San Diego’s in the midst of a solar revolution.

Tens of thousands of San Diegans have gone solar, with rooftop solar installations rising about 50 percent annually in recent years, according to data from San Diego Gas & Electric.

Solar Growth Reported By San Diego Gas & Electric

Solar Growth In San Diego

Indeed, our region is one of the top solar cities in the nation.

That growth would seem unlikely to slow anytime soon. After all, there’s been a bevy of state and local mandates and rebates.

But there’s increasing uncertainty about the future of solar in San Diego. SDG&E, like other utilities across the nation, is convinced that solar customers – most of whom still rely on the local grid – need to pay more to help maintain that grid. Meanwhile, some federal and state-level incentives and programs that helped bolster San Diego’s solar explosion are expiring soon.

Solar Quest

All raise questions for consumers, businesses and our region as a whole. The biggest one: Will solar pay off for consumers, businesses and our region as we push toward a more sustainable future?

I plan to spend the next several weeks exploring that question, and the many others tethered to it.

For instance, when does it make sense to go solar? How long does it generally take solar customers to get a return on their investment, and how could that change with a new net metering arrangement? Aside from cost saving possibilities, will solar deliver on environmental goals? Are there technical issues and problems that are giving SDG&E and solar customers headaches? What does it take to go off the grid, and how many San Diegans are actually powering their homes independent of SDG&E resources? How is the increasing influx of independent solar power affecting the grid? Could solar policy changes complicate efforts to reach all the state and local targets set under the current economic model?

I’ll try to answer as many of these questions as I can in coming weeks, and I hope you’ll add additional ones to my list. Your suggestions and questions will help guide my fact-finding mission.

So what do you want to know about going solar and what it means for our region? Please add your thoughts in the comment section or email me directly at

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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