Semper Solaris Blog

You’re ready to get solar panels for your home, and you’re super excited about it. However, you have a “Debbie Downer” in your life. This is the one friend or family member who seems to secretly delight in raining on your parade. “Debbie” wants to be excited for you (really, she does!), but she read somewhere that solar panels create more pollution than they save. Oh, and there was a friend of a friend of a friend whose entire roof caved in after he got solar panels. Yikes! However, don’t let Debbie get you down; there are a lot of unfounded solar panels myths floating around. Let’s take these solar panel myths head on so that you can arm yourself with some powerful truth bombs the next time Debbie stops by. Myth 1: Making Solar Panels Creates More Pollution Than They Will Save Many homeowners appreciate the fact that solar panels help them lower their carbon footprint, while also saving them money on their energy bills. Here in Southern California, we want to be part of the solution in fighting climate change. Any time you manufacture a product, it costs energy and creates pollution. Solar panels are no exception. However, over their lifetime, solar panels do prevent more pollution than they cause. A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that solar panels pay back the energy required to manufacture them in four years. And most industry experts estimate that solar panels can last from 25 to 40 years. Even on the lowest end of this prediction, your solar panels will provide 21 years of net positive renewable energy creation. This same report also tackles the pollution that solar panels prevent. When Debbie Downer swings by for a visit, you can tell her that a solar installation that produces 1,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity prevents emissions of: 8 pounds of sulfur dioxide 5 pounds of nitrogen oxides 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide To get a sense of what that means, the average household uses 830 kWh per month, so these savings represent just a little over a month of work for your solar panels if your system provides for your full energy needs. Myth 2: Solar Panels Don’t Work in Cloudy, Overcast Skies Here in Southern California, we get a lot of sunshine year-round. But what happens during “May Gray” and “June Gloom”? Is solar such a good investment if you live near the beach and wake up to a heavy marine layer each morning? Solar panels work best when they receive direct sunlight, but just because a few clouds are in the sky doesn’t mean solar panels stop working. According to Eco Watch, cloudy days reduce solar panel efficiency down to an estimated 10 – 25% of normal power output. Does this mean you shouldn’t invest in solar panels if you live near the shore? Not at all! The marine layer burns off by the afternoon, providing your panels with plenty of sunshine. If you live in a cloudier destination, you’ll simply need to purchase a larger solar system to make up for the cloudy days. As for “May Gray” and “June Gloom,” your solar system will be designed to produce the amount of energy your household typically uses each year. That may mean your panels produce more energy than you need in sunnier months, like July and August, to help balance out cloudier months and months with shorter days, like June and January. Because your panels are tied into the grid, it should all even out at the end of the year, assuming your system was designed correctly! Myth 3: You’ll Need to Purchase a Special Battery to Store Your Solar Energy Your solar panels only produce energy during the day, so what are you supposed to do during the night or during a stretch of cloudy days when the efficiency of your panels drops? Debbie Downer might point out that you’ll have to invest in batteries to store the excess energy your solar panels create during the day. These batteries typically only last five to ten years, so you’ll need to replace them regularly. What happens if you use too much energy, and the batteries run out of juice? Should you stock up on candles and lanterns? Not so fast. While battery backup technology, like the Tesla Powerwall, is improving by leaps and bounds and might be worth considering for those who wish to live off the grid, the majority of Southern Californians don’t bother with them. That’s because homeowners with solar panels have access to net metering. In a nutshell, this means that the solar panels for your home are actually connected directly into the energy grid. When your panels are producing energy, the excess energy goes into the grid and your meter will actually run backwards. At night or during cloudy days when you need more energy than your panels are producing, your system will automatically switch over and pull energy from the grid. Your meter will then tick forward. If your solar system is set up correctly, it should mostly even out by the end of the year. All of this happens automatically, and you never have to worry about your lights not turning on at night or the heat suddenly shutting off. Net metering is a great system and one of the reasons why California has had so much success in increasing its production of renewable solar energy. Myth 4 – Solar Panels are Too Expensive The cost of solar panels continues to drop precipitously as the technology improves, manufacturers increase efficiency, and heavy competition forces prices down. If you talk to a family member or friend who purchased solar panels a decade ago, you might