Semper Solaris Blog

Going solar is a major step towards a more sustainable energy source and monthly utility savings. For many homeowners, adding solar panels to their property provides major savings and improves the value of their home. With net metering, you are also able to get credits per kWh of electricity your solar panels produce. These credits go directly towards your energy bill, cutting back on your costs. So what happens when your solar panels go above and beyond, producing and sending even more electricity to the grid than your entire household uses any given month? While it would be ideal if selling energy to your own utility company was possible, that currently isn’t an option available here in California. However, the average household solar panel system doesn’t typically generate enough unused electricity to actually create a profit from selling that extra energy to their companies. While energy-consciousness or smaller households may be able to cover all utility expenses with their solar panel systems, most consumers are aiming more realistically to majorly cut down their monthly costs rather than eliminate them (you would need a very large system for this). What's The ROI on Solar Panels? ROI solar panels refer to the return on investment (ROI) that your solar panel systems provide by generating electricity from sunlight. You can determine the ROI by calculating the amount you save on your energy bills and any income you receive through solar buyback programs. What Is Solar Buyback? Solar buyback is a program that allows individuals or businesses who generate excess electricity from their solar panels to sell it back to the grid or their utility company. It is also known as net metering or feed-in tariff (FIT). You may receive cash or credit towards future energy bills. Capitalizing on Your Solar Investment According to statistics, the average American family has to fork out more than $1,430 a year for their electricity expenses alone. On top of that, the cost of electricity has risen by 2.2% per year across the nation. With the threat of continual spikes in energy prices and the burden of more harmful energy resources on our planet, investing in solar probably seems like a very attractive option. Even though you won’t necessarily be able to earn extra money from your solar panels, you can make your investment worthwhile by capitalizing on all the savings and solar rebates available to you. Some of the ways you can save big on solar: 30% federal tax credit Zero dollars down until 2020 Various local incentives Cutting back on monthly utility expenses Increased home value> The Investment Tax Credit is obviously the most appealing solar credit to homeowners. You are able to claim 30% of the home solar panel system price through a tax credit. Even if you don’t have enough tax credit to claim the whole credit for one year, you can roll it over into the next year. Find Out How You Can Save With Solar With the cost of electricity continuing to rise, now is the time to start thinking seriously about how creating a solar profit. For an average household and solar panel system size in California (6-kilowatt system), homeowners meeting above 90% of their energy needs can expect to save around $13,000 over the first 6 years and around $29,420 by the 20-year mark. p>Though savings can vary based on energy demands, electricity rate fluctuation, and various other factors, the savings available through going solar are very real. Interested in learning more? Our Los Angeles solar installers would love to give you more information.

  What Is Net Metering? Solar panel systems are designed to provide cleaner and more affordable energy to homeowners. So what are ways homeowners can save even more? Net metering is one of the most appealing aspects of going solar in California. Why? Because net metering allows homeowners to receive bill credits back on any additional electricity produced by their solar panels. Essentially, any energy their panels produce that isn’t used up by their household demands is able to be funneled back to them as a credit for low production times or surplus. There have been some slight changes to the original net metering policy for California. The original net metering allowed a bill credit for one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity for every kWh your solar panels produced and fed to your local grid. Any excess amount would be applied to the times when you had to draw upon the grid instead of the solar power grid. With net metering 2.0, the core of the original policy remains the same – essentially credits are still equivalent. The new policy also helps prevent grid access charges, capacity fees, and other charges that don’t favor homeowners. However, the three new features – time-of-use rates, interconnection fees, and non-bypassable charges – do add some expense for homeowners. California Solar Energy Industries Association estimates expenses will increase by around $10 a month for the average homeowner. How Net Metering Can Still Save You Money Over the lifetime of a solar system, a homeowner could save thousands of dollars in electricity expenses through net metering. If your solar panels are able to produce a significant enough amount, you could end up having the majority of your bill covered, if not entirely covered. For example, say you have to draw 800 kWh of electricity from the grid throughout the month of November during the times when your solar panels aren’t producing electricity (on those cloudier days). If you are able to export 600 kWh of energy throughout the course of the same month, you could cover a majority of your bill, only being charged for the net difference of 200 kWh. Again, some months your solar panels may be able to produce an equal amount to completely cover your usage needs, especially during those sunnier months. Understanding Time-of-Use Rates So what are time-of-use rates and how will they impact you? Under net metering 2.0, time-of-use billing is used to charge customers more for peak hour usage and less for off times. Under the solar billing cycle, you could greatly benefit because your solar system will typically generate more power during peak hours (or more expensive windows) depending on your area. That means you can avoid the higher charges and have more credits stored up for when you need to use them during low production hours (ideally off-peak times so they go further). Unfortunately, this could also mean that if you use a lot of energy in the early evening and your panels don’t produce much energy during this time of day, you could be paying more than you previously did. The best bet? Review your net metering time-of-use rates and adjust to the peak and off-peak hours to ensure you maximize your savings. More questions about net metering? Let the Semper Solaris experts provide insight. Call us today to speak to a solar professional in San Diego.

 PPA vs. Lease: What’s Right for Solar? When it comes to getting a solar panel system installed on your roof, there are many decisions to be made – including tough financial decisions. For some homeowners, the ability to finance a system may not be possible. This is where solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) come into play. These are two options available to homeowners who are looking to save on their electricity bills by switching to solar without carrying the full financial burden of financing or paying off their own solar system. Under both a solar lease and solar PPA, the homeowner themselves will not own the actual solar energy installation placed onto their roof. Instead, a PPA or lease company has true ownership over the system. While very similar, PPAs and leases have some very distinct differences between them. Selecting the right one for your project is important! Breaking Down Your Solar Options Solar leases – Under this type of agreement, a homeowner doesn’t own any of the equipment installed on their roof or connected to their home. They will still have the same interaction with their utility company in terms of buying and selling electricity (i.e. net metering), just as someone who actually owned their solar panels would. A homeowner can expect to pay monthly rent throughout the terms of the agreement, which can range from around 20 to 25 years. Solar PPAs – Under this type of agreement, the homeowner doesn’t own the equipment or even make any leasing payments. Instead, the PPA company comes in and installs their solar panel system on the house and actually sells the homeowner the electricity produced by the panels for a negotiated rate. With a PPA, the homeowner can either opt to pay for only the electricity they actually end up using or a fixed monthly amount, depending on the agreement details. Similarly to a lease, the agreements tend to run up to 25 years. The specifics of the agreements can vary based on homeowner preference. For example, a contractor may offer zero down, free installation, a down payment, prepaid leases, varying kW sizes, and other factors. Make the Best Solar Choice for Your Needs So what’s the better option, a solar lease or PPA? At the end of the day, it comes down to what makes the most sense for your particular situation. You may prefer to not have a lease payment and be able to negotiate on the pricing of your electricity with a PPA or like the flexibility of leasing panels while buying / selling the electricity produced by it. The last option available to homeowners is financing or paying cash. For those that are able to, this is the most financially beneficial, as the homeowner will typically be able to pay offer the system in 12 or less years. Still, both solar leases and PPA agreement are viable options for those that want to benefit from the perks of solar without all the upfront costs. Still interested in learning more about your different solar payment options in San Diego? Semper Solaris is here to provide insight. Schedule your free energy analysis now!

