A guide to reducing home energy costs
and increasing comfort.
Improvements   >   Solar Energy/Photovoltaics
Quick Fact

When retrofitting insulation into existing walls, the wall cavity must be completely empty in order for the process to be benefecial.

Insulation costs a little,
but pays a lot!

Solar Energy/Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics are best known as a method for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun into electricity. The photovoltaic effect refers to photons of light knocking electrons into a higher state of energy to create electricity.

Solar cells produce direct current electricity from light, which can be used to power equipment or to recharge a battery. The first practical application of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but today the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power generation. In this case an inverter is required to convert the DC to AC.

The benefits solar/renewable energy are as follows:

  1. A Photovoltaic (PV) system reduces, or can completely eliminate, the amount of electicity you have to purchase from your utility or electric service provider.  This will save money on current electricity bill and protect against future price increases.
  2. The electricity generated by your PV system is clean, renewable, reliable, andhas the potential to reduce carbon dioxide - a leading contributor to global climate change.
  3. Help your community by reducing the demand for electicity and providing additional electricity for the grid when you generate more than you use during peak hours.

In addition to the above benefits, solar/renewable energy costs are substantially reduced by current cash incentives and federal tax credits.  The program for existing homes is called the California Solar Initiative and is run by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Click here for information about available cash incentives.

Click here for information about federal tax credits.


Consumer Alert

Due to recent incentives and increased awareness of renewable energy, the demand for residential solar installations has never been greater.  When selecting a contractor for your solar installation job, be sure to check that the contractor has the following:

  • Obtained a C-46 license from the California State Licensing Board
  • Liability insurance and Workers Compensation in good standing
  • Several years experience performing similar installations
  • References (names/phone numbers) of previous solar customers


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