Semper Solaris Blog

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 solar installation with financed 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.  

If you live in California and are wondering, “How can I find solar providers near me?” then you are in luck. You just happen to live in the number one solar state in the country, a state that employs over 80,000 people in the solar industry. If you live in or near a major city in California, chances are good that dozens of solar installation companies would love to have your business. The real trick, then, isn’t finding a solar installation company near you, it’s figuring out how to choose the best solar company to perform your installation. Putting a solar panel system on your roof is a major expense and represents a big renovation to your home. Workers will need to install racking to your roof and make changes to your electrical system. The solar installer you choose will be the key to ensuring that this process goes smoothly. The quality of their team will play a big role in how well your system functions after the installation and the overall solar power system cost. In other words, choosing a solar installer is a very important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rather than searching on Google for “solar providers near me,” and choosing the company that paid for an ad at the top of the search engine rankings, do your homework! Not sure how to start your search? Here are four easy steps to help you find the best solar installer in your area. Step One: Ask Your Neighbors and Friends for Referrals The best way to determine whether a solar installer is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and easy to work with is to ask people who have already used them. You won’t find true feedback on a company from the carefully chosen testimonials on their website. Instead, turn to your friends and family who have solar panels and ask about their experience. They will be more than happy to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about their solar journey and will also help you understand what to expect as you start on your own solar adventure. The main purpose of this step is to eliminate solar companies that didn’t provide excellent service for your friends, family, and neighbors. If you get a glowing recommendation about a particular solar company, resist the temptation to immediately contact them and sign a contract. Keep in mind that your friend or family member may have not done their homework and could have used the first company that came up in their Google search. You can’t know whether they truly got the best service and price. Keep their recommendations handy and then continue with your research. Step Two: Check Out Review Sites Your friends and neighbors should be able to give you a list of solar installation companies they used and liked (and a list of companies to steer clear of). Of course, you shouldn’t base such a big purchase decision on a single recommendation, so your next step is to do some more research on your new list of prospects. It’s time to head online and see what other previous customers say about your potential solar installers. (Note: If you recently moved to town or don’t have any friends or family who can make solar recommendations, just go straight to this step.) We recommend reading up on reviews at SolarReviews, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau. Use Yelp as a last resort, as the reviews on that site aren’t always of the highest quality. The beauty of large review websites is that you’ll get to learn about the experiences of a number of different people, so you can get a much better idea of how a company consistently operates. It is important to keep in mind that many people are spurred to write reviews based on either a very good experience or a very bad experience, so what you read may not be a completely accurate reflection of a company. Don’t be afraid of one terrible review for a company if the majority of their reviews are positive. If you see a pattern of poor service, then it’s time to cross that name off your list! As you read through reviews, here are a few general things to look for:         Did the solar installation company provide good communication throughout the process?         Did the company stick with their timeline?         Did the company stay on budget?         Was the company able to address any concerns the customer had?         Was the company able to pull permits, schedule inspections, and order the equipment in a timely manner?         Did the installation face any problems?         How did the company address these problems and was the customer satisfied with their solution?         Is the solar panel system running and working well?         Overall, how satisfied is the customer with their experience? It’s important to know that very few solar installations go off without a hitch. Equipment shipping from the manufacturer may be delayed. Perhaps an inspection of the roof revealed damage that required a repair. Maybe someone at the permitting office lost a permit request. These things happen. When you read reviews about a solar installation company, focus on how well they address the inevitable issues that occur. Step Three: Request a Consultation After reading reviews of your potential installers, it’s time to pick a few top contenders. Try to narrow your list to between two and four companies that have gotten an endorsement from a friend or family member and have generally positive reviews. It’s time to request a consultation. Any solar installation company worth their sunbeams should offer a free consultation. Give the company a call or fill out the form on their website, and you should be contacted shortly by a representative to schedule the consultation. The company will send an experienced associate to your home to discuss your project, goals, and budget. Here are a few of the things to expect during your consultation. The association will:         Calculate your home’s average monthly energy usage         Assess your roof to understand its orientation, slope, and pitch, which all affect how much direct sunlight it receives         Determine if you would be a good candidate for a rooftop solar system and/or discuss alternative configurations, like ground mount systems or carport solar systems         Discuss your budget and provide you with information about different payment options, including no-money offers, leasing, and power purchase agreements         Review and recommend different solar panel brands and inverter brands to help you decide which equipment would work best with your budget and goals         Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of hooking your system directly to the public utility grid to versus investing in a solar storage solution, like a Tesla Powerwall         Walk you through the full installation process, including ordering the equipment, pulling permits, scheduling inspections, and hooking your system to the grid.         