No more rain means plenty of sun.

Project manager, Matt Thompson, on the left, with the two volunteers, Hamid Saadat and Tom Kabat.
Project manager, Matt Thompson, on the left, with the two volunteers, Hamid Saadat and Tom Kabat.

Time to Go Solar!

Another Los Altos home just got a solar installation this weekend.

The homeowner, Joe Adler, has been in his Cuesta Avenue home for a year and he and his wife wanted to do more than just the usual energy upgrades of adding more insulation and installing LED lights.  Since they already had double pane windows and a good furnace, they decided to go with solar photovoltaic panels.

They selected a company that has a unique business model, that of using volunteer help for the actual installation.  The company’s professional staff does the planning, gets the permit and manages all aspects of the installation.  The volunteers help with the work.  They are people, men and women, with good mechanical skills who either want on-the-job training, are curious about the process, or simply want to be involved with a good, environmentally conscious company.  This helps the company, SunWork, keep the price reasonable.  Two other things about SunWork, they are a non-profit operation and they only work on small systems (average electric bill <$130/month).

According to Joe, his cost was about $3/watt.  This compares to a more typical price of $4.50/watt.  For the amount of electricity he and his family use, that means he will have free energy in just six years.  Then all they will have to pay is the PG&E grid connection fee (<$5/month).

As Joe puts it, “In this area, it’s the right thing to do.”

If you have sun on your roof, what are you waiting for?

Gary Hedden

Chair - Energy Program

GreenTown Los Altos

Photo credit:  Mike Balma


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