Solar shines with financial, eco rewards for homeowners

By Marti Gacioch

With the abundance of free, available sunshine, a growing number of San Diego homeowners are earning financial and environmental rewards by choosing the solar electric (photovoltaic) industry as their energy provider, according to Martin Learn, president and founder of Home Energy Systems.

“Installing a solar energy system in a home is an investment that will provide an immediate lowering of energy bills and will provide up to 30 years or more of lower energy costs for homeowners,” Learn said.

Home Energy Systems, a full-service provider of photovoltaic energy products and systems, specializes in low-cost alternatives to utility power that include the sales, design, installation and monitoring of residential, commercial and governmental energy systems.

It has designed and installed some 500 quality solar solutions in San Diego in the past 12 years.

Learn, a seasoned expert in solar technology and NABCEP-certified (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners), said he lives 100 percent off the utility-grid, harnessing free energy from the sun. He has researched and promoted renewable energy technologies for 32 years.

When Learn opened his business, the cost of solar installation was much higher.

But with module prices plummeting, efficiencies increasing, the bipartisan passage of a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar installations and a new infusion of cash rebates via the California Solar Initiative to drive additional savings, the industry has seen tremendous solar growth, Learn said.

Toss in the benefits associated with fueling an electric vehicle with free solar energy and the savings continue. Remember, a watt of power generated today will be worth even more in five, 10 or 20 years. Energy prices aren’t going down, so solar investment return keeps going up.

“I’ve seen demand for solar energy increase 30-50 percent nearly every year,” Learn said.

But not all solar installers are created equal, according to Learn, who is dedicated to helping San Diegans realize their true solar potential. To him, that means educating homeowners on the questions to ask to identify properly-licensed professionals, who use the best quality solar products available to meet their needs. Find a list of questions he’s identified to help consumers find a qualified solar professional at

“Solar products may look similar, but the quality and performance of today’s solar offerings can vary widely, with solar panel efficiencies ranging from 14 -21 percent,” Learn said.

Home Energy Systems uses SunPower modules, whose 25-year workmanship and power production guarantees are the industry’s best. And (new this year), Home energy Systems offers a free power back-up system with each qualifying solar installation. This helps preserve perishables and charge PCs, phones, flashlights and appliances in the event of a day-time power outage while ensuring a safe transition into the night should power not be swiftly restored.

Besides financial savings, going solar offers many benefits, including increasing a property’s value and protecting an owner from future electrical rate increases. With an array of new financing options that include $0-down, interest-free or long-term financing — and lease arrangements — solar is within the reach of more homeowners than ever.

— Home Energy Systems, 10969 San Diego Mission Road, San Diego. (619) 692-2015.

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