First Solar-Powered Homeowner in Palo Alto Renews Commitment 28 Years Later

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Local architect and longtime resident Dennis Kobza is both Palo Alto’s first and its 500th resident to install a Solar PV System on his home! In this era of increased attention to renewable resources, the City of Palo Alto is delighted and inspired by this electrifying coincidence---and hopes Dennis Kobza can inspire others to take this step towards improving our planet and lowering their utilities bills.

"In 1975 it was a bit of a gamble because the technology was so new, " Kobza explained, "But the sytem worked great and I went on to receive a City Solar Award in 1983."

After 28 years of using the sun to deliver electricity, Dennis Kobza’s first solar system finally reached the end of its life. A very satisfied customer, Mr. Kobza decided to reinvest in the technology and in January 2013 he installed a new solar system. He expects the new system to generate enough electricity to cover 75% of his annual electric consumption.

“As an Architect, I wanted to pursue all solar systems available in 1975 and choose to install photovoltaic. It was a bit of a gamble, because the technology was so new at the time; however, I went forward, “ Dennis explained. “ Since I was the first system in Palo Alto, I had to get the City Council to accept me as a co-generator. The 92 panel system (4.5 kilowatts) was installed. I went on line in 1983 and received the solar award from the city in 1983.”

The City of Palo Alto congratulates Mr. Kobza for being a Palo Alto Solar Pioneer. And it is great karma that his new solar system turned out to be the 500th one to go through the Utilities Department's PV Partners rebate program. Way to go, Dennis!

Kobza's new solar PV system was designed and installed by Real Goods Solar.

Visit to see photos of Kobza’s original 1983 system and the newly installed PV panels.

Residents who want to harness solar power for their own homes can get City of Palo Alto Utilities rebates for both solar power (photovoltaic, PV) systems and solar water heating systems. Our Utilities Marketing Services Manager Joyce Kinnear (650-329-2652) and our Solar System Marketing Engineer Lindsay Joye (650-329-2680—in office Weds) can answer media questions about the rebate and educational programs we provide to support residents who want to consider solar systems in their homes.

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Debra Katz
City of Palo Alto
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