Falling prices, rising utility rates and new government incentives may finally be driving serious growth in the region's market for residential solar power.
In August, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District received applications for 422 kilowatts of residential solar-panel systems, more than three times as much as in any previous month, according to data from the utility. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. also had a record month.
SMUD territory has been a backwater for residential solar, mainly because its electricity rates are relatively low. Generating one's own electricity is a better deal if the alternative is a big bill for electricity from the grid. A year ago, a home solar system for a SMUD customer would typically take more than 20 years to pay for itself, installers say, compared with roughly half as long in PG&E's service area. But the economics of solar have changed significantly in the last year.
Read the full story at sacbee.com.