Semper Solaris Blog

As much as dogs love to feel the sun on their backs, it was only a matter of time until someone started using it to fill their stomachs. Mars Petcare has flipped the switch on a new solar garden linked to the company's San Bernardino, California manufacturing facility that produces Pedigree Brand dry dog food. Mars partnered with Ahana Renewables, a subsidiary of ATN International, Inc., to develop and fund the project under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The new solar garden features 3,420 individual solar panels that will annually deliver 1.9 million kilowatt-hours, which can power more than 50 percent of the 78,000 square foot site's daily energy needs. The four-acre solar garden is projected to yield a 549-tonne reduction of greenhouse gases. The San Bernardino site opened in 1983 and was acquired by Mars Petcare in 2006. The company currently employs 75 full-time associates at the site. Mars’ Sustainability Plan This is the third solar garden constructed by Mars in the US – joining Mars Wrigley Confectionery solar gardens in Hackettstown, New Jersey, and Henderson, Nevada. Mars also co-owns a 25,000-acre wind farm near Lamesa, Texas, featuring 118 turbines, that annually generates nearly 800,000-megawatt hours of power. As part of the Sustainable in a Generation Plan, Mars plans to reduce its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its entire value chain by 27 percent by 2025 and 67 percent by 2050. We're happy to see these solar panels installed in the Inland Empire! "At Mars Petcare we're working towards our mission: a better world for pets, because we wholeheartedly believe they improve our lives," said Kevin Rabinovitch, global VP of sustainability at Mars, in a press release. "This new solar garden is a great example of the steps we need to take in order to achieve the ambitious goals set out in our new Sustainable in a Generation Plan to reduce the total environmental impact of Mars to ensure we foster a healthy planet for future generations – of people and pets." In conjunction with the unveiling of this new solar garden, Mars Petcare will also be making a US$20,000 charitable contribution to GRID Alternatives Inland Empire. The donation will go towards furthering the organization's mission of providing access to clean, renewable solar energy to low-income families throughout the Inland Empire area. With solar becoming a more viable option for residential and commercial applications, some companies have taken it upon themselves to become greener. With Mars Petcare taking such steps it bodes well that others will continue to take steps in the right direction by adding solar panel farms and making the manufacturing process more sustainable.

Across the United States, more and more people are starting to invest in solar power systems. They are outfitting their roofs with solar panels — and why not? Solar power technology has seen incredible advancements in recent years, many of which have helped to lower the cost of the equipment involved.  Installing solar panels on your roof is also a wonderful way to generate electricity for your home and business, as well as the grid, without increasing your impact on the environment. However, there are many things that you need to consider before you jump in and start the installation process. Understanding the different factors involved in a project like this is so important — taking a look at common solar panel myths is a good idea, too. To help you decide whether or not solar power is the right option for you, your home, or your business, we’ve put together a list of the top 6 things you need to take into consideration before you install those rooftop solar panels. Does your roof need repairs? Before you even consider installing solar panels, ask yourself, how old is my roof? If you know that you will need a new roof soon, or that a part of your roof is damaged, it probably isn’t the best idea to install solar panels. If you can, take care of any roof repairs before the installation. That way, you won’t need to pay extra to dismantle the work and then put it up again (in some cases for at least 20 years). Another aspect to consider is the warranty on your roof compared to the warranty on the solar panels. If you have solar panels that will last for 20 years and a roof that will only last between 10 – 15, it increases the cost of maintenance. Try to match both projects in terms of how long they will last in order to reduce the amount of effort, time and money you will need to invest. What is the shape of your roof? Roofs come in many different shapes and sizes. Before you go ahead with any installation, make sure that your roof has enough space for the solar panels. If there isn’t enough room, you likely will not get the return you expect on your investment. Which direction do the slopes of your roof face? Solar panels require specific placement in order to generate the maximum amount of power. Most professionals say that the best placement is to have the panels face south while others say west. Regardless, this information is important for you to determine before the installation starts. How much weight can your roof handle? Installing solar panels will increase the weight on the structure of your roof. If the weight of these solar panels is too much for your roof to handle, there is a potential that it will collapse. This is very dangerous for many reasons, not to mention costly. To avoid both situations, it is critical to have a professional evaluate your roof to determine if additional support is required to complete the installation. Where will the water go? When it rains, water runs down the roof, into the gutters and out and away from your home. When installing solar panels in Bakersfield, equipment like racking and wire harnesses can prevent the water from flowing and draining properly. In some cases, solar equipment can move the water in a different direction, which can create leaks and other problems. These problems will need repair, which means the solar panels will need to be removed. To avoid all of these issues, make sure that you inform your contractor of these concerns. They will be able to present a plan for you to prove that the installation will not impact the water runoff in any way. What about nature’s other surprises? Part of maintaining your solar power system is dealing with severe weather like lightning storms, hurricanes, hail, and more. There is a potential for some solar power equipment to get damaged during these events. While some insurance will cover these types of events, it is something to consider, especially if you live in an area where this type of weather occurs often.