Is Your Roof Equipped for Solar Panels in San Diego? Solar panels can be installed on most properties in the county, from Pomona to Imperial Beach, but the state of your roof will have a big impact on the ease of the job. The shape, size, and even the direction your rooftop faces will inform the advice you get from your solar provider and the bid you receive. A lot of Southern California roofs have signature clay tiles in keeping with a Spanish aesthetic, but your San Diego home may have asphalt, slate or other materials on top. Before you start shopping for solar panels, get a consultation from a San Diego roofing company. A professional team will be able to point out any potential obstacles to solar on your roof and construct a creative workaround. At the end of the day, with some planning and perseverance nearly any San Diego roof can turn our 266 annual days of sunshine into a renewable energy source. Deal with Obstacles on Your Roof The first and most obvious thing to check on your roof is the presence of clear obstacles to a panel installation. Do you have a chimney, skylights, vents, or a television satellite that could get in the way? Some things, like a chimney, can’t be moved to accommodate solar panels. Other issues, such as a tall neighboring shade tree, can be altered to make room for your new solar system. If you have limited roof space due to skylights and other obstacles you may want to go with more efficient solar panels, which tend to be smaller. In any case, it’s vital to have an inspection of your roof to identify any obstacles so that you and your solar provider can create a game plan and order the appropriate materials from the start. Eliminating as much shade as possible is important to yielding full power from your panels. Talk About Roof Shape with Your Provider Most homeowners don’t take the time to learn it, but your roof shape has a name. There are three main types of roofs: hip, gable, and flat. Some roof types are more conducive to using solar panels than others, but a good solar provider will take your roof shape and make it work. Each type has its own pros and cons: Hip Roof: A hip roof is a style in which the roof slopes on all four sides and create a tall peak at the top. The slopes work in favor of solar panels, because they provide the necessary tilt, but the surfaces can be on the small side depending on the design of your home. These roofs can also have an unusual shape with some unusable surface area. Gable Roof: A gable roof is sometimes called a peak or pitch roof, and it has two sloping sides that meet in the middle to create a triangle shape. Solar panels typically have plenty of surface area to work with on a gable roof. These roofs also shed water easily, so your panels will never experience pooling water underneath. Flat Roof: Flat roofs are common on some home types in San Diego -- primarily condo complexes. While solar panels don’t work best when installed flat, your provider can use tilts to position solar panels at an advantageous angle on a flat roof. You shouldn’t rule out solar if you are working with a flat surface area. Use a Solar-Friendly Material for Your San Diego Roofing Some roofing materials are better for solar panels than others. Fortunately, the most commonly used roofing materials in San Diego are ideal for solar panel installations. The only shingles and tiles to avoid are brittle materials like wood and slate, which can easily break while affixing solar panels. Your solar provider will advise you about whether or not your roof is currently covered in a surface that is compatible with solar panels. Spanish Clay: Spanish clay tiles are great for solar panels. They’re also everywhere you look in San Diego County. Standard mounts can penetrate this type of tile, so they’re a good choice for a home that goes solar. Many installers can even create a special mount built into clay to make adding solar panels even easier. Asphalt: A roof with asphalt (often a flat roof) can also work with solar panels. A standard panel mount will easily attach to an asphalt rooftop. Asphalt/composite shingles are also quite popular on slanted rooftops, and you shouldn’t have an issue adding panels to these shingles. Metal with Standing Seam: Metal roofs with a standing seam are very friendly to solar installation. In many cases the panels can be clamped to the seams so providers don’t have to attach the panels to the metal roof itself. Fix Bad Tiles and Other Roof Problems If your roof is old, it may not be ready for solar panels just yet. Imagine investing thousands of dollars in a solar setup, only to have your roof reach the end of its life within two years: You would have to remove the solar panels to fix or replace your roof and then install them all over again. It’s better to ensure that your roof and solar panels have a similar life cycle whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is that any roof more than 10 years old could need repairs or replacement prior to going solar. The good news is that Spanish tiles could last on your San Diego roof for up to 50 years, and new solar panels could last for about 40 years. If you get a roof replacement and solar installation now, you’re probably set for your entire ownership of the property. Aside from broken tiles and leaks, you should also address any punctures and penetrations, issues with ponding water, and cracked flashing. Orient Solar Panels For Maximum Sun Exposure The best direction for solar panels to face is true south. If that’s not possible, southeast and southwest orientations can still yield excellent and reliable solar power. You can also position your solar panels facing east or west, but you may not be able to enjoy the full potential of your renewable energy. While you can’t rotate your home, there may be some things you can do to prepare your roof for solar panels so they face the best possible direction. As mentioned previously, installers can install a stand that tilts the panels. This may help a panel on an eastern roof point closer to the southeast. You could also to remove obstacles on a south facing part of your roof to make room for the panels. Make Sure You Have Enough Space for Solar Panels It would be a shame to get your heart set on a brand new set of solar panels only to discover that you just don’t have the square footage on your roof. As a general rule, for every Kw of solar generated for your home, you need 100 square feet of roof space. Most homes can thrive with a 5Kw system. If an original assessment determines you don’t have enough space for solar panels, you have a few options. You can get a smaller system and rely partially on regular grid power, consider covering a skylight or addressing other obstacles, or look into installing ground-mounted solar panels. Installing solar panels in your yard isn’t as common as using roof-mounted setups, but if you have the property to spare it could solve a lot of issues. Ground panels can not only compensate for a lack of adequate roofing, they also help if you have too much shade on your roof that can’t be changed (such as from a tall building next door).   Ready to update your San Diego roofing with some shiny solar panels? You’re not alone! Becoming energy independent is more and more popular in the Golden State. In fact, most new-build homes will be powered by solar beginning in 2020. Get ahead of the trend by installing solar now (and taking advantage of one of the last years for the Solar Investment Tax Credit). Contact Semper Solaris today to learn more about getting solar panels in San Diego. You can receive a no-pressure bid, and our experienced team will talk to you about the state of your roof along with the potential of solar. We are also ready to help you with a roof replacement if you need it!  

You’ve been working hard and acing life all year (extra credit if you have or are planning to install solar panels). As the holidays approach, you are well deserving of the greatest gift of all. A road trip! Cruising across America with your family or your best buds is an excellent way to escape the grind of everyday life, recharge your soul, and see some of the country’s best-hidden gems. Of course, leaving the rat race behind doesn’t mean you want to give up all of life’s modern conveniences. Besides recharging your soul, you also need to recharge your phone. Thanks to modern technology, you don’t have to lug a huge, expensive, and polluting gas generator with you to your pristine campground. Today’s solar technology is showing up in all sorts of amazing and useful camping and road tripping gear. As you begin to plan for your next epic road trip, let’s look at ten useful, solar-powered gadget that can work anywhere that the sun shines. 1. Solar-Powered Charger Getting away from it all is overrated. Instead, get away from most of life’s troubles and frustrations and keep the good stuff, like listening to your favorite podcasts on your phone, reading great books on your Kindle, or actually calling your mom. (You know it’s been too long!) To do this, you’re going to need a fully charged phone, and while you’re at it, let’s keep your Fitbit alive too, so it can congratulate you on the super long hike you’re planning during your trip. To keep your favorite and necessary gadgets going, pick up a handy solar-powered charger. There are plenty available on Amazon for under $50, including this one. Stick it in the sun for a few hours, and then plug in your USB cord and start charging your smaller devices. Your mom can’t wait to hear from you! 2. Solar-Powered Lanterns You aren’t about to go to bed just because the sun is setting. Bonfires are great, but they aren’t allowed everywhere, (especially in wildfire-prone California). Plus, you need focused light for reading or playing fun board games with your friends or family under the stars. For these instances, use a solar-powered lantern. You might be surprised at how bright the most current solar-powered lanterns can be and how long they can last. For example, the MPOWEERD Luci inflatable lantern can last up to 24 hours on its lowest setting. This particular model offers four different light settings, including a flashing mode that can be used in an emergency to request help. Best of all, this model is currently less than $20 at REI. Take a look at REI’s entire stock of solar-powered lanterns. 3. Solar Backpacks Are you planning to push yourself to the limits with some gnarly hikes during your road trip? Or maybe you prefer to spend all day getting lost in a new city. Either way, you can’t afford to have your phone (and especially your GPS or map app) conk out in unfamiliar territory. A solar backpack is a perfect solution. It charges while you walk around in the sun, and when it’s time for a snack break, plug in your phone or other devices to grab some extra juice. This Lifepack solar-powered backpack currently selling for $159 on Amazon includes six smartphone chargers that can provide a full phone charge every four hours. It also comes with Bluetooth speakers that can play for a whopping 96 hours on a full charge. For the hiker on a budget, Amazon also offers this solar-powered backpack for less than $60, and this one for only $20.99. 4. Solar-Powered Emergency Radio It’s always a good idea to plan for an emergency, especially if your road trip takes you to sparsely populated regions or places where cell phone coverage is spotty. If any major disaster strikes and you don’t have a phone signal, you’ll be glad to have a solar-powered emergency radio handy. This device can let you contact help, so you and your travel buddies can stay safe. The C Crane CC Solar Observer emergency radio provides between four and six hours of radio play after eight hours of charging. If you need to use it in a hurry and don’t have enough of a charge, the included hand crank will let you charge it much more quickly to immediately request help. As a bonus, the included USB adapter lets you charge your smartphone. Not a bad buy for under $50. 5. Solar-Powered Speakers You know what every great road trip needs? Music. Your car stereo will do the job while you’re on the road, but you don’t want to drain your battery during your stops, at night, or while camping. To keep the tunes coming, pick up solar-powered speakers. Today’s latest models are cost-effective and powerful. Most can keep the music playing all night long, or at least until campground quiet hours. The Sol Jam stereo speaker by ECOXGEAR charges in just three hours of full sunlight and offers Bluetooth connectivity, so you can jam to all your favorite playlists. The speaker is also waterproof, so clip it to your kayak or sing in the rain. No one will stop the beat on your road trip. 6. Solar-Capable Fridge One of the best parts of any road trip is the snacks, but if you want to bring any perishable foods or cook some tasty meals on the road, you’ll need a way to keep them cool so they don’t spoil. Unless you happen to be driving a camper with a convenient fridge installed, a cooler is probably your best option, but a standard cooler can only last so long without continual ice infusions. Stepping up to fill this need is the ACOPOWER solar-compatible solar fridge. This baby includes a lithium battery that can be charged with a solar panel (or a generator), allowing it to keep food cold. It can even act as a freezer if you want to bring some tasty meats along on your trip. The two big downsides of this model are the cost, $599 on Amazon, and the fact that you have to buy the solar panel separately. 7. Solar-Powered Car Battery Charger You do not want to find out the hard way that AAA doesn’t cover certain extremely out-of-the-way places in the country. If your battery ever dies, especially in the wilderness or on a lonely strip of highway in the middle of nowhere, you could be out of luck. (Which is another reason to have your solar-powered emergency radio handy). To keep that from happening, consider bringing along a solar-powered car battery with you. This useful device can top off your battery to keep it strong during your whole trip. This can be useful if you need to keep your headlights on to light your campground, or if your battery is getting on in the years. The Sunway Solar Car Battery Charger is designed to keep your car battery topped off no matter where you go (as long as there’s sunshine). It can also power any 12V battery, including trucks, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles and more. Best of all, it’s not very expensive, retailing for just $36.99 on Amazon. That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. 8. Solar-Powered Water Purifier If your road trip includes some major hiking, backpacking, or mountain biking deep into the wilderness, you’ll need to stay hydrated. That stream may look fresh and clear, but you can’t know if there are some harmful bacteria waiting to ruin your trip! The Puralytics SolarBag uses sunlight to decontaminate water without chemicals, pumping, or electricity. Best of all, it doesn’t require equipment replacements every few trips. Just fill up the bag, and then let the sun do the rest of the work. In a few hours, you’ll have three fresh and healthy liters of water to drink. 9. Solar-Powered Generator If you need power on your road trip but would rather not have to deal with individual devices, consider investing in the Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Generator. This guy can power small devices, like your phone and e-reader, and also larger devices like your laptop if you need to handle a work emergency on the road. The beauty of the Goal Zero is that it can charge using a solar panel (not included), or from a wall outlet or even your car battery in an emergency. A single charge of the generator can provide two laptop recharges, six tablet recharges, and 15 cell phone recharges. This really is a convenient gadget to take on any long haul, especially at the reasonable price of just $199.95. 10. Solar Panels Rather than purchase devices that include solar technology, you can cut out the middle step and purchase solar panels. These panels can charge your fridge or your generator or even the battery of your car. Many RV aficionados are installing solar panels on their vehicles so that they can dry dock or boondock wherever the spirit takes them. Who says your road trip even requires a road? Boaters are also learning to love solar panels, which can allow them to charge their devices, keep the lights on, and keep the fridge humming without having to turn on their engine every hour or so. If you want to have it all on your road trip, or if this “trip” could turn into a wanderlust lifestyle, consider installing a solar panel array on your vehicle of choice. At Semper Solaris, we don’t sell solar backpacks or cell phone chargers, but we can help you install high powered solar panels onto your RV or boat so that you can stay charged throughout your trip. If you live in California, or if your journey will take you to the Golden State, give us a call to schedule a solar consultation. We are your California solar energy solution. Here’s wishing you plenty of happiness, adventures, and sunshine on the road!