Discuss all renewable energy incentives that you may qualify for, including the Investment Tax Credit         Provide you with a recommended solar plan, which will include a timeline and price quote for the entire project The best associates will take the time to learn about your unique situation, answer your questions, and address your concerns. Ideally, they’ll also tell you about their company’s history and mission and help you feel comfortable with the entire solar installation process. Not every solar installer is the right choice for your project. Often, you’ll see red flags during the consultation, such as:         The associate tries to steer you towards a specific payment plan         The associate recommends a certain size solar system without explaining why that size is a good fit for your family         The associate recommends a solar system that is bigger than you need         The associate only offers you one or two solar panel brands to choose from and doesn’t really know much about how other brands compare         The associate doesn’t know the answers to many of your questions and doesn’t offer to research them and follow up with you         The associate doesn’t listen to you and rushes the consultation Once you’ve completed all the consultations, it’s time to compare your quotes and make the big decision. Step Four: Choosing a Solar Provider Near Me After your solar consultations are complete, you may have a clear winner in mind, or perhaps you were able to cross one or two companies off your list, leaving you with several great options to choose from. Now it’s time to compare your quotes and think carefully about how you feel about each company. While it’s tempting to simply choose the company that offers the lowest solar power system cost, we encourage you to take a number of factors into consideration, including:         Your comfort level with the company         The company’s communication         Overall customer reviews         The company’s willingness to provide a personalized solar recommendation plan for you One other important factor to contemplate is whether or not the company is locally established. By taking your business to a local solar company, you are keeping your dollars in your community and supporting local, high-paying solar jobs for your friends and neighbors. There’s another important reason to “go local.” A local solar installation company will already be familiar with common roofing trends in your neighborhood which can help them avoid issues when they begin their installation. Local companies are also highly experienced pulling permits in your area. They know where to go and how to fill out the forms. Finally, they are also much more likely to know if any local renewable energy incentives – like rebates or tax deductions – are available. At Semper Solaris, we believe in investing in local communities, which is why we have opened locations throughout California. We are a veteran owned and operated business that instills our military values of integrity, responsibility, and attention to detail into everything that we do. When it comes time to search for solar installers in your area, we encourage you to take a look at all of our reviews on SolarReviews.com, Angie’s List, and The Better Business Bureau. We would appreciate the opportunity to compete for your business. Schedule a solar consultation today.  

In the 1940s and 1950s, the glamor of Los Angeles was dimmed by choking clouds of brown smog. Parents kept their children out of school, while rates of asthma and lung disease shot up. Los Angeles was among the dirtiest cities in the country. Today, things have changed dramatically. The city is pursuing an ambitious sustainability plan, which is powered in part by solar power in Los Angeles. In fact, the city that was once infamous for its noxious pollution was ranked the number one solar energy city in America by the California Research & Policy Center. How did the City of Angels manage such a miraculous turnaround, and what part did solar play in its lofty revitalization? Finally, how will major new environmental decisions within the city and the state of California affect Los Angeles residents in the future? Attack of the Smog It would have made for a good Hollywood horror flick – in the early 1940s, residents of Los Angeles noticed a foul-smelling, brown tinge to the air, which made their eyes water and their lungs burn. The effect was so dramatic that some residents believed it was a chemical attack from the Japanese as part of the ongoing war! Over the following decades, smog would regularly choke residents of Los Angeles, forcing children to stay home from school and canceling athletic events. Doctors noticed more and more patients reporting asthma and lung conditions, while lung autopsies on young car accident victims in 1987 revealed that over 25% had seriously damaged lungs! The citizens of Los Angeles demanded answers, and their protests helped lead to the first nascent environmental laws. In 1963, Congress enacted the first Clean Air Act, which was updated with stronger regulations in the 1970s. It wasn’t until 1975 when the United States required that all new cars include catalytic converters, that the problem of smog finally began to dissipate (though it is still a serious problem in major cities throughout the world, most notably in Beijing.) While the catalytic converters helped make driving a little less dirty, it didn’t change the fact that Los Angeles and the entire country was powered by dirty fossil fuels. The city and the country needed an alternative, but alternative energy technology was seriously limited. The Slow Evolution of Solar Panels Solar panels may seem like a relatively new technology, since they only started appearing en masse on rooftops over the past two decades. The truth, however, is that the technology was discovered over 150 years ago in 1839 by French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerellar. The first solar panels as most of us would recognize them were invented in Bell Labs in 1954, during some of the worst smog years in Los Angeles. At that time, however, solar panels were more of an amusing novelty. Boasting an anemic one percent efficiency, they could hardly keep a few lightbulbs shining, much less power entire homes! For several decades, the promise of solar power remained unrealized. Oil was cheap and climate change was a virtually unknown threat still on the horizon. It wasn’t until the oil embargos of the 1970s forced Americans to line up at gas pumps across the country that researchers, politicians, and everyday citizens recognized the value of developing alternative energy. This led to a rush of funding, research, and development into renewable energy. In 1978, the federal government passed the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act and the Energy Tax Act, which laid the groundwork for net metering and offered tax credits to consumers who adopted solar panels. Spurred by all this interest and money, solar panel technology