RCEA understands the importance of all renewable energy, including solar. Although we do not provide solar installations or consultations, we encourage those that are interested in solar to explore the benefits of installing it on homes and businesses. It is always best to make sure you have upgraded your lighting and heating systems first before you start exploring a solar installation. RCEA handles the net energy metering portion of the solar process, which is simply billing our solar customers for the generation portion of the bill.
Solar energy is a renewable resource – the sun can be a cost-effective source of energy and reduce electricity bills. Since emerging in the energy field, solar has become a mature technology. The cost of installing solar has dropped dramatically in recent years. In addition, solar is an important renewable energy resource. Along with wind and water, solar is one of the many renewable resources that produce low greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to learn more about greenhouse emissions and renewable energy.
If you are interested to see how solar insolation fluctuates seasonally and from year to year, click here.
Interested in learning more about solar?
- It is best to do energy efficiency measures before designing a solar PV array. On average, saving energy with efficiency costs 83% less than the price to produce that energy with a residential or small commercial solar array. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/berkeley-lab-turns-out-comprehensive-estimate-of-efficiency-cost-and-its/527263/
- Possible efficiency projects include:
- Upgrading existing lighting to LED
- Installing new high-efficiency appliances
- Installing under-floor or attic insulation
- Small businesses can contact RCEA’s Energy Watch program for LED lighting upgrades.
- Residential customers can contact our Residential Services team.
- Call RCEA or visit our residential services page to learn more about free energy advisor consultations and free energy efficiency kits.
- Get at least 12 months of electric billing data from PG&E to share with your solar contractor or installer.
- Ensure your system is sized based on your annual electric use.
- Sizing a PV array to offset 90% of your annual load allows for energy efficiency gains in the future through decreases in your energy consumption and helps ensure that the PV system does not overproduce for your annual use.
- Engage a qualified licensed contractor early in the process, many offer initial consultations and analysis at low or no cost.
- Use a licensed contractor, C-10 Electrical Contractors and C-46 Solar Contractors are qualified to install residential and small commercial solar arrays, check the California State Licensing Board (CSLB) website to make sure the license is valid and current.
- Get at least three bids or quotes from qualified, licensed contractors prior to executing a contract.
- Find qualified contractors in your area using the GoSolar/California Solar Initiative
- Make sure that your contractor applies for and receives all required County or City building permits.
- After a solar array is installed the system will need to be inspected by a building official from the entity that issued the building permit.
- After the building permit is signed off by a local official, the utility can issue permission to operate your system.
- Learn about available tax incentives and eligibility requirements, including the Federal Investment Tax Credit, at the Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
- Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing may be available to help finance solar projects. Learn more about PACE financing in Humboldt County.
Grid Alternatives is a nonprofit solar organization that works with affordable housing providers and utilities to develop and implement no-cost and low-cost rooftop solar power systems. All while providing hands-on installation experience for job seekers and community volunteers. This website provides services for residents -Single Family Solar, Multifamily Affordable Solar, and Community Solar.
California Solar Initiative is a solar program for community members that are interested in learning about solar basics, attending solar workshops, finding solar installers and much more. The website provides services for both residents and businesses.
Interested in solar thermal?
One of the many wonders of solar is the ability to convert sunlight into water heating using a solar thermal collector. California Solar Initiative provides information on solar water heating as part of their services.
PG&E Solar provides a description of how solar works and addresses frequently asked questions about installing solar. While browsing you may also find financing options for solar, PG&E incentives for clean energy, solar contractors and more. The website provides services for both residents and businesses.
Guide to Going Solar is a quick reference PDF from PG&E that includes a step by step guide.
PG&E also provides more information about solar water heating as part of their services.
PV Watts Calculator allows you to calculate an estimate of energy production per year for a proposed solar array. It is provided by the National Renewable Energy Lab through the US Department of Energy.
Solar Permitting Guide has details about the solar permitting process from the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
Looking for a local solar installer? Look here.
Or search for one in 3 easy steps:
- Go to California State License Board
- Type in your City or ZIP code
- Type in “C-46” in License Classifications for Solar Contractor, or “C-10” for General Electrical Contractors
Disclaimer: RCEA does not endorse any one license contractor over another. All licensed contractors listed in CSLB here have met the minimum standards and requirements for licensure. License status is based on exact date and exact time. License status is subject to change. Make sure you check the license status before signing any contracts.
Tax incentives. Solar systems can qualify for a tax credit. You can use this Solar Tax incentives database to search for current incentives.
See our Energy Efficiency page for more information about renewable energy and energy efficiency project financing.
What is NEM?
Net Energy Metering – NEM allows solar customers to build credit on their electricity bill for the excess energy they generate. RCEA buys excess generation at retail electricity rates. This gives solar customers the ability to generate energy when the sun is shining and then use that energy when it is not.
Stay current on regulatory changes to NEM programs in California by visiting the California Public Utilities Commission website.