Are you finally ready to get solar panels for your home? What an awesome decision! Top solar panels will help you slash your expensive energy bill and even help you do your part to protect this green-and-blue marble we call home. There’s just one teeny tiny speed bump on the road to glorious sunshine power. Your roof. Many homeowners eagerly start the process of solar installation only to discover that a roofing problem stops the project in its tracks. Don’t let roofing issues surprise you or your wallet! If your roof is damaged, aging, or simply not strong enough to bear the burden of your new solar system, then you’ve got to deal with that problem before you can go solar! Why Your Roof Is the Secret Key to Your Solar Panel Installation When you begin to research solar panels for your home, you will learn about all the different brands of solar panels available, as well as other important components of a photovoltaic system, like the inverter and the racking that holds the panels in place. Rarely is your home’s roof mentioned. That’s a shame, because your roof is a key component of your solar panel system. Your solar panels need to go somewhere, and while some homeowners choose to install their solar panels on the ground or even on carports, the majority of solar panels are installed on the roof. That means a roof must be sturdy enough to handle the solar panels. What you may not realize is that your roof is more than just a collection of tiles or shingles attached to the top of your home. A roof is actually a complex system made up of multiple layers that all work together to insulate your home and keep the elements out! A standard roof is comprised of: Roof Truss Decking Insulation Ice and water barrier Underlayment Wood frame Shingles or tiles If any component of these layers is damaged, it can weaken the entire structure of your roof and make it a bad idea to install solar panels. How do you know if your roof is damaged? Usually your roof will tell you! How to Identify Roof Damage You wouldn’t trust a chain with a weak link, right? That’s the same reason you shouldn’t install solar panels on a damaged roof. The most common types of roof damage are: Loose or broken tiles: This type of damage can easily be seen with the naked eye. Use a ladder to visually inspect your roof to search for loose or broken tiles or shingles. Worn down materials: Like all things, the components of your roof will simply wear out over time. Examples of age damage include bare shingles, shingle granules, and rust. As a roof ages, it becomes more fragile, and other problems are likely to quickly emerge. Water damage: When any component of a roof breaks down, water damage is soon to follow. Things like broken tiles, worn out sealants, torn underlayments, and more can result in water damage during the next rainstorm. Punctures and cracks: Trauma can crack the tiles of your roof or puncture the underlayment that is designed to keep out water. If something falls on your roof, if a roof installation is performed poorly, or even if someone walks on the wrong part of the roof, cracks or punctures can result! Standing water: Your roof is designed to efficiently shunt water off its surface, using its angled design, along with flashing and gutters. If you notice standing water on your roof, that indicates that something isn’t working. Structural damage: On rare occasions, the supports of your roof may shift, which can present a serious danger to you and your family. Roofs with structural damage are liable to collapse and must be addressed immediately! Not all roof damage is easily visible and identifiable, but it will eventually make itself noticed. The most telling symptom of a damaged roof is water damage to your home. You may notice water stains on your ceiling, interior walls, or exterior walls. This may turn into ugly mold or even result in active leaks during heavy rainstorms. If you notice any of these things, there’s a strong chance that your roof needs to be repaired or replaced before you even think of adding top solar panels. Why Your Roof’s Age Matters If you don’t see any water damage on your ceilings or get a free indoor shower every time it rains, does that mean your roof is fit and ready to handle solar panel installation? Not necessarily. One other factor you need to take into consideration is the age of your roof. That’s right, your roof can get old and fragile, just like us humans. The lifespan of your roof will depend on a number of factors, including: Its materials Its environment How well you (or the previous owner) cared for it Many roofs in California use clay tiles, which have a particularly long lifespan of nearly 50 years. Slate and copper roofs can last roughly the same amount of time. Wood shake roofs (which are more popular in the Northeast) have about a 30-year lifespan, while cement shingles tend to retire around 20 years. If you live in a particularly harsh environment, or if you’ve never resealed your roof or fixed noticeable damage, your roof’s lifespan may be cut short. What does it mean if your roof is nearing the end of its life, and how does that affect your goal of installing solar panels for your home?   As the components of your roof wear out, tiles can be more vulnerable to cracking and the underlayment may easily tear. An old roof will not hold up well to drilling into tiles to install racking or carrying heavy solar panels. In fact, many older roofs were simply not built to handle the weight of solar panels. Before you call up a solar installation team to give you a price quote on solar panels, figure out the age of your roof. Many of us haven’t lived in our homes for 30 or 50 years, so finding this information can be difficult. Look through your home’s paperwork to see if a roof replacement is mentioned in the disclosures or contact the previous owner if you have their information. If your home is less than 30 years old, chances are that the original roof is still in place. If your roof is at or nearing the end of its lifespan, you will likely have to replace it before you can safely install solar panels. Why It Makes Sense to Repair or Replace Your Roof Before Getting Solar Panels for Your Home Let’s be honest. Repairing and especially replacing your roof is not an inexpensive prospect. If you were already planning to pony up a big chunk of money to install solar panels, the last thing you want to do is spend MORE money on your roof before getting your solar panels. As hard as it is to swallow, however, repairing or replacing your roof may be the right thing to do, even if it delays your solar panel installation. Think about it this way – you would never build a home on a foundation of sand, right? Your roof acts as the foundation for your solar panels. The stronger and better the roof, the longer your solar panels can do their job. If you try to cut corners and install solar panels on a damaged or aging roof, then you’re going to have to address those problems anyway in the future. Imagine how much more expensive it will be to have to call your solar installation company to take down your solar panels and then re-install them on your new roof. You’ll have to pay for the Roof Installation or replacement anyway, but doing it before installing solar panels on your home will save you lots of money and lots of headaches. Here’s another thing to keep in mind. Your roof plays a big role in insulating your home. One of the reasons you may always have to crank up the heat in the winter and the air conditioning in the summer is because your roof isn’t able to trap that heat or air conditioning. A new roof will make your home more energy efficient, which may decrease the size (and price) of the solar panel system you need to power your home. Here’s one more thing to consider. A new roof will increase the curb appeal of your home and increase its value, so some of that money you spent on fixing or replacing it will come right back to you when you sell. Why You Should Choose a Company That Provides Roof Replacements and Solar Installation You started this article just wanting to get solar panels for your home, and now you might to replace your roof too! That means you have to search out roofing companies in your area, schedule consultations, sign a contract, bring that team out… and then do it all over again for your solar installation contractor! Yikes, that’s a lot of work! It doesn’t have to be. Some solar installation companies also offer roof replacement services, including Semper Solaris. There are many reasons to work with just one company for your roofing and solar needs. First, you’ll save a lot of effort. It’s much easier to work with a single project coordinator than to research, assess, and hire two separate companies. Next, you’ll save time. It can take weeks to get on a contractor’s schedule. By combining projects, it will all be done be done together. Probably the biggest benefit of working with a single company for roofing and solar is that you can enjoy significant cost savings. At Semper Solaris, combining a roof replacement with solar installation allows us to be as efficient as possible. We are happy to pass those cost savings back onto our customers. We can even offer you financing options to make your roof replacement and solar panel installation more affordable. Sometimes getting solar panels for your home means repairing or replacing your roof first. With Semper Solaris, we can take on your full project and get solar panels on your new, sturdy roof before you know it. Contact us today to schedule a roof and solar consultation.    

