Semper Solaris Blog

There are many ways that you can gain an advantage from installing backup battery storage with your solar panels. The backup battery stores power from your panels, which can be used during the time your panels are not producing electricity. You can save money if you use power during high peak hours when the cost of electricity is high. And it will keep your electricity on during a power outage. Backup batteries for solar power installations are becoming more efficient, more useful, and the prices have dropped considerably. Solar backup battery installation in El Cajon is attractive to homeowners and much more affordable. After the solar panel installation, they are the next step towards energy independence. How Solar Batteries in El Cajon Work Blackouts can occur when there is an incident that cuts the transmission of power from your utility company to your home. This type of disruption of power is often temporary, lasting only a few hours. But outages can occur when you least expect it. Your solar panels produce electricity from sunlight. The energy from the panels converts to AC power for your home, and the excess power feeds back into the grid. Your utility company operates as a mega backup battery storing the excess energy from your panels for later use. However, during a blackout, that auxiliary power is not available to your home. Solar Battery in A Power Outage During a power outage, your solar panels will continue to provide power to your home while the sun is shining. But they will stop producing energy when the sun goes down. The addition of a solar battery backup will keep the power on using stored energy to power your home. Your solar panels will keep your power on in a power outage if there is daylight. But once your solar panels stop producing energy for the day, your lights will go out along with everything else that runs on electricity. Solar Battery Storage in El Cajon allows you to keep the power on in both short term and long-term blackouts. A solar battery will keep your power running seamlessly. And when the sun rises in the morning, your panels will be back at work generating and providing electricity. With the addition of a backup battery, you can keep the power going for days and weeks if necessary. Solar Backup Batteries Save Lives Longer-term blackouts can occur when emergencies or natural disasters arise, like earthquakes, fires, floods, or other catastrophic events. Backup battery storage adds a layer of safety and peace of mind that is more than worth the price of the battery itself. El Cajon is in an area at high risk of wildfires. In a fire, it is essential to have your HVAC system running to filter particulates and contaminants that can enter the home. And in California, the danger of earthquakes is a likely event. In the event of a long-term blackout where communication is a necessity, solar power, and solar panel battery storage in El Cajon may save lives. Accessing emergency services, receiving evacuation orders, and knowing where to go could mean the difference between life and death. Solar equipment provides power for disaster relief all over the world. It only makes sense that solar panel installation, along with a backup battery, is an invaluable safety measure for your family. What to look for in Solar Backup Batteries There are several specifications to look at for storage batteries. The most important ones are the following: Capacity and power - how much power can it store? Depth of discharge – how much power can it produce? Efficiency – how much of the stored power is usable? Battery life – how long does it take the battery to empty? Semper Solaris technicians are experts in the installation of solar power along with solar backup storage. We use only the highest quality solar batteries, such as Tesla Powerwall or Enphase Encharge Battery, and we offer both the manufacturer and installation warranties on all batteries. In fact, we are a Tesla Powerwall certified installer, making us the most reputable solar contractor for your solar batteries in El Cajon. Call us today, and we will get you on the road to solar energy storage.

