Make your home energy efficient and reduce your energy usage first. This allows you to reduce the size of your solar photovoltaic (PV) system and initial investment. You can review our residential rebates, energy saving tips, or call our Energy Conservation Hotline at 408-244-SAVE (7283) to discuss opportunities to save energy.
Evaluate your electricity needs and crunch the numbers.
Determine your current and future energy needs.
- Current - Check your electric bills. A 12-month history will be best as your usage will vary from season to season.
- Future - A typical PV system will last 25 years, and your energy needs may change over time. If you are thinking of expanding or electrifying your home, or buying an electric vehicle, your future needs may increase. On the other hand, if you have kids that may be moving out, perhaps a smaller system might be more feasible and the better option.
Silicon Valley Power has one of the lowest electricity rates in California and may cause your savings to be less than PV systems in other electric utility territories. Make sure to provide your contractor Silicon Valley Power's Net Energy Service rate schedule to help determine your savings.
Incentives and Financing Options
Review Incentives and Financing Options and research what financing options your contractor offers.
Finding the right contractor is important. Silicon Valley Power recommends the following:
- Contact multiple companies and obtain quotes from at least three different contractors, and check their references.
- Verify your contractor is a licensed solar contractor by contacting the Contractors State License Board. Your contractor must have an active A, B, C-10, or C-46 license.
- Question any differences or discrepancies between quotes.
- Lastly, take your time and do not be pressured into making a quick decision.
Once you sign a contract with a contractor, most contractors will manage the installation process for you, including but not limited to obtaining permits and meeting interconnection requirements.
After Silicon Valley Power provides permission to operate (PTO), you may energize your system and enjoy its benefits. Read our Understanding Your Bill webpage to learn more about your new electric rate.