Billboards across Southern California are now advertising electricity supply company Southern California Edison’s new rate plans, which include three “time-of-use” rate options that charge consumers different rates based on what time of the day they use the most electricity. So how do these electricity rate plans affect solar powered Inland Empire residents? The switch to time-of-use rates comes after the California Public Utilities Commission directed the state’s major utilities companies to default their customers to time-of-use plans by 2020. The goal behind implementing the time-of-use plans is to lessen the strain on the electrical grid during its peak hours when the use of renewable energy is at its highest. This should help the grid adjust later in the day when it switches to more conventional sources such as natural gas. Kari Gardner, Senior Manager of Consumer Affairs at Edison, explained that “[t]here are a variety of different of residential TUO plans that are available for our customers, so what that means is for time of use rate plans it offers different pricing during different times of day, the week, and the season. So your bill will be determined by both when you use electricity and how much you use.” The times of the day where electricity will cost the most – known as “on-peak hours” – will be either noon to six p.m. or two to 8 p.m., depending on the plan that customers choose. That doesn’t include weekends, which are considered “off-peak” hours. According to Gardner, “For customers who can adjust their schedules, if you will, to where perhaps during the peak periods they’re not using as much electricity, they would maybe want to consider a plan like that.” If you’re an Edison customer, switching over to time-of-use plans is voluntary for now – but Gardner says some customers can already benefit from them. “They could change nothing and already benefit on one of these plans or they could also make minor adjustments that might also move them to where they may benefit monetarily and from a consumption perspective under these plans. While time-of-use plans can benefit some customers, consumer advocates warn it could raise rates for others. A recent paper co-authored by representatives from groups such as Utility Dive and the Public Interest Research Group argued that time of-use-rates “can have adverse impacts on consumers, especially on those who may have less ability to shift their usage to capture the benefits of TOU pricing.” These plans have also been criticized for potentially devaluing solar energy, which could make it harder for the state to meet its goal of having half of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. The San Francisco-based Environmental Defense Fund filed a protest saying the time-of-use plans “potentially creates an economic disincentive for utilizing renewable generation capacity.” But Gardner says that SoCal Edison is fully supportive of solar. In 2016, the company delivered more solar energy to its customers than any other utility in the nation. She also pointed out that time of use plans can offer an economic advantage to consumers with solar installations. “Some of the benefits that we do see our solar customers experiencing is they are typically generating during the peak periods.” It’s a benefit because customers who generate excess solar can sell it back at retail value, which is higher during on-peak times.