improved quickly, along with the manufacturing process. Together, these trends led to big increases in solar panel efficiency and significantly lower costs. Today, many of the top solar panel brands offer an efficiency of just over 20%. Prices for solar panel systems have also dropped around 60% over the last decade. These big changes have led to a steady increase in solar adoption across the entire country. But how did Los Angeles become the leader of the solar panel pack? It starts with that fact that Los Angeles is located in a state that embraces renewable energy. California – Land of the Solar Panels Los Angeles may produce the most solar power of any city in the country, but it is hardly an outlier in California. The Golden State has made a big bet on going green and put into place some of the most ambitious (and strictest) clean energy laws in the land. In 1996, Governor Pete Wilson deregulated the state’s investor-owned utilities and offered incentives for the public utilities to allow solar systems to connect to their grids. This paved the way for California’s incredibly powerful and successful net metering system, which makes solar power in Los Angeles so affordable. In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown set what seemed like an extremely ambitious goal by signing Senate Bill 350, which required the state to produce 33% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. In response, California rose to the challenge and surpassed its 2020 goal three years early! Perhaps it was these impressive results that convinced Governor Brown to cement his green energy legacy by signing Senate Bill 100 just this past month, which committed California to becoming 100% energy independent and carbon free by 2045. This commitment dramatically raises the bar for California and makes it only the second state in the union to commit to completely cutting their reliance on fossil fuels. How will California and Los Angeles achieve such a big goal? Solar will be a big part of the equation. In May of this year, California made big waves when the California Energy Commission voted unanimously to require all new homes and businesses to have solar power, starting in 2020. California’s aggressive environmental goals mean that every city within the state, especially its most populous, will need to make big changes. How is solar power in Los Angeles helping the state meet its carbon-free commitments? The Sun Is the Biggest Star in Hollywood   Los Angeles is ready to lead the state of California and the country in adopting solar power. According to the report, “Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America,” Los Angeles has installed 349.3 megawatts of solar power through the city. That’s enough energy to power 82,500 homes, take over 40,000 cars off the road, and eliminate 187,304 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Tinsel Town is just getting started. The city recently unveiled a 2.21 MW(megawatt) solar installation on the Los Angeles Convention Center, which represents the largest solar system on a publicly-owned convention center on the entire west coast. Mayor Eric Garcetti has also unveiled an ambitious multi-pronged Sustainable City pLAn for Los Angeles that includes a focus on installing more solar power, improving air quality, managing the city’s water supply, investing in green jobs, and completing 28 major Metro projects by the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games. As part of the Sustainable City pLAn, Los Angeles has already launched “Solar Rooftops,” a program that installs solar panels in communities with low solar penetration. The Sustainable City pLAn has also streamlined the online permitting process, making it faster and easier than ever for LA residents and businesses to go solar. With so much focus on solar installation in Los Angeles, what can residents expect for LA’s solar future? A City with a Bright Future   As California begins to implement its goal to go carbon neutral by 2045, solar power will be a big part of that solution. In 2020, all new homes and businesses within Los Angeles will be required to have some solar capacity. That means that solar panels will become much more abundant throughout the city, even in low-income neighborhoods, thanks to Los Angeles’ “Solar Rooftops,” initiative. However, citizens may not notice as much of a visual change. That’s because Tesla is producing solar panel roof tiles that look just like ordinary roof tiles. (They currently offer four options: Tuscan, slate, textured, and smooth glass tiles.) Other companies are working to improve the appearance of solar panels by eliminating the frames or even making “solar skins” that help panels blend into a home’s existing roof. LA residents may also be able to enjoy a lot more bang for their solar panel buck. While today’s top panels offer just over 20% efficiency, researchers have been able to achieve 46% efficiency using advanced materials in a lab setting. It may be a while until a solar panel with that level of efficiency hits the consumer market, but we now know that it is possible. The near future may also crack one of the biggest challenges of using solar – the relative lack of storage potential. Solar panels have always been hamstrung by the fact that they only produce energy when the sun is out and shining. New battery technology, including Tesla Powerwall, are starting to change that dynamic and make it possible for homeowners and utilities to store excess solar power. Exciting announcements in this field may presage even more advancements in battery technology. One of those big technological leaps may be happening right here in Los Angeles. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong recently announced that his company, NantEnergy, based in Phoenix and El Segundo, has developed a battery that utilizes zinc and oxygen, which he claims is much more affordable, safe, and powerful than the lithium-ion batteries we use today to power electric cars and store solar power. Dr. Soon-Shiong, who also owns the Los Angeles Times and is a part owner of the LA Lakers, has already tested the zinc-oxygen batteries in several villages in Africa and Asia and cell phone towers in the United States. The next huge leap in solar technology could already be here, right in the heart of Los Angeles! Solar Power Is Home in Los Angeles Los Angeles has come a long, long way from a city choking on poisonous smog. Today, it is leading the charge to adopt clean energy, fight climate change, and protect the health of its citizens. As solar panel technology continues to improve, especially in the department of solar battery storage, Los Angeles could one day become a city that runs entirely on renewable energy in a state with a zero carbon footprint. It may seem like a wishful daydream, but Los Angeles is all about making dreams come true. We are glad to be a part of that dream. If you are interested in solar installation in Los Angeles, contact us today to schedule a free, no-pressure energy analysis.  