Do you dream of finally cutting the chord with your power company and living in peace and harmony with nature? Going off the grid – that is, living without an electrical, water, or sewage connection – is not for the faint of heart, but it is possible. More and more people in California are showing interest in an off-grid lifestyle for a variety of reasons. How does one actually live off the grid, and how can solar panels in California play a role in that transition? More importantly, is it possible to still live a comfortable and fulfilling life without a convenient hookup to the public grid? In this article, we’ll take a quick look at how California residents can generate and store their own power, collect water, and even take care of bathroom necessities in a fully sustainable and self-sufficient way. Why Pull the Plug in the First Place? We live in a world of abundant convenience. Turn on a tap at the kitchen sink and water magically flows out. Flip on a light switch, and light instantly brightens a room. Modern conveniences are so… well, convenient. Why would anyone want to unplug from the systems that bring these resources to our home without thought or effort? There are a variety of reasons why more and more people are interested in going off the grid. Some of the most popular are: Environmental Sustainability Climate change is here, and unless we humans drastically change our tune and our activities, we are in for bigger and badder natural disasters and the humanitarian suffering they cause. One of the most powerful drivers in the off-grid movement is a commitment to living a more sustainable lifestyle that relies on natural resources (like the sun) rather than fossil fuels to create energy. Many off-gridders are hyper-focused on lowering their carbon footprint and also embrace a low consumerism lifestyle. Financial Savings While dropping the monthly energy bill and water bill isn’t usually the primary reason people decide to go off the grid, it can be a nice side benefit. It may also fit with a larger ambition to live a big life on a small budget, which may prompt California residents to change where and how they live. No Existing Hookups California has some of the highest housing costs in the entire country, which can make it difficult for anyone on a fixed budget or without a snazzy job to find a comfortable home. In response, some Californians are moving out of the big (and expensive) cities and buying up land in rural areas of the state. Others are bunking down in tiny homes or even living in RVs, converted warehouse containers, or other non-traditional homes. These adventurous housing options often don’t include existing hookups. Desire for Self-Sufficiency Whether spurred on by religious, political, or personal beliefs, some people simply desire to live a completely self-sufficient life without the assistance of any government operated systems. These folks want to know that in the event of a widespread disaster, they have the means to keep on, keepin’ on. (Hint: If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, these are good people to know!) If one or more of these reasons hits at the heart of why you want to go off the grid, your next step is to learn what it will take to put this lifestyle into play. Here are the primary pieces you need: Solar Panels Going off the grid doesn’t mean you have to revert back to the middle ages, writing with ink and quill over a flickering candle at night or keeping a herd of cattle in the yard, because refrigeration is no longer available to you. In fact, technology has come so far that you can actually power your entire home using the energy of the sun. All you need are solar panels in California. In a nutshell, solar panels use the energy of the sun (in the form of photons) to generate electricity. This electricity is converted into the alternating current needed to power your appliances and charge your electronics. Ideally, your solar panel system should be able to power your refrigerator, heat your water, charge your cell phone, and keep your computer alive so you can blog all about your awesome new grid-less lifestyle. In reality, things can be a little more difficult. You’ll need to work with an experienced solar team to calculate your average energy usage and then to determine the correct size for your solar panel system. Since you won’t have a connection to the public utility grid to act as a safety net, it may be a good idea to get a system slightly bigger than what you need. This could come in handy during the winter months when peak sunlight hours are in short supply or during stretches of cloudy weather. Of course, living a life powered by solar panels means you’ll face one major challenge. What happens when the source of all your energy – the sun – checks out for the night? For that, you’ll need a solar storage battery. Solar Storage Batteries If you still want your refrigerator to work and your lights to turn on even when the moon is up, you’re going to need to store some of your excess energy from the daytime so that you can use it during the night. You are in luck. In just the past few years, solar batteries like Tesla Powerwall have become increasingly efficient even while their price has dramatically dropped. Some companies are experimenting with lead acid and saltwater batteries, but lithium-ion batteries are still the most popular and widely used solar batteries available on the market. Before making your solar battery purchase, it’s a good idea to consult with a solar installation company that can help you understand the different battery brands on the market and work with you to decide how many batteries you will need to adequately power your home. When comparing different solar batteries, you’ll want to look at factors like the battery’s overall capacity (how much electricity it can store), as well as its power (how much electricity it can provide over a given time). Most off-grid households will need to purchase multiple batteries, which can be “stacked” to increase power storage. Powering your home with a combination of solar panels and solar batteries can provide you with all the energy your home needs to operate most of the time, but it is always a good idea to keep a gas-powered generator handy just in case you accidentally use more power than your panels can generate. You may also find that you need to make small adaptations to your life, like vacuuming during the sunny afternoon when your panels are generating plenty of power and holding off on doing the laundry at night when your battery stores are low. Power is a big concern for those who can’t rely on the public energy grid, but what about the need for life-giving water? If you don’t have a water hookup, are you doomed to bottled water and sponge baths for the rest of your days? Rainwater Tanks If you’ve lived in California for any time, then you already know that water is a precious and fickle resource. It can also be expensive. If you want to live completely off the grid, that means losing your access to limitless water as well. Not to worry. The sky occasionally opens up and gives you loads of water, all for free. You just have to be savvy enough to catch it as efficiently as possible. Off-gridders use a variety of methods to “harvest” rainwater. The easiest and most cost-effective solution is to purchase a rain barrel and place it under your gutter downspout. Your roof will funnel the rainwater to the gutters, which will then send that H2O into the barrel. The capacity of a rain barrel is limited, and in parched California, you don’t want to lose even a drop of rainwater to overspill. To increase your rain harvesting ability, you may want to consider purchasing a “dry” water harvesting system, which means investing in a larger water storage unit that can collect more water from each rainfall. For ultimate water harvesting, a “wet” system entails connecting multiple downspouts to pipes that are buried underground. These pipes fill a large tank that can be placed away from the home. The “wet” system is the most efficient, but also the most expensive to install. Collecting rainwater is only step one in the rain harvesting system. You’ll also need to install a pressure tank, pressure pump, and filters and then hook the system up to the piping within your house. The filtering system is a must if you intend to use the water for potable purposes, including drinking, showering, and giving water to your pets. As long as you have enough water, this system will allow you to run your sink, take showers, and even flush your toilet. One of the biggest challenges of depending on the sky for your water is that the rain isn’t always very accommodating. This is especially true in Central and Southern California where long droughts are becoming the norm thanks to climate change. If you live in these areas of California, be ready to cut back your water usage to the bare minimum. You may also want to look into installing a “greywater” system that utilizes “used” or “grey” water from the sink and shower for non-potable uses, like washing clothes and watering the lawn. Even this may not be enough, and you should be prepared to purchase water to refill your water storage system during the long, dry months of summer. To Flush or Not to Flush? Composting Toilets Going off the grid can be an extremely rewarding lifestyle, but it also requires some sacrifices. One big question to answer is how to get rid of number one and number two if you don’t have a sewage hookup to take care of that unpleasant chore. Depending on your situation, you may be blessed with a waste storage system that can be emptied by a hired waste removal service. If not, then a remaining option is the composting toilet. Several different models of composting toilets exist, but they all use the natural processes of evaporation and decomposition to recycle waste. Most incorporate the same methods of a garden composter, relying on oxygen, moisture, heat, and aerobic bacteria to turn your organic matter into fertilizing soil. We wouldn’t suggest putting the results on your vegetable garden, but if done right, you should be able to give the local trees some nice new fertilizer. Your Off-the-Grid Journey Starts with Solar Panels in California We never said that going off the grid would be easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding, especially if you care deeply about living a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle. One of the first big steps to take is to reach out to a local solar installation company to discuss your energy needs. At Semper Solaris, we offer both solar system installation and solar battery installation. We can help you determine how much energy you need and recommend solar panels in California and solar battery system to meet your needs and keep you powered. With locations throughout California, we have local experts ready to help you get rid of your energy bills forever. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-pressure solar consultation.