On 14 days during March, Arizona utilities got a gift from California: free solar power. Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren’t using to avoid overloading its own power lines. It happened on eight days in January and nine in February as well. All told, those transactions helped save Arizona electricity customers millions of dollars this year, though grid operators declined to say exactly how much. California has also has paid other states to take surplus solar power. The number of days that California dumped its unused solar electricity would have been even higher if the state hadn’t ordered some solar plants to reduce production — even as natural gas power plants, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, continued generating electricity. Solar and wind power production was curtailed a relatively small amount — about 3% in the first quarter of 2017 — but that’s more than double the same period last year. And the surge in solar power could push the number even higher in the future. Why doesn’t California, a champion of renewable energy, use all the solar power it can generate? The answer, in part, is that the state has achieved dramatic success in increasing renewable energy production in recent years. But it also reflects sharp conflicts among major energy players in the state over the best way to weave these new electricity sources into a system still dominated by fossil-fuel-generated power. No single entity is in charge of energy policy in California. This has led to a two-track approach that has created an ever-increasing glut of power and is proving costly for electricity users. Rates have risen faster here than in the rest of the U.S., and Californians now pay about 50% more than the national average. Perhaps the most glaring example: The California Legislature has mandated that one-half of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030; today it’s about one-fourth. That goal once was considered wildly optimistic. But solar panels have become much more efficient and less expensive. So solar power is now often the same price or cheaper than most other types of electricity, and production has soared so much that the target now looks laughably easy to achieve. A key question in the debate is when California will be able to rely on renewable power for most or all of its needs and safely phase out fossil fuel plants, which regulators are studying. The answer depends in large part on how fast battery storage improves, so it is cheaper and can store power closer to customers for use when the sun isn’t shining. Solar proponents say the technology is advancing rapidly, making reliance on renewables possible far sooner than previously predicted, perhaps two decades or even less from now — which means little need for new power plants with a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.

Believe it or not, solar power has been around in California since the 1800s. Of course, it took another 80 years for a PV cell to be developed, but our history with solar is still impressive. Clean energy runs deep in CA. It also happens to be the way of the future. The popularity of California solar power has skyrocketed in the last few decades and legislation is finally catching up. As of 2020, most new-build residential properties in the state will have mandated solar panels installed during their construction. We shouldn’t be surprised that something so trendy is picking up steam in Los Angeles. Fly above the Hollywood Hills, and you just might catch a glimpse of the light bouncing off rooftop PV cells. Indeed, celebrities have been all over solar for at least a decade, and some have been champions of clean energy for much longer than that. There are a lot of big names on board with using solar to power their Los Angeles homes -- and they may just inspire you to follow in their footsteps. Here are nine names known for their love of solar that you may recognize. 1. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen When you cross a Super Bowl MVP and a Brazilian supermodel, you get a couple of cute kids… and a love of sustainable energy, as it turns out. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen built their Brentwood abode with eco-friendliness in mind. They used green building materials, practice composting, and have a conservation-based irrigation system in place. The couple also installed two solar panels. With one panel in the garden and one in the house, they say they can power their property entirely with solar. Given that Bündchen works with the United Nations Environment Programme as an ambassador, it’s no surprise that she would prioritize clean energy in her home. 2. Alicia Silverstone You probably know Alicia Silverstone as a vain teenager who couldn’t drive in the cult classic “Clueless,” but in real life she is anything but empty-headed. The actress is a big proponent of all things environmentally friendly. From choosing recycled plastics whenever possible to eating vegan, Silverstone is trying to leave the earth no worse for the wear of her lifestyle. Part of her efforts includes a solar array on her LA rooftop. She also uses energy-saving appliances and looks for other ways to cut back on her carbon footprint. Silverstone is outspoken about her green living and says she has encouraged building developers to think about installing solar panels on their buildings to cut down on their use of the main grid. 3. Pierce Brosnan He