How to go solar for homeowners

DC has an excellent solar market and it is possible to go solar and save on your electricity bill. The following is a basic overview of the steps for going solar. If you have questions or have run into problems in the process of going solar, please contact the listserv and we can help!

Don’t want to go solar alone? Join a neighborhood solar co-op! Neighbors in DC are going solar together and getting a discount. Learn more about active groups in your area, or help start your own.

Fred Sullivan


Check out a presentation two of our members gave at the 2012 DC SUN Solar Congress.

Steps to Going Solar

  1. Join the listserv. DC SUN has an active listserv of people who have gone solar. You can ask questions and get help by contacting the listserv. Click here to join.
  2. Learn about solar.
    1. Introduction to solar technologies Learn about the different types of ways to use the sun’s energy.
    2. Understand solar incentives in the DC market There are federal tax credits, DC rebates (sometimes), Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and other incentives for solar producers.
    3. How to Go Solar 101: Residential This PowerPoint presentation will take you through the basics of putting solar on your home.
    4. Making sure solar is a good fit for your home. Learn if your home is capable of hosting a solar system.
  3. Connect with a solar coop in your neighborhood. Visit our list of solar co-ops to find a one in your neighborhood. Many co-ops host meetings and organize group purchases for members, allowing you to connect with other solar enthusiasts and save money. If there isn’t a co-op in your neighborhood consider starting one or organizing a mini bulk purchase with some of your neighbors.
  4. Solicit three (3) bids from local installers. Check out a list of local installers and contact three to solicit bids. It’s important to get multiple bids so you can select the installer who will best meet your needs. Not sure how to review your bids? Send your questions to the listserv and someone can help you.
  5. Select an installer and have your system installed. Once you’ve selected a solar installer, contact them and let them know you’d like to move forward. They’ll have you sign a final contract and schedule an installation date. Your installer should handle all rebate applications, permits with the city, and contacting Pepco to interconnect your system to the grid. Contact the listserv if you have questions or run into any problems during the installation process.
  6. Arrange to sell your system’s SRECs. SRECS are Solar Renewable Energy Credits that are produced by your solar system. You can either sell your system’s SRECs yourself or arrange for your installer to do so.
  7. Have a party and invite others to celebrate! We want to hear about your new system! Share photos with the listserv and invite your friends and neighbors to go solar! Also, make sure to let your Councilmember know how happy you are with your solar system.

Corey Ramsden

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