If you are thinking about going solar at home, but you are having doubts about the payoff, Google can help you make an informed decision. Combining the abundance of their satellite imagery and sophisticated algorithms, Google is now offering a new service that will provide you immediate insight into what you could expect in terms of savings with rooftop solar. This August the company rolled out Project Sunroof, a service that “maps the planet’s solar potential” by analyzing the high-resolution aerial photos of Google Earth. A three-dimensional model of your home is created and then the artificial intelligence software evaluates how much sun exposure the panels would have and how much savings that investment would make you. Joel Conkling of Google says that people constantly use Google to explore solar, but allowing them to test how much they would gain by going solar is so much more helpful. For now, the availability of service is limited to the Bay Area in San Francisco, central Cali and greater Boston. It was developed by Carl Elkin, a rooftop solar owner who lives in Cambridge and works for Google. The project was developed during his “20 percent time” – that time allowance Google gives their employees to work on their own independent projects. How does Google examine your roof? Elkin has installed solar panels on the roof of his home in Massachusetts. He says his drive was for people to understand that going solar is a very good home investment. Google and the project author consider this web application will promote solar panels and encourage more people to make the green change. They add that the timing for the service release is just right, with the incentives and the cost of installing solar being lower than ever. Google’s algorithms are very intricate and they emulate the neuron web in the human brain to separate your roof from the trees and shadows nearby. The technology is actually the same like the one used for face recognition on Facebook and instant translation on Skype. Project Sunroof includes simulation of shadows that normally shade your roof and it also takes into account the weather patterns in the area. Another variable that factors in is the typical local utility rates or you can enter the amount of your monthly utility bills for an even more accurate estimate. This project isn’t just Elkin’s brainchild or his personal crusade. It’s a natural development that fits into Google’s long-known support of solar and renewables. Their data centers are already solar-powered and they have invested in home solar projects. However, we shouldn’t expect this is mere beneficence. Google is all about marketing – the service will soon include referrals to solar companies in your area and charge those providers fees for doing so. Conkling explains that they want to bring people closer to understanding the potential of solar electricity, but they can also make some money off of that.

SOLAR PANELS—HOW TOUGH ARE THEY? Santa Clarita residents are going solar—the price is low, the time is right, and the sun shines bright--- providing the best conditions for rooftop solar. Solar power has become one of the most reliable ways to power homes while reducing carbon footprint all over California and beyond. If you are considering installing solar energy in your home or business, you want your investment to be a smart decision. You know it will save you money—but what about how it will hold up over time? How durable are the panels and, living in California, what about earthquake damage? The Panels Solar cells are made of thin glassy cells and are very thin. Solar panels are made up of these cells with a frame around the edge to protect the cells from cracking. The best quality solar panels have protective exterior coverings of tempered glass or protective laminate like car windshields. Solar panels with top-quality design are highly durable. Strength Solar panels are designed to withstand a broad range of temperatures, weather, and other outside factors. They have controls to keep them from cracking in extreme hot or cold weather. They are tested to handle falling debris, hail storms and very high winds. And though the panels look delicate, with proper maintenance they can last over 20 years and beyond. Solar Systems are not invulnerable, and location can affect damage potential so their positioning should be where falling rocks or trees cannot damage them. Standards The California building code has guidelines for solar panels wind and weather conditions. Manufacturers and installers alike, are adopting new guidelines by The Structural Engineers Association of California, SEOC specifically targeting seismic activity. The Roof One of the primary considerations when installing the solar panels and their durability is the condition of the roof. The weight of the panels is light, but if the roof is not strong enough and the solar panels can be damaged as well. Semper Solaris is top-notch when it comes to the building or repair of roofs. Secure Mounting The solar system must also be properly attached to the roof with a mounting system that can prevent the panels from dislodging in extreme conditions such as in an earthquake. They could fall off the racks and disable wiring and piping systems in the units causing leaks. Semper Solaris uses the highest rated mounting racks from Ironbridge.com. They build the most durable and reliable brackets that have been tested and proven in extreme weather and conditions. Efficiency and Reliability Solar panels are shown to be very dependable with a low failure rate. In harsh climates, the failure rates are higher than the norm. Having a reputable manufacturer and installer is the key to reliable and long-lasting Solar panels. Call us today and schedule an evaluation of your home for a solar power installation. We can examine your roof and determine the best course of action for going solar.

