Category: Solar Value

Making Solar Accessible for Every Californian – $2.99 per Watt Solar Installed in Only 30 Days

299pw-headerWith the aim of making solar power accessible for every family, Stellar Solar is offering southern California’s first ever $ 2.99 per watt solar program – and even installed in under 30 days.

This historic pricing $2.99 per watt solar combined with 2.49% financing and 30 day installation will enable more homeowners than ever to afford solar, have it installed quickly and drastically reduce their return on investment.

With lower pricing now available – solar can be more accessible for a wider range of homeowners, particularly with the lowest financing rates available.

Stellar Solar founding partner & President Kent Harle said to the press: “Henry Ford drove the retail price of the Model T down to $389 in a time when most automobiles cost on average over $1,000 and in return was rewarded with nearly 50% market share against nearly 1800 other car manufacturers in the US.”

“The solar industry is in a similar scenario. We grew nearly 100% last year but realized that to continue that growth we need solar to be within reach of a higher percentage of homeowners. In addition to lower pricing, we offer 2.49% financing and 30-day installation.”

A 4kW System – (14 panels) Installed for under $12,000! ($8,400 after the 30% Federal Tax Credit)
A 6kW System – (21 panels) Installed for under $18,000! ($12,600 after the 30% Federal Tax Credit)

-LG 285 watt Mono X Plus solar panels with SolarEdge inverter/optimizers
-Contracts must be signed by 7/31/2016
-Add $1.25/watt for clay tile, double-stacked tile, decra-metal or ground mounts
-Lowest financing rates available

The Cost of Solar in San Diego: Numbers Revealed

There are many factors that affect how much a solar installation will cost.

From the type of roof on the home, to the brand of solar panel, every installation is different and therefore the cost of installations are different customer to customer.  That’s why, generally, when potential customers want to know the “average cost of solar” in San Diego, we tell them we cannot give them an exact estimate without knowing the details of their installation first.

cost of solar san diego

Every home has different energy needs.


Everyone thinks they live in an “average” house but in fact, two houses next to each other in a subdivision may have very different energy needs. However, the solar modules themselves make up over half the cost of the solar energy system. So, knowing how many solar panels are needed is a good first step at calculating the cost of a system.

The number of modules needed will depend on how much power your home uses. So, a good way to evaluate what your solar system will cost is to look at your current energy bill, and calculate how much you will be spending over the next 6-10 years.  This is about what your system will cost after you subtract the current 30% income tax credit from the gross amount.

For example, if you are currently paying a power bill of about $150 a month, then for the next 6 years you will be paying $150/ month X 12 months X 6 years = $10,800. And that’s about what your solar energy system will cost after tax credit.

solar home value

Installing solar adds huge value to your home.

So, you recoup your initial investment in about 6 years and, for the next 20 years or more, your electricity is basically free.

Plus, your home is worth more money because you’ve invested this money in your home, increasing its asset value – instead of simply paying it to the power company and having nothing to show for it.

Real estate experts estimate that for every $1 in annual energy costs you save, you add $20 to the value of your home. So, by investing this money in a solar energy system for your home and saving $1,800 per year in energy costs, you are actually adding $36,000 in added value to your home!

Note that the cost of this example system BEFORE the tax credit is $15,429 and that tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2016.  So by going solar in the next 18 months, you will be saving an additional $4,629 by not waiting too long!

It’s very easy for a Stellar Solar specialist to calculate your exact system cost based on energy needs. All we need is a copy of a recent SDGE bill or simply the account number, meter number and zip code – and we’ll do the rest.

For a free quote on a solar system for your home in San Diego, send us your information at:

3 Reasons Why Solar Has Gotten So Cheap

The solar industry has changed dramatically in the past five years, some would even say that it’s in a “boom”.

Since 2010, the amount of solar installations has grown exponentially, with the amount of the amount of installed solar capacity topping 6,000 Megawatts in 2014; nearly six times that of the amount installed in 2010.  What can explain this huge uptick in solar sales?

The price.

Graph via

Graph via

While we would like to believe that US citizens have all suddenly woken up to the environmental benefits of going solar, we are more inclined to believe that the falling price, and the savings that are yielded, are the real motivation behind the sudden switch.  In years past solar wasn’t quite worth it, but now homeowners cannot turn their heads away from the numbers.  Solar is now too good of a deal to deny, mostly due to three factors:

1. Cheaper Panels

Probably the biggest contributing factor to the price of solar installations dropping is the fact that solar panels are much cheaper than they used to be.  A recent report by the SEIA found that the price of photovoltaic solar panels has dropped 63% since 2010.  The reason for this can be partly attributed to China, when a few years ago they decided to enter the solar market.  The Chinese opened up a ton of panel factories, so many in fact that there was a surplus of panels once these manufacturers hit the market.  This surplus caused the price of panels to plummet, and they’ve stayed low since.


