Hutchins Street Square was filled Monday with people interested in buying a solar power system and 23 vendors who wanted to sell a solar power system, and everyone wanting to take advantage of Lodi's solar energy rebate that began Jan. 1.
"We want to make a presence here because of the Lodi rebate program," said Jonathan Mack, a solar consultant for Premier Power in El Dorado Hills. "You can save 30 to 70 percent on your bill and remain viable."
Dave Haas, a 22-year Lodi resident, was one of approximately 250 people who attended the fair. Hass said he attended a previous solar fair and wanted to see if there were any new vendors.
"I'm looking for a way to reduce my electric bill," said Haas, who pays about $300 per month for electricity in the winter.
Though people can save a substantial amount of money, it will take 10 to 20 years to pay off the initial investment, depending on where you live, vendors say.
For Lodi and Sacramento County, it will take about 20 years for the system to pay for itself, while in San Joaquin County communities that use Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the return of investment ranges from seven to 12 years, Mack said.
The reason it will take longer to recoup your savings in places like Lodi and Galt, Mack said, is that their rates are lower than PG&E's, especially at the higher tier.
Rebates are $2.80 per watt and decrease seven years each year. The maximum rebate is $375,000 per system, with a cap payment of $75,000 per year.
For example, if a customer installs a 100-kilowatt system this year, the total rebate is $280,000. The customer would get $75,000 each year for three years, and $55,000 the fourth year.
For more information, call 333-6762.
Source: Lodi Electric Utility.
Most of the vendors were peddling solar panels that can be placed on roofs, but a few offered a variation. For example, Wiser Watts, based in Rio Vista, promoted its thick Apex wall, which they say will offer greater insulation and require fewer solar energy panels, salesman Bryan Sharpley said. The firm also sells solar heating systems.
Rob Lechner, customer service and programs manager for Lodi Electric Utility, said he wanted to put on a second solar fair within six months to whet residents' appetites for the city's rebate program. There were 23 vendors on Monday, compared with 15 at the July event, Lechner said.
Lodi resident Lon Peterson is sold on solar energy, and it didn't take much to get him to the solar fair.
"I think everybody in America should have one," Peterson said.