once went by Bond, James Bond. He is also known as a major champion of solar power. Plenty of big names in Hollywood can say they have a star on the Walk of Fame, but how many can say they have a spot in the Environmental Hall of Fame? Brosnan can boast both. His family has so many solar panels on their Los Angeles area home that he sells the surplus back to the grid. In addition to using solar to power the house, Brosnan has a solar-powered compost heap. The actor takes other measures to make his home more efficient, too. Insulated windows and a water recycling system can also be found on the environmentally-friendly property. We all know we’re supposed to turn off the lights when we leave the room, but the actor’s house is wired to turn off the lights whenever a room is vacant for more than 5 minutes -- just in case. 4. Edward Norton Edward Norton has been selling people on solar for nearly as long as he’s been the face of the famous phrase “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about fight club.” The actor teamed up with BP to create the Solar Neighbors Program way back in 2004. After researching solar for his own California home, the actor realized he could make a bigger change if he not only retrofitted his own home, but also helped families go green and lower their own utility bills in the process. The program donates a solar panel system to a low-income family for every celebrity that purchases a system for their own home. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Edward Norton is also the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. And, of course, he continues to use solar power and other green energy efforts in his own home. 5. Jane Fonda Before she was the queen of the workout video, Jane Fonda was a loud proponent for the potential of solar power. In 1978, she was one of the celebrity speakers and activists to speak at Sun Day in San Francisco, where she said that solar power could liberate consumers from the irregular pricing of traditional utilities. The actress’s love of eco-friendly practices didn’t end there. She built a solar home in the early 1980s and her most recent home in Beverly Hills was outfitted in sustainable materials like cork floors and a solar-heated swimming pool. The home also had PV panels on the roof. Given Fonda’s history of using green energy, we can assume her latest LA home will also be made quite sustainable. 6. Lisa Ling This journalist and former talk show co-host is as savvy about eco-friendly living as she is about crafting the perfect questions. Lisa Ling has created a Santa Monica home that uses a wide array of green practices, from tons of natural light that mitigates the need for artificial lighting (and LED lamps when needed) to Smartgrass astroturf in the yard that doesn’t require watering. Perhaps the coolest thing about Ling’s property is the Passive Solar Panel System that heats water and then supplies it as radiant heating beneath the floors. The same system heats all of the family’s water needs, from the shower to the swimming pool. Ling also has additional solar panels on the roof to make the property as self-sustainable as possible. 7. Julia Roberts This Pretty Woman is also compassionate about making the world better for future generations. Back in 2009 she admitted that having children had turned her into an eco-warrior of sorts, and she completed a massive renovation on her home to give it green upgrades. Among those changes? Solar panels that cover three roof surfaces. The other green changes to the home included recycled tile and sustainable building materials. Roberts’ 6,000-square foot Malibu home has its footprint in check. 8. Bryan Cranston He may have starred as a drug dealer living in a modest suburban pad in Albuquerque, but in real life Bryan Cranston lives beneath solar panels in Los Angeles near the beach. The actor turned what was once a small party pad on the water into an eco-friendly home with lots of tech upgrades. Working alongside designer John A. Turturro, Cranston was able to create a space that leverages the sea air as a natural cooling system. The home is also covered in American clay to keep the humidity down without using a lick of electricity. Finally, Cranston has solar panels on the roof to generate his own energy. Thinking Beyond Solar Power in Los Angeles Living like a celebrity is usually associated with expensive cars and a lot of square footage. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to adopt the green practices of these eight celebrities. Solar power is quickly growing popular (and more affordable) in urban and suburban areas alike. Even better, if you get solar it’s more likely that your neighbors will, too. You can change your community by investing in PV panels. While major cities like Los Angeles can certainly benefit from having fewer homes on their already congested electric grid, any community will reap benefits from the use of residential solar power. No matter where you’re living, solar power makes you more energy independent and creates a sustainable future for your property. Are you ready to make the switch to solar power? There’s no reason to wade through these waters alone! Contact Semper Solaris today to get a solar estimate for your property. There’s never any pressure: just a thorough estimate and explanation of how solar can improve your home and way of life. We’d love to talk to you about what’s so great about solar in California.

