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Solar is worth the investment


In John Texeira's opinion piece on green energy ("California's green energy scam," Oct. 24), he makes the statement that "solar systems on homes provide electricity to the grid, not to the homeowner," and that "if homeowners want access to the electric power generated by their solar panels, they would need to install a battery system." Both of these statements are false.

We installed solar panels for our home three years ago, and we added a Tesla backup battery a few months later. During the day, the panels send electricity directly into our home (up to 50 kilowatt-hours per day) to power everything that is electric. Many times during daylight, our electrical use is lower than what the panels are producing, so this excess power is then directed to our backup battery until it is fully charged. Only then do the panels send power directly to the grid. PG&E keeps track of this excess energy and gives us a credit of around $0.03 cents per kilo-watt hour for the times we need power from the grid (like for our Christmas lights). The utility makes money off of the electricity we provide them, but since we are a capitalist society, that is how it should be.

PG&E charges us on average $10 a month to be hooked up to their system, which, again, is reasonable. The Tesla battery powers all of our outlets inside the house at night. The battery also provides uninterrupted service during power outages, so I never get home and see my clocks flashing "12:00."

Adding solar panels and a battery does involve investing around the equivalent to purchasing a new car, so the financial strain can be balanced by driving your current vehicle an additional five years, or for the well-heeled, forgoing the European or tropical vacation for a few years. Solar panels on the Central Coast are worth the sacrifice.

Charlee Smith


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