Harnessing Solar Power: A Solution to Rising Utility Bills in California

Solar Power

California residents have faced a daunting challenge in recent years: soaring electricity rates driven by a combination of factors including wildfires, power outages, and utility company policies. PG&E has implemented substantial rate increases, leaving many households struggling to keep up with their energy bills. PG&E’s rate increases in the last 10 years have far exceeded the rate of inflation and are more than other utilities have charged. PG&E’s CEO makes $51.2 million a year which is the highest compensation paid to any for-profit utility in the United States. On top of that, PG&E just reported a profit for 2023 of $2.24 billion. The utility’s profit increased by almost 25% last year fueled by ratepayer’s sky-high bills.
Amidst this crisis, solar companies are emerging as a beacon of hope, offering Californians a sustainable solution to mitigate rising utility costs.

The Rise of Utility Rates

California’s electricity rates have skyrocketed, with PG&E’s rates surging by 50% in just four years, with more rate increases on the way. Low-income households, in particular, have been disproportionately affected by these rate hikes, further exacerbating financial strain. As residents grapple with the burden of mounting utility bills, the need for alternative energy solutions becomes increasingly urgent.

The Role of Solar Power

Solar panels with batteries present a viable solution to combat escalating utility costs. By harnessing the abundant sunlight that California enjoys year-round, homeowners can generate their own electricity, reduce their reliance on traditional utility providers and protect their home during grid outages. Solar power not only offers financial savings but also contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

Challenges from Utility Companies

Despite the benefits of solar power, utility companies have actively sought to discourage homeowners from adopting solar energy. Through frequent changes to rate plans, fixed fees, and billing options, utility companies have created barriers to entry for residential and commercial solar customers. However, the demand for solar power persists as homeowners and businesses seek to regain control over their energy expenses and reduce their dependence on volatile utility rates.

The Path to Solar Independence

Transitioning to solar power empowers homeowners to take control of their energy future by investing in solar panels, Bay Area residences and businesses can increase their home’s value and stabilize their energy costs, insulating themselves from future rate increases. With the addition of Battery Storage, excess solar energy can be stored and used at night or during a power outage and it can be sold back to the grid during peak demand periods. There are several state and federal incentives, such as tax credits and rebates, making solar and battery storage installation more accessible and affordable for homeowners of all income levels. One example is the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) which was extended and offers a 30% tax credit on both solar and battery storage systems.

Solar Power

The Environmental Benefits

Beyond financial savings, solar power offers numerous environmental benefits. By harnessing clean, renewable energy from the sun, homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to efforts to combat climate change. Solar energy also helps to reduce air pollution and dependence on finite fossil fuel resources, promoting a healthier and more sustainable future for the Bay Area and beyond.

The Impact of Raising Rates

PG&E’s track record of challenges has led to increased interest in residential and commercial solar installations. With concerns stemming from wildfires, power outages, environmental worries and PG&E policy issues, some Californians have sought out solar power and battery backup as a dependable alternative to conventional grid electricity, reflecting a shift in consumer preferences for more reliable energy sources.


In conclusion, the certainty that your utility bill will continue to increase has placed a heavy burden on residents and businesses, prompting many to seek alternative energy solutions. Solar power with battery storage emerges as a sustainable and cost-effective option for homeowners and businesses looking to reduce their energy bills and achieve greater independence from PG&E. Despite the challenges posed by utility company policies, the transition to solar energy offers Bay Area residents a path towards financial savings, environmental stewardship, and energy resilience in the face of an uncertain future.

What to Consider and Understand When Considering Battery Storage for Solar

A recent report in Bloomberg News states that Natural gas is getting edged out of power markets across the U.S. by two energy sources that, together, are proving to be an unbeatable mix: solar and batteries.

In just the latest example, First Solar Inc. won a power contract to supply Arizona’s biggest utility when electricity demand on its system typically peaks, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The panel maker beat out bids from even power plants burning cheap gas by proposing to build a 65-megawatt solar farm that will, in turn, feed a 50-megawatt battery system.

Arizona Public Service Co. spokeswoman Annie DeGraw said the bid the utility received from First Solar was “very competitive, and it had the added benefit of being clean.”

It’s a powerful combination for meeting peak demand because of when the sun shines. Here’s how it’ll work: The panels will generate solar power when the sun’s out to charge the batteries. The utility will draw on those batteries as the sun starts to set and demand starts to rise.

