Residential Solar » PG&E
Taking Advantage of Solar
Solar isn't just the answer to all of our power needs, a properly sized photovoltaic array turns your roof space into an income generator. While many people imagine selling power back to the utility, however, your objective is merely to maximize the payoff of what your system produces.

The key determinant is roof space. With a tiered billing rate, the more  you use, the more you pay, so a small system will knock the most expensive electricity off of your bill. With Time of Use rates you eliminate your bill entirely, by generating a credit in the summer while the price of electricity is highest. This page will give you some good basics, but we've invested much more time in our class.
Solar isn't just the answer to all of our power needs, a properly sized photovoltaic array turns your roof space into an income generator. While many people imagine selling power back to the utility, however, your objective is merely to maximize the payoff of what your system produces.

The key determinant is roof space. With a tiered billing rate, the more  you use, the more you pay, so a small system will knock the most expensive electricity off of your bill. With Time of Use rates you eliminate your bill entirely, by generating a credit in the summer while the price of electricity is highest. This page will give you some good basics, but we've invested much more time in our class.

Understanding the Process
This is a PG&E bill showing the 5 rate tiers for PG&E residential customers, with the allotments of kilowatt hours (kWh) for each tier.
As you use more power, you move into higher and higher tiers, substantially increasing your bill. In this chart, we see that doubling our baseline usage almost triples our bill. increasing that usage by half doubles the bill, and increasing it by another third adds another 50%.
Energy Audit - In order to receive your rebate from PG&E, you need to contact them to schedule an energy audit. This free service will help you understand how your home consumes energy, and how to apply conservation measures to minimize your use.
Site Assessment - Looking back to our Insolation page, you'll get and idea of the primary concerns, Azimuth, Pitch, and Shading. While the systems we offer can work with multiple roof facings, the roof structure itself, it's accessibility, obstructions such as gables and dormers, and shading from neighboring objects all play a crucial role.
The view from Google Earth can tell a lot. While the house to the north may have less shade, the dormers on the west minimize the available area. The wide southern face on the lower house would work well with a little tree trimming, however.
System Sizing is critical to obtaining the highest return on your investment. As dependent on your roof space as it is, what's more important is your usage and rate. To get a good idea, follow the steps below, or contact us.
While a solar array adds years to your roof life, it's important to start with one that's in good shape. If you're getting a new roof, now's the time to be installing solar.
Your electric panel has a current rating, in amps. This is the maximum amount of power that can be fed through your system. We'll need to check your load capacity to know that the draw from your house leaves enough room for the feed from the inverter. In rare cases, such as this outmoded panel, a minor upgrade to your service is required.
Estimate
Our bid will tell you all about the system and its benefits, with a clear analysis of the financial milestones.
This is a PG&E Reservation Request Form. What would be a tremendous paperwork headache for you is just one more service we take care of. Check the current rebate amounts below.
Installation
Our team of professionals will make sure your array is correctly installed, leaving no trace other than your diminished power bill.
Once Building and Fire inspections are through, PG&E will come in to give your system the final sign off for interconnection. Then you can watch your meter spin backward!


In Detail
Power Bill - Rate Tiers - System Sizing
The PG&E website is loaded with information about how to read your bill. Your exact usage allowances are based on your location. In any case, a solar array that offsets your Tier 5 usage pays you 36 cents per kWh. When it is offsetting your Tier 1 usage, it's paying you 11 cents per kWh. When you think about return on investment, this is a prime consideration. Customers who regularly wind up in Tier 3 or above should seriously consider a solar system. However, with Time of Use Metering, eliminating even a small bill is a good investment. To fully understand these rate structures, watch our classes. We'll need a copy of your billing history, so follow these instructions to get a copy from PG&E.

Site Assessment
Looking back to our Insolation page, you'll get and idea of the primary concerns, Azimuth, Pitch, and Shading. While the systems we offer can work with multiple roof facings, the roof structure itself, it's accessibility, obstructions such as gables and dormers, and shading from neighboring objects all play a crucial role.

Google Earth
While a compass gives you the exact heading of your roof faces, a look at Google Earth can tell you a lot about your roof, including accessible area for a system. We're finding their coordinates to be somewhat inexact, however, so take a look and see if your address matches your house.

System Size Estimating (A bit of math here)
Having added your annual power usage and calculated the monthly average, and considered future changes (larger or smaller family, electric car or heat) you can determine what system size will work most effectively. Subtract your Tier 1 allotment from your monthly average, divide the remainder by 30 (the days in a month) and divide that number by 5 (the average hours of sunlight in a day, year round). The remainder will be the best size for your system, in kilowatts. Too complicated? Don't worry, we'll take care of it.

