When people think of California, they think of sunny California. The Golden State is doing more than its fair share of promoting the sun as the best energy source. The State Assembly is attempting to make it easier for residents to apply for solar panels by creating a standardized application process through Bill 2188. The legislation, which will be debated and voted upon in the State Senate in August, calls for “cities to process permits for small, residential solar installations within five business days. It also would reduce the review process to just one inspection after the installation is complete.” While on the surface, the bill looks promising, it has created divisions among solar companies in California. One owner of a solar company says the application process is not a cookie cutter situation. It can take up to three weeks to process a permit, install the solar modules and complete the inspection. Different cities have different standards for solar, the con side insists. Others insist that residential solar panels have become more uniform and a check list can be completed in an hour. Meanwhile, fire departments complain that solar panels inhibit access, create electrical fires and expose firemen to electric shock and there needs to be a balance between safety and ecological advancements. Another area gaining attention, and for which California is becoming a “guinea pig,” is energy storage. The ability to harness reserves of solar energy would benefit residents, who would not have to worry about wasting energy during times they are not at home. Solar energy could be used in the evening and blackouts would be more tolerable. People would gain more control of their energy usage, and subsequently, the costs. SunPower, which used to make panels and is now an energy service provider, has entered into an agreement with builder KB Home to offer buyers in El Dorado Hills, Irvine and San Diego free lithium-ion battery systems to be installed by the end of 2014. The goal would be to start selling the systems in 2015. The project will aide SunPower in determining the best ways to manage solar energy production and the charge and discharge of electricity from storage. They will also be testing batteries from different companies, including California’s Sunverge Energy. Another factor pushing energy storage in the state is that the three investor-owned utilities in California are under obligation to purchase 1,325 megawatts of energy storage services by 2020. We at Fidelity Home Energy are absolutely in favor of anything that speeds up the solar installation process for us or our customers. Different areas throughout California have long waiting times for permitting solar, and it would be nice to have a more streamlined approach. We have offices in San Diego, Torrance (Los Angeles), Hayward (San Francisco Bay Area) and Sacramento, Ventura and Fresno. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, before solar was fashionable. You will receive a free, extensive In-Home Energy Analysis, with a quote that is good for six months. Small job or big, we will work with you, providing a fully customized and “made for you” solar array system. We handle all paperwork and permits for you. Full installation is completed by highly trained and certified solar electric technicians using industry leading, top quality products. You are assigned a dedicated project manager throughout your installation process, and an Energy Specialis t for follow-up visits post installation, to make sure you know how to properly and safely operate your system. When you’re ready for solar in California, contact us, the solar company in California.

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