"By 2020, we will get at least a third of our electricity from the sun and the wind and other renewable sources—and probably more," Governor Brown said.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., (Jerry Brown) in his State of the State address on January 24, renewed California’s commitment to deliver one third energy from renewable sources by 2020, with an urgency for more solar installations now.
"We are also meeting our renewable energy goals: more than 20% renewable energy this year," the Governor echoed.
As of January 24, 2013, California was number one in America in solar energy installations. According to the California Go Solar Initiative real-time tracker website, 137,964 solar projects was generating 1,451 megawatts of electricity. Nationwide, the U.S. Solar Market Insight reported that by third quarter 2012 there were 1,992 megawatts of solar was installed with 1,300 MW in the pipeline for the last quarter, bringing an 3,200 MW of solar installations in 2012 alone.
The outlook and pace of solar in the West San Gabriel Valley is promising and with Southern California Edison (SCE) electric rates expected to keep rising, residents are eager to find an alternative to the high-priced grid. A number of incentives make the math pencils out, even for low and middle income home owners.
There are two ways residents can claim rebates for installing solar under the California Solar Initiative. First with the Expected Performance-Based Buy-Down (EPBB), solar systems smaller than 50kW can get a one-time rebate of $0.65 to $2.50 per watt, upfront after installation. Alternatively, the Performance Based Incentive (PBI) pays $0.09 to $0.39 per kWh of energy generated from the system over the first five years.
However, price per watt or kWh depends on how much funds are available in the rebate kitty. From time to time California has adjusted the total megawatts or millions allocated for the solar rebate. Bear in mind, though, these rebate funds are paid by most electric customers as a premium already calculated in the electric bills. So in a sense, the rebates cause the base rate paid by every customer higher than the cost of energy itself.
SCE bills for December 2012 for residential customers was about 14 cents per kilowatt hour. Lets say an average Monterey Park household of four uses 1000 kWh, that's a bill of $140 per month. If that household were to install a 5KW system it would cost about $30,000 (at $6 per watt installation costs). And from the available rebates could recoup 30 to 50% of the costs. Now with potential federal tax credit (good thru 2016), those who qualify could claim another 30% or $5,000 credit in this case.