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San Luis Obispo County now has 15,000 solar homes 

San Luis Obispo County now has 15,000 solar homes–San Luis Obispo County reached 15,000 residential solar energy systems on April 19, 2021, just three days before Earth Day, according to Atascadero-based solar energy company Solarponics. This milestone is a major achievement, proving the county’s commitment to sustainability, renewable resources, and the possibility of a net-zero future, says Solarponics. By comparison, Santa Barbara has completed just under 7,000 residential solar energy installations to date but has 25-percent more owner-occupied housing units.

The 15,000th solar energy system honor belongs to Atascadero residents John and Laural Anderson. This is the Anderson’s second solar energy system. Their first system was for their home at St. Hilaire Vineyard and Winery in Templeton which was installed in July of 2017.

“Installing solar energy pencils out as a good financial decision. Factor in the environmental sustainability and it becomes a no-brainer,” says Anderson. “It’s almost irresponsible not to install solar energy.”

Solarponics, a local solar installer, says they are proud to have signed the 15,000th solar electric homeowner. Solarponics installed the first solar water heating systems in SLO County in 1975 and its first solar electric system in 1981. Since then, their teams have installed over 5,000 solar energy systems county-wide.

“We launched with solar thermal water heating and quickly saw the benefits of solar electric,” said Kristian Emrich, Solarponics president. “The market did not really take off until about 2013. The tax credit, continuously rising grid energy rates, and the drop in costs were, and still are, all the major contributor to the success of solar energy. Hitting this milestone just further validates our vision.”

This news comes in the wake of many recent Solarponics initiatives and accomplishments including lobbying for the extension of the 26-percent solar tax credit; becoming a Green Certified Business; and transitioning to a Certified B-Corporation.

“It’s been a long and tumultuous road with lots of starts and stops, political influences, legislation battles, but we never lost sight of helping central coast residents achieve energy independence,” Emrich said.

California has led the country—and the world—in solar energy adoption for the past 15 years. Last year, the state added nearly 4,000 MW of residential solar (equivalent to two Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plants) as interest in home improvement surges, and customers suffering through power outages and extreme weather events seek energy resiliency. The Central Coast has one of the highest per capita shares of residential solar in the country, and the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report estimates double-digit growth in the residential solar market over the next three years.

Thomas Edison may have said it best in 1931, when he confided with his friend Henry Ford, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

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