  Our Semper Cares Initiative was a huge success! On July 3rd, we completed two goodwill projects and unveiled them to the public. Welcomed guests and the local press assembled to join the families and crew to celebrate these veterans and watch as the final solar panels were installed. The two unveiling celebrations radiated honor, pride, and patriotism for this country and for those who fought to defend it. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovQs-BQMjkM[/embed] In partnership with Habitat for Humanity San Diego, we helped two veterans celebrate their Independence Day by unveiling a new roof and solar power system. Veteran Carl Schaffrina’s roof was in serious need of replacement. Water leaks were proving physically and mentally demanding for the family. Semper Solaris teamed up with the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project to provide a complete new roof installation expected to last for more than 25 years. Former Marine sniper Povas Miknaitis, was given the opportunity to declare his independence from electric companies. Semper Solaris, in cooperation with SolarWorld, and SolarEdge, installed a complete solar panel system to his home in San Diego. This new system will help reduce electricity costs and improve his home's value. Lowering Mr. Miknaitis' electricity bills and helping him become more energy independent is especially valuable, since most veterans are on fixed incomes - one fewer bill means greater financial freedom. The Miknaitis project was coordinated with San Diego’s Warrior Foundation Freedom Station where Miknaitis was a beneficiary and is now a volunteer working with other wounded veterans. We are proud of the men and women of our Semper Solaris team, our partners, and the veterans of this great nation. Stay tuned for future Semper Cares initiatives as we continue to help veterans in any way we can. At Semper Solaris, we take pride in our veterans, our veteran origins, and our veteran employees and their stories. As always, thank you for your service.

San Diego Solar Company Semper Solaris & Partners Serve Two Local Veterans with Energy Independence In partnership with local veteran support charities, California's fastest growing licensed solar and roofing contractor, Semper Solaris, is celebrating Independence Day by giving back to veterans in need. On Tuesday, July 3rd, Semper Solaris will be visiting the home of veteran Carl Schaffrina revealing a brand new roof and solar panel system in conjunction with former Marine sniper Povas Miknaitis' reveal of his complete solar panel system. These two projects combined provide donations of over $75,000 worth of services and equipment. Semper Solaris, a member of INC 5000's Vet 50, is owned by former Marine Captain Kelly Shawhan and his business partner, John Almond. Giving back to veterans is part of the make-up within this company; they have made a commitment to hire as many former military as possible while fostering the ideals of the Marine Corps in their work. Currently, Carl Schaffrina's roof is in serious need of repair, water leaks have been proving physically and mentally demanding for the family. Semper Solaris, in partnership with the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project, is providing a complete new roof installation expected to last for more than 25 years. The goal of the Roofing Deployment Project is to show gratitude and honor veterans. All the partners have worked together on this project to see that this deserving veteran is provided with a quality roof over his head for many years to come. SolarEdge has generously donated the DC-AC inverter hardware to complete the system. This project is being coordinated with San Diego Habitat For Humanity's Veteran Project. Former Marine sniper Povas Miknaitis, is being given the opportunity to Declare his Independence from the electric company this year. Semper Solaris, in cooperation with SolarWorld, and SolarEdge, will be installing a complete solar panel system to his home in San Diego. This new system will help reduce electricity costs and improve home value. Lower electricity bills and energy independence are especially valuable for disabled veterans on fixed incomes, one fewer bill means greater financial freedom. The Miknaitis project is being coordinated with San Diego's Warrior Foundation Freedom Station where Miknaitis was a beneficiary and is now a volunteer working with other wounded veterans. On July 3rd, both projects will be completed and unveiled to the public. Press and guests are welcome to join the families and crew to celebrate these veterans and watch as the final solar panels are installed. There will be two unveiling celebrations, one at each residence. The first will be at 10:00 A.M., and the second at 1:00 P.M. Location specifics for each project are available in the Semper Solaris Living Electronic Press Kit. All partners involved look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July and the United States of America, by honoring those who have made the independence and freedoms of the U.S. possible.

