“Reduce then Produce” part of San Diego Summer of Energy Independence
July 26, 2011 (San Diego) — San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced today a new citywide program that provides special savings on home energy efficiency upgrades and solar energy installations. It's all part of the San Diego Summer of Energy Independence. The program is now under way; to participate, homeowners must sign up by October 20, 2011.
The program, called Reduce then Produce, creates a pathway for homeowners to reduce energy use and lower utility costs while improving their home’s comfort and creating a healthier home environment.
“This program is designed to make it both easier and less expensive for San Diego homeowners to get their homes into top energy shape,” Sanders said. “It has the added benefit of supporting local solar panel producers and installers, which means jobs for San Diegans.”
The city is working in collaboration with the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), GroupEnergy and more than a dozen local home performance contractors and solar installers to conduct the Reduce then Produce Group Savings Program. The initiative leverages the state’s two leading energy programs, Energy Upgrade California™ and the California Solar Initiative, and adds discounts and group purchasing for solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal systems.
“The best way for homeowners to take advantage of clean energy technologies is to first achieve energy savings through efficiency measures and then install solar energy systems to generate their own power,” said Irene Stillings, CCSE executive director. “Creating sustainable, clean energy is such an important opportunity on so many levels – for a better environment, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, decreased dependence on foreign oil – and our long-term security as individuals and as a nation.”
"This first-of-its-kind collaborative purchasing program for energy efficiency and solar improvements makes it easy and affordable for homeowners to lower their utility bills and produce clean energy," said Jessie Denver, founder of GroupEnergy. "San Diego leads the state in residential solar and this program furthers the sustainability goals of the community. The experience of GroupEnergy ensures that homeowners will enjoy quality products and reputable contractors; and we’re excited to partner with CCSE to offer this program.”
Participating homeowners begin the program by going to SDreduceproduce.org and answering few basic questions. From there they choose a participating home performance contractor to provide a comprehensive home energy assessment.
The assessment checks the condition of heating and air conditioning systems, ductwork, attic insulation, air leaks and other items. For a limited time, contractors participating in Reduce then Produce have agreed to provide the energy assessment, which can cost up to $500, to participating homeowners for no more than $199. They are also able to help homeowners get incentives of up to $4,000 for improvements from the Energy Upgrade California program.
Once the energy upgrade has reduced the home’s energy consumption, homeowners have the option of installing solar energy production. The average residential solar PV system in San Diego is 4 kilowatts; however, after an energy upgrade, a 2- or 3-kilowatt system will probably be sufficient for all energy needs. Homeowners who are certain their home is as energy efficient as possible already can bypass the “reduce” qualification by getting an independent HERS II rating. If they get a HERS II rating of 100 or lower, which is equivalent to 2008 Title 24 code, the owner can join in the solar group purchase directly. If their house doesn’t meet the criteria, the homeowner can opt for an energy upgrade. HERS II raters are not providing the $199 discount for their ratings and assessments, but homeowners who take the HERS path and complete an upgrade will be eligible for a $300 rebate.
Reduce then Produce takes advantage of group purchasing being supplied by two solar companies, who replied to a competitive solicitation from GroupEnergy. Sullivan Solar Power and SunPower are offering home solar PV systems for about 25 percent less than the average cost of 2-4 kilowatt systems installed in San Diego in the last year. When about 100 homes install solar through the program, each company will provide their pool of customers an additional 5 percent back on their installation price. Homeowners are also eligible for a rebate of about 13 percent of system costs from the California Solar Initiative and a 30 percent federal tax credit.
“We can’t think of anything more perfect for the average San Diego homeowner than to take advantage of the ultimate trifecta: the City’s Reduce Then Produce program, the California Solar Initiative rebate program and the financing offered through San Diego Metropolitan Credit Union. When you consider that most residents will be able to go solar for less than their SDG&E bill, it’s a no-brainer,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power.
Sullivan Solar Power is the lead solar contractor in the program and will be joined by several local SunPower dealers. Sullivan earned first position due to their emphasis on local sourcing. They are installing locally manufactured Kyocera modules and are a locally owned and operated company employing 41 San Diegans. SunPower’s dealer network includes several locally owned solar installation companies.
"Kyocera commends the City of San Diego and CCSE for offering this innovative program, which will make the decision to adopt solar energy even easier for a growing number of San Diegans," said Steve Hill, President of Kyocera Solar, Inc. "Kyocera has manufactured in San Diego since 1971, and our new solar module production line is running at full capacity."
“As summer electric bills rise, now is the perfect time to use solar and to reduce the cost of your electricity,” said Jim Pape, president of SunPower’s residential and commercial business group. “SunPower’s world-leading solar systems give homeowners up to 50 percent more power from their roofs while maximizing a return on their investment.”
Participating Reduce then Produce home performance contractors are Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar; Advanced Comfort Solutions, Inc.; Alpine Green Property Services, Inc.; American Insulation, Inc.; ASI Hastings Heating & Air Conditioning; Classic Residential; Construction Alliance Group; Energy Smart; Greenwise Solutions; Solar City; Solaris and US Green Energy Technologies.
For more information, visit www.sdreduceproduce.org or call 858-244-1177.
California Center for Sustainable Energy is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of services that help people adopt greener practices and save energy and money through rebates, technical assistance and public education. For more information and workshop listings, visit www.energycenter.org or call 1-866-SDENERGY.
GroupEnergy makes energy efficiency and solar improvements simple, accessible and social. The organization helps organizations achieve their corporate social responsibility and sustainability goals through engagement programs that activate their workforce, community and enhance their brand. For more information, visit www.mygroupenergy.com.