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Crossposted from the Davis Enterprise

From page A9 | February 08, 2017

By Carla Arango

When Joe and Janet Krovoza open their PG&E bill each month, they’re not surprised to see they owe less than $10. Often, there’s a credit on their account.

It all started in 2001, when the Krovoza family became one of the first families in Davis to install rooftop solar panels.

An Enterprise article from the time mentioned that Joe “thinks a lot about the pitch of a house … and the placement of shade trees,” issues still relevant today, and that his two young daughters thought it was “cool ‘cause it’s saving the environment” and “it might help with a science project.”

After 14 years with the original system, Joe, a former mayor of Davis, and Janet decided to upgrade. Their first 2-kilowatt rooftop solar system generated enough energy to power the entire house, but it didn’t generate enough for their new car, too.

The Krovoza family’s new 3.8-kilowatt system enables them to also say they are proud owners of a 2017 Chevy Volt. They have entered the ranks of PV/EV pioneers (photovoltaic/electric vehicle) — members of the community powering both their home energy and transportation needs with solar energy.

Janet and Joe Krovoza
Janet and Joe Krovoza “fill up” their car with energy from their newly upgraded rooftop solar system. Yvonne Hunter/Courtesy photo.

Krovoza consulted with Talbott Solar, a local company, on the new higher-capacity system that produces enough energy to power their house and car, and still, their average monthly electricity bill is less than $10.

“We save about $75 a month on electricity for the house and we save at least $100 a month on gasoline,” Krovoza said. He explained that saving money doesn’t mean compromising comfort. In fact, he feels even more comfortable running appliances and turning on the lights because he knows his home is being powered by solar energy.

“Saving money doesn’t mean compromising comfort.”

Krovoza said 64 percent of the miles traveled with their car are electric. He’s happy to be making “a smart economic decision for his family” and “eliminating their costs for energy and transportation needs.”

Excess energy feeds into the grid via Net Metering Program

In addition to saving money on their monthly bill, Krovoza actually gets compensated for producing energy via the Net Energy Metering program. In the summer, when people are running their air-conditioning and usage is at its peak, Krovoza’s panels are producing energy and giving back to the grid.

PG&E calculates his net usage each month and, if it’s negative, he becomes eligible for net surplus compensation at true-up time. True-up happens once a year and it shows the total cost of electricity used each month.

Krovoza’s net usage is negative 10 months out of 12. At true-up, his cumulative Net Energy Metering balance was negative $767.40. However, because PG&E buys energy at a much lower price than what it sells it for, Krovoza received a credit of only $88.97.

Janet and Joe Krovoza PGE bill
Janet and Joe Krovoza are all smiles when they open up their electricity bill from PG&E every month. Thanks to their new 3.8-kilowatt rooftop solar system, their bill averages less than $10 a month. Yvonne Hunter/Courtesy photo.

But making money by selling energy is not why Krovoza got into solar, it was his desire to reduce his carbon footprint for the benefit of the planet and future generations. He’s made the decision to reduce his carbon footprint by 80 percent, which is what motivated him to install solar panels.

“We are decarbonizing much of our life; we only have one car and all of our local trips are on electric,” he said.

Krovoza was mayor of Davis from 2011 to 2014 and is currently a senior director of development and external relations with the Institute of Transportation Studies and the Energy Efficiency Center at UC Davis.

“We only have one car and all of our local trips are on electric.”

“Society is precipitous in stopping climate change and I want to be part of it,” he said.

If you are even remotely interested in rooftop solar for your home, Krovoza encourages you to get started.

“Start thinking about how it would work for you and start talking to the pros about it,” he advised.

For more information, check out the Cool Davis solar page or contact Chris Granger, executive director of Cool Davis, at

Want more?

* Single-family homeowners and property owners can join the Davis community and pledge to go solar by 2020. No way to put a system on your roof? You can also pledge to spread the word.

* Power pioneers: Double up by sharing your solar experience with your neighbors and friends! Tweet us a picture of you with your system or one of you and the buddy you’ve been helping. Don’t forget to use our Cool Davis handle @cooldaviscity and the hashtag #gosolardavis.

* To tell us your solar story, email to

* For solar advice and information, email Be sure to include the word SOLAR in the subject line.

* For more information about the campaign or to volunteer, email

* Are you a renter? Download our renter’s sustainable living guide PDF.