Going Solar: It Has Never Been Easier Paying for your Solar Power System in Orange County California solar incentives and tax credits have put solar power within range for homeowners and businesses. With California’s new laws requiring solar on new construction, and the goal of phasing into renewable energy by 2045, the cost of solar installations are dropping in Orange County and all across the state and is significantly lower than the rest of the country. Homeowners are cashing in on low prices, rebates, and incentives and reducing their carbon footprint. Yorba Linda sees the lowest solar prices in the country. Bill, a Yorba Linda homeowner, recently installed his solar system using a PPA agreement. With fixed monthly payments on a 20-year contract, he was able to reduce his monthly bill considerably with a balanced billing plan, and receive credits for unused power at the end of the year. Bill is also passionate about saving the planet. Here are some ways you can finance your solar power: Net Metering Net Metering is an incentive system in which solar panel generators connect to a public-utility power grid. Meters measure the power generated and how much energy you use. The surplus power generated is transferred to the power grid. When your system produces more power than you use in a month, your utility provider credits your bill for the number of kilowatt-hours that went back to the grid. So you pay for the electricity you use, minus the excess electricity generated by your solar panels. Solar Loans If you want to buy your solar panels, a solar loan is a good option. These loans are similar to any other home improvement loans, and you can find them at banks or solar panel manufacturers. Plus, you can take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) and other tax deductions where applicable. Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Solar Leases A PPA or lease gives you all the benefits of using a solar panel system without purchasing it. The PPA provider installs solar panels on your property in exchange for paying them a reduced rate for solar the electricity for a set term, usually 20 years. There is a low or no upfront cost. The provider owns, controls and maintains the system, and receives the rebates and Federal Tax Credits for the installation. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) You can finance your solar energy installation with a PACE program loan available to homeowners through an authorized PACE lender. PACE financing is affixed to the property and paid through the annual property tax bill. The tax rate determines the interest rate. If you sell your property before paying off the loan, the balance transfers to the new owner. Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) The HERO program is a residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for home renovation loans. HERO finances home improvements for solar as well as other energy efficiency residential projects. You can lower your home’s energy expenses as well as increase the value of your property while reducing your carbon footprint. Contact Semper Solaris for more information on financing and schedule an evaluation for your home or business.

ROOFTOPS OR SOLAR FARMS? Participating in the Future of Renewable Energy Solar power is on the rise and is fast becoming a mainstream energy alternative for homes, businesses, and public places. With lower costs and due to innovative and efficient designs, more people are getting on board as the price tag on solar installations is falling, becoming an opportunity for consumers and businesses to cash in. In Riverside County, UC Riverside has installed over 9,000 panels in a solar farm that will produce enough power for nearly 1,000 homes each year.  Homeowners from nearby cities like Murietta are joining in the trend with rooftop solar installations. Murietta is among the towns that enjoy the lowest prices ever for rooftop solar installations. ACCESS TO SOLAR ENERGY Consumers are taking advantage of the benefits of solar energy through government incentives and tax credits for homes and businesses. Rooftop solar and solar farms provide a choice to consumers whether to install solar panels on their roofs or rely on solar farms to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.   UP ON THE ROOF Photovoltaic panels made from silicon use the sun directly to generate power. These photovoltaic panels, installed on rooftops, collect and generate electricity for the home or business.  Net Metering connects to the solar panel system and measures the power generated by the solar panels and your power usage. The surplus power goes back to the utility grid and is credited to your overall energy consumption. It is feasible to pay for all or most of your electricity with solar panels. FRESH FROM THE FARM A solar farm has many panels arranged in arrays over a large area of land that receives a lot of sunlight.  Solar farms benefit the community by directly supplying the grid with cheap, clean energy. Some are owned and operated by a third party that sells the power to the power grid directly.  Farms in the form of Community Solar allow consumers to benefit from Net Metering through the lease or purchase of one or more solar panels tied to their utility account. GIVE ME LAND LOTS OF LAND Solar farms are expanding in record numbers across large areas taking up a substantial amount of usable land. And while they provide much-needed alternative energy, there are concerns about the reduction of available land for agriculture and development. Future regulation may have an impact on the profitability of large solar farms. YOU CAN GO SOLAR IN MURRIETA Whether you choose a residential solar installation in Murrieta; invest in energy produced by a solar farm; want to save money or promote clean energy, there is more than one way to go solar. Here are some points to consider: Rooftop Solar Promotes energy independence Increases the value of your home Low utility cost Low maintenance Potential for expansion Solar Farm Reduces carbon footprint Lowers utility cost No Cost No maintenance Preserves Home Aesthetics Contact us to schedule an evaluation of your Murrieta home.  With Semper Solaris, you can help shape the future of renewable energy.

