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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about going solar or Westhaven energy systems? Then, we have an answer for you. Our FAQs are designed to provide more insight into how solar, batteries, and generators work, including our ultra-reliable energy system, Power A.L.I.

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WHY GO SOLAR

What are the financial benefits of solar energy?


Going solar means that you’ll save money on your monthly electricity bills, and protect yourself from any rate increase in future. Any solar power you produce is the power that you don’t have to purchase from the utility. How much you can save will depend on your utility provider and rates in your area, but going solar is a great investment for the future, no matter where you live.




How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?


The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity and how much electricity you use is to view your electricity bills from your utility provider. Typically, this information can be found on your utility provider's website, through your customer account.




What incentives are available to me?


California residents are eligible for federal tax incentives for the purchase and of eligible solar storage systems. The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available through December 31, 2020, and allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. We’d recommend that you install your systems during the low season in order to skip the rush during fall. Additionally, if you reside in a tier 2 or tier 3 area and have experienced two PG&E shutdowns, your home may qualify for a rebate on solar storage through the Self-Generation Incentive Program. Find out if you’re on the fire map here.




How will going solar impact my property value?


Solar is one of the few home improvement projects that increases your home’s value compared to a kitchen upgrade. According to Forbes, homeowners typically recover approximately 97% of their investment costs, in addition to the savings associated with reduced energy bills.




What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?


While many people choose to go solar for financial reasons, solar power also has many environmental benefits. The renewable free source of energy is sustainable and inexhaustible, unlike fossil fuels that are finite. It is also a non-polluting source of energy and it does not emit any greenhouse gases when producing electricity. Fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—do substantially more harm than renewable energy sources such as solar, including air and water pollution, damage to public health, wildlife and habitat loss, water use, land use, and global warming emissions.





SOLAR TECHNOLOGY

Is there a rebate for residential battery storage installation?


Yes. If you live in a high fire risk community (and have a low income), you may be eligible for Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) money when you install a battery with solar panel system. This combination must draw at least 75 percent of the charge, have a single-cycle round-trip efficiency of at least 85 percent, and are enrolled in some kind of time-varying rate program. This new SGIP program can cover up to 100 percent of the total cost of a home battery system installation, with a rebate of $1 per watt-hour of battery storage installed. For instance, a Tesla Powerwall battery that holds 13.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) could be eligible for a rebate of $13,500 or the amount equal to the system cost. In order to qualify for the new equity resiliency incentive, you must be a homeowner in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 high fire threat area. Type in your address here to see if you qualify, then apply for SGIP (between March and April 2020). The online application can be found here.




How does battery backup work?


Let us start by saying, going solar is a smart decision, period. It doesn’t matter how you go solar, but who you go with. This decision will impact how much you save money. There are two ways to go solar:

  • Allow the utility company to be your battery, where you continue to rent your power from. They send your unused energy elsewhere, and return it when you need it for a discounted rate (e.g. at night). This means that the utility takes the power you generate, and sells it back to you, which still significantly saves you money compared to the status quo. However, the caveat is that you are still dependent on the grid and susceptible to high peak energy rates, limiting control over your own power.
  • Be your own utility and store your energy with a battery. What’s yours is yours! The biggest advantage here, as we see many of our homeowners take the leap, is the ability to control your power. This coupled with a generator ensures that you have electricity during an outage and protects you from Time-of-Use/Time-of-Day pricing during peak hours, and Rule 21.




What is Rule 21 and how does it impact you?


Rule 21 is an interconnection tariff levied by the California Public Utility Commission that sets rules for performance of power generation. It allows the utility to control your solar inverter and limit your energy production at any given time. This often occurs when the company cannot profit from the surplus you generated and limits their payback/credits back to you, meaning you lose money. So when we install a battery and solar system to your home, the unused energy is transferred back to the battery for storage. You’ll use that energy at night instead of the utility’s - and won’t have to pay for the power you had already generated. This is the closest option to grid independence and to maximize your solar investment. As the grid continues to fail, we believe that every home will soon require a battery installation. Just as every household needs a water, heating and air system, they will need a whole house solar and storage system to meet their family’s energy needs.




What’s an inverter and do I need one?


The short answer is yes. As the most overlooked piece of the battery system, inverters manage when and how your batteries run. All battery storage systems require an inverter and will be programmed to run based on your preferences and needs.





INSTALLING SOLAR

Is there a rebate for residential battery storage installation?


