It is not a lot of money in comparision as typical system paybacks are in the 4 to 5 year range.  But perhaps you are already invested in stocks - capital investments in corporations.  Invested in a PG&E or Exxon or Standard Oil or Enron?  Instead of hoping their board of directors will invest in sustainable, non-polluting technologies, move your investment to your own home solar photovoltaic power plant. Home owners all over the Monterey County and Salinas are installing solar panels including Carmel and Monterey.

A solar system is quite likely the largest economic impact an individual can have on the environment - yet this massive diversion of resources from polluting to sustainable technologies is available to any individual with little or no net cost.  An investment in the future, it is the choice you can take to make a difference.

Picture of Solar Array installed on roof

Two of those who have chosen to go solar are Ann McGowan and Rochelle Glaser, both of Carmel Valley.  Ann installed a 2 kilowatt system on a south-facing roof as part of a recently completed remodel. In addition to the direct benefit of replacing electricity from PG&E with solar electricity produced on her roof, Ann says she has a new-found awareness of her energy usage, which has further reduced her consumption.  She loves seeing the meter spin backwards, as she feeds solar energy into the grid for her neighbors to use, while earning a credit on her electric bill and now for the first time (2011) recieving a check in the mail from PG&E!  The first bill after completion of her system was only $4, a giant decrease from her pre-solar charges.

"In an effort to encourage the use of alternate power sources (like solar panels) and reduce the use of non-renewable resources", Monterey County political actions have recently been made reducing the costs for the homeowner wanting to go solar and expediting the solar permiting process.  When Ann decided to go solar, it was not as easy and her solar permit was significantly more expensive.  To help others, she contacted Supervisor Dave Potter, who asked the Monterey County Planning Department to review their fees and procedures for Monterey County Solar projects.  Yvonne Christopher of the planning department championed the changes within solar permitting, revising the fee structure and solar permit process.  It is very heartening to see the responsiveness of the planning department to the concerns of Monterey County "solar citizenīs".

Picture of Photovoltaic work in progress
Rochelle Glaser's Photovoltaic Power System - the first of two sub-arrays is completed.

Rochelle's solar system of 44 multi-crystalline silicon solar panels sit in two rows facing south across the Carmel Valley.  July 1st she celebrated the Monterey County's inspection of the solar system with a champagne brunch for a few of her close friends and the solar installers of the solar system, bringing each of the new arrivals out to the meter to watch it spin backwards.  Her solar system, one of the first approved in Carmel Valley after the change,  was inspected by building department officials who attended a recent solar workshop about solar photovoltaics as part of the Monterey County's new push for renewable energy like solar energy.  

Rochelle and Ann both installed solar because "it's the right thing to do.  Solar helps the environment and doesn't hurt your pocketbook.  Solar energy brings a smile to your face when you think about it."  

Picture of Ground Mounted Solar Array
A Ground Mounted Solar Power System - near Carmel Valley Village.

Solar Trellis System
A Solar Trellis Power System - Carmel Knolls.