Take a stroll around any neighborhood in San Diego, and you’ll see that plenty of rooftops are sporting a slick array of solar panels. We San Diegans love to take advantage of all that beautiful sunshine pouring down on us. Keep your eyes open, though, and you might see solar installations in San Diego in places you wouldn’t imagine. That’s because solar panels can be used in all sorts of different ways to provide clean, renewable energy for lots of different purposes. Can solar panels help you explore Southern California’s hidden beauty, keep your boating trip more serene, help you grow gorgeous blooms, and even power the Padres to the playoffs? Well, solar panels can’t perform miracles, but they sure can provide power in a lot of useful and creative ways. So, let your brain take a step outside the box and let’s explore six creative places you may have never thought to look for solar panels in San Diego. Solar Panels on your RV Recreational vehicle ownership is on the rise as more Americans answer the call to explore the far corners of our country. According to a study commissioned by the RV Industry Association, around 10 million households owned RVs as of 2011. These owners include retirees who set out to explore the country as well as families who appreciate camping in style. p>Many RV owners are drawn to San Diego’s gorgeous weather and the many areas of natural beauty that Southern California has to offer, including Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. RV parks and campgrounds provide electric hookups, but what about RV owners who hanker to “dry camp” or “boondock” in places without an electric hookup? Relying on your battery can be risky, especially for long periods of camping, and generators are noisy and dirty. More and more RV owners are turning to solar panels to help them get to San Diego’s secret treasures and keep their phones charged and fridges running while they enjoy the splendor of nature. Boat-mounted Solar Systems Enjoying the ocean isn’t just a perk of living in San Diego, it’s practically part of our DNA. Just stroll around our beach communities, and you’ll find plenty of harbors hosting every variety of boat you can imagine. Recently, we published a fascinating article that looked at the growing trend of installing solar panels on boats. Many boat owners appreciate that solar panels allow them to charge their gadgets and keep their important appliances running – no one wants to sip warm beer while watching the sunset over the Pacific – without having to power up their boat’s engine. This allows them to enjoy their floating palace without a noisy engine interrupting all that sunbathing Zen every few hours. Our article also highlighted the story of a few ambitious captains that are using solar panels to actually power their boats. Jim Greer was able to complete the 7,200-mile Great Loop in his 48-foot Tri Hull called Ra using only a solar installation on his ship. The Parking Lot Parking lots take up a lot of space. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, pavement can make up as much as 50% of a city’s total surface area, and parking lots represent about 40% of that amount. Considering that the city of San Diego is 372.4 square miles, parking lots could represent over 70 square miles of space in the city by the calculation of the Lawrence Berkeley study. That’s a lot of space just absorbing sunshine! Fortunately, a solar installation in San Diego can put all of that sunshine to good use through solar canopies over parking lots. Solar canopies are special structures that provide shade to cars while also hosting large solar installations. These panels can be used to power a nearby building or even to provide power ports for electric vehicles. Solar canopies have already proven to be a success in San Diego. In 2010, the San Dieguito Union High School District (SHUHSD) installed solar canopies at La Costa Canyon High School and Canyon Crest Academy. Together, the structures produced 2,000 kilowatts of power. At the six-year mark, the project is estimated to have already saved the school district over $4.4 million dollars, with an estimated total savings of $10.5 million over 15 years. As if those savings weren’t enough, the school district is earning even more by selling Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated by the systems. Solar canopies take advantage of space that was already allocated as parking lots and offer a double bonus of solar energy generation plus wonderful shade. Not only do solar canopies save drivers from the pain of getting into oven-like cars after a day in the sun, but cooler cars means less fuel used for air conditioning. Lighting and Cooling Greenhouses Living in San Diego means learning to find the beauty in our desert landscape, including in the drought-tolerant plants that do best in our water-restricted environment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in growing tasty vegetables and blooming flowers in our greenhouses. The problem is that greenhouses are very good at absorbing lots of heat. Most are made of clear glass or plastic, which allows in lots of heat during our long, warm days. Many greenhouse plants can’t tolerate the high heat during San Diego’s long, summer days, which means greenhouse owners may need to crank up energy-hogging air conditioning units and even feed their plants lots of extra water to keep them healthy. This can add a lot of expenses in a state where both water and electricity are expensive resources. Solar panels in San Diego offer residents a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to power their greenhouses. Solar panels can provide the energy for