In 2014, however, Marshall learned about SunWork through a neighbor and received a quote for a system with a payback of less than seven years. This convinced him to move ahead with the installation of a 14-panel, 3.5 kW system. Since the fall of 2014, the system has been saving Marshall more than $1,000 per year and he notes that “to date, we have generated over 13,000 kWh and avoided over 10 tons of CO2 in the process.”
Marshall has been so enthusiastic about solar energy that he has volunteered with both SunWork and Sunnyvale’s city-wide “Energize Sunnyvale” campaign, using his marketing talents to help spread the word about the potential for solar.
Marshall chose a rooftop system with a central inverter that has a “Secure Power Supply” feature. This lets him avoid the typical problem of not being able to generate usable power when the utility grid isn’t operating. He notes that “as long as the sun is shining, I can power up to 1,500 W of devices from my PV system even if the PG&E grid is entirely down. This would come in handy during a long outage after an earthquake, so I can power cell phones, computers, heaters, and other appliances.”
Since he has an electric vehicle, Marshall takes advantage of PG&E’s EV Rate for his electricity, which is a great deal for those with solar. It allows him to be paid $.44 for the kWhs he puts onto the PG&E grid during summertime peak periods and pay only $.11 for the kWhs that he uses at night to charge his vehicle.