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Listen Up: Solar for Your New or Remodeled Home

If you are building a house — or remodeling the one you're already in — now is the time to install rooftop solar. This is your opportunity to install solar on the best roof surface, in a uniform rectangular array, and integrated cleanly with your electrical system. Don't wait until construction is finished — you'll inevitably get a bunch of vent pipes right in the middle of the best south-facing rooftop.

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This week the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released their newest report: “Exploring California PV Home Premiums.” They found that solar increases the value of homes at an average amount of $5,900 per kW. So if you have a 5 kW system, the value of your house should increase by $29,500. That's a pretty good premium considering that the average installation cost is about $3,500 per kW ($5/watt less the 30 percent ITC).

But installing solar on a new home is usually more expensive than on an existing home. In an ideal world it shouldn't be...but it really is. It's more complicated than you think to coordinate the solar work with the carpenters, roofers and electricians that your builder hires — not to mention the paperwork challenge of getting an incentive and interconnected when there is no prior electrical bill. So if some construction is in your plans, listen to this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for the inside scoop on rooftop solar for new and remodeled homes.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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