lighting and cooling the greenhouse. Wine and Beer In San Diego, we are serious about our wine and our craft beer. Our sunny city routinely ranks in the top ten craft brewery destinations in the country, and no weekend would be complete without trying a flight at the new brewery that just opened up down the road. The only forgivable excuse for not giving that new IPA a try is if you’ve decided to head to Temecula to do some wine tasting instead. Let Napa and Sonoma brag all they want, but we San Diegans love trying all the charming wineries in Temecula and even checking out the burgeoning wine scene in Ramona. Given how solar stoked we are, it shouldn’t be a surprise that our wineries and breweries are getting into the sun action. In 2014, the Robert Renzoni Winery in Temecula became one of the first wineries in Southern California to add solar panels to its facility. Many wineries in Northern California are leading the way, using solar power to lower their carbon footprint, but we’re sure more wineries in the fast-growing SoCal region will be embracing solar soon. When it comes to craft breweries, San Diego can boast about being a solar leader. One of the first breweries in the country to adopt solar was Stone Brewing. All the way back in 2008, Stone Brewing added a 312-kilowatt system to its Escondido facility. At the time, this single solar installation in San Diego accounted for 12% of the solar energy systems in the entire state of California. The system continues to offset roughly 30% of Stone’s on-site usage and has already paid for itself. The San Diego Padres The Chargers may have packed their bags and left for Los Angeles, but we still have one professional sports team left. In San Diego, we love cheering for our Padres even if they end up breaking our hearts every season. Hope springs eternal! So does sunshine. The Padres may not be the best team in Major League Baseball… or even in the National League West Division, but they are first place in our hearts and in one other respect as well. Just in time for the start of this year’s season, the Padres unveiled a brand new 336,520-watt solar system mounted on the park’s roof and overhanging its canopy. This system comprises 716 solar modules, each with the capacity to produce 470 watts. Altogether, this system will provide enough energy to power the entire Padres front office. It also makes Petco Park the number one solar baseball stadium in the world. Take that, Dodgers! San Diego’s mayor, Kevin Faulconer attended the press conference to announce the solar installation and said, “Petco Park will serve as a model for the rest of Major League Baseball and as an example for other San Diego businesses to follow.” Faulconer also explained how this project will help our city reach its ambitious goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. (Petco Park isn’t the only sports stadium powered by solar panels. Check out how solar energy is lighting up the sports world.) Solar Installation Is Everywhere in San Diego Rooftops, carports, greenhouses, wineries, breweries, boats, RVs, stadiums… you’ll find solar panels everywhere in San Diego! If you want to get in on all this solar action and help our city meet its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2035, then contact Semper Solaris. We are a veteran-owned company headquartered in San Diego. We’d love to help you save big on your energy bills and lower your carbon footprint. Contact us today to schedule a no-pressure energy analysis to see if you would be a good candidate for solar power.

By now you’ve heard plenty of talk about how clean energy is the future of electrical power. You may have even considered putting solar cells on your own roof. But how much are solar panels? The potential expenses worry a lot of homeowners who are otherwise on board with being energy independent and putting an end to their reliance on fossil fuels. The answer to how much solar costs is somewhat complex -- but the overall trends are promising. Many states, including California, are promoting the addition of solar panels on all new homes. In fact: California will mandate that most new residential properties have solar panels as of 2020. The price of solar will be baked into the sale price of those homes. For the rest of us, there is still good news about how much solar costs now and what the costs are likely to be looking forward. Let’s break down some of the things that affect the costs of solar panels in the current market and what the future looks like. How Demand is Changing the Game Solar power is nothing new. Believe it or not, it dates back to the 1800s in California (though a PV panel was a long way out). In the 1970s, activists including Jane Fonda promoted solar as an alternative to energy monopolies. While solar has enjoyed popularity among environmentalists for a long time, logistics like funding and efficiency kept it out of the mainstream. Fossil fuels have had a stronghold on the grid for a very long time. The demand for solar, however, has seen a noticeable spike in the 21st century. Including for the average homeowner. According to data from Statistica, global demand for solar energy has jumped dramatically in the last 11 years. In 2007, there was a need for just 2.5 gigawatts of solar energy worldwide. By 2018, the demand for solar has reached a whopping 86 gigawatts. The company projects that by 2022, the global demand for solar power energy will reach more than 110 gigawatts. That’s a lot of green energy power! An increase in demand translates to more efficient manufacturing. This, in turn, can lower the costs of PV panels for the average consumer. As the head of the Solar