Just last week, NextEra Energy Inc.’s Florida utility similarly installed a battery system that’ll back up a solar farm and boost generation. In California, regulators have called on PG&E Corp. to use batteries or other non-fossil fuel resources instead of supplies from gas-fired plants to meet peak demand.

California Battery Push

The state is adding energy storage to backstop wind and solar power

Specifically for Californian’s, the SGIP, California’s latest incentive program

Californian’s understand that solar provides a strong ROI and typically increases their home value by more than 17% and there is tremendous interest taking advantage of battery storage when it matures. At the current rate of incentive for small scale residential project, the grant would total $4,000 for a battery storage solution that would store 10kwh of power. This is a typical battery size needed for a residential customer that has a 6kw system and wants to be able to use their battery to meet as much as possible of his or her electricity demand during the peak pricing period for electricity each day.

In addition, PGE in Northern California requires customers to select a TOU rate

Pull info from here:

Whether or not you’ll save more money by installing a solar-plus-storage system depends on how your electric utility charges its customers. In states with net metering, you will typically receive a credit on your utility bill for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy that you send back to the grid. You can use those credits later on when you need more electricity than your solar panels are generating. For homeowners in this situation, installing a solar battery won’t increase their savings: the electric grid is providing the same financial benefit as a solar battery.

However, some electric utilities are changing their rates in ways that make solar batteries a smart investment for homeowners. If your utility’s rate policy includes any of the following, energy storage can help you save more with your solar panels.

How time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates affect solar battery economics

If your utility has TOU rates, the per-kWh rate that you pay for electricity will change depending on the time of day. Electricity will cost more during “peak hours” when demand for electricity is high, typically in the late afternoon and evening. Electricity rates are lower during the daytime when home electricity use is lower and solar panels are at their most productive.  If your utility uses TOU rates, you can benefit from home energy storage by using electricity from your solar batteries during peak hours when utility electricity rates are at their highest.

TOU rates are becoming more common in the U.S., with California leading the way. Under a new solar policy, any homeowner who installs solar panels in the Golden State will automatically be required to pay TOU rates instead of a single per-kWh rate.

Backup power is important for consumers

Reliability is more essential than ever before since almost everything is electric. The vast majority of power outages are caused by a failure of the local grid, largely due to extreme weather and equipment failures. Both commercial and residential customers are placing a higher value on backup power capabilities. Battery storage systems that do not have backup capabilities will be at a substantial disadvantage in the marketplace.

As you consider your solar-plus-storage options, you’ll come across a lot of complicated product specifications. The most important ones to use during your evaluation are the battery’s capacity & power ratings, depth of discharge (DoD), round-trip efficiency, warranty, and manufacturer.

Capacity & power

Capacity is the total amount of electricity that a solar battery can store, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Most home solar batteries are designed to be “stackable,” which means that you can include multiple batteries with your solar-plus-storage system to get extra capacity.

While capacity tells you how big your battery is, it doesn’t tell you how much electricity a battery can provide at a given moment. To get the full picture, you also need to consider the battery’s power rating. In the context of solar batteries, a power rating is the amount of electricity that a battery can deliver at one time. It is measured in kilowatts (kW).

A battery with a high capacity and a low power rating would deliver a low amount of electricity (enough to run a few crucial appliances) for a long time. A battery with low capacity and a high power-rating could run your entire home, but only for a few hours.

Depth of discharge (DoD)

Most solar batteries need to retain some charge at all times due to their chemical composition. If you use 100 percent of a battery’s charge, its useful life will be significantly shortened.

The depth of discharge (DoD) of a battery refers to the amount of a battery’s capacity that has been used. Most manufacturers will specify a maximum DoD for optimal performance. For example, if a 10 kWh battery has a DoD of 90 percent, you shouldn’t use more than 9 kWh of the battery before recharging it. Generally speaking, a higher DoD means you will be able to utilize more of your battery’s capacity.

Round-trip efficiency

A battery’s round-trip efficiency represents the amount of energy that can be used as a percentage of the amount of energy that it took to store it. For example, if you feed five kWh of electricity into your battery and can only get four kWh of useful electricity back, the battery has 80 percent round-trip efficiency (4 kWh / 5 kWh = 80%). Generally speaking, a higher round-trip efficiency means you will get more economic value out of your battery.


Battery life & warranty

For the most uses of home energy storage, your battery will “cycle” (charge and drain) daily. The battery’s ability to hold a charge will gradually decrease the more you use it. In this way, solar batteries are like the battery in your cell phone – you charge your phone each night to use it during the day, and as your phone gets older you’ll start to notice that the battery isn’t holding as much of a charge as it did when it was new.