Roof Space and Condition
Panel outputs currently equal about ten watts per square foot, so a 4 kW system needs 400 square feet of accessible roof space. While our professional mounting hardware is approved by all international roofing codes to work seamlessly with all roof substrates, and is guaranteed for 10 years or more, your roof's current condition is a major factor. A solar array can extend your roof's life for many years, but if you're at the third level of re-shingling, or have structural issues that need resolution, we rely on BBB Gold Seal roofer Central Bay. A solar system that is mounted under a new roof is warranted with the roof.

Electric Service Capacity -
Your electric panel has a current rating, in amps. This is the maximum amount of power that can be fed through your system. We'll need to check your load capacity to know that the draw from your house leaves enough room for the feed from the inverter. In some cases, such as this Federal Pacific Panel, an upgrade to your electrical panel is required.

Bid
Once we've assessed these factors, we can get you an estimate. It will explain the system and it's benefits, as well as give you a complete financial analysis. From there, your deposit secures your spot in our schedule and we get to work powering you up.

Installation
The installation process is fairly straightforward. Our crew will install roof mounts, rails (racks if necessary), and panels, while leaving no trace on your roof. Our licensed electricians will wire the system into your existing electrical service, and set up any monitoring equipment.

Site Inspections
Once your local Building and Fire inspectors have signed off on the installation, the PG&E will make it's inspection, and sign the final form, your Generator Interconnection agreement.

Now you can watch the meter spin backward!
Power Bill - Rate Tiers - System Sizing
The PG&E website is loaded with information about how to read your bill. Your exact usage allowances are based on your location. In any case, a solar array that offsets your Tier 5 usage pays you 36 cents per kWh. When it is offsetting your Tier 1 usage, it's paying you 11 cents per kWh. When you think about return on investment, this is a prime consideration. Customers who regularly wind up in Tier 3 or above should seriously consider a solar system. However, with Time of Use Metering, eliminating even a small bill is a good investment. To fully understand these rate structures, watch our classes. We'll need a copy of your billing history, so follow these instructions to get a copy from PG&E.

Site Assessment
Looking back to our Insolation page, you'll get and idea of the primary concerns, Azimuth, Pitch, and Shading. While the systems we offer can work with multiple roof facings, the roof structure itself, it's accessibility, obstructions such as gables and dormers, and shading from neighboring objects all play a crucial role.

Google Earth
While a compass gives you the exact heading of your roof faces, a look at Google Earth can tell you a lot about your roof, including accessible area for a system. We're finding their coordinates to be somewhat inexact, however, so take a look and see if your address matches your house.

System Size Estimating (A bit of math here)
Having added your annual power usage and calculated the monthly average, and considered future changes (larger or smaller family, electric car or heat) you can determine what system size will work most effectively. Subtract your Tier 1 allotment from your monthly average, divide the remainder by 30 (the days in a month) and divide that number by 5 (the average hours of sunlight in a day, year round). The remainder will be the best size for your system, in kilowatts. Too complicated? Don't worry, we'll take care of it.

Roof Space and Condition
Panel outputs currently equal about ten watts per square foot, so a 4 kW system needs 400 square feet of accessible roof space. While our professional mounting hardware is approved by all international roofing codes to work seamlessly with all roof substrates, and is guaranteed for 10 years or more, your roof's current condition is a major factor. A solar array can extend your roof's life for many years, but if you're at the third level of re-shingling, or have structural issues that need resolution, we rely on BBB Gold Seal roofer Central Bay. A solar system that is mounted under a new roof is warranted with the roof.

Electric Service Capacity -
Your electric panel has a current rating, in amps. This is the maximum amount of power that can be fed through your system. We'll need to check your load capacity to know that the draw from your house leaves enough room for the feed from the inverter. In some cases, such as this Federal Pacific Panel, an upgrade to your electrical panel is required.

Bid
Once we've assessed these factors, we can get you an estimate. It will explain the system and it's benefits, as well as give you a complete financial analysis. From there, your deposit secures your spot in our schedule and we get to work powering you up.

Installation
The installation process is fairly straightforward. Our crew will install roof mounts, rails (racks if necessary), and panels, while leaving no trace on your roof. Our licensed electricians will wire the system into your existing electrical service, and set up any monitoring equipment.

Site Inspections
Once your local Building and Fire inspectors have signed off on the installation, the PG&E will make it's inspection, and sign the final form, your Generator Interconnection agreement.

Now you can watch the meter spin backward!

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