Are You Adding Solar Panels to Your Manhattan Beach Home?



A few years ago I listed and sold a home in the Beach Cities that had Solar Panels. It would have been fair to say at the time that I didn't know what I didn't know about solar. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my seller clients had just signed a 20 year lease for the panels six months earlier. I guess they thought they would not be moving anytime soon. Whoops.

I heard someone say Solar Panels are the new Granite and I know many people are thinking of installing solar panels. In fact, I've been toying with the idea. Kind of goes with my desire to get an electric car or plug in hybrid. But as with all home ownership decisions, there are definitely a number of considerations because things are not always what they seem:
  • Under state law, owners of rooftop solar systems benefit from “net metering,” a system that credits them for any electricity that they contribute to the grid at the same price they pay for electricity. 
  • These credits essentially are banked and are redeemed when the homeowners use electricity at night. 
  •  Edison, for example, charges its customers a minimum of 15 cents per kilowatt hour for the minimal amounts of electricity needed for lighting, refrigeration and other basic needs before the prices go up to 21, 24 or 30 cents per kilowatt hours, depending on how much electricity is used. 
However there are a number of changes that may be coming down the pike.
Instead of getting credits worth 15 cents or more for their grid contributions, homeowners will get compensated 8 cents per kilowatt hour, which is comparable to the wholesale price that Edison pays power plant owners. 

What’s more, Edison also wants to charge a monthly fees to owners of solar systems, based on the size of their systems. For example, the owner of a typical 5-kilowatt system would pay $15 a month. I'm not sure what part of this home owners are supposed to get excited about. According to industry experts, owners of home solar systems are contributing to the grid mostly during the heat of the day, when electricity is needed by millions of air conditioners. I think that's a good thing but here's what you need to know.
The commission is expected to make a decision before the end of the year, and put the new rules into place by 2017. Any changes would not affect those who have already have solar systems. So depending on how they define "already" you may want to jump on that while you can.

Stay tuned.

Three other comments.

I was able to sell the house that had 19 1/2 more years running on the lease by factoring it into the price. It was definitely a deal killer for some potential buyers but eventually sold to someone who wanted to buy an electric car.

I haven't had any home owners ask yet if it it a good investment for resale but I trust that is coming soon. FYI, answer will be "it depends".

The new granite is quartz!

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