2. Easier Installationssolar

As with any business, the biggest cost for solar companies is labor – paying the guys who install the solar system.  While solar installers aren’t being paid any less than they used to, they are working faster and more efficiently.  New technologies that allow panels to be simply snapped in place have allowed for installations to take a quarter of the time they used to, which saves the solar companies money, in turn saving the solar consumer money.

3. Financing Options

New financing options have allowed for a new economic class to access solar.  While a new solar system may cost $25,000, solar companies like us at Stellar offer financing options to fit a wide variety of budgets.  Most companies offer a lease or loan option, with lease agreements typically lasting 20 years.  Stellar Solar offers a zero money down, 1.89% solar loan along with a solar lease that is backed by industry leader Sunpower.

So it’s clear why solar panel installation has gotten so cheap, and thusly, so popular.  With a plummet in panel prices, cheaper and more efficient labor, and affordable financing, solar has never been cheaper or more accessible.  Projections show that these prices should remain stable or drop even more over the next few years; a good indication that solar will continue to boom.

Solar Cars: How You Can Save Thousands on Gas by Going Solar

Filling up your gas tank can be one of the most painful parts of the day.

You work hard for your money, and watching how much of that hard work gets wasted at the pump can be a bit discouraging.  For many of us, gas is a huge expense that can eat up a lot of our money.  If only we could break our addiction to that liquid gold that is gasoline, we could save money we never knew we had.

The good news is, you can break the gasoline addiction.  No, you don’t have to ride a bike, but nowadays, the payoff of owning an electric car is hard to ignore.  The hybrids and full electric cars out there today are becoming more mainstream, and more and more people are waking up to the savings that an electric car can bring.

solar cars

Let’s break down the savings.

A standard gasoline car gets about 20 miles to the gallon.  Gas, although it does fluctuate a lot, is generally around $4.00 a gallon.  So the cost per mile of driving a standard gasoline car is about 20 cents a mile.

The standard electric car these days gets about 3.5 miles for every kilowatt-hour.  The average kilowatt-hour costs a homeowner about 20 cents per kWh.  So the cost per mile of driving an electric car that your charge at home is about 5.7 cents a mile.

So the saving are obvious there.  By switching to electric, the cost to drive your car literally is cut by almost 75%.  Pretty incredible right?  But think about this:  what if your electricity was costing you less?

By switching to solar energy to power your home, you can cut your power bills by more than half. The average solar installation makes the cost of a kilowatt-hour drop from 20 cents a kWh to 7 cents a kWh.

So how does this translate to savings when it comes to driving?

Solar cars, when powered by a solar powered home, will cost only 2 cents per mile to drive.  With electric cars getting 3.5 miles per kWh, at 7 cents a kWh, solar powered cars save you 90% per mile.

So it’s obvious that solar cars are the cheapest way to get around.  The question remains though as to how expensive these electric cars are compared to their counterparts, and how easy they are to attain.

The new hybrid 2015 Nissan Leaf starts at $29,000.  They are now easily available at any Nissan dealership.  A comparable non-electric car of similar size from Nissan, the 2015 Nissan Sentra, a similar sized hatchback, starts at around $16,500.

So let’s look at how the gas savings compare.  Let’s say you commute 30 miles a day, five days a week.  So you drive 150 miles a week, 600 miles a month, and 7,200 miles a year.

Nissan Sentra: 7,200 Miles X 20 cents a mile = 144,000 cents, or $1,440 for a years’ worth of driving.

Nissan Leaf (without solar powered home): 7,200 Miles X 5.7 cents a mile = 41,040 cents or $410.40 for a year’s worth of driving.

Nissan Leaf (with solar powered home): 7,200 Miles X 2 cents a Mile = 14,400 cents, or $144 for a years’ worth of driving.

So if you’re driving a solar powered car, you could be saving around $1,300 a year on gas.  The savings on gas will make up for the price difference between the Leaf and the Sentra in around 9 years, and after that it’s purely savings.

Setting an example for anyone considering solar powered cars is Stellar Solar’s own VP of Sales and Marketing Michael Powers.  Powers drives his Nissan Leaf to and from work every day, and plugs it in to his solar powered home at night. In a recent interview with the Union Tribune, Michael had this to say about his solar car:  “I drive an electric car that I plug into a solar-powered house so that car runs on sunshine, and to me that’s a great idea.”

solar powered cars

Michael Powers mows his lawn next to his solar powered car.


2014 Solar Industry Report

In 2014 the solar industry continued to see the exponential growth that is has been experiencing the last few years.  We put together this infographic to illustrate just how much the solar industry has grown.

2014 solar industry report

How Valuable is a PV Solar System?

We’ve all heard it before.

The benefits of adding a photovoltaic solar system to your home are innumerable, but one that you always hear is that it adds value to your home.

photovoltaic solar system

That should be obvious, as the systems are expensive and save tons of money, but the question of just how much value they add to your home has mostly remained unanswered, up until recently.

