Solar Power

Matthew Kavanaugh, the builder of the anchor Painted Lady in 1892, was a forward thinker adopting cutting edge technology in his home. As we remodeled the home, we found things like Pneumatic speaking tubes, telegraph wires and hybrid gas/electric chandeliers as electricity and communications just started to become established in homes. In keeping with the history and our own vision of a Modern Victorian, we added the latest in home control and comfort – like the MrSteam iSteam, Dacor IQ range, Wi-Fi thermostats, HD security cameras, alarm system, electric car charging port, etc.

We are strong believers in renewable energy, having had solar on all our homes the past 10 years, and we wanted our Modern Victorian to have a minimal energy footprint. With costs having come down so much the past decade, it’s also a great investment. We turned to the experts in solar as a service – Sunrun – to help us design, permit and install a highly efficient yet elegant solution for our rooftop.

First in the process was making the most use of the limited roof space taking into account fire and building codes. Sunrun custom designed a system making optimal use of the roof and delivering a system that should fully offset our house’s power needs. The all-black panels and low profile SnapNrack system keeps them tight on the roof and less visible.

Sunrun assisted with city permitting (electrical and building), interconnection and our application for historical approval with the San Francisco Planning department’s historical planner. The latter extra step was required because our house is a designated Article 10 historical house and any external modifications require approval from a historical perspective. San Francisco is very much for solar and although these permits and approvals took about two months to secure we were thrilled that they got through.

On installation day, Sunrun’s team had to get to the roof, between 40-50’ off the ground and significantly pitched. Fortunately, everything could be accessed through our attic windows. The conduits were neatly tucked behind a downspout so they are not visible, into the garage where the inverter and other hardware are located. It took about 4 days to complete it all.

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We were also able to participate in a special Sunrun BrightBox™ solar + battery storage pilot program for California. This provides battery storage for additional savings in our energy use depending upon time of day.

Sunrun will be able to monitor our system remotely to ensure everything works as expected 24/7. Our agreement with them is for 20 years. At the end of the 20 years, the Sunrun BrightSave® Prepaid plan we are on gives us the option to either renew or have Sunrun remove the system at no extra charge.