Santa Barbara Clean Energy is partnering with Tesla to bring you Power Choice
Install Tesla Solar and Powerwall Today at No Upfront Cost
The Power Choice program offers SBCE customers the opportunity to benefit from solar and battery storage without the cost of installing and owning a system. SBCE has partnered with Tesla, Inc. to install rooftop solar and Tesla Powerwall batteries at no upfront cost. Customers only pay for energy produced by the system and the Powerwall. SBCE will continue to be your power provider and you will receive one monthly bill – the exact same way you do now.
You will enjoy Tesla’s industry-leading solar experience with free installation and complimentary customer service without a credit check.
Beyond providing a solar and battery system at no upfront cost, the Power Choice program offers customers energy savings and resiliency. By including the Powerwall, the Power Choice program will allow emergency backup power in the event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff or a disaster, and will allow you to use 100% of the solar energy your system produces at your home. The Power Choice program assures predictable modest energy rates to customers over a long-term contract.
How to Enroll
- You must be an existing SBCE customer to qualify
- Have your electric bill ready
- Click the: “Order Now Through Tesla” button or you can Request a Call
- Enter your home address & average electric bill monthly cost
- Choose “Solar Panels” and click the “Next” button
- Under Power Choice Program check the “Participate in Program” box
- Click the “Continue to Order” button
- You will now enter your personal information to set up a Tesla account
- After uploading your utility bill you will be contacted by a Project Advisor
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the qualification requirements?
You must live in a single family home and you must be an SBCE customer. There are no other qualifications (no FICO score review, etc). If you rent, please have your landlord reach out to email@example.com for our Renters Program. If you live within SBCE jurisdiction, but are not currently an SBCE customer, please call SBCE to enroll at (951) 665-6812.
Am I locked in a contract?
Yes. When you enroll in the Power Choice program you agree to buy the power produced and energy services provided by the system on a fixed long-term basis locking in increasing energy savings over time. Separately, you will agree to allow Tesla to install and service the system.
Can I opt out of the program at any time?
Yes, but if you opt out of the program after the solar + battery has been installed, you will need to buy out the system.
How long does it take to install the system?
The installation time (construction crew at your house) is about 1 week, but the total timeline from order to install is about 3-4 months. This includes time to receive all the relevant customer information, design and permit the system, submit for interconnection from the utility and prepare for construction. After the system is installed, it normally takes 2-6 weeks to receive permission-to-operate where the system can freely operate and export extra electricity (not consumed or stored on site) back to the utility.
What happens if I sell my home?
When you sell your house the contract transfers to the new home buyer without any additional credit score (FICO) review and customer underwriting of any kind. Additionally, if the future owner wants to own the system themselves, they may buy out the system for “fair market value.”
What happens if I rent out my home to tenants?
With our Renters Program, with landlord and tenant approval, the landlord will give permission to install and keep the system at the home and the tenant will sign up for electric service with SBCE and select the Power Choice tariff. If interested, please have your landlord email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What size is the system that will be installed on my home?
Your system will be custom designed by Tesla designers based on your annual electricity usage and available roof space. When you submit your initial order on the Tesla.com/energy website, you will approve an initial rough estimate, which will be further refined between you and Tesla.
Can I get a bigger system than the suggested size?
Tesla will work with you to design the appropriate system size. If you expect to increase your home electric loads (e.g. future EV purchase, new pool pump, new electric appliances, etc), you can work with your Tesla Project Advisor who can submit a justification to the utility for a larger system. Generally, you only want to size your system to your total annual loads, so over sizing a system should be based on expected future loads.
What if my roof isn’t suitable for solar?
A Tesla specialist will work with you to determine if your roof is suitable for solar. If it is determined your roof is not suitable for solar, then your house will not qualify for the program and your contract will be terminated with no financial penalty.
How long do the solar panels last?
Minimum of 25 years, but the equipment is generally designed for a 30+ year life.
Will I ever need to replace my solar panel or battery?
You are never responsible for solar panel or battery replacement. All future panel and battery replacements are supplied at no additional cost to you, under the Power Choice program.
How do batteries work with solar?
The solar panels generate electricity that gets used by the house. At any given time, if the solar is generating more electricity than the house is using, then the excess electricity charges the battery for future consumption. Only if the batteries are fully charged and there isn’t enough load on site to consume the solar energy, then the excess energy will be sent back to the utility and credited to the customer under SCE’s then current Net Energy Metering (NEM) program.
Am I required to install the battery with the solar?
Yes, this program is solar + battery. In the near future, we will be able add batteries to existing solar on your home as well.
How much space will I need for the battery?
Each Tesla “Powerwall” battery is about 30 inches wide, about 46 inches tall, and about 6 inches in depth. When you design your system on the Tesla.com website, it will recommend 1 or multiple “Powerwall” batteries for your home. The batteries will be installed using as little space as required by your Building and Safety department.
Where will the batteries be installed?
Batteries are typically installed on the outside of your house, or inside the garage.
Who owns the system?
A fund was established to own the system for the benefit of you and SBCE, which is managed by our financial partner Participate.Energy.
Who is responsible for damage from a natural disaster?
The systems are all fully insured as part of the Power Choice program. Any damage to the system from a natural disaster is the responsibility of the fund (managed by Participate.Energy) to replace in coordination with Tesla, you and SBCE.
What if my system has problems?
All systems under Power Choice are serviced by Tesla using the same service staff and platform as any other Tesla system or customer. A Tesla representative will help understand your problem and resolve any issues you have with the system.
What should I do if I am a member of an HOA?
In the case that your HOA requires approval prior to installing the system, you will work with your Tesla Project Advisor to submit for and get HOA approval. There are laws established in California to support the deployment of solar, so HOAs can still require pre-approval, but there are multiple laws protecting you from the HOA denying your request to install solar.
Do I need to update my home insurance?
No. The system is separately insured within the Power Choice program.
Do I get tax incentives for installing the system?
No. The tax incentives go to the owner of the system, which is the fund. The fund uses the tax incentives as part of the financial model to provide you power at a lower price and with no upfront cost.
What happens if I sign up for panels but then change my mind a year later and want to own the system at that time?
You can buy out the system from the fund at any time at the fair-market-value.
How long does the battery last on average?
The battery and solar will either continue to operate or be replaced by the program throughout the term of your contract (at no cost to you). It is anticipated that the batteries will need to be replaced one time over the term of your contract (again, at no cost to you).
Santa Barbara Clean Energy
735 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101