 In conjunction with Sandia National Laboratories, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory have recently completed the largest study on the effect of solar photovoltaic systems on home values in history.  Researchers more than doubled the amount of solar homes evaluated from previous studies, looking at around 22,000 home sales, 4,000 of which had PV systems.  In order to open up the scope of the research, researchers also looked at eight states outside of California where solar is not as prevalent.  Considering all these factors, the study is the most extensive of its kind.

The research determined that home buyers will pay about $4 per watt of installed PV, which averages out to about a $15,000 premium per home.  This value is averaged based on information gathered from housing busts, booms, and recoveries, so if projections are accurate, it should remain consistent.

The next step towards achieving this standard of value for PV systems is for realtors to be able to more accurately appraise homes with systems installed.  Hopefully, researchers will continue to improve valuing methods that realtors will adopt, and the value of PV systems will remain consistent and measurable.



How Solar Power Works: An Infographic

Have you ever wondered how solar power works?

How those weird looking solar panels convert sunlight into power for your home? We at Stellar have found that many people are in the dark about how the process of using solar power for your home works, so we put together this simplified info graphic to help you understand:


how solar power works


2013 and Beyond: Future of Renewable Energy

We’re all watching as San Diego’s local government, San Diego businesses, investors and home owners are making a financial choice to go solar in San Diego. Every indication is that they will continue to do so well into the future. With evidence showing that renewables such photovoltaic solar being the way forward, we look forward to meeting these challenges in the future with our San Diego solar alliance.

But where is the San Diego solar power industry headed, or on a larger scale, where is the renewable energy industry going? According to the new Renewables Global Futures Report 2013 by the global renewable energy policy network REN-21; the future of the renewable energy industry is dependent on ‘finance, risk-return profiles, business models, investment lifetimes and a host of other economic, policy and social factors.’

Okay, this is perhaps a standard bit of insight that is largely applicable to any other industry. Still, it’s worth examining this and other reports to understand what is in store for renewables in 2013 and beyond. Examining the final quarter of 2012, the latest Energy Industries Council Monitor report found that the renewable energy sector grew by 9%. Additionally, there were 295 new projects in the renewable sector worth around $165.3 billion in the latter half of 2012.

Contrasted with the power sector which saw new projects drop by 14%; an even stronger renewable sector picture is painted. Further, investors more than doubled their renewable energy sector investment in 2012, accounting for a third of renewable value last year generated by ever diverse groups of buyers. PwC global power and utilities leader Norbert Schwieters stated that outside investors now account for ‘37% of industry buyer share, attracted by long-term growth and steady-return potential.’

REN-21’s report further found that ‘finance challenge’ is the primary challenge. This can be met with greater external investment and investment models created by local government, services, and utilities. REN-21 also made projections of a massive $500 billion renewable energy investment by 2020. This is all highly encouraging to both the San Diego solar energy scene and the renewable energy industry in general. We’re excited to be a part of it.

Electric Vehicles: The USA’s New Normal

minipanelsThe Stellar Solar Nissan Leaf parked under the SDG&E Innovation Center Solar Trees

Here at Stellar we’ve always been big proponents of electric and hybrid vehicles; with many of our employees and customers driving and thriving on electric vehicles powered by the sun.

Vice President of Sales & Marketing Michael Powers drives the Nissan Leaf, the world’s strongest selling electric car. Take a look at Peder Norby; San Diego Planning Commisioner and a Stellar Solar customer. The Norby’s power their BMW Mini-E, ActiveE as well as his home with his 7.5kW solar system we installed. They save $4000 a year in home electricity cost as well as over $3000 in gasoline costs.

When you look at the economics, it’s no doubt that electric car sales have tripled in size from 2012 from 2011. According to Pike Research, the USA will have the biggest electric vehicle market by 2020; with 1.8 million electric cars on the road. Charging networks are increasing in top metropolitan areas in the United States, even including places like Texas; the 4th most popular place for favorable EV opinion. With attitudes, education and infrastructure on electric vehicles changing, we look forward to participating in the evolution towards environmentally friendly vehicles.

World’s Biggest Solar Project: Coming Soon to Southern California

buffetcommercial pinterestSouthern California’s Kern and Los Angeles counties are set to have the largest solar project in the world. At 579-megawatts, the development will be serving almost 1 million residents. It’s been reported that MidAmerican Energy Holdings, an electric utility owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s group, for around $2 to $2.5 billion.

Construction finishes in 2015, employing about 650 workers and selling electricity to Southern California Edison. The project is a step in the right direction for California’s goal of 33% of electricity being renewable based by 2020.

California businesses and residents can easily be a part of the renewable shift. Our clients such as the Salk Institute have gone solar and are reaping the economic rewards whilst providing their facilities with clean, green energy. Home owners in California now have access to no-money down solar leasing that immediately saves you money as well as providing added-value to your home.


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