system.  It seems that trimming those high rate tiers
would pay for a smaller system more quickly.  

That presumes the OP is in PG&E territory, or some other area with a
similar rate structure.  We pay a lot in California for the choice not to
use coal, and to abandon functioning nuclear plants.

Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA  GPS: 38.8,-122.5

Posted by jeremy_ho on March 15, 2007, 11:24 am
 I watched your video and enjoyed all of it, excellent job!

I understood everything and got excited until the part you demolish
the roof, is it absolutely necessary to clear the tiles and install
new plywood to install the standoffs? and then install new roof tiles,
how much did that all cost?

I noticed your breakers are at the main panel..  I have main panel
with a single 100 amp breaker and a subpanel in the garage, how would
I lay out invertor and disconnect switches in this case?

very useful information thanks again.

Posted by dold on March 15, 2007, 6:04 pm
 jeremy_ho@my-deja.com wrote:

Where are you located?  Which is your electric utility company?

http://www.macfaden.com/pv/  looks like good California reading material.

My installation was done without disturbing a composition shingle roof.

PG&E requirements:
2. An "accessible, visible, and lockable" disconnect device
is required for all interconnecting DG. For detailed definitions an
acceptable models, contact your PG&E interconnection representative."

My PV panels are wired to an inverter close to the panels, with AC going 30
feet to a disconnect box about 18" away from the primary breaker panel, and
then to a 30A breaker that is in the same box as the main breaker.  The
inverter would be close to the panels.

You would run the PV output to a disconnect near the main panel, and then
to your subpanel.


Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA  GPS: 38.8,-122.5

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