Your solar battery will have a warranty that guarantees a certain number of cycles and/or years of useful life. Because battery performance naturally degrades over time, most manufacturers will also guarantee that the battery keeps a certain amount of its capacity over the course of the warranty. Therefore, the simple answer to the question “how long will my solar battery last?” is that it depends on the brand of battery you buy and how much capacity it will lose over time.

For example, a battery might be warrantied for 5,000 cycles or 10 years at 70 percent of its original capacity. This means that at the end of the warranty, the battery will have lost no more than 30 percent of its original ability to store energy.


Many different types of organizations are developing and manufacturing solar battery products, from automotive companies to tech startups. While a major automotive company entering the energy storage market likely has a longer history of product manufacturing, they may not offer the most revolutionary technology. By contrast, a tech startup might have a brand-new high-performing technology, but less of a track record to prove the battery’s long-term functionality.

Whether you choose a battery manufactured by a cutting-edge startup or a manufacturer with a long history depends on your priorities. Evaluating the warranties associated with each product can give you additional guidance as you make your decision.

Pumped-Hyrdo Energy Storage

We just got some massive news in the ongoing drive to switch to renewable energy: scientists have identified 530,000 sites worldwide suitable for pumped-hydro energy storage, capable of storing more than enough energy to power the entire planet.

Pumped-hydro is one of the best technologies we have for storing intermittent renewable energy, such as solar power, which means these sites could act as giant batteries, helping to support cheap, renewable power grids.

As of now the sites have only been identified by an algorithm, so further on-the-ground research needs to be done. But it was previously assumed there were only limited suitable sites around the world, and that we wouldn’t be able to store enough renewable energy for high-demand times – which this study shows isn’t the case at all.

Added together, these hundreds of thousands of sites have the potential to store around 22 million Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. It’s more than enough to get the entire planet running on renewables, which is where we want to go.

The sites identifies would rely mainly on solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power to pump water uphill when the renewables are plentiful. When energy is needed, the water will be released and pulled down by gravity to drive turbines and generate electricity. No fossil fuels are released in this process.

What makes pumped-hydro energy storage so appealing is that it can be adapted as electricity demands change. Water stored in the reservoir can be discharged as and when it’s needed – for example, when a lot of power is required or when solar and wing technology aren’t generating enough electricity.

When demands are lower, water can be driven back uphill to the reservoir using excess electricity generated by wind and sunshine and stored for later.

No cooling water is required as it is in fossil fuel systems, which means the electricity demands of the plant itself are reduced, and of course there are no greenhouse gas emissions. Impact on the environment is kept down to a minimum because it doesn’t involve any natural river systems.

The scientists say sites like the ones they’ve identified can operate at maximum power for between 5 and 25 hours. There’s another benefit to this type of hydroelectric power system as well: it can start up quickly.

“Pumped-hydro energy storage can go from zero to full power extremely quickly – it takes only a few minutes,” says one of the team, Andrew Blakers from ANU.

“Pumped hydro accounts for 97 percent of energy storage worldwide, has a typical lifetime of 50 years and is the lowest cost large-scale energy-storage technology available.”

The Benefits of Sunlight

At Sun First Solar, we love the benefits of sunlight for solar power, which include ROI, energy savings: reduce or eliminate energy bills, clean energy that’s great for our planet and local community, and strong jobs growth.

But there are many more amazing benefits of sunlight that should be known and appreciated.

benefits of the sun


Here are 10 advantages of getting a moderate amount of sun exposure:

  1. Sunlight and whole foods can send breast cancer into remission. American physician Dr. Zane Kime used sunbathing and nutrition to cure his patients. Even in terminal cases, Dr. Kime was able to completely reverse the metastasized cancer.
  2. The sun’s light kills bad bacteria. German soldiers after World War II were aware of the discoveries that had been made in 1903 by the Nobel Prize winner, Niels Finsen. They used sunlight to disinfect and heal wounds.
  3. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections of the skin.
  4. Sunlight lowers cholesterol. The sun converts high cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and the sex hormones we need for reproduction. In the absence of sunlight, the opposite happens; substances convert to cholesterol.
  5. The sun’s rays lower blood pressure. Even a single exposure can significantly lower blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs like Statins have side effects, such as robbing the body of Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is essential for cellular and heart energy.
  6. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels. Medical literature published in Europe has shown that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improved with sun exposure.
  7. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. Additionally, it also enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues; very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness and muscular development.
  8. Sunlight builds the immune system. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure, are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.
  9. Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children, especially babies. Many cultures throughout history have recognized this fact. Studies have shown the amount of sun exposure in the first few months has an effect on how tall the person grows.
  10. Sunlight can cure depression. The noon sunshine can deliver 100,000 lux. When we sit in offices for the best part of the day, out of the sun, under neon artificial lights (150-600 lux), we are depriving ourselves of the illumination of nature. Sunlight deprivation can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form or depression. It is more common in winter months, but also common in people who work long hours in office buildings.

