Rockridge residents contemplate going solar
on June 19, 2009
Renewable energy was the topic of the Rockridge Community Planning Council Town Hall meeting on Thursday night; namely, how and why to go solar.
After two short power point presentations, Eric Nyman of Berkeley-based Sun Light and Power and Evan Raymond of Renewable Artistry (both of whom install photovoltaic solar energy panels on roofs as well as solar thermal equipment) fielded questions from the 16 Rockridge residents in attendance.
Some reasons to install solar equipment that Nyman listed included reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the environmental benefit of drawing energy at its source and affordability. California provides rebates of $1.10-$3.30 per watt of solar energy as well as a 30 percent federal tax credit to solar energy users.
“Going solar is like buying power today [in advance] for a long period of time,” Nyman said, adding that his solar system equipment had about a thirty-year life cycle. “You can truly put your energy level down to zero,” said Raymond.
Nyman estimated that after eight to ten years, a photovoltaic solar system would pay for itself. He said that a house in the Rockridge area might cost $30,000 to outfit but also listed rebates that could reduce the price by about more than $10,000.
Homes with south and west-facing roofs are the best candidates for solar photovoltaic panel installation. Flat roofs are also great for solar, Raymond said. A few residents had solar systems that had been installed in the 70’s and were looking to renew.
The Solar Living Institute offers classes on do it yourself solar, and volunteers from an organization that helps groups get a discount on solar energy, One Block Off the Grid, spoke at the end of the meeting, which concluded at 8:45 p.m.
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