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Jeff purchased a solar system from Allterra Solar last year and is experiencing all the benefits of owning solar power first hand.  Due to a sunny year around Mount Toro in Monterey County, Jeff’s system produced more power than expected resulting in more savings, improved return on investment (ROI), and a shorter payback period. If Jeff had proceeded with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the extra electricity and value would have gone to the company who owned the solar system because homeowners pay for each kilowatt-hour produced.

Allterra’s approach to solar is different and it all starts with the caliber of the staff. From an experienced sales team and in-house engineering to certified electricians on every install crew and a dedicated customer service division, Allterra is built to provide the best customer experience possible. The company prides itself on purchasing quality equipment so homeowners can bank on their savings and realize the exceptional value of owning solar.

With so many solar companies promising the deal of the century, finding useful information about pricing and best practices can be challenging. Allterra helps homeowners understand the entire process of solar, including how it changes the relationship with the PG&E or local utility.  Owning solar enables homeowners to cut out the electricity “middleman” and harness sunlight as a personal fuel source.  A sunny year generates more power, more power equals more savings, more savings means more money for life’s other expenses.

With long-term savings in mind, Allterra has refined its approach to energy modeling.  Energy modeling is how a solar company estimates energy output from a proposed solar system design.

There are two models Allterra uses to predict how much energy a solar system will produce once installed. The initial model is an estimate using historical electricity usage, roof azimuth (orientation e.g. 180 degrees south), pitch (steep or flat), usable areas, and shade concerns to determine potential production from solar.  Our initial model is used to fine tune how many panels your solar system will ned to yield maximum savings.  Homeowner consultation, google earth, PG&E data, and professional judgment is used in the initial model to provide a conservative energy estimate

The second model involves real data from the site and is more in depth.  Once the homeowner has provided a deposit, a field engineer with technical expertise visits the site and fine tunes all the design details and assumptions. The second model includes actual shade readings and is used to prepare the permitted design and refined energy model.

The advantage of Allterra’s detailed engineered design and installation approach is that homeowners know what they are going to get.  Models should represent reality in the field, or be as accurate as possible. If weather patterns and site conditions do not change, the models should be very precise.  When weather patterns do change and a region experiences a sunny year like Jeff saw at his house, the solar system will produce more power than was estimated.

After going solar, PG&E bills for electricity once a year. The annual bill is called the “true-up.” The true-up compares a home’s net consumption to how much electricity was produced by the solar system. When design steps are skipped, low-quality equipment is used, or production numbers are over-estimated, a sunny year may not mean more savings. In fact, with PPAs more sun means more power purchased further reducing ROI.

Below is the actual data from Jeff’s system showing the estimated production from Allterra’s initial model and the final model after field variables were confirmed:

Solar System Production

The actual production absolutely blew both estimates out of the water! The total production for the year was 7793 kWh, 17% more than the revised estimate of 7017 kWh and a whopping 27% more than the conservative estimate of 6469 kWh.

Yet another case demonstrating why owning solar is more economically prudent than a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). 

If Jeff had a PPA, the excess electricity that his system produced would not translate to more savings. With a Lease, a company owns the solar system and receives the primary financial benefits. The PPA may be cheaper than continuing to purchase electricity from the utility, but it yields fewer savings than owning solar or financing it through a bank or home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Jeff S. is enjoying all the perks of owning a personal power plant, and so can you. Like any home improvement project, vetting the contractor and plan usually ensures a good result.  When considering whom to hire for your solar project understand that it requires expertise that most roofers and building contractors don’t have. Allterra’s design and modeling process flushes out potential pitfalls and creates a transparent process you will feel comfortable with. Allterra provides a design approval and energy model step so a homeowner can cancel with no fee before proceeding with the installation. Enjoy peace of mind with Allterra’s experience, processes, and dedication to customer service. Find out why over half of Allterra’s business comes via customer referral by scheduling a free home assessment today.