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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

Despite their appreciation for the environmental benefits of solar power, Donna and Patrick Will thought converting to solar energy would never make financial sense for them. However, after hearing about the Solarize Santa Ynez Valley program, the Wills decided to take another look at solar.

“We have always strived to be conscious of our environmental footprint, but we never had enough information to determine whether solar power could be environmentally and economically beneficial for us,” explains Donna.

The Wills attended a free, educational workshop offered through the Solarize Santa Ynez Valley program. The workshop convinced the Wills to schedule a consultation with REC Solar to map out a potential solar plan for their home. “After our in-home appointment with REC Solar, we were sold,” explains Donna, adding, “Brian, a Solar Consultant from REC, prepared a detailed projection of how much energy we would produce and the monetary and energy savings we could realize. We made up our minds on the spot.”

REC Solar helped the Wills choose the size and payment plan that would be the most economically beneficial, given their average monthly electricity bill of $150. The 3.5 kW array, offered as a 20-year, prepaid lease by REC Solar, is guaranteed to produce over 5,000 kWh of solar energy annually, an assurance that convinced the Wills to go solar through a lease. “It’s great to get PG&E bills that say you owe nothing and that you are carrying a credit balance,” explains Donna. “And in just six years, our savings in utility bills will have paid off our initial investment, and we will be enjoying free electricity.”

After a year of saving with solar, the Wills couldn’t be happier. Donna remarks that their solar panels have been “Totally worry free! We have not had a single problem and have not had to call REC Solar a single time.”

Although the Wills once viewed investing in solar as an unfeasible way for them to lead more sustainable lives, the Solarize program gave them the tools they needed to make an informed decision. Given Solarize’s free solar education and great price, the Wills determined that converting to solar indeed made financial sense. Donna concludes, “Let’s just say, without the Solarize campaign, we would not have solar.”


The Details:
System Size 3.5 kW DC
Type of System 14 Yingli YL250P modules and Fronius IG Plus 3 kW (240V) inverter
Year Installed 2013
Installer REC Solar/Sun Run Lease
Estimated annual production 5,234 kWh
Average utility cost at time of installation $0.22/kWh
Average cost of solar electricity over 20 years $0.092/kWh
Prepaid lease price $9,043
Estimated savings over 20-year term* $47,450
Internal Rate of Return 19.7%
Estimated Payback Period 6 years
*Assumes 5% escalator on PG&E electricity rates, consistent with historical averages

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