Homeowners in San Diego County have a new tool when considering the costs and benefits of installing rooftop solar panels.
The local nonprofit Center for Sustainable Energy launched a web page this week that allows residents to see how much they could save on their electrical bills based on a number of factors.
The web-based “Solar Savings Calculator” is intended to inform consumers who are considering whether to contract with a particular installation company, said Christina Machak, senior research analyst for the center.
“The value proposition for solar depends on lowering a homeowner’s monthly electricity bills,” she said. “The calculator gives a household-specific look at what homeowners can shave off their monthly utility bills in actual energy and dollar savings.”
The calculator uses location data to determine how much sunlight a particular home gets exposed to, as well as energy consumption patterns for residential customers of San Diego Gas & Electric. Users can download a detailed history of their electricity use from the utility and then upload it the center’s website.
The tool also uses updated information on the state’s net-energy-metering program, which determines how customers are compensated for the solar power they generate. In general, if ratepayers produce more electricity than they consume in a given year, they are paid a wholesale market price, which is less than the retail price, for that excess energy.