Solar power: Popular but not meant to be lucrative

Solar power popular, not meant to be lucrative

REDDING, Calif. - According to the Solar Energy Industries Association the solar field had another record breaking year in 2013, with 41 percent increase in photovoltaic capacity over 2012.

But some people hoping to install a solar panel field that could actually earn them a paycheck from their power provider are in for a rude awakening because that's not how the system is set up in California.

The price of solar panels is down some 60 percent in just the last three years.

Naturally, the price of installing a system dropped 15 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013.

And the industry is doing so well they're expecting 26 percent more installations in 2013 over 2012.     

The aim for most consumers is to install just enough solar panels to create as much electrical power as a family uses in a year.

But some people think they can build a big enough array to actually make money from their electric provider.

Patrick Lassiter with Solar Universe in Redding said that's just not really a fiscal reality because that's not how the system is set up in California and in most states.

"You can't go over a certain amount of your PG&E bill," Lassiter said. "There is some flexibility in that, you can go over a little bit without getting penalized, but generally it's not a good idea because the net metering laws in California pay very little for extra generation."

Lassiter said if you have millions of dollars and plenty of acres of land you could try your hand at harvesting the sun for a profit.

You'll just have to go through a whole different process than your average residential project.

Most Popular

Pictures In the News