Tips for installing solar on your home:
- Check the status of the Company’s CSLB license and if the solar consultant has the appropriate HIS license.
- Check with the BBB to see if any complaints have been filed.
- Ask where the Company is based. Are they in San Diego County? Are they in California?
- Ask if the Company has there own installation and service personnel.
- Ask the solar consultant for references and call them.
We are fast approaching the cap for net energy metering (NEM) in SDG&E territory. NEM 2.0 will be a reality in the coming months. Daily updates are provided by SDG&E here: Cap Overview Rules for future net energy metering are expecting in the coming days. While we are not expecting drastic changes to the program for solar homeowners, we are quite certain the benefits of going solar after the cap is reached will be reduced from current levels.
What is NEM?
Right now San Diego homeowners with solar receive full retail credit for energy delivered to the grid. For every kWh sent to SDG&E, solar homeowners receive one in return their solar is not generating enough energy to meet their needs. The ability to exchange energy with SDG&E is what makes solar such a great deal in the San Diego area.
There is still time to take advantage of current NEM rules. The California Public Utilities Commission has ruled that homeowners connecting to the grid prior to the cap of the current NEM program will be grandfathered under the current rules for 20 years.
At San Diego County Solar we’re interested in all things solar. It’s great to see how innovators all over the world are harnessing solar power in quirky albeit ingenious ways.
Indulging our solar curiosity, we found ourselves perusing Instagram. Less than a minute into our #solarpanel exploration we came across this fantastic little vehicle:
We wanted to know more, but the caption was in Russian, and unfortunately, no one at San Diego County Solar speaks Russian. So we googled “solar electric bike.” The green beauty above didn’t come up, but we found some other pretty interesting things going on in the solar bike sphere.
Such as OutdoorGearLab co-founder Chris McNamara’s article on how he solar-powered his electric bicycle. Using Goal Zero’s Boulder 30 Panel and corresponding inverter, he tripled his electric bicycle’s range, from 15 miles to 45.
Pretty impressive. But 45 miles is a long ways, and some people just don’t want to cover that ground on a bike, electric or otherwise. We wondered, what about a solar-powered electric scooter?
Solar Electric Scooters has it covered. Less imposing and slightly more dignified than a Segway, these scooters have a 20-mile range and top out at 15 miles per hour. The solar panel also serves as your foot step. It only charges at about one mile per hour, but comes with a plug-in option too.
But nevermind standing up on your commute. Let’s up the laziness ante. QSolar makes solar roof panels for your electric golf cart or scooter. Installation of the panel takes only a few minutes, and every hour in the sun adds a kilometer of driving distance to your ride, with a maximum of 15 km added per day if you keep the scooter in full sun.
While you’re sure to attract some laughs riding around town on any of these contraptions, (especially this one) solar-powered transportation is no joke. North Carolina’s Organic Transit raised over $225,000 in a Kickstarter for its Elf, a solar-powered electric trike/mini-car that can go 20 mph for up to 14 miles. Organic Transit just recruited an ex-Ford Motor Company executive to be its general manager. Designed with the serious commuter in mind, the Elf has an enclosed cargo compartment and covered roof, and offers free 24/7 roadside assistance. At a starting price of $5,495, it darn well better.
On the local level, we’re most excited about the upcoming San Diego Bikeshare program run by DecoBike. Soon, San Diego will have 1,800 bikes available for rent at 186 stations across the city. The automated stations will operate 24/7, enabling members to check out a bike from one location and return it to any other.
And, of course, the stations will be solar-powered.
While San Diego County Solar will probably stick to installing solar panels on homes, not wheels, it was fun to look at what innovators are doing to advance clean transportation in San Diego, across the country and around the world. By varying means, we are all working towards the same goal: less impact on our planet and resources via clean energy and progressive technology.