Center for Sustainable Energy

Big Resident Installs Solar with a High Return on Investment

A nearly 35-year resident of Big Bear City, Calif., Bruce Voigt has witnessed many changes throughout the San Bernardino wilderness area, one of which has been the proliferation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the Bear Valley Electric Service (BVES) territory.

Bruce began researching solar electric systems, estimated costs and available tax credits in 2014. When BVES announced their solar rebate initiative in early 2015, he decided it was time to move forward with adding solar to his home. Considering the utility rebate and tax credits, he estimated a 3.5-year return on his investment. Bruce contracted with Bear Mountain Solar (BMS) for his solar installation, a locally owned and operated company with over five years of service in the community.

When you put a pencil to it, where can I put my money to get such a high return? Plus it added equity to my home.

Bruce Voigt, Big Bear City resident

Built in 1972, the Voigt residence has been upgraded over the years, including energy-efficient windows, lighting, appliances and heating and cooling systems, as well as increased attic insulation. With his home already achieving a high level of energy efficiency, Bruce asked BMS to set the capacity of a solar PV system to meet 100 percent of his household kilowatt-hour (kWh) needs. BMS designed a 17-kW system that meets the goal and will also cover the additional energy usage for a spa Bruce is planning.

The Bear Valley Solar Initiative program opened in January 2015 and ended in March 2016, when program objectives were met and funding exhausted. Some 193 BVES customers received incentive benefits through the program and more than 800 kW of new solar PV installations were completed.