Stellar People: Ethan Cowling, Commercial Solar & Storage Designer

Stellar People: our world class team telling their stories. 

This week we bring you Ethan Cowling, our Commercial Solar & Storage Designer who tells his story and how the solar industry is a game changer.

Ethan’s Story

I’m from Anchorage, Alaska and grew up playing sports and going outside a lot. My Dad is an electrical engineer, and wrote his thesis on lithium ion batteries in the 90’s.

Soccer led me down to California, where I played on a semi-professional team and tryouts in Europe. When I got back to the states and went to the University of Arizona. 

Why Solar 

My first job out of college was at Stellar Solar as a residential PV designer and surveyor. From there I worked in the service department, and the construction/engineering. Last year I switched departments to the commercial department to get involved with the energy storage (battery) products. 

How Solar is a Game Changer

I’m confident in the future of this, in my personal experience with solar, it’s been extremely beneficial regardless if you participate in net metering or not. 

I’ve locked in the price of my power, and that’s a great feeling, even if SDG&E goes and raises the rates by double in five years I will still have locked in most of my power. Now a battery would help me get to that fully independent place, and I think that people are going to continue to see the value in this regardless of what’s happening with net metering. 

How You Can Use Solar to Avoid Rate Hikes 

Many Stellar Solar customers are using a combination of solar, batteries, and even electric vehicles to achieve energy independence. The Norby family in Carlsbad completed an installation of a solar system from Stellar Solar, a decision that paved the way for savings exceeding $100,000 and complete energy autonomy. For almost two decades, they’ve enjoyed the compound benefits of no gas or electricity bills, a testament to the power of solar and battery storage in San Diego. 

How does it work? It’s a three-pronged approach: harnessing solar panels to capture the sun’s energy, storing excess power in a home battery, and adopting electric vehicles. Through this setup, the Norbhy family liberated themselves from reliance on traditional energy sources and shielded themselves from SDG&E rate hikes.

Their strategy is simple yet effective: utilizing energy generated by their solar system, tapping into stored battery power during off-peak periods, and selling surplus energy back to the grid. This not only saves them money but also supports the utility company, by reducing net energy demand during peak times.

What’s great is that achieving “Zero Net Energy” doesn’t require a significant upfront investment. Many homeowners opt to finance their solar systems with loans while still qualifying for federal tax credits, making renewable energy more accessible than ever before.

If you’re wondering, a tax credit is a direct reduction in your income tax liability, dollar for dollar. Claiming a $5,000 federal tax credit means you’ll owe $5,000 less in taxes. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), enables taxpayers to claim a percentage of their new system’s cost on their income taxes. Currently, the ITC can cover up to 30% of the system’s cost in 2024!

Go Solar in San Diego and Orange County

If you want to work with our team at Stellar Solar, get in touch at or call us at 866.787.6527. We can walk you through the solar process and help you optimize the full financial benefits.