Exposure to the sun should be done SLOWLY! Avoid sunburn by building up your tolerance SLOWLY.

Put power of the sun to work for you! To learn more about the financial and environmental benefits of Going Solar, give Sun First a call now at 415-458-5870 or fill out the form below.

Utility Company’s Rate Hike Becomes Massive Financial Burden For California Customers

Sunny California: What could possibly ruin that reputation? Well, a wet and cold winter for one. Couple that with a recent rate hike by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and you’ve got the perfect storm set to ruin that sunny disposition. Given the continued rising cost of electricity in Northern California, some industry experts say investing in solar energy has never been a smarter decision. Factor in the fact that a typical 5 kilowatt residential unit has been shown to increase the worth of the home by at least $20,000 and you’re looking at a planet-saving, value-boosting investment.

According to a February 2017 Sacramento Bee article, PG&E took the step to raise natural gas rates in August 2016 and electricity rates saw three increases last year. Utility customers taking the rate hikes on the chin expressed severe discontent with the moves,  telling the newspaper that their bills have never been higher following this past winter’s cold snap.

The report adds that the rate hikes were properly approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.  In response to the public discontent, a PG&E spokesman told the newspaper that PG&E rates remain lower than the national residential average of $59.17. In a Jan. 11, 2017 statement from PG&E, the company says it is “streamlining management” and “implementing efficiency measures” to “keep customer bills affordable while investing in the future.”

“We are reducing support services costs in order to continue to invest in important safety initiatives and in modernizing our system to meet our customers’ future needs while keeping their bills as low as possible,” Geisha Williams, of PG&E, said in a press release.

What does this mean for the typical utility service customer looking to cut down on their bills? As evidenced above, solar energy harnessed by panels installed at your home or business is the best way of circumventing rate hikes and saving thousands of dollars on electric bills over the lifetime of your system that typically lasts about 25 years.

For the environmentally-conscious investor, the average 5kW system provides carbon offets that are equal to planting 4,753 trees, recycling 654 tones of waste, buring 99.4 tones of coal or driving an extra 408,000 miles. For additional information how to avoid falling victim to the rising cost of electricity in Northern California, call 415-458-5870.

Global Warming Facts!

We at Sun First are committed to be advocates for renewable energy, clean energy technologies and being stewards of the Earth. We feel global warming is an immanent threat to the future of our planet’s diversity, climate stability and our quality of life. Here are some interesting facts that we all should contemplate and hopefully will improve our awareness of the present state of our World.

Here are some interesting facts we want to share with you:

2016 is the hottest year on record.

In early December, the sea-ice cover at the North and South Poles is smaller than recent averages by an area the size of India.

Global CO2 emissions remained flat in 2016 for the third year in a row.

Concentrations of toxic mercury in bluefin tuna are declining, apparently because so many coal-fired power plants have closed.

According to the International Energy Agency, demand for gasoline has peaked, largely as a result of electric cars and more-fuel-efficient engines

August and September are the hottest on record, with August tying July for the hottest month in history. They are the 16th and 17th straight months to set heat records. Earth is the warmest it has been in 100,000 years.

Shell Oil Company says that its carbon-capture-and-storage project in Alberta, Canada’s tar sands fields sequestered 1 million tons of CO2 in its first year of operation.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide never drop below 400 parts per million in September, a month when CO2 is usually at a minimum. Earth’s CO2 levels will now likely remain above 400 pp.

For six months in 2016, solar panels in the United Kingdom produce more electricity than does coal.

More than 100 nations agree to limit their use of hydrofluorocarbons, a class of very powerful greenhouse gases used in air conditioners.

Between 2011 and 2014, Greenland lost a trillion tons of ice.

On Tuesday, July 12, California’s industrial-scale solar plants set a new record by generating enough electricity to power 6 million homes.