Yes. If you live in a high fire risk community (and have a low income), you may be eligible for Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) money when you install a battery with solar panel system. This combination must draw at least 75 percent of the charge, have a single-cycle round-trip efficiency of at least 85 percent, and are enrolled in some kind of time-varying rate program. This new SGIP program can cover up to 100 percent of the total cost of a home battery system installation, with a rebate of $1 per watt-hour of battery storage installed. For instance, a Tesla Powerwall battery that holds 13.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) could be eligible for a rebate of $13,500 or the amount equal to the system cost. In order to qualify for the new equity resiliency incentive, you must be a homeowner in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 high fire threat area. Type in your address here to see if you qualify, then apply for SGIP (between March and April 2020). The online application can be found here.




How does battery backup work?


Let us start by saying, going solar is a smart decision, period. It doesn’t matter how you go solar, but who you go with. This decision will impact how much you save money. There are two ways to go solar:

  • Allow the utility company to be your battery, where you continue to rent your power from. They send your unused energy elsewhere, and return it when you need it for a discounted rate (e.g. at night). This means that the utility takes the power you generate, and sells it back to you, which still significantly saves you money compared to the status quo. However, the caveat is that you are still dependent on the grid and susceptible to high peak energy rates, limiting control over your own power.
  • Be your own utility and store your energy with a battery. What’s yours is yours! The biggest advantage here, as we see many of our homeowners take the leap, is the ability to control your power. This coupled with a generator ensures that you have electricity during an outage and protects you from Time-of-Use/Time-of-Day pricing during peak hours, and Rule 21.




What is Rule 21 and how does it impact you?


Rule 21 is an interconnection tariff levied by the California Public Utility Commission that sets rules for performance of power generation. It allows the utility to control your solar inverter and limit your energy production at any given time. This often occurs when the company cannot profit from the surplus you generated and limits their payback/credits back to you, meaning you lose money. So when we install a battery and solar system to your home, the unused energy is transferred back to the battery for storage. You’ll use that energy at night instead of the utility’s - and won’t have to pay for the power you had already generated. This is the closest option to grid independence and to maximize your solar investment. As the grid continues to fail, we believe that every home will soon require a battery installation. Just as every household needs a water, heating and air system, they will need a whole house solar and storage system to meet their family’s energy needs.




What’s an inverter and do I need one?


The short answer is yes. As the most overlooked piece of the battery system, inverters manage when and how your batteries run. All battery storage systems require an inverter and will be programmed to run based on your preferences and needs.





STORAGE TECHNOLOGY

Is there a rebate for residential battery storage installation?


Yes. If you live in a high fire risk community (and have a low income), you may be eligible for Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) money when you install a battery with solar panel system. This combination must draw at least 75 percent of the charge, have a single-cycle round-trip efficiency of at least 85 percent, and are enrolled in some kind of time-varying rate program. This new SGIP program can cover up to 100 percent of the total cost of a home battery system installation, with a rebate of $1 per watt-hour of battery storage installed. For instance, a Tesla Powerwall battery that holds 13.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) could be eligible for a rebate of $13,500 or the amount equal to the system cost. In order to qualify for the new equity resiliency incentive, you must be a homeowner in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 high fire threat area. Type in your address here to see if you qualify, then apply for SGIP (between March and April 2020). The online application can be found here.




How does battery backup work?


Let us start by saying, going solar is a smart decision, period. It doesn’t matter how you go solar, but who you go with. This decision will impact how much you save money. There are two ways to go solar:

  • Allow the utility company to be your battery, where you continue to rent your power from. They send your unused energy elsewhere, and return it when you need it for a discounted rate (e.g. at night). This means that the utility takes the power you generate, and sells it back to you, which still significantly saves you money compared to the status quo. However, the caveat is that you are still dependent on the grid and susceptible to high peak energy rates, limiting control over your own power.
  • Be your own utility and store your energy with a battery. What’s yours is yours! The biggest advantage here, as we see many of our homeowners take the leap, is the ability to control your power. This coupled with a generator ensures that you have electricity during an outage and protects you from Time-of-Use/Time-of-Day pricing during peak hours, and Rule 21.




What is Rule 21 and how does it impact you?


Rule 21 is an interconnection tariff levied by the California Public Utility Commission that sets rules for performance of power generation. It allows the utility to control your solar inverter and limit your energy production at any given time. This often occurs when the company cannot profit from the surplus you generated and limits their payback/credits back to you, meaning you lose money. So when we install a battery and solar system to your home, the unused energy is transferred back to the battery for storage. You’ll use that energy at night instead of the utility’s - and won’t have to pay for the power you had already generated. This is the closest option to grid independence and to maximize your solar investment. As the grid continues to fail, we believe that every home will soon require a battery installation. Just as every household needs a water, heating and air system, they will need a whole house solar and storage system to meet their family’s energy needs.




What’s an inverter and do I need one?


The short answer is yes. As the most overlooked piece of the battery system, inverters manage when and how your batteries run. All battery storage systems require an inverter and will be programmed to run based on your preferences and needs.





CA State Lic. 965111

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