Riverside County is already one of the nation's clean energy hot spots. In fact, the entire Inland Empire solar power initiative is in full effect, installing solar panels everywhere! If you've driven from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley, you've seen the iconic wind turbines in the San Gorgonio Pass and the solar panels that cover thousands of Inland Empire rooftops. Drive further east on Interstate 10, through the open desert, and you'll pass four of the country's biggest solar farms before you hit Arizona. Now, the county is poised to generate even more climate-friendly energy. EDF Renewable Energy has struck a deal to sell electricity from its 150-megawatt Desert Harvest solar project to Marin Clean Energy, a Bay Area power provider. The San Diego-based developer can now start construction on the long-awaited project, which will be built on 1,200 acres of federal land just south of Joshua Tree National Park, next to the existing Desert Sunlight solar farm. The Desert Harvest contract bodes well for the future of clean energy, which experts say will continue to grow even if President Donald Trump aggressively supports fossil fuels, as he pledged to do during the campaign. That growth will be fueled by solar and wind power, which are now the cheapest sources of electricity across much of the country, out-competing coal and natural gas. The Desert Harvest contract is also good news for supporters of community choice aggregation, a new business model through which local governments ditch their utility and buy electricity directly from power plants. Marin Clean Energy, which has been around since 2010, was California's first community choice aggregator, or CCA. It now provides electricity that's significantly greener than the alternative offered by Pacific Gas & Electric, for a comparable price. And it's growing, expanding its customer base from 170,000 to 255,000 this year as more Bay Area cities chose to join. Riverside County is studying whether to form a CCA, as are San Diego and more than a dozen Los Angeles-area cities. A study commissioned by Riverside County earlier this year found that homes and businesses in unincorporated areas alone would save nearly $8 million annually through community choice, with the average home saving between $50 and $55 annually. EDF first proposed Desert Harvest in 2009, winning approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management in 2013. Along the way, the project faced opposition from conservationists who feared it would disrupt habitat critical to the desert tortoise, which is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. But two of the major protesters — Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council — dropped their objections after the developer agreed to concessions, such as buying private land near the project and setting it aside as protected habitat. "We wanted to have a pathway for desert tortoises and other species that might wander down through that drainage," said Jeff Aardahl, a biologist with Defenders of Wildlife. "We wanted a way for them to escape that and then continue on across the valley, and that's where some of the private land acquisitions would occur."

Solar power has seen a dramatic evolution in a short amount of time. It’s been around for decades with limited use, but solar is now in the hands of everyone from homeowners to campers to NFL stadiums. Solar has a reputation as a long-term investment -- and it’s true that your savings will build over the years. But could solar still be worth it if you’re already planning a move in just a few years? The short-term answer to this important question is yes. It’s always worth it to make the turn to solar energy. Not only do some of the cost savings begin immediately, but it may be easier to sell your home with this critical upgrade. Take a look at our overview of installing solar as a short-term solution to energy and financial needs. Hint: you can get more out of a solar installation than just energy efficiency. Short-Term Benefits of Solar Installation The long-term incentives of putting up solar are clear: in California, you can save more than $20,000 in energy costs over the course of 20 years. Moving soon means you can’t capitalize on these decades-long projected savings, of course. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing in it for you. Installing solar panels on your home can still lead to: A significant jump in the value of your home. Even if you move within a year, you’re still likely to recoup the costs of installing the panels (plus a little more). A new owner who recognizes the potential savings of going solar will pay a premium to buy a property that offers them life without an electrical bill -- and no hassle of handling the installation themselves. Immediate energy savings. You won’t see the full return of solar savings if you move soon after going solar, but you will eliminate most energy costs for the duration of your time in the home. That’s still worth something. If you can sell some of your energy back to the grid, you’ll see even more immediate benefits. Tax credits. You can deduct up to 30% of the cost of solar installation from your federal tax returns, and there isn’t a dollar amount cap. As long as you’re still living in the property when you file next year’s tax returns, you’ll enjoy the tax savings regardless of how long you stay in the home after that. Maximizing the Value of Solar Panels All solar power systems help the environment and can increase the value of your property. Still, there are ways to increase the benefits of installing PV panels on your roof. As it turns out, not all solar panel installations are created equally! It’s particularly important to maximize the value of a solar installation when you know you’ll be putting your home on the market sooner than later. Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of your switch to solar, even if you’re hitting the road in a year or two: Use a professional installation. An installer with a good reputation will make sure you have enough watts to power the property and leave the roof better than they found it. Hire the cheapest bid without asking around, and you could be doing yourself a disservice. Vet the company doing your installation as carefully as you would someone doing a total plumbing renovation. Keep your receipts to show the buyers the date of installation and prove the quality of workmanship you chose. Don’t go crazy on wattage. In a study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2015, researchers found that any solar power increases the value of the home. They discovered that a larger system won’t necessarily increase your returns. In fact, if the property value increase is the same regardless of the number of solar panels, you’ll get less back per watt by installing extra panels. Create an environment for solar power to thrive. Cut back tall trees that shade your roof and position solar panels to absorb as many of the sun’s rays as possible. Your solar system will be more appealing to a future buyer and serve the property better if you eliminate obstacles to the sun. Most homes are a candidate for solar, but you can maximize the returns by placing the panels strategically. Marketing Your Home with Solar Panels You’re pretty jazzed about the new solar panels on your home, but getting everyone else to feel the same way may take a careful strategy. If solar is newly popular in your area, some buyers may be skeptical. The good news is that there is plenty of science and real cost savings to back up the benefits of trading grid electricity for PV panels. You can convert potential buyers into champions of the solar movement, so don’t be afraid to get solar panels just because you plan to sell your home in a few years. Consider this when you’re ready to move and begin marketing your home with solar panels: Solar panels are contagious. Some of the country’s biggest solar lease installers say that a full third of their customers are referred by friends and neighbors. The fact is that one house installing solar panels increases the chances that the neighbors will, too. If you move soon after installing solar and you’re one of the first on the block to have it, you can market your property the most energy-efficiency property in the neighborhood. If everyone else has already begun installing solar, putting up panels keeps your home competitive in the real estate market. Middle-class homes are turning to solar more than ever. Solar panels aren’t just for expensive homes anymore. People with middle-class incomes are adopting solar energy in large numbers across the country. Market your home with solar to all potential buyers, not just those who have traditionally invested in new, progressive, expensive home additions. The right highlights may depend on where you live. Remember to customize your marketing plan to the environment where you live. In more progressive areas, the focus on environmental benefits may strike a cord, while other communities will see a higher benefit in being independent of reliance on city electricity grids. No matter where you live, eliminating a utility bill is a pretty appealing benefit. Benefits to the Community Even if you’re moving soon, you will still leave behind something good for your community by installing solar now. Aside from the personal benefits, your family will reap from increasing the property value, you can feel good about beginning a solar trend in your area. Here are just some of the ways turning a property into a solar-powered home are good for the neighborhood long after you’ve settled in somewhere else: Solar makes a home energy independent. The property will be able to self-sustain, storing excess energy in batteries to draw upon for a literal cloudy day. Not only does being self-sustaining mean that worrying about utility blackouts is a thing of the past, but the home will not put a strain on the local grid.   You can sell power back to the grid. A property with solar panels can often sell energy back to the city grid for use by other properties. The process depends on your local government (in some places the practice not allowed at all), but you can help the community avoid blackouts by providing the energy you collected and don’t need. Plus, you -- and future owners -- will get paid for the energy. You’re leaving less of a footprint on the environment. By going energy independent and using a renewable source, you’re reducing the carbon footprint of your property. If you want to encourage your community to think about clean energy, starting a local trend of installing PV panels is a great way to make a serious difference. Solar is even good for public health. Are you ready to make the leap to solar? Even if you’re moving soon, the investment is still worth it. You’ll see an immediate return in the reduction of energy costs and you may even earn some extra cash by selling energy to the city. Plus, the increase in your home’s value is no joke. If you want to know more about how to get a solar installation, make an appointment with Semper Solaris now. We’ll go over all your options and give you a no-pressure bid for your PV panels!

