A Neighborhood Goes Solar

“Everyone’s looking forward to summer, when our solar energy production will be at its peak.”

– Marsha Kidd, Homeowner, San Jose, CA

San Jose homeowner saves $3,000 annually with a SunPower® solar electric system and leads 24 neighbors to join solar program

When neighbors rally to support a cause, everyone benefits. San Jose homeowner Marsha Kidd experienced this when she decided to go solar and encouraged neighbors to participate in a volume-purchasing program offered by SunPower and Horizon Energy Systems, a SunPower Premier Dealer.

Community Interest Gain Momentum

Marsha Kidd has been intrigued by solar energy since the 1970s, but her interest piqued after reading an article in the San Jose Mercury News about a community project in Willow Glen, a neighborhood in San Jose. There, several homeowners installed solar power systems using the same contractor to reduce costs. Kidd volunteered to spearhead a similar effort in the Evergreen community south of San Jose and moderated an online discussion through Yahoo! community message boards to drive interest and participation.

Volume Purchase Reduces Costs

Horizon kicked off the South Evergreen community program with an information session at the local elementary school, and in the 2 months following the event 25 homeowners signed installation agreements. Kidd was the first to install her solar rooftop system. Because the residents purchased systems together, each homeowner was able to save an average of $1600 on the cost of installation. This savings, in addition to the state and federal incentives, reduced the system cost by one third.

According to Kidd, feedback from the homeowners is very positive. "We chose SunPower because the panels are attractive and highly efficient," she said. She also had specific requirements for the installer. "The installer had to be reliable, honest, and experienced with different roof types," she said. "SunPower recommended Horizon Energy Systems. The installations have been fast and smooth."

A Task Worth Tackling

Through her work on the message boards, Kidd drove attendance to the community event and answered homeowners' questions, encouraging participation in the volume purchase program. "The community advocate is very important to the success of theprogram," said John Juarez, operations manager at Horizon. "What Marsha did was keep the conversation about solar present for people after the initial presentation," he said. "She was the conduit of communication between Horizon and the homeowners.

"What's great is you don’t have to get a huge, costly system," she said. "You can get a smaller system and still save big," said Kidd.

Project Overview

Location:    Kidd Residence, San Jose, California
System Size:    6kW AC
PV Surface Area:    463 square feet
Number of Panels:    33
Products:    SunPower® 205 Solar Panels

  • Reduced annual energy costs by $3,000
  • Offset electricity usage by 97%
  • Reduced solar installation costs for the neighborhood by an average of $1600 per homeowner, through the volume purchase program
  • Encouraged community support for adopting clean, renewable energy source