O&M, Solar, Utility Integration

Applied Solar Launches Solar Communities Program in San Diego

Applied Solar Inc. this week announced the launch of its Solar Communities program in San Diego County. The program, which is being kicked off with a series of open house events, aims to expedite the number of homes using clean solar energy by overcoming two of the most common obstacles to solar adoption: cost and aesthetics.

Through the program, a new financing tool is available for San Diego County homeowners patterned after the power purchase agreement model used in the commercial sector for the last several years. PPAs first hit the San Diego residential market in 2008, but were only available for the conventional rack-mounted solar panels that many homeowners — and homeowner associations — often rejected as unsightly.

The Solar Communities program, makes PPAs available for “building integrated” solar tiles. These systems — developed by Applied Solar and manufactured by Suntech Power Holdings — blend into the color and texture of the roof surface and are available in brown, slate gray and terracotta to match various roof styles, the company says.

Homeowners that take part in the plan will pay a portion of the upfront cost, which the company says is typically about US $2,000-$3,000 for a 2kW system and then purchase the energy generated by the solar power system over 20 years. Applied Solar or an affiliate is responsible for all long-term operation and maintenance of the solar energy system.

An earlier version of the Solar Communities program was rolled out in 2008 for new construction of multi-family communities. While still available for new construction, the Solar Communities program has now been expanded to offer solar power to existing homes.