Living in the City of Angels isn’t always so heavenly, especially when it comes to your energy bill. Angelenos pay some of the highest rates for electricity in the country! If you are looking to cut the pipeline from your bank account to the utility company and shrink your environmental footprint in the process, then it’s time to seriously consider solar panels. That starts with a search for solar panel companies in Los Angeles. The solar panel company you choose will have a huge impact on the cost of your solar panels, how smoothly the project goes, and how well your solar panels perform. It’s worth your time to do your homework in order to find the most qualified, experienced, and honest solar installer. How do you do that? Let’s look into that question, and then we’ll tell you a few reasons why we think Semper Solaris should be on your solar panel shortlist! How to Find the Best Solar Panel Company in Los Angeles Wouldn’t it be great if you had a crystal ball that could tell you the best solar panel company in Los Angeles with the wave of the hand and a muttered incantation? Assuming you don’t have such a magic talisman in your attic, the best way to find a great solar installer is to ask around. If you know friends and family members who have gotten solar panels, ask them who they used and if they would recommend that company. You’ll probably get some good recommendations, as well as a few horror stories that will cross some names off your list. Next up, do the research. Friends and family members represent only a singular experience. You want to make sure any solar panel company you use has delighted the majority of their customers. Check out reliable review sites to hear from multiple customers. We recommend: SolarReviews.com Angie’s List Better Business Bureau Keep in mind that customers tend to leave reviews when they are either extremely satisfied or extremely disappointed, so specific reviews may not be representative of the company’s true character. Focus on how the company is described by the majority of reviewers, instead of fixating on one or two highly negative reviews. By this time, you should have a few top contenders. Contact these companies and request a solar consultation. Each company will send a representative out to your home to learn about your household’s energy usage, your goals, and your budget. They’ll take a look at your roof and make a personalized recommendation. That should include a price quote and timeline for the solar project. You’ll definitely want to compare the pricing of each company, but don’t overlook other factors, including the honesty and integrity of the company and their representative, as well as the company’s mission. You aren’t just getting solar panels on your roof; you’re also using your dollars to support a business! We believe that Semper Solaris is the best solar panel company in Los Angeles, and we’d like you to consider us when you begin your solar search. Here are just a few reasons why we stand out from the competition. We Are a Veteran-Owned Company Committed to Integrity and Excellence When we think of the one thing that most set us apart from other Los Angeles solar panel companies, we could have chosen our great pricing, the high quality of our work, or our outstanding customer service. While all those features are accurate, they don’t represent the heart and soul of our company. What truly makes us unique is that as a proud, veteran-owned and operated company, we have instilled the very best military ideals into the fabric of our operating system. Co-owner Kelly Shawhan was a Captain in the U.S. Marines before leaving the service to begin building Semper Solaris. Though he no longer wears the uniform, the motto of Semper Fidelis – Always Faithful – has never left him. It’s so central to his identity that it became part of our name – Semper Solaris! Under Kelly’s watchful eye, Semper Solaris has always embodied the military principles of discipline, duty, respect, honesty, service, and accountability. We believe our commitment to these principles makes a difference in everything that we do, from the way we treat our customers with respect and integrity, to our honesty in providing recommendations, and our commitment to doing the job right every time. Learn more about both our co-owners. We Hire Veterans As a veteran-owned company, we know that it can often be difficult to transition from the military into the civilian world. Many young veterans have served multiple deployments overseas and have never worked outside the military. We make a special effort to hire these young men and women, because we know that they make some of the most dedicated and committed employees on the planet. In return, we can offer high-paying and steady work in an exciting and growing field. Veterans and First Responders Get Special Discounts We want to thank the brave men and women who protect our country, as well as our cities and towns. It is important for us to recognize their sacrifice and the risks they take every day. That is why we offer discounts to military veterans, as well as police officers, firefighters, and other first responders. We also provide referral bonuses to past clients who tell their friends and family about us. We just want to say thanks for keeping us in mind and sending new customers our way. Take a look at all our current discounts. We Are Part of the Local Community We want to support every community that we serve, which is why we’ve opened locations throughout California, including in Los Angeles. This allows us to hire local employees and keep your money in your community, where it supports great jobs. Staying local also allows us to develop a deep well of knowledge about a particular community. This comes in handy when we need to pull permits, work with the local utility company to hook up a new system, and pass local inspections. It also means that we are knowledgeable about local renewable energy incentives and can help our clients save money on their systems. This includes the LADWP rebate, which is still available to most Los Angeles residents. We Provide Competitive Pricing We are committed to offering highly competitive pricing for our solar installation services. In fact, you will find that we offer some of the lowest pricing in the entire state of California, without sacrificing quality installation or great customer service. We Offer Excellent Installation You’ve probably heard the horror stories of other solar installation companies or a hired “Jack of all trades” damaging a friend’s roof, breaking solar panels during installation, or installing them so poorly that the system isn’t nearly as efficient as it could be. Expertise matters. Installing racking onto your roof needs to be done by a highly trained professional to protect the integrity of your roof. The placement of your solar panels also matters, as it can dramatically affect the efficiency of the panels and therefore how big your monthly energy bill is. Trust the experts at Semper Solaris. We are a fully licensed and certified solar panel installer and also specialize in roofing. We will respect your property and your investment and make sure your solar panel system is installed with the utmost skill to generate as much power as possible for your home. We Support American-Designed Products Many of our employees fought to protect this country, and we continue to support America and its values in our business. That’s why we make a special effort to buy and recommend American-made and American-designed products for our customers. Help us help protect American jobs and businesses. We Offer Roof Replacement and Solar Battery Storage It isn’t uncommon to discover that your older or damaged roof needs to be replaced before you can install solar panels. Replacing a roof can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you have to search for and hire a roofing contractor! At Semper Solaris, we also employ expert roofers and offer full roof replacement services. In this way, we make it easy and convenient to replace your roof and get solar panels together as part of a single project. We can also save you money by offering a big discount on solar plus roofing projects! If you plan on using your solar panels to live off the grid, you will need a solar panel battery to store excess energy during the day and provide power during the night. At Semper Solaris, we also offer solar panel battery solutions, which includes installation. We Help You Afford Solar Panel Installation Getting solar panels for your Los Angeles home is a big project, and it comes with a price tag. Not every homeowner can afford to pay for solar panels out-of-pocket. Fortunately, we are committed to helping you afford solar panels. We offer a variety of financing and leasing options, including no-money-down financing. That means you can get solar panels on your roof and see your energy bills drop, all without paying a dime upfront. Need One More Reason to Choose Semper Solaris as Your Los Angeles Solar Panel Company? We could go on and on about why we think we are the best solar panel company in Los Angeles, but if you need one more reason to give us a call, listen to what our past customers have to say. Customer reviews truly are the best indicators of how a company operates. We are proud to hold an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau. Check out all our great reviews at Angie’s List and hear testimonials from past clients in Los Angeles. Are you convinced? Then we would appreciate the chance to compete for your business. Contact us today to schedule a no-pressure, no-cost solar consultation.

The decision to go solar is a big one. Even though you’re nearly certain to reap a financial return on your leap of faith, it’s no small investment to turn your home into a self-sustaining green energy machine. What’s more, with so many companies getting into the clean energy market, you may have more options for providers than you know what to do with. When it comes to solar panels in San Diego, cost can vary depending on a number of factors. Do you know what to look for in a good solar panel installer? Cost isn’t the only consideration, but we understand that affordability is probably at the top of your priority list. There’s more to cost evaluations than the purchase price of a solar panel. You can benefit from breaking down other associated costs to make sure your solar provider is giving you the most value for your investment. Here are some things to look for when you’re running a comprehensive comparison of San Diego solar providers. Evaluate the Efficiency of the Panels Providers Use How efficient are the panels proposed by your solar provider? If your provider uses less efficient panels, you are likely to end up needing more panels. More panels could increase the installation time, labor costs, and burden to your roof. In other words, while the panels may be cheaper individually the overall cost could increase. As you compare the costs of getting solar panels installed on your home, consider that more efficient panels cost a bit more up front. But they pay off big, too. These panels will take up less room on your roof, have a more reliable power yield, and boast excellent degradation rates. The providers who offer the best, most efficient panels are often delivering a better value in the long term. How long will you be in the home? If you want to personally take advantage of lower utility costs for years, going for more efficient models at the point of installation is a wise decision. The long-run value created by high-efficiency solar panels can include selling excess energy back to the grid, lower home utility costs, and may even improve the value of your home more than less efficient models. Ask About Inverter Costs Solar panels capture solar energy as something called a direct current (DC). Your home, however, runs most of its electronics and appliances on power called alternating current (AC). Inverters are the magic device that translates the power from DC to AC so you can use it. The type and subsequent cost of your inverter will depend largely on two things: the needs of your solar system and the preferences of your solar provider. Solar inverters fall into three categories: string, micro, or power optimizer inverters. String inverters connect all of your panels to the same inverter and are typically the cheapest option. Micro-inverters have a separate small inverter on each individual panel, and power optimizers are a hybrid of string and micro-inverters. If you notice your inverter costs are high with one provider, ask which type they’re using. The difference in inverter costs between providers is likely that one is recommending a centralized inverter while another prefers the micro models. Consider Labor and Permit Prices The costs may vary between providers who are using the same panels and inverters for a few reasons, including the labor and permit factors. Faster, more experienced installers may charge a premium to get the job done in a day. On the other hand, you can often score discounts by booking an appointment during the off-season. While labor costs vary, they are often based on the same metric: price per watt of installed solar. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, labor costs are usually about 10% of your total system expense.   In terms of the local market, this portion of your cost comparison is pretty straightforward. Simply ask for an itemized estimate on labor costs from a few different companies to get an average. You should do a bit of digging about proposed permit costs as well. Your provider will need to draft solar plans and submit them for approval, and they should be able to explain to you what the cost implications are and why. Don’t Equate Expense with Quality In addition to breaking down specific costs between panels, inverters, and permits -- you should bust a few broader myths as you investigate your local provider options. First, as alluded to above, don’t assume that a lower cost on solar panels means you’re getting the “best deal.” It’s tempting to jump at the lowest bid, but you could end up with a less reliable power source because you chose a discounted panel that has fallen out of industry favor for a reason. At the same time, paying more doesn’t mean you’re getting top of the line. Some consumers see a higher price tag and assume that they’re getting the best of the best. Look at industry reviews, ask the provider about why they recommend this panel, and look at the manufacturer’s website to view the costs yourself. There could be a lot of reason why a provider increases their prices, including the fact that national companies require a large marketing budget. Stick with quality over perceived exclusivity. Get a Quote for Roof Work at the Same Time Have you taken a look at the condition of your roof lately? As you look for solar panels in San Diego, cost analysis must include what, if any, work on your roof looks like. A good solar provider will recommend roof work to maximize the lifespan of your solar panels and keep them secured properly. Working with a company that does both roof replacement and solar panels means a more seamless experience. Juggling multiple vendors can make budgeting complicated and creating a realistic timeline a headache. If your Roof Installation team isn’t done by the time a separate solar panel provider shows up, you’re in trouble. Simplify the process and the cost by getting a quote for your roof at the same time you’re comparing solar costs and try to work with a single service provider. Look Into Financing Options Potential financing offers could also alter your cost comparison. Interest rates, required money down, and repayment terms are all worth your scrutiny as you decide on a local solar provider in San Diego. A percentage point could come down to thousands of dollars in the long run. Some providers don’t offer financing but can refer you to a trusted source where you’ll be able to obtain a reasonable rate. A provider that can work with you on reasonable financing and a payoff schedule could be saving you a lot of money up front, and then you can use some of your utility savings and selling excess energy to pay off the balance as quickly as possible. Don’t Forget About Warranties What if you get a great deal on your solar panels but a fluke manufacturing error causes problems in 11 years? Warranties protect you in the event of a problem with the materials or the installation workmanship. Avoid a future money pit by ensuring that you’re covered by warranties from the start. A typical manufacturer’s warranty lasts for about 10-12 years, but some solar panels have a materials warranty for up to 25 years. In short: factor in future costs when you’re comparing solar providers. Warranties are the best way to offset these hypothetical expenses. Are you ready to go green in San Diego? Solar panels cost enough to warrant a careful comparison before you accept a quote and sign a contract. Any provider worth their salt will be happy to explain their costs to you and give your project the attention it deserves. Never be afraid to ask for a breakdown of costs and post meaningful questions about anything you don’t understand. You are your own best advocate, even if you’re not a solar expert! Contact Semper Solaris today to learn more about the best solar panels for use in San Diego. We’ll deliver a no-pressure bid on your solar system and tell you if you need a roof replacement. Becoming energy independent is a huge deal, and you may just inspire your neighbors to get on board, too!  