Bakersfield is one of the best places in the nation to install solar panels for your home. It has lots of sunshine and utility power through PG&E is expensive. This combination, as well as some great incentives, makes installing solar panels for your home in Bakersfield a great investment. Many homeowners in Bakersfield have been able to buy a solar power system that lasts 25 years but which pays for itself in only 6 years. That's 19 years of living with free power!!! Many others have been able to get zero down solutions where the monthly repayments are $50 or less than the power bill savings that they have obtained by installing the panels. This risk-free profit is hard to ignore but your house must suit solar. Does PG&E offer an upfront rebate for the installation of solar panels in Bakersfield? The cost of solar has fallen a lot in California over the last 5 years and so PG&E no longer offer upfront rebates to install solar panels on your home other than some specific low income and multi-family programs. To find out if your home might be eligible for one of these specific programs you really need to speak to a local solar company. Is net metering available for PG&E customers in Bakersfield? PG&E is required by law to provide net metering to all their solar customers. How does net metering work? When a solar system produces more power than what is being used in the home excess power is sent to the grid and credited by your utility provider at the retail power rate per. Electricity is sold and measured in kilowatt hours (kwh). A kilowatt-hour is equivalent to 1,000 watts of electricity used continuously for an hour. Each kWh of power your solar system exports offsets the cost of another kWh drawn from the grid at a time your solar system couldn't service the demand of your home (such as at night or on a cloudy day). Net metering is a very valuable incentive since most homeowners use little power during the day and so quite a lot of solar power generated can be exported to the grid. Net metering gives you the financial benefit similar to storing your excess solar in a battery without the cost of needing to install a battery like Tesla Powerwall. What if my solar system exports more energy in a month than my home draws from the grid? PG&E carries over any unused credit at retail rates to the next month. Any remaining credit at the end of the yearly billing cycle (where you have exported more to the grid than what you have used from the grid) will be paid out at a lower rate. This lower rate is called an avoided cost rate (2-3 cents per kWh) and deposited into your account. This annual process is known as a true up.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to selecting the right roofing material for your home in Bakersfield. Your roof plays an important role in protecting your home from the natural elements. It also increases the value of your home depending on its insulation quality and appearance. What all started with just banana leaves and haystacks to prepare a shelter from the rain and sun has now emerged as an industry with an extensive range of products. Roofers now offer materials and styles like natural slate and wood to man-made products such as asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers. What type of material is used to roof your home is not solely based on aesthetics, while that is important what climate you are in also has a lot to do with it. So these are the best types of roofs for the climate in Bakersfield. Metal Roofing Metal roofing was generally used for warehouse construction in the past, but with advanced technological changes, many people are choosing metal roofing for their residential homes. They are available in copper, aluminum, and stainless steel with a high percentage of recycled content. The look varies from traditional metal roof panels to simulating wood shakes and shingles, slate, or tile. Metal roofing is lightweight, fire resistant and durable. Apart from its longevity, it is much lighter than most materials and resistant to adverse weather. Wood Shingles and Shakes Wood shingles and shakes are available in different qualities of wood like cedar, redwood, southern pine. Shingles are made with the help of a machine whereas shakes are handmade and have a rougher look. Since this type of roofing is more aesthetically appealing due to its natural appearance, it’s much more expensive than asphalt. However, in recent years, its use has been a concern due to its lack of fire resistance and the potential of mold in heavy rainfall. These shingle and shakes have been categorized underclass ‘A’ and ‘B’ according to the character of the specified. Class ‘B’ products have been pressure treated with fire retardants and are readily available. Asphalt Shingles Studies show that more than 75% of Americans choose this roofing material because of its low cost, easy installation, and resiliency. These are made of fiberglass mat which is