Everyone who lives out in the toolies believes the holy grail of civilization is when the federal electric utility CFE finally reaches their neighborhood with their poles and wires. At last they don’t have to depend on solar, they say with a sigh of relief.
Turns out just as they are dumping solar for electricity, townies are dumping electricity for solar.
Carl Rankin is living in San Jose and has become the local distributor for Sun Power, a company out of Silicon Valley who he says will make us reverse ourselves, and go right back to solar. With a little help from the thieves at CFE.
So, if you’re pining away for those poles and wires, you might take a look at what Sun Power has for you. They install what’s called grid tie solar. Partnering up with CFE is a life style away from being completely free of CFE.
Without CFE pushing the electricity to you at night when your solar panels can do nothing for you, you would be sitting in the dark as soon as the sun goes down. But if you are tied to the electric grid, (those poles and wires), CFE gives you back all the solar energy you sent them when the sun was shining. This is a net metering deal: CFE installs a new smart meter, and the solar array on your roof is tied to the electrical grid. At night you dras power from CFE (at the lower tier rates). During the day any extra energy produced by the system goes back into the grid and the meter actually spins backwards.
The advantage is you don’t need storage batteries to pull off of when the sun is down. The batteries are the tricky part of solar. Without having to deal with batteries, a solar panel array on top of your house is almost maintenance free.
In the Cabo area, CFE will only allow you to offset the number of hours you consume during a given month. There are no roll over watts.
Carl tells us with a Sun Power system you pay a monthly fee to finance the stuff that’s up there on your roof, and the cost of that can be lower than your CFE bill. Loan terms can be up to 25 years and there is no prepayment penalty, and when you sell your home, you can assign the lease to the new homeowner, a process Sun Power facilitates. A home equity loan can also be used and may be tax-deductible.
But let’s face it; neither of those two features are going to apply to a house in Mexico. Also in the real world, you would keep any solar tax credits and/or state and local incentives for which you may be eligible. (Mexico does have a federal solar program, but it’s for locals who live off the grid and are living by candle light and propane cooking/refrigeration.)
Sun Power is a big, big, experienced company, and selling, servicing, and installing home systems is just part of their business. They also build large scale solar farms out in the desert, and they install solar collectors on top of large government and commercial buildings. The company is only new here in Los Cabos; they have been working in solar almost from the beginning of solar, which for them is 30 years ago. They have seen a lot of changes in their field in that time.
So, if you’re tired of getting kicked around by CFE, take another look at solar. It has come a long way since desert rats had to deal with the constant annoyance of batteries. For more information on harnessing solar power go to www.ussunpower.com. These are the big boys and they seem to know what they’re doing.