Burton Family Powers Home and Business with SunPower SunTile

“I would never live without solar power again. It would feel archaic, like I was going back in time. It’s changed our life so much—we don’t feel tied into another expense every month. How much better can it get? It doesn't bother me, it helps the planet. You do the math.”

– Paige Burton, Homeowner, Avaron Community

When temperatures in the San Francisco Bay Area soared over 100 degrees in May of 2008, Sunnyvale homeowner Larry Bunka didn’t sweat over turning on his central air conditioning. The Hewlett-Packard (HP) employee had just seen the impact his new SunPower® residential system had made on his electric bill: In their first month of generating clean solar electricity, the Bunka family had reduced their bill down to $12, the price PG&E charges for the monthly rental of a meter. SunPower was able to completely offset the family’s electricity demands. Bunka says his meter now runs backwards during daylight hours, sending a surplus of electricity back to the grid – which is great news for this forward-thinking family.

Employee Incentive Prompts Purchase

Larry Bunka first learned about SunPower during HP’s "Live Green" promotion, which offered employees useful tips on conserving energy and reducing their environmental impact. Since Bunka was already considering the switch to solar, he was excited to hear that HP and SunPower would provide additional incentives (in the form of rebates) to employees who installed SunPower residential systems. "We had a real shocker when we received our PG&E bills the previous winter," Bunka says. "After we saw what SunPower and HP were offering, we realized there would never be a better time to move forward with solar."

Regrid Streamlines Installation Process

After Bunka contacted SunPower, he was connected with SunPower Premier Dealer, Real Goods. His experiences with the company were outstanding. Not only did he find their entire team "courteous, professional, and fast,” the design of his system took less than two weeks from the time of his first phone consultation. Real Goods also assisted Bunka in completing all of the paperwork necessary to receive rebates from HP and PG&E, a process he described as “completely painless.” In addition, Bunka – who is a skilled craftsman – is delighted with the aesthetics of Real Goods' work. "My panels look like a work of art," he says.

Bunka Family Makes Energy Efficient Choices

Purchasing a SunPower solar solution has motivated Bunka and his family to look at other ways of saving energy. The six family members now turn off lights in unused rooms; Bunka constantly checks the meter on their back porch to see how such actions reduce their electricity usage. The SunPower panels have attracted a lot of interest in their neighborhood as well: Bunka says a couple of his neighbors are now getting quotes on their own solar solutions. "Installing SunPower has engaged my family to recognize the choices we make every day in our energy consumption," he notes. "It’s gotten to be kind of a contest, to see how ‘negative’ we can get."

Project Overview

Location:    Avaron, San Diego
System size:    2.5 kWp