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Be a Solar Advocate: Host a Solar Party

23 Apr

Have you given any thought to Going Solar? Perhaps you’ve even gotten a few quotes, maybe even have a solar installation. We all want to see more people going solar, become one of our Solar Advocates and encourage your neighbors and friends to also consider what solar can do for them. The new solar pricing structures make solar much more affordable for the average homeowner, and if anyone at your party has solar installed, we’ll give you a generous referral fee.

Solar Party

Hosting a solar party is one of the best ways of spreading the news, host a solar party at your home, school, church anywhere you like. We’ll bring some wine and cheese, set everything up and print/email invitation, all you to do is invite everyone over, we’ll even give a check for $250 just for hosting.

Invite your friends over and Host a Solar Party, learn more about Solar Energy, and earn a little money either for yourself or for your school, church or other venue.

Lease or buy? Roof or ground? What about shading? Spend the afternoon getting to know everything and anything involved in a solar installation from our Energy Consultants.

We’ll create an invitation, provide some wine and cheese and everything else that comes with it from water, to silverware to tables and covers, etc…

Just for hosting a party, we will give you or the venue $250 (the party should have a minimum of 5 interested household attending).

PLUS for every sale generated from your party we will also give you or donate to the venue a generous referral fee.

Ready to set up your Solar Party? Call us at (818) 705 3474. Or email us


Green Building in the Spring Time: Join us at AltBuild 2012

19 Apr

altbuild expo

It’s that time of year again, April is Earth Month, and all the sustainability expos start popping up in convention centers throughout the country, if you live in the LA area, and could only attend one show, mark your calenders, we’re excited to be taking part once again in the best show in town, the upcoming Alternative Building Materials & Design Expo AKA AltBuild.

It’s one of the most exciting, well-organized, sustainability oriented Green events in Los Angeles. The event is FREE to the public, but save considerable time and sign up for the event online now. The show will be held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Friday May 11th and Saturday May 12th, 2012, from 10am to 5pm.

Stop by the California Green Designs booth, #74 and catch up on all the latest gossip regarding solar. The leasing program has just taken another giant step forward, get all the details, because if there was ever a time to take advantage of a solar lease, it’s the new Sunpower one you should hear more about. We’ll also go over what’s happening with the SCE and LADWP rebates, there’s been movement on both fronts recently, and have on display two full-sized solar panels, an inverter, and a solar pathfinder – the instrument used to project the daily trek of the sun all year long.

There is a $9/car parking fee if you park in the nearby Civic parking lot, so car pool if you can. There is also Santa Monica’s FREE Bike Valet available.

Event Location
Santa Monica Convention Center

1855 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401-3209

What should the Next Solar Saturday Topic be?

7 Mar

Vote now! You can add additional topics.

Answer this: How much will utility rates rise in 10 yrs?

7 Mar

Season’s Greetings from all of us at California Green Designs

23 Dec

Wishing you a festive holiday season and a great 2012!


The office will be closed Monday, December 26th and Monday, January 2nd.

7 Reasons Why You Should Get a Solar Powered Charging Station for Your New Electric Car

22 Nov

Image1)    Reduce air pollution

Energy and Transportation are the top two causes of air pollution.  Air pollution contributes to diseases including cancer and asthma.  It irritates our eyes, makes us feel tired throughout our day and gives us headaches.

 2)    Gas prices at $5.00  

Gas prices are still on the rise & Electricity rates climb at an average of 6 to 7% per year.  These two costs combined will increases an average family’s monthly expenses by more than $300 per month within the next few years.  Will you be able to afford this?

3)    Stop supporting foreign oil

The greatest threat to US national security occurs when unfriendly nations can afford to fund attacks.  The greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind is from the US to the Middle East for oil – and it continues. Do your part; Power your car from here.

4)     High electric rates

Californians have some of the highest electricity rates in the country, and they are currently on the rise.  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials say the utility needs rate increases of at least 15 percent over the next three years. SCE is proposing a 7.2% increase in 2012 alone. And while the utility companies have started shifting towards cleaner sources of energy, the makeup still includes coal, nuclear, and natural gas. A solar electric system can give your car almost complete independence from these non-renewable forms of energy. 

 5)    You don’t need much power

Even a small 2.5 kW system can keep the average drivers’ electric car all charged up, all year round. You may not even need to have the cash, look into leasing your solar electric system.

 6)    Collect energy during the day, charge at night

A solar electric system can generate electricity and then be “stored” on the grid, come home at night and power the car.

 7)    The solar panels for your car don’t need to be on your garage

They can be anywhere on your roof, you can have a car port, or even place the panels in your backyard.

EV and PV, almost seems like a match made in Carbon Footprint Heaven.

Solar Increases Home Sale Prices by $17,000

19 Aug

New research by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that installing a residential solar energy system increases a home’s value by an average of $17,000 or $5,500/kW.

Solar Adds to the Value of Your Home
The study analyzed 72,000 California homes sold between 2000 and mid-2009, almost 2,000 of which had solar energy systems. It found that homes with solar sold for an average of $17,000 more than comparable non-solar homes.

Homes with solar power attracted higher offers from buyers who wanted to save money on utility bills and reduce their impact on the environment. The increase home sale prices was comparable to the average cost of system installation, and solar homeowners also enjoyed the benefit of dramatically lower electric bills.

