Solar energy - a good choice for homeowners

Last week I spoke of big and little choices that are ours to make as we seek ways to live more sustainably, and I detailed the choice my wife and I made to install whole-house solar at our Downey residence. The bottom line for us is that we're looking at almost zero electricity costs for the foreseeable future and that we've prevented over thirteen tons of CO2 emissions during the past two and a half years.I can thus attest to the fact that whole-house solar is a big choice worth making for a Downey homeowner. Southern California, in fact, is one of the best areas imaginable for solar installation, given the predominance of daytime sunlight. Even with the unexpectedly high incidence of cloudy days we've experienced this past summer and so far this fall, my electric meter continues to run backwards during the daytime. Moreover, outright purchase of whole-house solar is not the only financing option. Other alternatives include long-term leasing or rent-to-buy, both of which put significant immediate savings into the hands of homeowners. While you can access potential contractors online, the Downey Chamber of Commerce can also provide access to suppliers seeking your business in the City of Downey. Furthermore, Southern California Edison is still actively promoting the California Solar Initiative, which has already completed almost sixteen thousand residential installations to the tune of $134 million dollars in rebate subsidies. Unfortunately, homeowners and businesses in Downey have not taken advantage of these opportunities. According to city staff, only 38 solar permit applications have been initiated in Downey since June, 2010. Yet SCE continues to strive to open our eyes. Just last week, a Southern California Edison ad ran in The Downey Patriot promoting a California Solar Initiative Homeowner Solar Class to be held at the Embassy Suites next Monday, November 7, at 6:30 p.m. In order to attend, pre-registration is required, either online at, or by telephone at 1-866-970-9221. If you're a Downey homeowner who wants not only to make the right choice for the environment, but at the same time to save yourself a ton of money over the long term, this seminar might just be the thing for you. Lars Clutterham is a Downey resident and charter member of the city of Downey's Green Task Force and Downey Chamber of Commerce's Green Committee.

********** Published: October 27, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 28