Award-Winning Solar System Slashes Costs with Reliable Backup Power


Quick Stats

System size: 22.8kW

Average monthly bill before solar: $400-$900

Average estimated monthly bill after solar: $0

Total potential savings over 25 years: $855,790

Projected annual electricity offset : 98%

Power outages are increasingly common in many states. California and Texas experience more than their share, a fact that has many people searching for alternative sources of power like a home solar system.

In LA County’s San Gabriel Valley, high winds and fire risk have left many without power, either through planned brownouts or unplanned outages. Jon and Lisa Curtis, of La Cañada Flintridge, became interested in solar power and solar battery storage for its ability to provide reliable backup power, and its positive impact on the environment, too.

“I’m concerned about the environment and doing more to save our world,” Jon explains. “With solar + storage, we can reduce our impact on the electric grid and have the security of knowing that if the power goes out, we’ve got a backup system.”

Working with Kahn Solar, Jon and Lisa had a 22 kW system installed on their home and garage, enough to potentially supply virtually all of their electric demand. They paired their SunPower Equinox® solar system with SunVault® storage, which enables them to store excess energy generated during the day for use at night, when utility rates are higher.

Savings for a Rainy Day

The impact of solar + storage on their expenses has been huge. Before solar energy, the Curtis family was paying up to $900 in monthly electric bills in the summertime, and $400 in the winter, when air conditioning wasn’t needed. Now?

“For the first three months of 2023, our bill has been -$15.”

Did we hear that right? Negative $15?

A big reason for their right-sized solar system is the expertise of Michael Kahn. He’s been installing solar panels in Southern California since 2001, making Kahn Solar one of the oldest SunPower dealers in the country.

Michael designed the Curtis solar system to offset an estimated 98% of the home’s power and coupled this with SunVault storage set in Cost Savings mode. This automatically optimizes the use of stored power at strategic times of day, hence the negative balance on their bill.

“By selecting this operating mode for SunVault storage, the Curtis family can use stored power from 5 to 8 pm, when the utility is charging the most for power,” Michael explains. “But their reserve level is set so the battery won’t go below 50% to provide reliable backup power when they need it.”

All-In with All-Electric

Another reason for their large savings is that the home has transitioned to all-electric. The family replaced their gas furnace with a heat pump, so all their cooling and heating is handled by solar. They even added an electric vehicle, which is charged by solar, eliminating their gas costs.

In the first year alone, the couple expects to save more than $10,000 on their utility bills by going solar. The upfront cost for solar was heavily defrayed as well, through the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for renewable energy and California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which offers rebates for installing energy storage.*

The California Public Utility Council (CPUC) has authorized funding of more than $1 billion for SGIP rebates through 2024, to shore up grid reliability in the face of climate change.

Easing the Strain on the Power Grid

As a former mayor and councilman of La Cañada, Jon especially appreciates the fact that he can do his part for climate change and reduce the strain on an overburdened power grid. Generating his own power helps his local utility and reduces carbon emissions locally.

“With the solar battery system, we’re able to help the grid out by not using grid electricity when the demand is highest,” he explains. “In the big picture, producing our own energy not only increases reliability and reduces the need for brownouts, it also helps avoid the need to build more power plants.”

Aesthetics for the Win

As an added benefit, the all-black solar panels look sharp against the homeowner’s new cool roof, another energy-efficient improvement installed just prior to adding the solar system. Aesthetics were important to Jon and Lisa, and the solar panels blend in well with the rooftop.

Choosing to switch to solar power was rewarding on many levels for the Curtis family. It’s not surprising that the superior performance and aesthetics of their system earned this project the National Excellence in Design and Installation Award from SunPower.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Jon says. “The way the SunPower system is designed and the team at Kahn Solar are truly the best. They designed and built the system to fit our needs perfectly, and even helped with all the paperwork.”

Going solar isn’t just good for the pocketbook and planet. It’s good for the power system, too.

To learn more about how to take advantage of the combined power of solar and energy storage, reach out to a SunPower residential solar advisor by clicking the Get Started button.