HOA and CC&R's "I live in a gated community with CC&R's. Am I allowed to install solar power?"
If you live in California, you're in luck. The California Solar Rights Act (Section 714 of the Civil Code) was enacted in 1978 making it difficult if not impossible for a HOA to stop you. Since it's not the best idea to make enemies with your HOA, you would start by directing them to: The California Solar Rights Act
-and- Spanish Hills Homeowners Association
FINANCING There has been numerous creative financing programs being offered by different solar power companies, banks, and private lenders. There are also programs such as Power Purchase Agreements that essentially install their system on your property and sell you power directly.
Solar power is a serious investment and requires significant financial planning. Common options include paying cash, credit card, HELOC or home equity loan, or financing through a Solar Mechanics third party financing company.
Since each individual case is different, please consult with your accountant or CPA to determine what is best for you.
THE STRAIGHT SHORT ANSWER OK, enough lengthy essay's on the benefits of solar power. Give it to me in one paragraph.
A photovoltaic (PV) system reduces or eliminates the amount of electricity you need to purchase from your local energy provider. When you own your power generation system, you are in control, there are no worries about future rate hikes. You are helping the environment by generating clean, renewable, and reliable electricity. The benefit you make on the environment with solar power is higher than any other practical forms, ie - driving a hybrid, recycling, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), etc. (still do these!)
WHAT'S A GOOD LOCATION? In Southern California, a South or South-West facing roof is best. Need to have clear and unobstructed access to the sun. Trees and vegetation are great, but just keep the shadows out of reach to the solar panels. Even a chimney can cause havoc as the shadow moves across the solar panels during the day.
WHAT IS NET METERING? Net Metering allows you to "bank" any surplus electricity you generate and flows back into the grid. This is when your meter will spin backwards, usually during from 9am - 5pm. Outside those hours when the sun is not directly shining on the solar panels, the meter will spin forward again. Once a year, you will be billed for the net electricity you consume, hence the name "net metering". If you generated less electricity than you used (common), you just pay for that difference. On the other hand, if you generated more than you consumed, you have a credit. In most cases today, the credit does not get paid back to you, and gets wiped out each year. It rarely pays to overbuild.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? This answer varies as there are many things to consider. How many people live in the house, is there a swimming pool, is the air conditioning on all day, are there air cleaners running 24/7, how many loads of laundry per week, do you have energy efficient appliances, etc.
If you go back to the front page of this website, click on the "get quote" button. We will be happy to give you an immediate rough estimate of system cost just by providing us with those two items. Electricity bills for 12 months and your address.
IS IT A GOOD TIME TO INVEST IN SOLAR POWER? YES! There are three factors driving the adoption of solar power in California. First, the local energy providers or utility companies are offering record high rebates. Second, the federal government started a 30% tax credit starting on January 1, 2009. It is now unlimited!!!! Third, the price of solar panels have dropped substantially in 2009. As the technology and manufacturing of PV has gotten so much better recently, more companies are now manufacturing reliable high quality solar panels. It has gone from being a product reserved for the wealthy, to now being a commodity that is in reach of most average people.