Going Solar in Sun-drenched SoCal

Going Solar


For southern California residents Kathy and Kevin Hayes, a new home was the catalyst to go solar.

When they bought their new home in El Cajon, Calif., they already knew they would install a solar system; it was simply a matter of when.

"We've always been environmentally concerned. We recycle everything we can," Kathy says. And as defense industry professionals, solar's technology intrigued the couple. After a year of research, and with help from Tom Robinson of Real Goods Solar Products, the Hayes' decided on a 6 kilowatt PV system, which powers their entire home plus its outside lighting.

According to Kevin, the challenge of going solar was not in the decision to do it but in how to install the system. That's because the couple's new home is topped with a cement-tile roof. "In order to install the panels, Real Goods' installers had to carefully remove each tile, drill through it and seal each hole," Kevin recalls. The total installation took three days. "I was very impressed with their competence," he says.

Committed alternative-energy advocates, the Hayes' believe solar systems are a must for homes and businesses in their part of the country.

"For southern California I truly feel all our buildings should be solar. It's a real waste of energy otherwise," Kathy says. Not to mention a waste of money. The Hayes family expects their annual electric bill to be reduced by 75 percent.


Solar system size 6kW
Est. average savings per mo. $170
Solar panels 42 Sharp NT 175U1PV modules
Controller/Inverters 2 Xantrex model GTC 3kW inverters
Batteries none currently

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Voice of Reason
Voice of Reason's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 years 13 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 06/29/2007

A little back-of-the envelope math suggests that the 'save money' claim is rather disingenuous. The total system cost likely exceeded $60,000, but even if they managed to get this huge solar system for $40,000 and borrowed the money at 5% it would take 60 years to repay the cost of the solar. I admire their moral choice to use solar, but it is not a money-saver in this situation.

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