Your neighbors have solar panels on their roofs. So does your favorite café and even that new brewery down the street. You might be thinking that it’s time to jump on the solar panel train, but one look at the price tag may stop you in your tracks. But what should consumers know before installing solar panels in Los Angeles? In this post, we’ll break down the cost of solar panels in the City of Angels, explain why they may be more expensive than the national average, and show you why it’s not about how much you pay for solar panels, but how much you save. Finally, we’ll give you some great tips for comparing the cost of solar panels so you can get the best deal possible. Breaking Down the Price of Solar Panels in Los Angeles California is the solar capital of the United States, producing more solar energy than the next nine ranked states combined, so why is solar installation more expensive here? The full price for your solar system can be broken down into three categories: Solar panels and equipment Installation Business overhead That leaves us with the other two categories: installation and business overhead. Installing your solar panels and running a solar installation business requires a great team of people. And of course, those employees need to be paid fair wages for all their hard work. California, and Los Angeles in particular, has some of the highest wages in the country. The current hourly wage in Los Angeles is between $12.00 and $13.25 an hour, depending on how many people a company employs. That rate will continue to climb in the coming years, until it hits $15.00 an hour in between 2020 and 2021. Compare that to a state like North Carolina (the state that produces the second-highest amount of solar energy in the country), which offers a minimum wage of just $7.25 an hour. Labor costs are responsible for a big difference in the price of installation and overall business operation between Los Angeles and other major cities across the country. While this means you’ll have to pay a little more for your system, we think the extra costs are worth it. At Semper Solaris, we believe a fair wage attracts quality workers, which translates into great solar installation results for you. Additionally, we encourage you to hire a local solar installation company so your dollars stay in your community and go to your neighbors, rather than to a national company! Now that you understand why solar panels in Los Angeles may be a little more expensive than average, we’re going to show you why investing in solar panels is still worth the price! It’s Not How Much You Pay, but How Much You Save! Solar panels are an investment, and like all good investments they pay off over time. One could argue that switching to clean, renewable energy and burning less fossil fuels is its own reward. We agree, but saving money is nice, too! One of the biggest benefits for solar panels is that they can help you cut down or completely eliminate your monthly energy bill. No matter where you live, these savings will add up, but in Los Angeles, your savings are supercharged. That’s because bustling Los Angeles, with its population of nearly four million people, has some of the highest energy costs in the country. Additionally, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers the Solar Incentive Program (SIP), which currently gives LA homeowners an incentive of $0.25 per watt of energy their panels produce. Comparing the Cost of Solar Panels Saving up to $62,463 over 20 years is definitely great, but how do you know if you’re getting a good deal in the present? Here are four important factors to compare when you begin seeking solar panel quotes. Solar Panel System Size When comparing the cost of solar panels, step one is to make sure you compare apples to apples. In the solar world, that means determining the size of the system you want and then making sure each price quote uses the same size. When you reach out to a solar installation company, they should send a trained representative to perform an energy analysis on your home. This analysis will help you determine how much energy you use on average each month and what size solar panel system you need to cover all of your energy needs. Comparing Efficiency Efficiency refers to how well a solar panel converts sunlight into electricity. The top solar panels on the market offer efficiency rates of over 20%. That’s an impressive number, but choosing premium solar panels also means paying a premium price tag. The benefit of getting highly efficient solar panels is that they are smaller, which is ideal if you don’t have a lot of space on your roof. However, if you have enough roof space, you can likely save money by investing in slightly less efficient solar panels. They’ll be bigger, but they’ll give you just as much juice as their smaller, more-efficient counterparts. Comparing Warranty Every solar panel comes with a warranty from its manufacturer that guarantees the equipment and the performance of the panels. Don’t overlook this warranty! It can save you money in the long run if problems occur down the road. The average solar panel offers at least a 10-year warranty. Ideally, you want to have a 15- or even 20-year warranty. The best solar panels offer a 25-year warranty on performance. Unsurprisingly, the best warranties tend to come with the highest priced panels. Comparing Temperature Coefficient Despite the fact that solar panels rely on the sun, they don’t do so well in hot temperatures. Whenever temps soar over 77 degrees Fahrenheit, a solar panel’s efficiency will begin to drop. The hotter it gets, the less efficiently your solar panels work. The rate of efficiency loss is called the “temperature coefficient.” The higher the temperature coefficient, the less energy your panels will produce on those hot, LA summer days. Solar panels with low-temperature coefficients tend to be more expensive, but since they will ultimately produce more energy for you on hot days, they could be worth the extra cost! How to Choose the Right Solar Panels Choosing the right solar panels in Los Angeles may feel confusing or difficult. But it doesn’t have to be! The real key is to choose the right solar installation company. A good solar company will help you figure out your energy needs and then make a recommendation on the right system size and solar panel brand to meet your budget and expectations. If the price tag feels high, just remember that Angelenos get the biggest payback on solar in the entire country! Also, paying out of pocket isn’t your only option. At Semper Solaris, we are happy to discuss our zero down payment plans and leasing options. Contact our local Los Angeles office today for a free energy analysis of your home!

