The City of Anaheim may be one of the happiest solar places on earth.
Known around the world as the home of Disneyland, Anaheim’s solar incentive program is a something of a better-kept secret. The program has received little publicity since its launch in 2008, but for Anaheim residents who want to enjoy deep (read: unheard of) discounts on a home solar system, the savings warrant far more attention.
Rebates offered through Anaheim’s electrical utility are among the most generous of all California solar rebates. The $3.72 per watt rebate is incredibly high, especially when compared to Northern California’s current PG&E rebates of $0.25 per watt in most areas.
The extent of the program, however, is limited. Anaheim residents should prepare now to take advantage of next year’s program. Applications will be accepted for the 2012-2013 fiscal year beginning on January 4, 2012.
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How much money can be saved by going solar in Anaheim? Start with an average American home’s utility usage, which in 2009, was about 908 kilowatt hours each month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In Anaheim, that generates a monthly electrical bill of about $130.
Through the form of a tax credit, the federal incentive program reduces the cost of a residential solar installation by 30 percent. For the Anaheim PV system, that’s about $8,712, reducing the installation cost to $20,328.
The Anaheim public utility rebate for this system would be about $10,044, making the final installation cost just $10,284. It would take just six years to pay for the $10,284 PV system through monthly savings on electricity. Compare that with the typical 10-12 years for most systems, and you’ve got yourself a steal.
- Average Monthly Utility Savings: $109
- Average Annual Utility Savings: $1,308
- 25-year Utility Savings: $32,700
Anaheim also allows net metering, a process that automatically sends any excess electricity generated by your residential PV system back into the grid. Anaheim’s electric company then credits you, the customer, for that electricity. Since Anaheim enjoys sunny days for most of the year, you can expect your system to generate enough excess electricity to further reduce your payback period.
Why is Anaheim offering such a generous rebate program? Since 2007, California has expanded solar incentive programs from state-offered rebates to those offered through public utilities. The program is set up to reduce the amount of the rebates as participation increases. Smaller municipality-operated utilities must participate in the program as well, Anaheim included.
For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Anaheim must offer solar rebates for a combined total of 330 kilowatts that are generated by residential PV systems.
The 330 kilowatt total means that only about 100 Anaheim households can take advantage of the program next year. Anaheim requires residents to work with a certified solar installer to verify certain installation specifications. The application is available through the City of Anaheim’s website. Once the application is submitted, residents can track progress through the city’s online PowerClerk application.