All these interesting facts just show how important it is to protect out planet and reduce emissions. Going solar is one of the steps you can take to make a change to our environment and protect the future of our children and their children to come.

Solar Power Advances: New Energy Policy Passed In Senate

Sun First Solar

On April 20, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, which has been an effort in the works for over a year by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell. This is good news for the solar power industry because it’s the first comprehensive policy bill to pass in the Senate since 2007. Despite the challenging congressional environment regarding solar power, the new policy contains many wins for the solar industry.

While San Francisco solar power projects and others around the country will continue to expand, the new policy has the inclusion of solar heating and cooling as technologies to meet the federal government’s renewable portfolio standard. Since we all know that heating and cooling are major energy consumers, it paves the way to establish green and eco-friendly initiatives to propel them into solar technologies! Additionally, the policy has language directing the Energy Department to discover the costs and benefits for the proper valuation of distributed generation solar.

On top of that, the new policy also has provisions to improve the permitting process of placing solar power plant sites on federal lands, which opens up the doors to creating more opportunities of generating renewable energy. Furthermore, the policy also directs the Energy Department to conduct studies regarding avian populations to establish a baseline of scientific information. Inclusion of the SAVE Act, also incorporates language to incorporate the savings from energy-efficient upgrades into residential mortgage underwriting, which will benefit homeowners.

It’s without a doubt that the policy brings exciting news to the solar industry because pro-solar initiatives will continue to make the United States less dependent on non-renewable sources of energy. This goes hand-in-hand with Paris Agreement, which is a global action plan to dramatically reduce emissions, where 196 countries, including the United States, signed to decrease the reliance of fossil fuels in favor of cleaner forms of energy – like solar power!

Our Solar Power System Is Live!

When Good Earth opened our new store in February 2012, solar panels atop our building supplied the energy to heat our hot water. Since then, we have leased the rooftops of the Fairfax Plaza across the street from us to complete our large photovoltaic system.

The total size of our system is 201.5 kW AC (238.6 kW DC) with two KACO 100 watt inverters buried within our parking lot. The total expected annual output is 346,273kWh. Our solar project was partly funded by a federal grant.

Good Earth worked with local San Rafael-based Cooperative Community Energy to manage the project, and with Sun First! Solar also located in San Rafael for installation. Installation began in January 2013, and as of April 100% of the solar energy captured is being delivered back to Good Earth, with the remainder coming from Marin Clean Energyʼs Deep Green Renewable Energy Program.


This is what our system is outputting right this minute, with interesting information on the positive impacts of obtaining our power from the sun vs. traditional sources. Best viewed on computers or tablets in landscape orientation.

“At Good Earth, respect for the Earth is what we are all about, so we go out of our way to reduce our footprint whenever possible. We are thrilled to be able to take such a big step toward sustainability with this solar project.” – Mark Squire, Partner

“We just built a very energy efficient grocery store, as grocery stores go. But the reality is full service grocery stores are huge energy suckers and we did what we could by building a 200+kW PV system. So along with being a customer of Marin Clean Energy’s Deep Green program, we and our incredibly supportive community, can feel good about supporting a truly green business for a long time. We are also grateful for our continued partnership with our Fairfax Plaza landlords for partnering with us in the use of the expansive rooftops across the street.” – Al Baylacq, Partner

Which Is The Best Direction For Solar Panel Placement?

new house with solar panelsThe concept of installing solar panels on your home seems basic in theory – you hire a bay area solar company to place them on your roof and you are good to go. But, when that concept is expanded to real-world applications, there are more technical factors that go into the installation like roof angle, direction, etc. This often begs the question as to what direction should your solar panels face? While each install is unique, your solar installer will be able to determine the best angle and direction based on your home but the general rule of thumb is directing them true south. Also, it’s typical for panels to have an angle between 10 to 30 degrees, but it depends on how north or south you are in the US.

True South Placement

Since the United States is located in the Northern Hemisphere, the best direction for your solar panels is true south because they will receive the most sunlight throughout the day. This also means your solar panels will be harnessing the most power from the sun and that converts into monumental savings on your energy bill! At any rate, houses can face literally any direction and the angle of the roof can sometimes make it harder to position the solar panels in the prime direction. Nevertheless, the angle or direction of the roof on your home doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the solar panels and you can trust the solar installer to find the optimal position.

