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Solar Energy

 

 

SolarRC Expansion Project

The City boosted its commitment to renewable energy with the installation of solar power at five sites  including Central Park, Epicenter, Animal Center, Banyan and Day Creek Fire Stations.  The SolarRC Expansion Project consists of  1.8 megawatts (MW) of power.  The total system will prevent 33,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the air or the equivalent to taking 7,100 cars off the road over its lifetime.  The solar monitoring system shows the solar generation to date.

The SolarRC Expansion Project  has been highlighted in a recent Press Release, the local newspaper,  and City RC Reporter newsletter. 

Background information regarding the project can be found here.

The City of Rancho Cucamonga has several city facilities with renewable solar power including the Biane Library, Corporate Yard, and City Hall. 

Converting energy from the sun is a clean, renewable, and economic way to power homes and buildings. Solar energy is great for homeowners, businesses, and property owners.  Here is what you need to know to join in.

Solar Basics

Sunlight is abundant, especially in southern California, and can be used to power homes and buildings by converting the sun’s energy to electricity. To learn more about how solar energy works visit the Department of Energy’s solar energy technologies website.

Solar Photovoltaic vs. Solar Thermal 

There are two main types of solar energy currently available: solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal water heating. Solar PV uses panels to convert sunlight into electricity.  Solar thermal energy uses sunlight to heat your home’s water.

Energy efficiency and solar energy go hand in hand. The ideal way to maximize your home’s energy efficiency is to take a “whole house” approach in making it as efficient as possible. This includes insulation, sealing, energy efficient lighting fixtures and appliances, passive solar heating and cooling practices complemented with renewable energy.

Rebates and Financing

There are a variety of rebates and financial assistance available for installing a solar PV system. 

  • California Solar Initiative: The state’s solar rebate program is open to homes and businesses who install solar thermal or solar PV systems. CSI also offers rebates for low-income qualifying homeowners and multi-family affordable housing.

  • Federal Tax Credit: The federal government provides a tax credit, available until December 31, 2016, for residents and businesses who install solar thermal or solar PV systems. Visit www.irs.gov for more details and helpful summaries about the program.
  • Energy Upgrade California: The statewide Energy Upgrade California program offers up to $4,500 worth of rebates for energy efficiency home upgrades including solar thermal and solar PV.
  • Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Utility (RCMU Customers Only): RCMU’s Renewable Energy Program offers its customers solar incentives for purchasing and installing solar PV systems.

  • GRID Alternatives Inland Empire: The City is excited to partner with non-profit GRID Alternatives Inland Empire to inform qualifying Rancho Cucamonga homeowners about receiving no- to low-cost solar panels through their Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program. The solar permit fee will also be waived for qualifying properties.  Apply today!

 

Applying for a Solar Permit

If you would like to install a solar PV or solar thermal system, begin by choosing a licensed contractor who can lead you through the permit and installation process or apply on your behalf for a city permit. If you have any questions about solar permitting please contact the Building & Safety Department at (909) 477-2710. Below are the city’s solar permitting documents.

 
Connecting your PV System to the Grid

The Contractor and/or property owner must apply to their electrical utility for permission to “interconnect” the solar system into the electricity grid. Contact your electrical utility, Southern California Edison, about connecting your solar PV system to the grid. This approval is completely separate from the local government approval.

Additional Resources

Solar Calculators: Go Solar California has compiled a list of calculators to assist with estimating costs, payback, and electricity generation from solar PV and solar thermal systems.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is the standard timeline and fee for a solar permit?

A:  Most permits can be issued immediately or over the counter and the fee is $192.00.

Q: As a homeowner am I allowed to install my own photovoltaic system?

A: At this time the installer must be approved having a C-46 or C-10 license. Since solar is a newly established and developing market a homeowner may be allowed to install his or her own system in the future. All installations are required to comply with current codes and city ordinances.

Q: I am under the jurisdiction of Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Utility (RCMU) as my provider of power. What conditions, if any, am I required to comply with?

 A: The city is currently under development and attempting to standardize all photovoltaic system installations. Contact RCMU Customer Service at (909) 477-2740 extension 4012 or send an email to obtain current requirements and regulations. Ultimately all utility providers are attempting to establish the safest and streamlined installation of photovoltaic systems.

Q: As the homeowner, who is in charge of contacting the city during my solar photovoltaic system installation?

 A: The California Building Code section 110 “Inspection” clearly defines “It shall be the permit applicant” such as the contractor or project representative to make all communication requesting inspection(s) and provide all the appropriate documentation during and at final inspection. However, as the homeowner you are urged to contact the appropriate departments if you have any concerns or want clarification on the type of inspection performed by your city representative.

Q: What are the financing options for a solar photovoltaic system?

A: Since solar systems are an investment, you should consider different options for financing and choose one that best suits you. Purchasing a solar system yourself means that you are responsible for the entire cost of the solar system which includes installation, the panels, and any other related costs. Although you foot the bill, this means that the system is entirely yours.  A solar lease is similar to leasing a vehicle: when you rent the solar system for a set number of years, use the energy that is generated, and have an option to buy or turn in the system. It also comes with built in maintenance. A power purchase agreement (PPA) means that you purchase the power that is generated from a third party vendor’s solar system at a set price per kilowatt hour for a set term, typically between 10 to 20 years. Lastly, there are loan programs that assist with financing the solar system and you may be able to install other energy efficient upgrades to the property as well. For more information visit the California Solar Initiative’s page on solar financing.