Located right in the middle of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara has a population of over 120,000. The city was founded in 1777 and was named after the Spanish Mission Santa Clara de Asís. The mission church still stands on Santa Clara University’s campus.
Santa Clara’s economy originally focused on agriculture, however, the rise of the semiconductor industry has brought massive economic and population growth. Many leading firms in the technology sector are headquartered in Santa Clara, including Intel, McAfee, National Semiconductor, Nvidia, and Synaptics.
Silicon Valley Power (SVP) is the electric utility company serving Santa Clara. In recent years, SVP has been working to increase its renewable energy generation:
While other cities in the Bay Area are serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) with rates above 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), Santa Clara is serviced by Silicon Valley Power, which only charges between 10 and 13 cents per kWh. In 2016, SVP prices only increased by around 3%, while surrounding cities served by PG&E saw their power bills increase by 5%.
While SVP rates are lower than PG&E, residents of Sunnyvale can still save money on their electric bills by switching to solar energy. SVP also has a generous rebate program for solar power, and are currently offering a cash incentive of $1,000 for every kilowatt (kW) of installed capacity. So far, over 2,000 kW of solar panels have been installed by taking advantage of this incentive. However, it is important to note that the program will eventually expire:
In addition to the SVP rebate, you can also claim a federal tax credit equal to 30% of your investment in solar power. However, his federal incentive is set to expire at the end of 2019. With both the SVP rebate and the federal tax credit set to run out in the coming years, now is the best time to go solar in Santa Clara!
The combination of energy bill savings, the SVP rebate, and the federal tax credit makes solar panels very affordable in Santa Clara. However, if you cannot assume the cost of your solar system upfront, there are still many attractive financing options available, including a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan. This financing option typically offers a single-digit yearly interest rate and a 20-year repayment period. There has never been a better time to invest in solar in Santa Clara.