When you make an investment in solar power, the dream is to save thousands of dollars each year on utility costs and perhaps even sell some of your excess energy back to the grid. With the proper installation and maintenance, a set of solar panels can last decades and be a sound financial decision. In fact, solar panels have been exceeding expectations when it comes to average lifespan. PV panels built after 2000 can produce up to 92% of their original power at the 20-year mark. Even with so much good news around the improvement of solar panels, it’s still wise to choose PV panels that are known for efficiency and a good temperature coefficient. Simply put: Solar panels are improving across the board, but they’re still not created equally. The top rated solar panels in the US (all available for installation in California) check all the right boxes. The first step to choosing one of the best ranked solar panels is understanding what you’re looking for and why things like efficiency quotients matter.   Understanding What Makes the Top Rated Solar Panels So Good When does a solar panel go from OK to better than the rest? The top-selling solar panels typically earn great customer reviews, are efficient, and have an impressive temperature coefficient range. The first standard is pretty self-explanatory: but what exactly are efficiency and temperature coefficient ratings? Efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that the panels can convert into electricity. The more sunlight your solar can convert, the fewer panels you’ll need to buy to successfully power your home. Temperature coefficient relates to how the PV panels react to a temperature increase. In Southern California, this rating is especially important. If you’re living in the desert, the last thing you want is a panel that loses its efficiency during the summer -- just when you need it most. Most solar panels are tested at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature coefficient figure tells you how much efficiency the panels lose for every 1 degree of temperature increase. For instance, a panel with a temperature coefficient of -0.3 will lose 0.3% of its efficiency for every temperature degree above 77. With these three components in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most highly rated solar panels for use under the California sun. These are the American-made panels that Semper Solaris has come to trust as experts in the business. Panasonic Panasonic panels have an efficiency range of 19 to 21.6% and a temperature coefficient of 0.258. The company uses 20 internal tests during their quality assurance process and offers an impressive 25-year warranty for the materials.  The projected output is nearly 91% after 20 years, so the panels are a good long-term investment for your property. When it comes to customer feedback, Panasonic PV panels earned a 5-star consumer rating on SolarReviews as of late 2018. At Semper Solaris, we love Panasonic because they are truly committed to making the world a cleaner place to live. Not only are their solar panels so energy efficient that they’re at the top of their game, but even the packaging for Panasonic solar panels is eco-friendly. They minimize the cardboard waste associated with your PV panel installation, so you can feel even better about using this brand for your solar panels. Finally, Panasonic is considered one of the top rated solar panels by Semper Solaris because teaming up with the company has allowed us to offer you one of the only 100% American made solar panels available in California. Panasonic solar panels are manufactured in Buffalo, New York. Other companies might boast American assembled or American made panels, but some of the manufacturing could be outsourced. We love that Panasonic is committed to building the solar industry in the United States -- and doing it with quality panels that we’re proud to install for you. Silfab Silfab is another North American company that brings you a quality solar panel. The efficiency range for Silfab PV panels is 15.3 to 19% and the temperature coefficient ranges from 0.38 to 0.42. If you go with Silfab solar panels from Semper Solaris, you’re covered by a 25-year product warranty. Their residential solar solutions aim to combine esthetic architecture and maximum power density for projects of all sizes. Their all-black panels are particularly sleek if you want to install dark panels that blend into asphalt roof tiles. Silfab has facilities in Toronto, Canada and Bellingham, Washington. Their North American production lines are certified to deliver Buy American products, and they use precise engineering. Silfab boasts the lowest defect rate in the US. If you’re looking for a great domestically made solar panel for your home, ask us about our Silfab panel options. Why American Made is Important to Semper Solaris You’ll probably notice that the two top brands we install in California both have roots in American production. We think creating an America that is rich in clean energy starts from the ground up. It’s not enough that we install solar panels to leverage the sun into electricity for our homes; we should also add to the American economy by creating jobs right here! Solar has and continues to be a major job creator in states that have adopted a solar state of mind. California ranks first in the nation for solar installations and we also have more than 86,000 jobs in solar! The solar industry is a particularly great source of employment for veterans. The Department of Energy has created initiatives to take the technical skills of military veterans and put them to great use in clean energy. By supporting American-made solar panels, you’re helping your local economy and putting people to work. Using American manufacturing for solar panels not only helps the economy and creates jobs, but it also makes it easier to protect our environment. California is rich in incredible landscapes, from the beach and mountains to the deserts and farmland. We can better protect our precious terrain from harmful carbon footprints by promoting more regional solar panel creation. Making panels at home often means they’re more affordable and can be delivered quickly, allowing installers to get jobs done fast. The Bottom Line When Choosing Solar Panels There is an ever-growing list of companies who are getting into the green energy game. From Mitsubishi to Hyundai, some household names you probably recognize from other industries are now on board with using their technology and manufacturing to create sustainable energy. There are also many smaller companies who are committed to creating efficient solar panels. In other words: you will always have a lot of choices when it comes to where to buy solar panels and storage. Deciding which solar panels are right for your home depends on a lot of factors. Affordability is often at the top of any priority list, but efficiency and temperature coefficients should be close behind. Getting quality PV panels installed means less maintenance and better home value. A more efficient solar panel will also fare better in cloud cover or extreme heat, so you’ll thank yourself later for investing now. Panasonic and Silfab products are two of the top-rated panels for a reason. Not only are they sourced from North America, but they are quality products with long warranties. But you don’t have to memorize their differences -- we are here to walk you through choosing the right solar system for your property. If you’re still not sure which panels are the best fit for your property, Semper Solaris can help. At Semper Solaris, we’re serious about helping homeowners become energy independent and environmentally friendly. We have helped many homeowners make the transition to solar seamlessly and within their budget. Call us today, and we can come out for a free consultation. You’ll get a no-pressure bid for new solar panels and we can walk you through the top-rated solar panels we prefer.

