Tell me about your solar powered home

I’ll be coming into some money in December and am thinking about going a little more green, particularly with regard to my electric bill.

I’m in San Diego and have a 2,150 square foot two story house. Given that it never rains here and we have sun nearly all year round, I figure getting solar on my roof will remove or greatly reduce my electric bill. A few things I’d like to know:

  1. What are the options and given that every solar company is going to say they are the best, what do you look for, and how did you pick one? Anyone you recommend?
  2. What did it cost - and what do you think it will cost me based on my square footage?
  3. My wife and I do not have kids, a pool, or other big energy drain, and currently use a gas dryer and stove. Given that I don’t have a huge electric bill now (less air conditioning in the summer), would I be wise to switch to an electric stove and dryer since I may have negative consumption?
  4. I’ve heard that the phenomena of “selling electricity back to the utility company” is an urban legend and that any excess you generate does not go back to the grid and/or that you do not get compensated for it (at least not in San Diego from SDG&E). Is that true or false?
  5. If you already have solar now, is there anything you regret, or did the installers screw anything up I should watch out for?
  6. Finally, it seems like I am always hearing about how current solar may be too immature but that huge breakthroughs are ‘just around the corner’. Should I hold off for fear of getting stuck with the solar equivalent of the laser disc/8-track tape?


i don’t have the money to go solar.

i can recommend the for dummies solar book. it really helps you understand what is going on and how to get it done.

hopefully someone will be by soon with more roof-on experience.