For those who are considering going solar.
Doing research will help you out with this big investment!
To ensure you sign a contract that is right for you, make sure you start with a process of education and understanding. Before you sign that solar contract, doing your research is a necessity.
By understanding your current monthly energy needs, as well as how your bill might change in the future, you will be getting a head start! Consider how much you'd like to offset with solar. Review our website's info to learn more about solar. Make sure to network - seeking advice from family, friends, and neighbors who have experience going solar is a great idea. By equipping yourself with this information, you can now gage if solar is right for you, and if so, how much is needed.
After you've made a decision to go solar, there are several steps you need to take. Fortunately, after you've decided to go solar, the contractor will be able to handle all of the work!
The Home Energy EZ Profile Report is your online source to obtain your last 12 months of energy use. When moving forward, the actual annual energy used in kWh (kilowatt hours) is the maximum amount of energy production allowed for a solar system on your home. Smaller solar systems may be of any size you choose.
Creating energy efficiency inside the home is an important step before going solar. Reducing your energy needs is typically more cost effective than going solar; and reducing your energy use also means you can install a smaller, less costly solar system. Check out our Energy Efficiency page to help you get started.
This is a big decision – evaluate your options carefully. Will you own it, lease it or enter into a PPA agreement? They all have different financial impacts and are something for you to consider. The ‘Consider Your Purchasing Options’ section will provide additional information on financing options and how they may impact your bottom line.
Qualified contractors are your key to getting the most productive solar energy system for your home or business, talk to three (3) or more contractors before you make a decision! Contractors will evaluate factors that affect your PV system performance such as the roof size, orientation of the system, shading and other factors. Typically, the contractor will complete the paperwork and apply for the City of Riverside Permit and the NEM Interconnection and rebate documentation on your behalf. The contractor will work with you until the utility provides approval for you to turn the system on.
Learn more about contractors from these online resources:
All solar systems that are installed to offset energy use in your home or business are “grid-tied” and must receive a City of Riverside permit and final permit approval before the system may be turned on. The contractor usually takes care of this for you. This is one of two approvals that are required before you obtain Permission to Operate. For additional information see the Residential PV Packet.
In addition to the permit, all solar systems that are installed to offset energy use in your home or business are “grid-tied” and must receive a utility signed RPU NEM Interconnection Approval before the system may be turned on. This is the second of the two approvals that are required before you obtain Permission to Operate. For additional information see the Residential Solar Energy Program or Business Solar Energy Program.
RPU offers customers installing qualifying solar systems a rebate to reduce the cost of installed solar. As the cost of solar has come down, the rebates have come down, per guidelines of the California Million Solar Roof Initiative, also known as SB1. Rebates will be available through December of 2017. Rebates are based on the wattage of the system after site specific losses are taken into account. For more information see the Residential Solar Energy Program or Business Solar Energy Program details.
The term “Permission to Operate” is used to indicate an installed solar system has received BOTH (1) City of Riverside Permit Approval and (2) a signed RPU NEM Interconnection Agreement. Once these are complete, RPU will send a signed Interconnection Approval document to you authorizing “Permission to Operate”. Check the green map for status updates.
Once the system is installed, ask the contractor to teach you how to use the solar system production display or website to monitor energy production. Take time to learn how to monitor your solar system's performance and be diligent viewing your energy use at least monthly to verify the system is running and creating the expected energy production. Also, ask your contractor for advice on maintenance or better yet get a maintenance contract to have it routinely checked and cleaned!