EMERGING SOLAR TECHNOLOGY The future of Solar energy is promising as solar becomes more efficient, bringing with it innovation and the latest trends in solar technology. New chip technology, micro-inverters, and improvements to solar tech products are promising better and more efficient solar ideas. And looking to the future, groundbreaking technologies for building materials are on the horizon. Fresh new designs make rooftop solar more attractive. Bifacial solar panels Also called double-sided panels, bifacial solar panels capture sunlight through both sides. They produce more energy than standard panels offering more savings on the cost of energy. All glass solar panels Glass panels have a sleek design that is more attractive and durable than regular silicon cell panels. These can are used in creative ways such as being built into skylights. They also are less prone to degradation and offer fire resistance as well. Frameless solar panels If you don’t like the unattractive solar frames in rooftop panels, frameless solar sections use a unique mounting that looks more lustrous and matches the system for a modernized appearance. Clear solar panels Clear solar panels are frameless and visually appealing. They are enclosed in glass. They use the same technology as standard panels, but the cells are inserted between to glass casings instead of opaque backing Solar skin New technology brings designs for a custom look to match your roof to your solar panel system with smart grids that are smaller than traditional panels. A few companies are pioneering this Solar Shingles These designer solar roof panels are set apart from other panel innovations. You can go solar without even noticing it on the roof. Tesla’s tiles are more durable than roof materials and will blend in with the style of your home. They are made with many styles of glass including textured and smooth glass and are one of the next great trends in solar. Solar windows Look for this amazing technology that makes sense. Solar windows generate electricity as the sun comes shining through the special hi-tech coating embedded in the glass. There is a vision beyond the solar products you can acquire for your home or business or gadgets and inventions that we use in our lives. Pioneering research is paving the way for newer and better ways to reduce and eliminate the carbon footprint and offer a quality of life that is environmentally safe and maintainable. Hornets And Grasshoppers As we move forward in meeting the world's energy needs and addressing sustainability and climate control, scientists are looking to nature for answers. It is apparent that we will need more and more electricity. We are accustomed to relying on electricity for the things we use each day—like turning on the air conditioner. And as the temperatures rise in the cities—that is not about to change. Architect and Biologist Doris Kim Sung has looked to human anatomy for answers in the functioning of human skin and creating materials that work the same way. She has designed what is called a “Thermal Bimetal Skin” which can be used in architecture to regulate temperatures much in the way our skin functions to control the temperature in the body. It uses no electricity at all and can help control the temperatures in buildings to cut down on power used for heating and cooling systems. She is also looking to the respiratory system of grasshoppers for ideas on ventilation in buildings. Scientists have found that some hornets use sunlight to produce electricity inside their exoskeletons. In an experiment, a solution was extracted then placed in a solar cell conductor, when exposed to light, the pigment in the solution generated electricity. Extracting energy from plants, animals and insects and biogenic solar cells made from living bacteria are in the sphere of scientific discovery. Electrical capability from solar and other renewable sources is outdoing those from fossil fuels. Solar energy is one of the least expensive energy choices. Saving money and advances in solar technology leading to more options for the homeowner, make it an attractive option for homeowners in Escondido where sunshine is abundant. From wearables to solar-powered cars. Solar tech is on the move. And Semper Solaris is a leader in providing the best solar products and installation. Call us today to begin taking advantage of the future of renewable energy—and go solar.

HOW TO GET MORE FROM YOUR SOLAR POWER If you have a rooftop solar installation or are considering a solar system in your Temecula home, you are already aware of the money you will save on utility bills. The more the sun shines on your solar panels, the more electricity they generate, and you can improve the effectiveness of your system and using the best practices for optimum solar energy efficiency. Your solar installer will help you choose the best location for your panels for the best value. Here Are Some Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Solar Power System ENERGY USAGE Find out when your solar panels are the most productive. There are smart apps that will monitor your solar energy panels by showing how much power the panels generate, how much power you use, and how much goes back to the grid. Then you will know when your system is the most productive. Adjust your power usage. Find out which devices or appliances in your home use the most power and use them when your solar system is generating the most. You can also program appliances to run during those times with smart apps. Coordinate your Time of Use rates with your Solar System’s optimum output to run your most expensive appliances like washer and dryer during the times of lowest rates. Stagger your consumption. Using many appliances and devices at the same time could lead to using more power than your system is generating causing you to use more expensive energy from your utility provider. Use smart plugs or power strips for standby electrical devices so they can be off instead of pulling electricity when not in use. TV’s, DVD players, and other devices on standby can add to your monthly consumption unnecessarily. With a smart plug, you can keep your DVR plugged in while the other devices are off until you intend to use them. Use timers on your appliances and run during your optimum solar generation. Led lights only use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last a lot longer. Motion sensor lights in hallways and on your porch will cut down on unnecessary lighting. Energy Star appliances use nearly 40 percent less energy. PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT Weatherize your home. Don’t lose what your panels generate through leaky windows or doors. Keep your panels clean by clearing debris, such as leaves or branches or dirt to avoid a reduction in energy yield. You can schedule a cleaning with your solar panel provider or consider installing a cleaning system Keep trees and foliage trimmed, so they aren’t blocking or shading your panels from the sun and ensure falling branches do not damage your panels. Store power for your home to make up for when your panels are not generating enough energy. Semper Solaris can install an Enphase Encharge Battery or Tesla Powerwall backup battery for surplus power. The combination of solar panels with a backup battery can meet nearly 90 percent of your energy needs when you need more. Get a 25-year warranty with Semper Solaris solar power installations. Temecula homeowners are joining the solar revolution. If you have not installed solar in your home, prices are lower than they ever have been with rebates and tax incentives. Call Semper Solaris for an evaluation of your home and take advantage of lower energy costs and reduced carbon footprint. We can help join your neighbors and go solar.

With 266 days of sun per year, San Diego is a prime candidate to become the leader in solar power. After all, the average number of sunny days is just 205 across the country. We nearly have the type of sun that towns on the east coast could only dream of. You can add to the city’s growth as a green community by putting solar panels on your own home. From Mission Beach to Alpine and Chula Vista to Carlsbad, San Diego County homes are in a great position to make their own energy using the power of the sun. Even better, solar energy is contagious. If you put solar panels on your own home, your neighbors are more likely to consider becoming energy independent, too. Before you know it, San Diego will be totally powered by the sun. Getting It Right with Solar Panels in San Diego If you’re new to the idea of solar power it’s easy to get overwhelmed. How many panels do you need? When is the best time to get them installed? Will you recover the costs of the solar panels when you sell your home? Before you make any decisions, let’s take a look at some of the basic do’s and don’ts of going solar in Sunny San Diego: Do: Consider Getting Panels Installed in the Off-Season Solar professionals have a busy season and an off-season, just like any business. It’s no surprise that the summer months get people thinking about going solar. Air Conditioning means escalating utility bills and the ever-present sunshine is top of mind. If you want to go solar in San Diego, consider getting your panels installed during the off-peak season. Not only can you get better discounts if you get solar installed during the off-season, but you’ll get more attention from your solar installers. A slower schedule for solar companies means they can spend more time walking you through the process and devoting extra energy (no pun intended) to your job. Don’t: Rush to Get Your Panels Installed Before the First Heat Wave You see the summer season approaching and you know the peak season will arrive with it. Better get those panels installed right away… right? Not so fast. Rushing to get your panels installed could present its own problems. For one, you should get your roof assessed before you install solar panels. Like all types of roofing materials, the Spanish tiles popular in Southern California have a limited lifespan. It would be a shame to install solar on a failing roof that needs to be replaced soon. Give yourself a few months for inspection and repairs instead of rushing to get panels installed before the first big heatwave, even if your favorite installer can fit you in. Overall, winter is the best time to make an appointment for solar installation. Do: Examine Which Direction Your Roof Faces to Maximize Panel Access to the Sun The ideal way to place solar panels is facing south. You can also point your solar panels to the east or west, though they will produce about 20 percent less energy. If you only have the option to place your panels on a roof that faces north, you may want to consider installing panels on the ground or using a creative tilting system. The way your solar panels face may have a big effect on the type of panels you choose and the number of panels you need. Planning ahead is key. For instance, you may learn that while your roof faces south, there may be a shadow cast on it for a good amount of the day. Most situations can be altered to make solar work but being aware of your roof’s relationship with the sun is the first step to developing a plan. Don’t: Assume Sea Fog or Tall Palms Mean You Won’t Get Enough Sun It’s true that solar panels work at maximum efficiency when they get regular direct sunlight. If you live in Ocean Beach, you might worry that the frequent ocean fog means your panels will be starved of sufficient UV rays. The good news is that even under fog, solar panels can absorb about half of what they need to operate at full potential. When the fog burns off at about noon, your panels are fully back in business. Likewise, tall trees that provide tons of shade to your roof can be a problem, but they don’t rule out solar panels. Trimming fronds and tilting the panels can mean your trees and solar panels live in harmony. Do: Look for Rebates to Enjoy More Cost Savings Your solar installer may offer great discounts during the off-peak season, but that’s not the only way to save cash on your panels. While the San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) solar rebates are currently exhausted for San Diego residents, the solar thermal rebate program is still active and has a total of $28 million to hand out. Keep your eyes peeled for other city or state rebate programs that will cut back on your initial costs. SDGE has a helpful guide that explains the various ways you can leverage various types of savings for solar installation. With the California push toward solar (most new builds will be required to have panels as of 2020), it’s always possible that new rebates could become available for current homeowners in San Diego. Don’t: Give Up on Solar If You Don’t Qualify for State Discounts If you don’t have access to city or state rebates, all hope for major savings is not lost. You can still apply the federal tax credit for solar investment (ITC) to your taxes next year. The tax rebate allows you to deduct up to 30% of the cost of your PV panel installation. You should also consider the annual savings from switching away from the grid and the increased value of your home. Even if you don’t save money in a lump sum rebate upfront, you still stand to make a lot of money in the future. SDGE will also compensate you for the excess energy generation that you give back to the grid if you apply and are approved for the NEM program. Do: Work with a Local Solar Company That Understands San Diego Climate A company that knows San Diego weather and climate patterns will be able to explain exactly what financial returns you can expect from going solar, and how many panels you need to fully power your home. Only a company that knows the entire county will know the needs of homes in Mission Valley versus a property near the coastal fog at the beach. In addition to considering price, it’s wise to place value on how well the solar company understands the needs of a San Diego homeowner. Is it be worth it to pay less if you work with a company that only has a history of working in the desert? Don’t: Be Shy About Vetting Your Solar Company Thoroughly You have the right to ask as many questions as you want of any solar company. After all, going solar is not only a big financial investment: it’s also a change in lifestyle. You want to work with an organization that knows the solar industry and is comfortable being asked about their practices, costs, and knowledge of San Diego installations. So, are you ready to get serious about going solar in San Diego? You won’t be left wanting for sunny days to shower your new panels with energy. Between the increased value in your home and the ability to become energy independent, getting solar panels in San Diego has too many benefits to pass up. Contact Semper Solaris today to find out more about going green in San Diego.

