I've gone solar. Or at least I tried. Photovoltaic panels were installed in August, 2008.These panels would have generated approximately the same amount of electricity I use for a year. That means it would have zeroed out my electricity bill. No matter how the price of electricity changes, as long as I don't use more, I wouldn't have had to pay. That means as the cost of electricity goes up, the savings also increase and the system pays for itself faster. Providing the system is actually turned on and working. And if my needs increase? I can just add more panels. My inverter can handle up to six more panels. Cost? Up front about $23,000. But....within a few weeks I'll be getting $6,000 back from the State of California in the form of a rebate check. And when I do my 2008 taxes, I'll get $2,000 off my taxes from the feds. So, total cost? About $14,000. That's assuming the system passes inspection and is turned on.

Now, the sytem has failed inspection and I only make the final payment if it passes. So....$1,000 up front, 1st progress payment: $1,729.87, 2nd progress payment: $9,158.44. That addes up to $10,338.31. So far it seems it's cheaper to fail the inspection than to have to pay God knows how much to upgrade my electrical system. Something I should have been informed of BEFORE ANY OF THIS EVER STARTED.


Here is a before shot.

You can see my Solatube tubular skylight for the kitchen. Best $500 I ever put into the house. Provides fabulous light during the day, and even on moonlit nights.

That vent near the roofline is for the hotwater heater.

The roof is fairly new; 2001. It's architectural shingles and supposed to last 50 years. It had better as I don't want to have to reroof ever. So it better last until after I die.


And here is the after.

These are Sharp panels. The racking system is a little new so they were on sale as Sharp is trying to encourage their use. They are the most efficient panels on the market but since I have a huge amount of space they were the best bang for the buck.

Here you can also see the new paint job. I haven't finished the front door yet.

Yes, I know the fence needs to be repainted too.


Here is my inverter. It's a Sunnyboy 4000. Plenty of room to grow. I can add 6-7 more panels without having to change my inverter. Sweet.

If only it were true. It does no good to add panels to a system that will never be up and running because it will never pass inspection.


Here is my ancient meter and the new shut off.

The meter was on the house when I moved in in 1987. For all I know it goes back to the 1949 remodel. But it does run backwards when the system is on. That's all it needs to do.

The shut off is in case there is an emergency and SDG&E needs to shut my system down. Good luck. I have an 8 foot fence and a very territorial dog.

Unfortunately, it looks like it will never be turned on. I've flunked my inspection. The city inspector says I only have 60 amps coming into my house. See the small conduit on the meter? 60 amps. Apparently QUALIFIED electrician can look at it and know. But NOT Borrego Solar.



And here is my circuit breaker panel. As you can see it's full. The solar breakers are on the lower left. They are currently off as I still need to be inspected by the city and then SDG&E.

It wasn't easy for them to find new breakers for that spot. This panel is 20 years old (and Home Depot cheap.) But good old San Diego Electric just a few blocks away had them. Man....I love that place.

And apparently this isn't up to code either. So no solar for me. Not unless I upgrade my entire electrical system to 125. Who's paying for that? Not me. That's fine. Borrego Solar just won't get their final payment because my system didn't pass inspection.

Thinking of going Solar? I suggest you find someone else.* While the actual installers of Borrego Solar do very good work (and this according to the city inspector), the project managers and pencil neck desk jockeys are completely clueless, careless and have poor organizational and management skills. Not exactly a shining recommendation.

Every step of the way I asked "Are you sure?" Before I signed the contract...Are you sure my house has enough power? Are you sure my circuit breaker panel is big enough? Yes. Yes. And again when the workmen showed up I asked the electrician. Are you sure my house has enough power? Are you sure the circuit breaker panel can handle this? Yes. Yes. And even when the inspector told them they couldn't tie in at the meter and they decided to tie in at my circuit breaker box. How can it be safe to do it inside at the circuit breaker box if it's not safe outside? Don't worry. It's fine.

Well, it's not. I can upgrade my entire electrical system or I can have this thing sitting on my roof, doing nothing. Borrego Solar says it's all my fault. I say it's their fault they don't know how to do their job. At any rate, I have their money. The contract says no final payment until the system passes inspection. It will be interesting to see how they propose to get the city inspector to pass this boondoggle.

*I recommend you call Hal Slater at Alternative Energy Technologies, 619-562-8811, e-mail: hal@alternertech.com 94658 Mission Park Place, Santee, CA 92071

Next, I'm looking at a tankless water heater. At least that will work.  
new meter
Well, I have a new meter. No extra cost to me. The entire thing had to be moved to the garage within four feet of the alley. So I put in a fence to separate the area from the rest of the backyard (and keep the dog away from the meter reader) It was the most logical spot. And it could have been done this way to begin with!
new gate
And here is the new "easement". I built a new gate separating the meter area from the rest of the back yard. It only has to be 6 feet tall. And since the alley gate was falling apart I built a new gate this summer. It gives me a chance to get my hose bib set for washing the car without the dog "stupidvising". And the irrigation is all on timers, just the way I like it. Next: extending the drip to the pergola



Sewing Room
Photovoltaic Panels      
Tankless Water Heater      

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