To determine the placement of your panels, you might be inclined to grab a compass and head out the front door to see where the compass points. However, using a magnetic compass doesn’t give you the true south direction. While it can give you an idea of where south is, a compass will point towards the South Pole because of the geomagnetic field – it’s point is in the right direction but isn’t exact. This means the compass direction may vary based on your specific location! So, keep that in mind if you are trying to imagine where your solar panels will be installed.

East-West Roofs

If your roof faces east and west rather than north and south, don’t worry because they can still harness the energy from the sun. While a roof setup that is east-west won’t take in as much sunlight as the latter, your solar installer will be able to determine which direction would be more beneficial. Additionally, some homeowners opt to have the solar panels installed in their yard if they have the space to accommodate a system. Mounting them on the ground does make it easier for homeowners to clean them off as needed, but then again, objects that cast shade like trees or neighboring houses could impact the potential of solar gains. Or, if you have a large shed or garage on your property, you may be able to have solar panels installed on the roof of those structures.

At any rate, a solar installation professional will be able to determine the best spot for the panel placement and angle. Once you have your system installed, you can reap the rewards of solar energy!

The Solar Trends You Need To Know

solar energy Solar power is a booming industry because the technology is getting better and better each year with no signs of slowing down. While the 2015 numbers aren’t in yet, we can talk about how it has grown over the past few years.  First things first, the utility-scale sector saw a growth of 38% in 2014 compared to 2013. The residential sector bridged the 1 GW barrier for the first time and grew 51% over 2013 according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. And with over 20,000 MW of cumulative solar power capacity in the United States, that’s enough to provide energy to over 4 million average homes!

Just in 2014, nearly 645,000 homes and businesses have gone solar and every two and a half minutes, a new solar project was installed. Some statistics from SEIA state that residential costs have fallen by 45% since 2010 and utility-scale costs have dropped even more. This of course is good news for everyone because it reduces energy costs and decreases the consumption of energy from traditional resources such as coal and oil. Besides the favorable reduction in energy costs, why are homeowners and businesses switching to solar power?

Lower Costs

The cost of solar installation has plummeted by 73% since the initiation of the Solar Investment Tax Credit. But that’s not the only reason, solar technology and manufacturing has reached a point that’s more affordable than ever before. If you take a look back at average solar prices from a decade ago, they could range anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000, but in 2013, that price was around $20,000. This price drop makes it much more affordable, which allows a homeowner to see the energy savings pay off much faster.

Plus, when you think about the general costs of home renovations and the grand scheme of things, solar panels typically come with warranties that span across many decades. This makes it a very smart investment; you’ll see energy savings each month. Compare that to installing granite countertops or new appliances during a home renovation, does that save you the same kind of money? While home improvement trends change in terms of what’s hot and trendy, a stylish look can come and go in a small matter of time but solar panels provide you with benefits for decades, regardless of the latest home design trends.

Did you know that California is the leader in cumulative solar electric capacity compared to any other state in the country? The Golden Coast is taking advantage of all that sunshine to harness the power from one of the most prominent and free resources available! In fact, many residents all over the state including those in Marin County are going solar. But, homes and businesses aren’t the only ones thinking about the beneficial technology from solar power, it could soon be something you see on roadways.

Roads Soaking In The Sun

While we are still probably years away from this idea to be implemented across every roadway, a company from Idaho is developing solar powered roads. The company, Indiegogo, is in the research and development phase of their project that would bring solar roadways to the streets. These solar powered roadways would replace traditional streets that could house solar cells to collect energy. This would provide numerous benefits because the amount of energy they have the potential to collect could end up paying for itself over time. On top of that, the energy collected could obviously be used to power a plethora of things like homes, businesses and anything else that requires energy.

The solar powered roads also have the potential of making the streets safer to navigate in almost any driving condition. For instance, we are used to painted lines on the roadways that segment lanes, and a solar powered road could use LED lights to “paint” the road lines. With this in mind, these LED road lines could be flexible in a sense that they could change road patterns or alert drivers of road hazards such as accidents or pedestrians and animals on the roadways. Additionally, the LED lines could enhance visibility at night and make it easier to see where drivers are going by lighting up the roadway. Plus, northern regions that are subjected to ice and snow covered roads could see a drastic difference in vehicle handling. The solar powered roads would keep the surface clear through heated surfaces that would prevent ice and snow accumulation.

Regardless if solar technology is being used on houses, businesses or roads, it’s the green way of preserving the Earth’s resources and is a viable way to provide us with clean energy. While it is still at the forefront of innovation, solar power tech will continue to advance to the point where we will eventually use it as our main source of power!