Tue09022014

Business & Real Estate

Local goes green, saves green: Los Altos resident installs solar system to reduce energy costs


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Los Altos resident Ken Ebbitt points to the solar panels installed on his house. Ebbitt is an employee at Sunrun Inc., which provides third-party-owned solar systems to homeowners nationwide.

Ken Ebbitt, Los Altos homeowner and director of product management at Sunrun Inc., gave his own product a try last summer when he installed a solar system at his house.

Sunrun, the nation’s largest home solar company, provides third-party-owned solar systems to homeowners. The company maintains ownership of the solar panels and sells the power it accrues to the homeowners, relieving users of fronting the expense of a costly solar system.

“Sunrun owns the solar system and sells me power,” Ebbitt said. “There is little to no money down, and I save money on my electric bill.”

Approximately 75 percent of California homeowners who opted for solar energy use third-party systems instead of buying panels, according to Ebbitt.

“Most people don’t realize they can save money with solar energy,” he said. “If you have a utility bill, you can go solar. You don’t need $25,000 laying around.”

Ebbitt installed the solar system to save money and maximize a clean, renewable energy source to reduce his impact on the environment. It’s an investment in the next generation, he added, to introduce his children to renewable energy.

“My kids love pointing at the panels on our roof,” he said. “I want to show my kids how to lead a cleaner life.”

Ebbitt is aware that with added family members comes additional energy needs, and believes that he will save money by going solar.

The installation process was straightforward, Ebbitt said. A crew showed up and, in a matter of three days, installed the mounting, conduit, wires and panels and tested the system to ensure that it worked.

Because Ebbitt does not own the solar system but merely provides the roof to host the panels, he does not have to maintain it.

“Sunrun constantly monitors the output,” he said.

Clients pay the same monthly energy fee whether or not their system produces solar energy for the duration of their agreement with the company. Many of his neighbors have had solar panels installed as well.

“I see increasingly more and more people going solar,” he said. “When we had the (Sunrun installation) truck outside, even the mailman stopped to talk about it.”

For more information, visit sunrunhome.com.

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