Summer is upon us, and as the California heat grills your city, the steady hum of your air conditioner may sound a lot like money climbing out of your wallet and running away. California has some of the highest energy costs in the country, so now might be the time to consider investing in solar panels. As soon as you start your solar energy journey, you’ll notice something. There are hundreds of different solar panel models to choose from, and they all look the same! So, what’s the difference between the best-rated solar panels for home use and the rest of the pack? More importantly, how can top-rated solar panels help you save more money on your energy bills?   When you begin comparing these panels with the hundreds of others on the market, you’ll notice something that isn’t all that surprising. The top-rated solar panels tend to also be the priciest. Isn’t investing in solar panels supposed to save you money? How can you do that by purchasing some of the more expensive panels on the market? The price tag of a solar panel is only a starting point in understanding the true value you’re getting. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” The best solar panels can offer big savings through greater efficiency, longer warranties, a lower temperature coefficient, and general overall quality. Let’s take a look at how each of these factors can help you ultimately save more money over time. Why Greater Efficiency Matters Let’s say that you hire two different companies to mow your lawn. Company A charges $50 per hour, while Company B charges $40 per hour. Company B sounds like the better deal, right? Sure, until you get your bill. It turns out that Company A was able to mow your entire lawn in an hour, while Company B slacked off and took an hour and a half to complete the job. Company A’s bill is $50, while Company B charges you $60 for the same work. While Company A seemed more expensive to begin with, they were actually the cheaper option, because they were much more efficient than Company B. They could produce greater results in less time. Efficiency is also an important concept in the world of solar panels. Every panel has an efficiency rating, which refers to the amount of sunlight it can convert into energy. The industry average is roughly 15% to 17% efficiency. Top-rated solar panels rise high above the pack, usually offering at least 20% efficiency. Our providers, for example, offer a top efficiency rate of over 21%. The difference between 14% efficiency and 21% efficiency might not seem like a lot, but consider that the solar panel with 21% efficiency will generate 50% more energy under the same conditions as its less efficient counterpart. This difference adds up. More efficient panels will generate more energy over time, helping to cut or eliminate your electric bill. Why Warranty Matters Warranties often get overlooked in the initial excitement of buying a new product. This is mostly because the cost savings warranties offer is hidden… right up until the point something goes wrong. Most solar panel brands offer a 10- or even 15-year warranty on the performance of their panels. Once again, the top manufacturers are noteworthy outliers. Warranties won’t save you money right away, but they sure will come in handy 15 years down the road when you notice that the performance of your panels is diminishing. With warranty in hand, you can ask the manufacturer to address the problem or even replace your entire system. Without the warranty, you’ll either have to pay out of pocket for repairs or watch your energy bills creep up as the performance of your panels continues to sink. Why the Temperature Coefficient Matters A solar panel’s efficiency rating assumes ideal conditions, but step outside your house on a simmering day in July, and you’ll quickly recognize that even in California “ideal conditions” can be wishful thinking. Counterintuitively, solar panels don’t perform as efficiently in hot weather. As soon as the temperature climbs over 77 degrees Fahrenheit, performance begins to drop. This can happen more often than you would imagine, as roofs tend to absorb heat (like hot sidewalks), making conditions hotter than the surrounding area. Every solar panel model also reports something called a “temperature coefficient.” This number refers to the fall in efficiency for every temperature degree above 77 degrees. For example, if a solar panel has a temperature coefficient of -0.5, its efficiency rating will drop half a percent for every degree above 77. If it’s 85 degrees out, the panel’s efficiency will drop 4%. That’s a pretty big drop, especially for solar panels with average or below-average efficiency ratings. California residents who live in hotter parts of the state need to keep the temperature coefficient in mind. A lower temperature coefficient, especially if it’s paired with a higher-than-average efficiency rating, will mean that your solar panels can still produce adequate energy even on the hottest days. This can help you save big, because hot days usually require lots of air conditioning to keep you cool. General Overall Quality Most of us have purchased cheap knockoffs of our favorite brands and