Cristal's Blog


June 3, 2024

Back to Articles

In today's environmentally conscious world, switching to solar energy is not just a trend; it's a necessity. For homeowners in the sunny coastal region of Santa Barbara County, embracing energy from the sun is a logical step forward. California's robust solar incentives, coupled with the region's abundant sunshine, make now an opportune time for Santa Barbara County homeowners to make the switch to solar energy.

A luxury white two-story modernist home with expanses of glass set amidst green foliage, with moutntains in the background.

The Bright Choice: Transitioning to Solar Energy in Santa Barbara County

California boasts a unique blend of factors, making the Golden State an ideal location for the adoption of solar energy. With an average of 283 sunny days per year, the communities of Santa Barbara County offer ample sunlight for solar panel efficiency. Moreover, the state's ambitious renewable energy goals aim to derive 60% of retail electricity from renewable sources by 2030, making solar adoption a significant contributor to achieving these targets.

Embracing solar energy isn't only about reducing carbon emissions; it's also a savvy financial decision. By harnessing the power of the sun, homeowners can enjoy significant savings on their utility bills over time and even reap additional financial benefits just for switching.

Solar panels above a pool house next to a round sparking pool and its flagstone deck, with the rear facade of a large two-story home in the background

Unlocking the Economic Advantages of Solar Energy

Here's a closer look at the financial advantages of going solar:

1. Reduced Utility Bills
One of the most immediate benefits is the substantial reduction in utility bills. By generating your own electricity from solar panels, you can significantly offset or even eliminate your reliance on grid-supplied electricity, leading to substantial savings over time.

2. Return on Investment (ROI)
While the initial cost of installation may seem daunting, it's important to view it as a long-term investment. With available incentives, California homeowners can achieve a favorable ROI by generating their own clean energy and reducing their dependence on expensive grid electricity.

3. Solar Incentives and Rebates
Various financial incentives, including the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and property tax exemptions, further enhance the economic viability. These incentives may include federal tax credits, state rebates, and local utility enticements, making solar energy more affordable and accessible for homeowners. Also, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has extended the federal tax credits for solar panel installation through the end of 2034, allowing homeowners a tax credit for 22% to 30% of the cost of new solar panel installations.

4. Increased Property Value
Studies have shown that homes equipped with solar panels tend to have higher property values and sell faster than homes without this amenity. Potential homebuyers increasingly recognize the value of harnessing energy from the sun and are willing to pay a premium for homes with solar panels already in place.

5. Protection Against Utility Rate Increase
With rising utility rates, investing in solar energy provides a hedge against future increases in electricity costs. By generating your own electricity, you can lock in predictable energy costs and reduce your vulnerability to fluctuating utility rates, providing long-term financial stability.

6. Environmental Benefits
By reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, solar energy helps combat climate change and creates a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations to come.

Understanding Solar Technology

Solar panels are composed of solar cells, typically made from silicon, which convert sunlight into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. You can choose between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, each with its own advantages. While monocrystalline panels offer higher efficiency, polycrystalline panels are more cost-effective.

Santa Barbara's year-round Mediterranean climate further enhances the effectiveness of solar panels. With moderate temperatures hovering around 77°F, our weather provides an ideal environment for solar energy generation. This consistent climate ensures that solar panels operate at peak efficiency, maximizing the benefits of renewable energy for homeowners.

Another enticing factor is minimal maintenance requirements. Solar panels are relatively low-maintenance, unlike traditional energy systems with numerous moving parts. Regular cleaning, typically just to remove dust and debris, can extend their lifespan to approximately 25 years. This makes solar energy an attractive and sustainable option for Santa Barbara homeowners seeking long-term energy solutions.

A man on a roof holding a solar panel ready for installation.
Photo by Kindel Media:

Tools and Help

Embarking on the journey towards solar energy adoption in Santa Barbara requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some tips:

Utilize Google's Project Sunroof tool to assess your property's solar capacity. This tool provides valuable insights into your home's solar potential, helping you make informed decisions about solar panel installation.

Before installing solar panels, assess the condition of your roof. Ensure it is structurally sound and free from damage or defects. Addressing any necessary repairs upfront will prolong your solar system's lifespan and ensure its effectiveness in harnessing solar energy.

Optimizing the efficiency of solar panels is key to harnessing the abundant sunshine our region offers. That’s why the orientation of solar panels in relation to the sun significantly impacts their efficiency. In the United States, panels should ideally face south to ensure optimal energy production, especially in our sun-drenched coastal locale.

Santa Barbara Clean Energy has exclusive arrangements with organizations to help you save money when going solar. Simply fill out the form found in this link with your information and SBCE service account number to receive an email confirming your eligibility.

Research Qualified Solar Contractors

Selecting a reputable and experienced solar contractor is crucial for the success of your solar project. Consider the following factors when researching potential contractors:

  • Seek assistance from 3C-REN in finding reputable solar and storage contractors.
  • Ensure contractors possess a valid Santa Barbara Business License.
  • Obtain at least three bids or quotes and request three references from each bidder.
  • Hire only California state-licensed contractors with valid licenses, such as Photovoltaic (PV) Generation System: C-10 and C-46, or a B (General) license.
  • You can verify contractor license numbers through the Contractors State License Board or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752).
  • If you need additional help, review the CPUC Solar Consumer Protection Guide for more information.

As you can see, going solar is a sustainable and financially rewarding choice for homeowners in Santa Barbara County. In the meantime, if you're contemplating selling your property, or if you're in the market to buy a home with existing solar features or the potential for installation, feel free to reach out to me at (805) 886-9378 or via email at I'm here to add your home to my portfolio of exceptional properties and help you find your ideal place to call home. Let’s all do our part for the environment by going solar.

Of Related Interest:

Back to Articles

Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch