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Grilled cheese chefs’ solar-powered Bernal Heights house asks $1.35 million

Imagine the turnabout when PG&E ends up paying you for power

The facade of 228 Holladay Avenue, a flat-roofed modern home with a stone garage. Courtesy Alexander Kolovyansky, Vanguard Properties

The circa 1942 home at 228 Holladay Avenue comes with one big, sunny, 21st century addition. No, it’s not another renovation. (The last work done here was a new roof in 2009.) Rather, 228 Holladay recently became an entirely solar-powered home, and the new panels are part of its current $1.35 million asking price.

Back when this three-bedroom, two-bathroom home listed in 2013 (for a mere $849,000, which it beat by more than $75K in the end), the ads played up things like the beautiful slate patio, still as handsome as ever, but there was no mention of going solar back then. Realtor Alexander Kolovyansky says that the system is indeed a new addition, installed by the present owners a couple years ago.

“[The owners] say that most months they paid nothing at all for electricity,” Kolovyansky tells Curbed SF. “In fact, sometimes the utility ended up paying them a few times during the summer months.”

That’s a phenomena called net metering. The Seattle-based company that sells the specific system used in 228 Holladay explains:

“If you generate more power than you use in a month, your utility company will forward your excess solar energy credits to be used during the next month. This allows any excess energy generated in the summer to be used during the winter when there is less solar energy and usually higher energy usage.”

According to Google’s solar calculator app Project Sunroof, the house gets about 1,169 usable hours of sunlight every year. (Project Sunroof factors for the average weather conditions, although obviously these are historical estimates.)

That comes out to about $44/month in savings. That’s not quite as profound an effect as the present homeowners suggest, but it’s only an estimate and it may not be surprising if the actual bill beats those projections.

Incidentally, the present owners are none other than the founders of the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. Anyone who ever wondered what it’s like living as well-heeled grilled cheese magnates in San Francisco, feast your eyes.