PROGRAMS | Clean Energy
Interested in lowering your utility bills but unsure how to go about it?
Looking for unbiased information about energy efficiency options?
Wondering whether solar is right or affordable for your home or business?
Our Clean Energy Advocates offer expert, independent support to help you evaluate the feasibility of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water-use efficiency upgrades for your particular property.
Find answers to all your questions and understand the full range of possibilities available to you – without pressure to buy anything.
What a Clean Energy Advocate can do for you:
- Help you understand your present energy use and habits
- Evaluate your property’s renewable energy and efficiency potential
- Advise you about appropriate renewable energy and efficiency technologies such as solar PV, solar thermal
- Explain what makes contractors “qualified” and how to find the best ones for your needs
- Review all your available financing options
- Assist you in navigating the full project cycle: bid, financing, installation, completion
The Clean Energy Advocate is a free service to Sonoma County property owners. Get the information you need to weigh your options and the guidance you want to move ahead with a solar and/or energy efficiency project. If you do, you can choose with confidence any of the clean energy professionals who participate in our Quality Assurance Program.
Call 707.664.6488 or email today to take advantage of this valuable resource. Take the first step toward clean energy!
Finding the right contractor for your solar or energy efficiency project does not have to take hours of research or a leap of faith. Solar Sonoma County does the work of pre-qualifying the best contractors for you.
To make our qualified contractor list, local solar and energy efficiency professionals must demonstrate that they meet rigorous standards of excellence and integrity. Here’s how they do that:
- Show a solid track record of local projects and satisfied customers.
- Seek and respond to customer feedback consistently.
- Maintain all the appropriate licensing, certification, and insurance in good standing.
- Support and participate in Solar Sonoma County as members.
Solar Sonoma County’s Quality Assurance Program builds confidence and promotes trust between local property owners and clean energy professionals. QAP solar and efficiency businesses recognize that their success depends on their good reputations. Solar Sonoma County understands that high quality results build property owners’ trust and confidence – one more way we’re working to create a clean energy economy.
See the list of Qualified Contractors >>
Getting a permit for homes and business solar projects anywhere in the North Bay Area is now the same – same form, same set of guidelines, same basic fees.
It hasn’t always been this way. Sonoma County’s 10 different municipalities each used to have its own process for solar permitting and inspections. Solar Sonoma County brought contractors, inspectors, and fire officials together to get everyone on the same page – literally. (See our press announcement about this >>)
Why does this matter? Because different rules and permitting fees tend to drive up the cost of solar projects.
Here are a few fast facts:
- Solar projects in the U.S. cost almost twice as in Germany, where policies are more solar friendly.
- Most of that difference is because of so-called "soft costs," meaning: permits, utility interconnection fees, and other paper work.
- Permitting and inspection can add as much as $2,500 to the cost of a residential solar project.
Streamlined permitting, on the other hand ….
- Saves staff time for local governments
- Makes doing business easier for contractors
- Lowers the cost of solar and efficiency projects for property owners.
Get the background story on streamlined solar permitting >> [LINK TO PERMIT STORY]
See for yourself: Go straight to the permit form and checklist >>
NEW! Permit Clearinghouse
Solar Sonoma County’s new one-stop solar permitting clearinghouse features all the permitting resources and tools in one convenient place that contractors need for solar and efficiency projects anywhere in the Sonoma County (and coming soon: all over the North Bay). Getting a permit for solar has never been simpler – one more way we’re working to make solar more affordable.
What’s next on our agenda? Online permitting – stay tuned!
Making sure there are solar-friendly local policies and plenty of local resources to support the spread of solar and energy efficiency is the backbone of Solar Sonoma County’s work. We partner with all kinds of people – county supervisors, city council members, local government staff, utility representatives, business owners, community group leaders, solar contractors, energy efficiency professionals, homeowners – to create solutions and make things happen.
Some examples …
To make solar more affordable, we helped get the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (“SCEIP”) off the ground in 2009. We’re continuing to work with contractors and government leaders at all levels – local, state, and federal – to keep SCEIP financing available for local solar and energy efficiency projects.
More about SCEIP and other financing options >>
We believe in the clean energy economy. We think clean energy jobs should be local. We’re doing everything we can to keep it that way and build a local clean energy workforce.
More about support and resources for clean energy jobs >>
Solar Star Scholarships >>
Community Resources, News, and Events
Wondering whether solar is possible for your home or business? Want to learn more about clean energy but not sure where to begin? Connecting people in need of information and resources with people in the know is one of the things we do best!
Online Resources – Right here!
… Solar Energy Basics … Energy Efficiency 101 … How to Go Solar … Request a Free Solar Assessment …
How to Find and Hire A Contractor … How To Finance Clean Energy ... Where To Get More Help …
Community Solar and Energy Efficiency Resources … and much more
Events – Upcoming and archived
- Community Forums … For anyone interested in clean energy’s bigger picture
Stay in the loop about local clean energy news, initiatives, resources, and upcoming events with our newsletter, “Hot Off the Presses.” We cover what you need to know about clean energy without clogging up your inbox.
Sign up here, now >>
Current issue >>
See what you missed (archive of past issues) >>
Stay up to date on clean energy across the country and around the world with our newsfeed >>
Official Solar Sonoma County press announcements >>
Photo Credit: Tipperary Energy Agency