Energy Technologies Office in the U.S. Department of Energy explains, solar accounted for just 0.01% of the U.S. electricity supply in 2006 but that figure reached 1.5% by the end of 2017. She explains that an increased availability of solar and lowered costs have allowed solar to turn a corner -- and predicts the trend will continue. How Solar Storage Makes Clean Energy Affordable Solar panels only capture energy when the sun is out, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the dark when the sun goes down. Solar energy can be stored and used later. When you have batteries onsite, your home will pull from saved energy when the sun isn’t out. Some batteries have enough storage to power your home for days or weeks if it’s particularly cloudy (though panels can still collect up to 25% of their regular energy even when cloud cover exists). Perhaps best of all, solar batteries mean your lights will still be on if there is a blackout in the community. But how does storage factor into solar costs? The advent of batteries for home solar has grown the potential for the industry. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 2017 report regarding expected U.S. energy trends, “the availability of low-cost battery storage can significantly alter the expected buildout and operation of the grid.” If the costs of batteries continue to fall, solar will become even more accessible to all parts of the country and drive down costs per unit. How Laws and Tax Codes Affect Cost Answering the question “How much are solar panels?” also requires an evaluation of government tax credits and local laws. As of 2018, an extension of the federal Solar Tax Credit means homeowners can deduct up to 30% of the costs of their solar panel system from their next year’s tax returns. This offsets a considerable amount of the cost to buy and install a solar system! In future years, the amount of the credit is slated to taper off. By 2022, only commercial property owners will still get a tax credit for installing a new system. Of course, a new tax credit could always be implemented to create an incentive for residential homeowners to add solar panels to their property. Your local laws may also help dictate the ultimate cost of solar panels for your home. While states like Hawaii and California offer incentives like property tax exemptions and net metering for homeowners who go solar, some states are not seeing the light. The residents of Georgia, for instance, where solar is otherwise thriving, only have access to the federal tax credit. As more lawmakers see the potential in clean energy for their economy and energy efficiency -- the net cost to consumers could begin to drop for people in every state. How Different Solar Cells Could Impact Price You might think a solar panel is a solar panel… but you would be wrong! There are different types of PV panels, and the type of panel you choose could ultimately inform how much you pay for solar. What’s more, as innovation delivers even more options, future costs of solar could continue to decline. As for what is on the market today, there are two primary types of solar panels. A third type, thin-film solar cells, are currently less efficient and often take up too much space to be used on a residential roof. They are quite affordable, so if you have the space you may want to consider them. For most folks, if you’re looking for solar at home you’ll probably choose between: Monocrystalline panels: To make these panels, pure silicon is cut into bars and then cut into wafers. Because they use single-crystal silicon, they are more efficient than other panels. The solar energy that is collected has a lot of room to move around. This type of panel is more expensive than its counterpart, but you’re rewarded with the need for fewer panels. Polycrystalline panels: A polycrystalline panel is created using fragments of multiple bits of silicon to make the wafers. More crystals means less energy efficiency, but you’ll also pay less for these panels than for monocrystalline panels. If you have room for more panels, you can reduce your costs by going with polycrystalline solar cells. The long and short of solar panel options is that as efficiency becomes greater, the costs of all panels will likely decline. Remember how much a laptop used to cost? As tiny processors became the norm, the cost for all units reaped the benefits. How Solar Panel Lifespan Changes Cost Outlook Solar panels manufactured after 2000 only degrade at a rate of about 0.4% per year. That means after 20 years, your solar panels will still operate at 92% of their original capacity. Why does this matter? A single set of solar panels can survive for your entire tenure in the property -- and beyond. The panels will remain valuable to the next buyer, and still increase the value of your home even if they are not brand new. In the long term, this retained value ultimate cuts down on the cost of the solar panels per year. When you factor in how much you’ll save on energy costs, you’re bound to net a profit. Regular maintenance aside, your solar panels costs are extremely limited after the system is installed. Has all of this talk about solar got you curious? Maybe it’s time to get serious about turning to solar at home. Installing solar panels on your roof gives you energy independence and can set off a chain reaction in your neighborhood. It’s true: If you get solar panels, your neighbors are more likely to do the same. Contact Semper Solaris today to learn more about the costs of installing solar on your home. There’s no pressure. Let’s have a conversation about the costs of solar and how panels can fit into your lifestyle.  

