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Letters to the Editor: Installing home solar in California? Prepare to wait and pay more

Solar panels are installed on the roof of a home in Hayward, Calif., in 2022.
Solar panels are installed on the roof of a home in Hayward, Calif., in 2022.
(David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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To the editor: I read with great interest your article concerning solar, as I am currently in the process of having a system activated at my home.

Unfortunately, I did not contract for the project before April 2023 and am therefore bound by the net-metering plan that reduces the power buyback credit by 75%. This disincentivizes many homeowners from installing solar.

Furthermore, California does not provide a rebate or tax credit, and the federal tax credit (currently as much as 30% of the system cost) expires in 2032. If our federal and state governments truly want to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, they must create better incentive plans for homeowners to install systems that are very expensive.

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Also, the permitting and inspection process is far too lengthy. I contracted on June 28, but the expected activation for my system is some time in November or December, even though the actual installation took less than one week.

The reason: large backlogs in permit applications and inspections. The government should provide special funding to staff the local departments that handle solar permitting and set standards for the electric companies to reduce their inspection and turn on time.

Currently, 42% of electricity generated in California is from fossil fuels. The faster each home solar system becomes active, the quicker we drive down demand for fossil fuels.

Frank Deni, Lake Forest

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To the editor: Thank you for your timely and impactful special section on climate change. I appreciate being able to read in-depth reporting on a topic that should be on the front page of every newspaper every day.

The article on solar power options in California was informative and answered many of my questions. But one area that it did not address was the new federal grant program, Solar for All.

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State and local governments can now (and California definitely should) expand their distributed solar initiatives by applying for a grant under this new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program.

The program is part of the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, meaning at least 40% of the program’s benefits must reach low-income and disadvantaged communities. Under Solar for All, the EPA will grant up to 60 awards to local governments, nonprofits and other entities, and the application deadline is Sept. 26.

This is an opportunity for California to bring our tax dollars back to the state and create new jobs here, while providing clean energy to low-income communities. State officials need to act now to write and submit a grant so that California can continue to lead the nation in real solutions to the climate crisis.

Marilyn Green, Malibu

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