How to choose a Solar Contractor

28 Jul
California Green Designs is one of many solar installers in the solar installation market, we want to make sure you feel comfortably entrusting your home with us. This can be a tough decision, as you have to balance factors such as price, qualification and experience. Solar PV energy systems themselves are expensive, complex, and could even be dangerous if installed incorrectly – which is why you should use a licensed contractor with their own full time installation teams. Here are 5 things to look for in a solar contractor before investing in solar.

Researching your Solar Installer:

1. Do they have good references from other homeowners?

Word of mouth is priceless and references from past customers can be hugely important in selecting the right solar contractor. Ask them for referrals and do a background check. Also we recommend do a quick check with the BBB and make sure they have a high standing.

2. Is your Solar Installation Company Licensed and Bonded?

Is your Solar Contractor fully bonded and licensed by the State of California, if so, what is the status of the license and have any complaints been filed against the license holder. This information can also be obtained from the Contractor’s State License Board of the State of California Also make sure that your contractor has both a Contractor’s General and Professional Liability Insurance policy, and a performance bond (typically $100,000).

2. Has the Company been around for a while?

You’re going to be entering a relationship with your contractor, they should guarantee their work for ten years. If they haven’t been around for more than a couple, how can you be sure they will be around in 7 years time. Make sure your solar company has a long history in solar to back up their work. This is why it’s also important for the installer to do it’s own installation, and not hire a subcontractor. A sub may or may not have done many solar installations in the past, and this is someone who will be making holes in your roof and working with electricity.

4. Do they Provide you with a Free on Site Estimate?

Each solar electric system is unique. Differences in roof type, orientation, possible shading, electrical interconnection options and customer requirements mean that there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to solar. A good contractor will not hesitate to offer you a Free Estimate and a custom solar proposal for your home. He or she will also take the time to answer all your questions about a solar pv system that is custom designed for your needs.

5. Read the Contract

Be sure to read the contract carefully,as questions and be especially mindful of a lease contract if you are leasing your solar pv system. Ask your solar contractor to explain lease terms thoroughly, go through other lease options, and make sure you understand the escalator clause and other lease terms. Also make sure buying the system doesn’t make more sense for your situation.

By doing your homework and comparing various contractors, you are more likely to hire an excellent solar company.

LADWP Solar Rebate – Accepting Applications Again

22 Jul

Solar is back in LA! Earlier this year the LADWP solar incentive program was shut down due to overwhelming demand.

From its inception, the demand for solar in LA has been high, this year the LADWP rebate program had been swamped with $112 million in requests for energy rebates, but the program only has $30 million available in the annual budget.  To find a balance between satisfying customer demand and its budget restrictions, the LADWP plans to approve a limited number of current requests and has reduced the incentive levels for new projects. The updated 2011 rebate amount will be cut to $2.20 for every watt installed from the previous rate of $3.24, when it is brought back at the beginning of September.

If you’re interested in going solar, it is highly advisable to take advantage of the new rebate rates this year, as further rebate cuts are expected down the road.

It is reported that LADWP is also considering a feed-in tariff, where residents and businesses could be compensated for excess energy they generate. In Europe, feed-in tariffs have encouraged record solar energy development in Germany, Spain, and other countries in the region. Investor-owned utilities such as SCE have also successfully implemented feed-in tariffs.

With LADWP importing over 40% of its electricity from coal-fired power plants located in other states, the adoption of solar power not only saves the Department money in the long run, but makes the Los Angeles area less dependent on outside sources of electricity, reduces pollution from greenhouse gases that threaten the environment, and stimulates the economy. Just recently, an article entitled U.S., Canada power grids ready for heatwave reminds us of power operator’s concerns about the fossil fuel powered utility grid’s vulnerabilities which could lead to rolling black-outs, although the article did not mention any immediate concern.

In times of greater burden on the existing power lines and generating facilities, those with their own generating capabilities like solar customers, can help their local utility companies in meeting overall energy demand. Isn’t is great that in addition to all the environmental benefits of solar power, this amazing technology can also make the existing power grid more reliable? Even more reason to contact us for a free quote and take the next step towards going solar!

Solar and Your HOA

19 Jul

Are Solar Panels Pink Flamingos?

As many as 60 million homes in the United States are part of homeowner associations. HOAs can be powerful enforcers of their regulations, and many restrict the presence of plastic pink flamingos, and in some parts of the country they are able to prevent solar installations (In Nebraska for example, a homeowner was sued by his HOA for installing solar on his home), but not in California. The Golden State has a long record of supporting renewable energy and solar in particular by the Solar Rights Act Even in California however, in some rare cases, an HOA can make things difficult for a homeowner who wants to go solar. If you live in an HOA community that doesn’t have any solar installed, you may be wondering how easy or difficult it may be to adopt solar for your home.

In the rare case that an HOA doesn’t readily accept your proposed design, it may require you to move the solar panels to an area where they will not be visible by neighbors or, if the system is ground mounted, to surround them with some type of landscaping. The HOA’s primary concern in such a case is usually aesthetics. You should work with your HOA to alleviate their concerns, and ask your solar contractor to provide you with photos of other installations they’ve done that are similar to your proposed system. Other things you can do are to preparing cost and efficiency comparisons between your proposed design and the HOA’s, and insist on your right to go solar as spelled out in the Solar Rights Act.

As shown in blue on the map below, the majority of states have in place some form of solar easement or access law at either the state and/or local levels. For more information on the solar lawsuit in Nebraska, visit