technology. Initially, you feel smart for having saved so much money for “basically” the same thing. Then, one week later when the seams start to unravel, the handle breaks off, or the thing shatters the first time you drop it, you recognize the truth. Quality matters. Paying more upfront usually means greater savings and better performance in the long run. The same is true when it comes to the best-rated solar panels for home use. You’ll pay a premium upfront, but the combination of greater efficiency, longer warranty, and lower temperature coefficient will add up to greater savings over time. You may have noticed that the same companies keep coming up at the top of each major quality we’ve highlighted in this article. That’s because the best panels tend to be the best in every measurement, including the things that can’t be measured like overall quality. Not sure how to find the best solar panels for your California home? Check solar panel reviews from real people over at SolarReiviews.com. We also encourage you to ask your solar installation specialist about their recommended panels. At Semper Solaris, we work with a wide range of solar panels and are happy to discuss the pros and cons of each brand. We can also help you decide on the best panels for your budget, energy needs, and the unique weather and temperature patterns in your area. It all starts with a free energy analysis to determine if solar panels are right for you. Schedule your no-pressure assessment today.  

You want to save money on your monthly energy costs, especially during the hottest days of summer in California. One of the best ways to do that is to invest in solar panels. “Invest” is the name of the game if you want to pay for your solar panels out of pocket. Though the cost of solar panels and solar system installation have fallen dramatically over the last decade, they still aren’t cheap! Over the long term, your solar panels will pay for themselves and then some, but that doesn’t help you or your savings account in the short term! With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to point out some of the biggest factors that increase the expense of your solar system installation costs. By avoiding these expenses, you may be able to bring down the cost of your system by thousands of dollars; though sometimes, bigger expenses upfront will result in bigger savings over time! Expense One – Using More Energy You don’t have to be a math major to understand that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3. If you use a lot of energy in your home, you’ll need a bigger solar panel system to produce that same amount of energy. A bigger solar system means more solar panels and more racking materials, which will increase your solar installation cost. If you want to save on the cost of solar panels, one of the simplest (although not necessarily the easiest) things you can do is lower your monthly energy usage. This way you can purchase a smaller system to cover all of your energy needs. There are many different ways to lower your energy usage. Here are just a few: Replace your old windows with new, dual-pane energy efficiency windows. Replace your old roof; new roofs can keep out cold air in the winter and warm air in the summer, meaning less reliance on your heater and air conditioning. Update your home’s insulation. Set your air conditioning one or two degrees higher. Shut down your pool when you aren’t using it. Purchase energy efficient appliances. Expense Two – Owning an Old Roof It just doesn’t make financial sense to invest in solar panels if your roof is reaching the end of its lifespan. When you replace your roof a few years later, you’ll have to pay to install your solar panels all over again, which is a monumental waste of money. Instead, it’s better to get the financial pain over with and replace your roof before installing solar panels. This may mean pushing back the date that you get solar panels, but it’s worth the wait. A new roof is a big expense, but it’s also a great investment for your home. According to the well-regarded Cost vs. Value Report, a mid-range roof replacement in Los Angeles offers a return-on-investment of 82.5%. You aren’t pouring that money down the drain, you’re putting most of it into a big piggy bank known as your house. Don’t forget that adding a new roof can also significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home, which could translate into the need for a smaller solar panel system and save you costs that way! Also, another way to save a little cash is to work with a solar installation company that also specializes in roof replacement. At Semper Solaris, we provide roof replacement services and offer big discounts to customers that use us for both roofing and solar installation. Expense Three – High-Quality Panels and Mounting Hardware Solar panel pricing varies depending on the brand, quality, and type of panel. First, as a solar panel customer, you’ll need to decide what type of panel you want. Your three options are: Monocrystalline silicon panel Polycrystalline silicon panel Thin film solar Thin film solar panels are the cheapest option available, but they also have the lowest efficiency, which means you would need to purchase a lot more of them in order to generate the energy you need. They also have a shorter lifespan than crystalline silicon panels. Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are the most expensive type of solar panel, but they also offer you the greatest efficiency, usually hitting around 20% efficiency or more. A monocrystalline solar panel can be smaller in size while generating the same amount of energy as a larger polycrystalline panel, which is ideal if you have a small roof or only have a small amount of space available on your roof. (Learn more about monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film solar panels.) Some solar installation companies only work with one or two brands. At Semper Solaris, we work with most American-made solar panels in order to give our customers as many options as possible to fit within their budget. Mounting Hardware and Inverter When you decide to go solar, you aren’t just purchasing solar panels. The mounting hardware is what actually connects your panels to your roof, and the inverter changes the power that the solar panels produce into the type of current your appliances and other electronics need. As with solar panels, less expensive and more expensive mounting hardware and inverter options exist. Some solar installers don’t give their customers a choice in which hardware and inverter to use. Make sure to ask your installer about all your options. Expense Four – Using a Handyman to Install Your Solar Panel You want to save money on your solar installation, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article, right? In your pursuit to keep more money in your pocket, you may be wondering if you need a professional solar system installation company at all. Why not purchase the solar panels and materials you need and either hire a local handyman who will install the panels at a fraction of the cost of a professional installation company or try your hand at solar installation yourself? We get the temptation, but in all likelihood, this decision will be far more expensive than just hiring people who actually know how to install solar panels. Installing a solar system is not something your handyman can learn by watching a handful of YouTube tutorials. The risks and dangers are manifold. Roof Damage Properly installing mounting hardware requires a significant amount of knowledge and experience working on roofs. Without that background, a handyman could very easily damage your roof, causing leaks and requiring expensive repairs. Solar Panel Damage Solar panels are designed to stand up to some pretty tough weather, but not being dropped, slammed, or banged up. When you hire a handyman, you’re trusting thousands of dollars of equipment to their unknown experience. Poor Installation Professional solar installation companies know exactly where to mount solar panels and how to best angle the panels so that they produce the most energy possible depending on the direction, layout, slope, and other unique characteristics of your roof. Even if your handyman does a decent job of installing the panels, he (or she) may position them incorrectly, which could drastically cut their efficiency and the cost savings they provide to you. Damage and Injury Working with heavy equipment and on a rooftop always entails a level of danger. Professional installation companies try to mitigate this danger by requiring employees to go through safety training and to wear harnesses on rooftops. If an accident occurs, a professional company carries general liability and worker’s compensation insurance to cover any damage to your home and the medical expenses of the injured worker. A handyman almost certainly doesn’t carry insurance, which means if he damages your property or gets hurt on your property, you’ll be responsible for fixing the damage and covering his medical bills! The bottom line is that taking shortcuts doesn’t work and could cost you much more in the end. Expense Five – Waiting Too Long to Get a Solar System Installation One of the easiest and best ways to save on solar panels is to take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, which allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of your solar installation from your federal taxes. If you paid $15,000 for your solar panels, that means you can deduct $4,500 off your tax bill and even roll those savings over to the next tax year if your taxes were lower than the total allowable deduction. Does this deal sound too good to last? That’s because it is. While the federal government has extended the investment tax credit (ITC) several times, it is slated to phase out. After 2019, the ITC will drop each year until it is completely discontinued in 2021. Time is of the essence if you want to grab the biggest tax solar incentive available. Many local tax incentives are also drying up as more and more California residents invest in solar panels. Don’t wait too long. At Semper Solaris, we are a veteran-owned solar installation company with locations throughout California. We provide top-notch solar system installation and roof replacement. Contact us today to schedule a free energy analysis of your home.

