Creating a self-sufficient future with solar in the Sierra Nevada

Quick Stats

Location: Bishop, CA

System Size: 16 kW

System Type: SunPower Equinox®

Est. Energy Offset: 100%

Est. Lifetime Savings: $250,000

The Eastern Sierra is one of the most beautiful mountainous areas of California, and one of the most rugged. For homeowners Rod and Deborah, going solar enables them to live self-sufficiently by powering their home and transportation needs with clean energy.

A solar design for shade-prone areas

Tucked in among the trees, this home might not seem to be the best candidate for solar. But when Deborah contacted SunPower dealer Berger Solar Electric, she was happy to learn from solar specialist Matthew Berger that a SunPower® system could address most of the home's energy needs.

"One of the challenges was thinking through where to put the solar system to capture the maximum production and consumption on site," Berger notes. "We identified the best location for the arrays to maximize production while taking into consideration shade from the beautiful trees on the property."

With a SunPower Equinox® AC system, the panels maximize power even in shade-prone areas. That's because the AC modules have microinverters that optimize each panel's performance individually. In California's fire-prone mountains, the AC system also enables rapid shutdown in the event of a grid outage.

Attention to detail matters

Berger designed the 16 kW system as two arrays, one on the home and one on the garage, with a total of 40 SunPower 400-watt AC panels. An important part of the design was that the two arrays were tied together into a new service panel located near the garage, with system wires running underground and inside the walls and attic space to preserve a clean aesthetic.

Deborah noted that the team's attention to detail and service was one of the reasons they chose to work with Berger – and it showed during the installation.

"They were here exactly when they said they were going to be and the installation only took about three days," she says. "It was very efficient and there were no interruptions with our daily lives. I give them high praise for their courteousness and customer service."

High praise from this couple who also work in the service industry as smart home contractors.

Driving on sunshine

Now that the home is powered by solar, the homeowners have already expanded their energy needs with two electric vehicles powered by the solar system.

The additional energy load was anticipated in the system design, and the lifetime savings are substantial. Over the next 25 years, the couple will save an estimated $250,000 on their electricity bills from going solar.

"Not only have we propelled them into a self-sufficient energy future, we've also supplied them with the power and energy independence to commute using the power of the sun – taking two gas vehicles off the road and bettering our environment," Berger concludes. "And what's more sustainable than powering both your home and car with the sun?"