Fremont is one of the largest suburbs in the Bay Area, with a population of more than 230,000. Fremont was first settled in 1795, when the Spanish founded Mission San José. The region experienced significant immigration and growth during the California Gold Rush. The city of Fremont was officially founded in 1956 with the merger of Mission San José and four other small communities. Fremont experienced rapid industrialization during the second half of the 20th century, and hundreds of high-tech companies have set up facilities in the city, including Tesla Motors.
Like many cities in California, Fremont has been working on becoming more sustainable and reducing its carbon footprint:
Fremont is served by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which has notoriously high electricity rates often exceeding 20 cents per kWh. For comparison, the average rate in the US is around 13 cents per kWh. PG&E also increases rates each year; in 2016, rates increased by 5% and rates are expected to increase year after year. Expensive electricity is bad news if your purchase all your energy from the power grid, but high energy prices also means you can achieve significant savings by installing solar panels.
Favorable net metering laws in California have helped drive solar deployment. If you deploy solar panels in Fremont, you can sell excess electricity back to PG&E. PG&E must pay you the retail electricity price for that energy, up to your total consumption. This means that you get credit for the solar electricity you send to the grid when your panels are producing more electricity than you are using, and can use those credits at night when your panels aren’t producing energy.
Although there are no local tax incentives for solar power, you can claim 30% of your investment as a deduction from your federal taxes on your next tax declaration. Keep in mind that this benefit only applies for solar panel systems deployed before the end of 2019, and it can take months to permit and install a solar panel system.
Fremont also offers numerous Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing options for solar panel systems, with a total of seven residential programs and six commercial programs available. PACE loans offer low interest rates and a repayment term of up to 20 years. The loan payments are usually much smaller than your expected energy savings and the federal tax credit. This means that solar panel systems in Fremont can completely pay for themselves! Solar is a great investment in Fremont, CA.