Have you made the decision to go solar? Now is the perfect time to take advantage of all the beautiful California sunshine that lands on your roof each day by investing in solar panels for your home. As you begin researching which solar panels to buy, you might be surprised to discover dozens of solar panel brands currently on the market. So how can you find out which top rated solar panels are the best fit for your energy needs, your roof and especially your budget? It’s simple: when you sit down with an expert during your solar consultation, ask these five important questions: What Are the Price of the Panels? For most homeowners, price is one of the most important factors in their solar panel purchase decision. If you plan on paying out of pocket, then solar panels represent a steep investment. Although cheaper solar panel options do exist, at some point you begin to sacrifice performance, efficiency, and design in exchange for a little bit of savings upfront. In our opinion, this trade-off isn’t worth it! How Efficient are the Panels? Before you buy a new car, most people want to know about engine type, if it has four-wheel drive, and if it will parallel park for you so you never ding the curb again. We all want to know the specs of the things we buy. Solar panels are no different. One of the most important specs to look for, in this case, is efficiency. Efficiency refers to how much sunlight (also called solar irradiation) the panels convert into electricity. These days, new advances in monocrystalline and polycrystalline have dramatically boosted the efficiency of solar panels. Unsurprisingly, the cheapest panels on the market will give you the lowest efficiency rate, around 10%. (Fun fact: The first commercial solar panel only offered a paltry 2% efficiency rate!). With mid-range solar panels, you can expect 14 – 15% efficiency. Top rated solar panels can reach past 20% efficiency in ideal conditions. Why is efficiency important? More efficient solar panels need less surface area to create the same amount of energy as a less efficient panel. The most efficient solar panels can be smaller, which can be useful if you have a small roof or if there is a limited area of your roof that receives ideal sunlight. If you have a larger roof, you may want to consider purchasing less-efficient panels. They’ll be bigger, but you could save a little money! What Is the Warranty? Almost all solar panel manufacturers offer some form warranty that guarantees that their solar panels will continue to perform at a certain level for a specific stretch of time. It’s important to recognize, though, that warranty is not the same thing as lifespan. The top warranties are typically 25 years, but many researchers believe solar panels can last much longer without losing too much efficiency. Still, warranties matter. If they start to malfunction, that warranty can protect you from expensive repairs or from a loss of efficiency that could increase your monthly energy bills. What Is the Temperature Coefficient? We’re digging a little into the weeds here, but knowing the temperature coefficient of your solar panel options will help you make the best choice possible. It will also impress your solar panel installation company! Simply put, the temperature coefficient will tell you how your solar panels will perform outside of ideal conditions. Solar panels work best at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Here in San Diego, Riverside, and Los Angeles, temperatures can blaze high above that in the summer, which will lower how much electricity your solar panels will produce. A solar panel’s temperature coefficient will tell you exactly how hot temperatures will affect efficiency. For every degree above 77 degrees, the efficiency of the solar panels will decrease by the temperature coefficient. What Is the Reputation of the Brand? Ultimately, the success of your solar investment will come down to how well your solar panels perform, and that will depend significantly on the quality of their construction. The top rated solar panels offer the highest efficiency, the best warranties, and the lowest coefficients, because they are designed by innovative companies that care about creating a quality product. You will pay more for these panels in the short term, but they will no doubt pay you back and then some over the long term! Important Tools and Resources Picking the right solar panels for your home isn’t always an easy choice. Before you make your decision, do your homework. Start by speaking with a solar installation representative. Here at Semper Solaris, we live and breathe solar panels. We go to the solar industry shows, keep up on the latest technology, and talk to clients every day about different solar panel options. Our reputation depends on how well the solar panels we install perform for our customers, so we make it our job to know everything about the industry. We can help you understand your options, guide you on how to compare different solar panels, and make recommendations based on your budget and goals. If you’ve got questions about solar panels, we’ve got answers — contact us today for a free energy audit! We’ve worked with lots of different solar panels, and we would be glad to help you find the best solar panels for your home.