The decision to go solar is not one most homeowners make lightly. The switch takes a financial investment, for one, and using solar also requires a commitment to conservation. While we think solar always pays off, we understand that people have a lot of questions about what it really means to own solar panels. How much will it cost? Does it matter if you’re the only one on the block with PV panels? It’s normal to be inquisitive. Before you set up your consultation to learn more about installing solar panels for your home, take a look at these commonly asked questions about residential solar. You may find that solar panels are not as overwhelming as they sound. In fact, they will make your life a lot easier. Here is everything you need to know to get started. Is My Home a Good Fit for Solar? The first thing to ask yourself is “Is my home a good candidate for solar panels?” Most homes are, but the three main factors are: sun, location, and space. You need enough sunlight per day for the panels to do their job, a location without obstruction that faces the right direction, and adequate room on your roof for the number of watts your home requires. Google’s Project Sunroof is a good place to start. Enter your address to see how many hours of usable sunlight you get per year; the tool also provides the expected solar savings over 20 years. The ideal placement for solar panels on a home is on a southern-facing flat roof. East- and west-facing roofs can also get a lot of sun. If you can only place your panels facing north you may not be the best candidate for solar panels, or you may need to get creative to make it work. How Much Do Solar Panels Cost? The cost to power your home via solar depends a lot on the size of the property and how much electricity you use. If you have a lot of natural light and don’t use central air, you won’t need as many watts at your disposal as a home with heated floors and a hot tub. A custom estimate will give you the best idea of how many panels are ideal for your property. That being said, we can turn to the average costs of solar to get an idea of how much they will likely cost: The price per watt for PV panels ranges from $2.71 to $3.57 in 2018 Most households require at least 6,000 watts to be self-sustainable Total costs for installing PV panels average about $12,000-14,000 per home Larger homes may require extra wattage Tax credits can help keep the installation costs in check How Long Does it Take to Install Solar Panels for a Home? Choosing the right solar panels and finding an installer you trust can be time consuming. After all, you’re going to be counting on your PV panels to power your home for decades to come. By the time you have an appointment to get the panels delivered and installed, you’re ready for the process to be over! The good news is that installing solar panels for your home usually takes just one to three days, depending on the size and number of your panels. You can stick around to help the installers with any questions, or get out of the house so you don’t have to listen to people walking on the roof all day. Installers will take care of everything from roof prep to meter installation at the same time the panels are placed. What Types of Panels are Available? All solar panels operate in basically the same way: they harness the energy of the sun for use in your home. But not all panels are constructed in the exact same manner. There are three main types of solar cells to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Monocrystalline Silicon (Mono-Si): These solar panels are the most efficient. They’re constructed with high-grade silicon and are characterized by having the corners cut off of each square inside the panels. These solar cells also last the longest. Mono-si panels operate best in warm climates like Southern California, and because they’re so efficient they often cost more than other types of panels. Polycrystalline Silicon (P-Si): This type of solar cell is easier to construct; pure silicon is poured into a mold to create a perfectly square design. They are slightly less space efficient than mono-si panels, because you may require more panels to get the same amount of energy. On the plus side, they are more affordable for a lot of homeowners. P-si panels often appear blue. Thin Film (TFSC): Several thin layers of photovoltaic material are stacked to create this type of solar cell. While these panels are affordable and they are visually appealing, with consistent black square panels, they take up a lot of space. The use of TFSC is growing in residential areas, but they are still mostly used in fields for large commercial use. If you have the room, thin-film solar cells offer consistent energy in areas of shade or heat, which can be a major advantage. What are the Long-Term Benefits of Solar? Solar panels have a few key benefits. The immediate returns include a monthly savings on your utilities -- you could eliminate your electric bill altogether, and you may even be able to sell some of your solar surplus back to the local grid. The long-term benefits of going solar include: A massive financial saving over the life of a solar panel. With 1,800 usable hours of sunlight each year, you could save $14,000 or more on electrical costs over the span of 20 years. Solar increases the value of your home. In California, solar panels add a value of about $20,000 to a home. Whether you sell your property soon or in 10 years, you will make back the cost of your solar investment. The community at large benefits when one person installs solar panels to their home. That’s because solar panels are contagious. Once a single neighbor puts solar panels on the roof, more people in the area are likely to follow suit. Over years this will create an energy-independent community. How Does Weather Affect Solar Panels? Your solar panels are left exposed to the elements. You may be wondering if they will survive their first hail storm or what happens in the event of a lightning strike. The good news is that solar panels are tested and made to withstand nearly any weather event. Grounding solar panels makes it very unlikely they will be hit by lightning, and they are designed to get through high winds and hail without major damage. Many solar panels were even able to survive Superstorm Sandy in 2012. In the rare event that your solar panel is damaged by weather, your homeowner’s insurance is likely to help you cover the costs of fixing or replacing the panels. How Long Do Solar Panels Last? Like any appliance or electronic device, solar panels do have a degradation rate. This rate represents the rate at which PV panels lose their efficiency. In other words: when do they stop working? Manufacturers used to think their panels would degrade by 1% each year, meaning they would only work at 80% after 20 years. But not so fast. In fact, a solar panel made today will degrade at a rate of less than 0.4% per year. After 20 years, your solar panel will still work at 92% of its maximum efficiency. Check out this guide about how much solar panels are worth after a few years. Are solar panels right for you? If you want to save money on utilities and do good for the environment, it sounds like it’s time for a consultation. Our professional team will take a look at your property, identify potential obstructions, and give you an estimate for installing solar panels for your home. There’s no pressure, just a risk-free conversation with Semper Solaris about how solar could give you energy independence and make your home more appealing to future buyers.