During the second half of the 19th century, many wealthy citizens from San Francisco purchased land in San Mateo to build vacation homes. As a result, the city is rich in historic buildings. One of the best-known examples is Seven Oaks, a mansion once owned by A.P. Giannini, who founded Bank of America. Today, San Mateo boosts a population of over 100,000, and the local economy is focused on education, healthcare, finance and technology.
San Mateo has assumed a leadership role in the adoption of solar power. As of January 2017, all new constructions are required by law to incorporate solar power. This mandate is expected to reduce net energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the buildings. While most buildings are expected to use solar photovoltaics (PV), a solar water heating system can be used instead of solar PV. Additionally, multifamily and commercial properties have special insulation and reflectiveness requirements for roofs to minimize solar heat absorption.
The College of San Mateo is also planning to install a solar panel system equipped with energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations. Construction will begin in August 2017, and the project is scheduled to be completed by April 2018.
Like most of the Bay Area, San Mateo is serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). PG&E customers pay more than 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is 50% higher than the national average electricity price. Additionally, San Francisco Bay Area residents saw their power bills increase by around 5% between 2016 and 2017, and annual prices increases are expected to continue. This is bad news if you live in San Mateo and depend on PG&E for all your energy needs, but this also means that home and business owners in San Mateo can achieve significant savings with solar panels!
If you want to install a solar panel system but cannot assume the full upfront cost, you can finance your project through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. The loans offered by PACE typically have low interest rates and a payment period of up to 20 years. Payments are billed along with your property taxes so you don’t have to manage a new monthly bill. There are four PACE partners in San Mateo, two for residential clients and two for businesses:
In addition to the PACE program, residents of San Mateo should also consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC loan can also be an attractive financing option if you have a good credit score and own plenty of equity in your property. In San Mateo, you can get a HELOC loan with a yearly interest rate as low as 4% and a payment period of up to 15 years. The advantage of loan financing is that you can start saving money with no upfront investment.
All solar panel systems installed before 2020 are also eligible for the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is a nationwide benefit. Under this program, you can deduct 30% of the cost of your solar panel system from your federal taxes obligation when you file your next tax declaration. The ITC applies to all financing options and to both residential and commercial properties. Talk to a solar installer today to take advantage of these incentives before they expire!