It’s never a bad time to install solar panels to your home in California. Cities like San Diego and Los Angeles enjoy more than 260 days of sun every year, so you can capture solar energy and use it to power your home all year round. Even in the northern part of the state, most installers don’t have to compete with winter conditions that prevent them from putting up solar cells during colder months. That being said, there are still some important financial considerations to keep in mind when you want to get the best deal and understand the cost of solar panels in California. Does your region have solar incentives that are running out? Does the installer of your choice have a discount during the spring? These are the types of questions that can help you save big before you even start reaping the benefits of lower electrical costs and an increase in your home’s value. The best time for a solar installation with financing in mind may hinge on the following factors. Timing Solar with Roof Installation The lifespan of a roof can be up to 50 years! And, believe it or not, your solar panels can last just about as long. But what happens when you add solar panels to an aging roof? You’ll end up having to remove the solar panels to redo the roof, that’s what. And you guessed it, that translates to increased costs for your solar panels. If you know your roof is due for replacement, it’s smart to install your solar panels right afterward. This puts your roof and solar panels on the same life cycle. You may also protect your solar panels by ensuring a more stable and ideal installation. Not sure how well your roof is holding up? Get a roof inspection before you schedule your solar panel work. Adding solar panels to a failing roof could mean doubling the installation costs over a short period of time -- so plan ahead and save yourself the headache! Considering Tax Breaks and Incentives The federal government currently offers a Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for installing solar panels to your home in California. It’s been extended, but as of late 2018 it won’t last forever. In fact, the value of the tax break is scheduled to taper off over the next four years. Until 2019, homeowners can deduct 30% of the cost of their solar panels on the next year’s tax returns. Beginning in 2020, the tax incentive will only be 26%. In 2021, you’ll be able to deduct 22% of the cost of your solar system… and then the tax incentives for residential properties run out. Beyond 2022, only commercial buildings are currently approved to see any financial tax breaks for going solar. Of course, things can always change as federal tax law is concerned. Nothing is set in stone. The ITC could be extended indefinitely or new incentives could take its place. California customers could also see more statewide solar rebates, most of which have presently been exhausted. But holding out for future tax credits is a gamble. If you’re looking for a window of time where a financial break is guaranteed, that time frame is quickly running out -- so consider getting solar panels sooner than later. Reducing your initial financial burden is especially helpful for homeowners who don’t know if they’ll be in their home for 20 years to take advantage of reduced utilities. Enjoying the Off-Season Cost of Solar Panels in California The best time to get solar panels is during the summer season, right? You can immediately take advantage of huge savings on air conditioning and the installers will have less rain condition to contend with. Even though solar will be at the top of your mind during the summer months (and how could it not be with so many cloudless days), summer may not be the best time of year to get solar panels installed in California. If you’re thinking of solar come summer… so is everyone else. Your favorite solar panel experts are apt to be booked during the warmer months and their busy schedules can translate to fewer financial incentives for you. You may be hard pressed to get an appointment on a day that is convenient for you.  If you get your solar panels installed during the slower season, there is a greater chance that you can cash in on special sales or discounted installation. Plus, your installation company can give you more personalized attention. You’ll get more bang for your buck. Going Solar Before the Hottest Season While you may prefer summer temps, they can get quite hot for the people working on your roof -- you’re doing a kindness by asking for installation in cooler weather. You’re also setting yourself up to maximize your energy savings during the first year of your new green lifestyle. When you get your solar panels completed in January you’ll enjoy reduced energy costs for the entire air conditioning season. If you don’t start thinking about solar until May, you might not get the panels installed until mid-summer. While your solar investment will still pay off over the long-haul no matter what, you can benefit from bigger first-year savings by getting on the ball at the start of the year. Start planning your solar needs in the fall so you have bids collected be the time the new year rings in. Putting Your Tax Refund Toward Solar Panels Don’t want to finance your entire solar panel investment through loans? One smart financial option is to dedicate your tax return to PV panels. File your taxes early and get your return by mid to late February, and you could have your solar panels in place by the beginning of spring. Offsetting the original cost of solar panels in California maximizes the return on solar over the course of 20 years or more. On average, a California homeowner can expect to save up to $40,000 in utility costs over two decades (less the original expense). Paying in cash up front means more monthly net savings and ultimately a better financial outcome for your solar investment. You can also use the money you get back from the solar tax credit next year toward any financing you take out, enabling your household to pay off any solar debt more quickly. Jumping on New Technology First There are several different kinds of solar panels on the market, and as the technology becomes more popular we can anticipate even more innovation in the solar industry. The most popular types of panels for residential homes are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. As a general rule, the most expensive types of solar cells are also the most expensive. For instance, monocrystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels because they use a single silicon and allow energy to move more freely. Thin-film panels are used less frequently because they are less efficient -- but they’re also very affordable. If you have a large roof, you may want to jump on the chance to get thin-film panels at their next (more efficient) incarnation before they get too popular. If you can stay abreast of the solar industry or find a trusted, educated installer to recommend a new type of solar, you may be able to purchase good panels at a decent price before they become the most in-demand type of panel. Don’t underestimate how much it can pay off to try the latest technology! Before you get sticker shock over the costs of solar, remember: Solar savings allow you to recoup your original costs and more in the long run. Solar even increases the value of your home, so if you move within a few years you are still likely to get your money back. Contact Semper Solaris today for a no-pressure evaluation of your roof. We can tell you if your home is ready for solar or if a roof replacement is in order before you go solar. Our expert team will also give you a bid for the entire process that explains everything. Let’s talk about how becoming energy independent will help your future!

  What happens when the earth rocks? In California, earthquakes are a reality of life; faultlines run throughout the state from the northern San Andreas fault in San Francisco thru the San Fernando Valley and link up with the very complex systems around the San Jacinto fault and others in the Orange, Riverside and San Diego areas. Scientists are discovering more faultlines every day. Only recently there was a 4.5 centered in Riverside County and were felt as far away as Fallbrook. It is here in the Golden State that rooftop installations are more prevalent than anywhere in the country. And Fallbrook is among the top ten cities where solar is a growing trend. Earthquake Damage to Solar Installations Solar is relatively new and over the past ten years has been growing. But there is little data on the actual damage done to solar panels in an earthquake. Panels are commonly tested for their strength and durability and built to withstand harsh weather and extreme winds, hail, and snow. The Roof Is the Main Thing The first consideration is the weight of the panels on the roof. The panels are lightweight, but the roof must be inspected and depending on the age of the roof, repaired or replaced. At Semper Solaris, we are experts at roof construction repair and design. You need a reliable contractor to inspect the roof for the feasibility of installing solar thoroughly. Will the glass break? Solar panels are constructed with tempered glass built to take sizeable hits, so the risk of damage is relatively low, like the windshield of a car. What about panels falling off the roof? With the proper mounting of the panels on a sturdy roof, the risk of them sliding off the roof is low given how light they are. Solar mounts are attached to hold the panels in place. But the brackets and mounting of the system must be robust to be able to withstand movement either from wind or seismic activity. Semper Solaris uses the very best solar roof mount system from Ironridge.com. They build the most robust rooftop solar mounts on the market. They have been tested and proven in extreme environments. Are there building codes for Solar systems? Guidelines for earthquake safety in the California Building codes have been in place since the 1980 ’s, but the specifications were not initially intended to include solar panels. The California building code has added guidelines for solar panels but specifying only wind and weather conditions. But that is rapidly changing. The Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC), has done studies and testing specifically for Solar panels on roofs and has published standards for seismic activity which are being adopted by manufacturers and installers. Things to consider The risks to solar panels during an earthquake are relatively low, and stricter standards are being implemented to make it even better. Wind is the main issue that is of concern especially in hurricane country, and the wind load has a lot of resistance to what an earthquake can do. The panels are light and made of durable tempered glass. So, the condition of your roof is the primary concern in the decision to install Solar panels. Contact Semper Solaris, experts in roofing, to inspect your roof and make sure it is ready for your new solar installation.