saturated with asphalt and coated with colored mineral granules. They have low insulation quality and a shorter lifespan than any other roofing material. Standard shingles are available in a wide variety of colors and are the cheapest option in roofing material. Clay and Concrete Tile Clay tile is made from natural clay which is fired in a kiln whereas concrete tile is made from a mixture of Portland cement and sand. These tiles give comparable benefits to slate but with a greater variety and at a lower cost. Tile is very durable and fire resistant but it’s much more heavy and expensive than other materials like asphalt shingles, fiber cement products, so your roof may require a reinforcement if you are planning to go for tile roofing. Slate Slate is a dense natural material that is non-absorbent. Its color is determined by its chemical and mineral compositions. As we know these factors vary from place to place, slate is available in a variety of colors. These factors also influence the responsiveness of slate towards changing color upon exposure to weather. Those with minimum change in color are known as ‘’permanent’’ slates while those with the most color changes are known as “weathering” slates. Reroofing with slate will require reinforcement of the roof to carry its heavy load. Although it’s non-leaching and lasts for hundreds of years and its natural beauty is unparalleled, it is one of the most expensive of steep slope roofing materials. Its installation is labor intensive and requires considerable skills.

You've likely noticed the explosion of solar energy systems appearing all over the place in recent years. Solar farms are appearing across the United States, and many people are choosing to have solar energy systems installed at their home and business locations. Still, plenty of people haven't subscribed to the solar energy idea yet. If this point describes you, you may want to consider some of the benefits you may enjoy if you had a solar energy system installed. Below are five specific benefits of solar energy systems for your Bakersfield home and how they will enable you to get the most out of such an upgrade. Solar Energy Systems Save Money First and foremost, remember that solar energy is free. The sun shines several hours a day, every day of the year, especially if you’re in Bakersfield. So you can save a tremendous amount of money by having a solar array on your home that captures that free energy whenever the sun is out. The best solar energy systems can pay for themselves in just a few years, reducing what you spend on energy immensely. With Solar in Bakersfield, You Aren’t Dependent on Energy Companies A major benefit of solar energy systems is that they allow you to cut the cord from the electric companies. It’s a necessity that you’ve been using your entire life, so you likely never thought of it, but you are completely reliant on a company that can change rates, alter availability, or suffers outages outside of your control. With solar panels, you can own your electric source and not need to rely on such a company ever again. Solar Energy is 100 Percent Renewable This is the big one, the reason this is such an incredible potential energy source for so many people in Kern County and other year-round sunny locations. Solar energy is renewable. It’s never running out. Fuel prices, wars, and commodity shifts—none of it will affect the cost of your electricity if you have solar panels installed on your home. Benefits of Solar Energy to the Environment Right alongside renewability and sustainability comes another important factor: New solar energy systems benefit the environment in the form of a heavy reduction in CO2 emissions. Almost every other form of major electricity production in the United States burns fossil fuels. With solar panels on your home, you won’t be contributing to what is becoming an increasingly dire situation. Better yet, you’ll be able to help by producing your own electricity. Get Paid for Your Energy With the right solar panel array on your home, you may produce more energy than you actually need. This can result in Solar Renewable Energy Credits that can then be sold for cash. That’s right, you can actually earn tax credits and rebates for installing new solar panels on your home! If you remain on the grid, you can feed back into the system as well so that when you underproduce your needs, it balances out against what you’ve given to the grid. Is Solar Energy Right for You? The benefits of solar panels are plenty, including freedom from the energy grid, a chance to do your part to help the environment, and a way to both save and possibly even earn money. It’s a perfect fit for anyone looking for a substantial upgrade for the home with long-term benefits. Above are just a few of the many amazing benefits associated with solar energy systems. If you’d like more information on solar panels for home use, don’t hesitate to contact Semper Solaris.