be shocked at the price tag. Don’t go by their numbers. According to Energy Sage, the average cost of solar panels is between $2.71 and $3.57 per watt depending on where you live and the brand of solar panel you choose. These numbers reflect the cost before tax credits, rebates and other local incentives, which are still available for many California homeowners. If you pay out of pocket for your solar panels in California, you can expect to pay between $11,928 - $15,204 for a moderately sized 6kw system. This cost is far lower than what it was even just five or six years ago, but it’s not pocket change either! One thing to consider is that solar panels are an investment that will pay for themselves over time. Because California supports a net metering system, your solar panels will feed excess energy into the grid, which may be able to zero out your energy bill by the end of the year. Since energy prices are almost certainly going to keep rising, your panels will become more valuable over time. Solar panels can also add value to your home. An analysis performed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that a 5 kWh solar system could increase a home’s value by $20,000 in California – more than the cost of the entire system! Additionally, California’s Proposition 7, which passed in 1980, prevents the state from increasing your property taxes when you add solar. Adding solar panels for your home is a good deal! However, not everyone has $12,000 sitting around. Most solar companies offer solar lease options and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that can save you money on your energy bills while requiring no money down on your solar system. Myth 5 – Solar Installation Will Destroy My Roof Roofs are expensive, and whenever you (or anybody else) installs something on your roof, there is always a risk of damage. However, as long as you hire a professional and experienced solar panel installation company with roofing experience, you won’t have to worry about damage. Most solar panels are connected to the roof using a mounted railing system and are not directly attached to the roof. These mounts are typically surrounded by special metal coverings called “flashing” that provide extra protection from the elements, and roofers can also fill in gaps with special sealants. If Debbie Downer knows a friend of friend whose roof was destroyed after installing solar panels, it is likely because the homeowner tried to install solar panels on their own. Roof work is difficult and highly technical and not every roof is ideal for hosting solar panels. When you work with a professional solar company, a technician will assess your roof to ensure that it is strong enough to support the panels. If your roof has underlying issues or will need to be replaced in a few years, it’s probably a good idea to focus your attention on the roof first, and then get solar panels after your roof has been replaced or repaired. (Guess who provides Roof Installations and replacements? We do!) Let the Truth Shine Through Don’t let the Debbie Downer in your life make you question your commitment to getting solar panels for your home. The truth is that solar panels will lower your carbon footprint and energy usage over their lifetime, which can help you fight climate change for future generations. Solar panels aren’t cheap, but their prices are dropping, and they will only increase in value as energy prices continue to rise. While solar panels may not work as well on cloudy days, California’s net metering system means you’ll never run out of electricity. Finally, when installed correctly by a licensed and experienced solar installation company, solar panels will not destroy your roof! Have more questions about solar panels? If you live in California, we’d love to confirm your facts or dispel any other solar myths you have. Give us a call today to set up a free energy analysis. We can also assess your roof if you think you might need repairs before going solar.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Is your roof trying to tell you something? Like, maybe it’s time to finally fix those leaks or that it’s ready for retirement? Whether you need a small Roof Installation or an entirely new roof altogether, it’s crucial to choose the right roofing contractor in San Diego. The health of your roof impacts the quality of your life and the value of your home. Before you dial the very first San Diego roofing contractor that comes up in the search engines, do your homework and start your search as an educated consumer. We’ve worked with hundreds of homeowners throughout San Diego, and here are the five things we wish every customer knew before they hired a roofing contractor. Don’t Hire Day Laborers or a “Guy with a Truck” Here in San Diego, it’s not unusual to see day laborers hanging out at your favorite big home improvement stores ready to earn quick money. These guys may have some building experience, but that’s still a far cry from being a roofing expert! While you’ll save money in the short-term by using a day laborer, you’re also taking a huge risk that may come back to bite you in the future. There’s no way for you to tell whether the day laborer knows what he’s doing. He could cause more damage to your roof, which you will then have to pay a professional company to fix later. If you do discover a problem later on, you also have no recourse. Day laborers come and go, and even if you could track him down, che may not be able to cover the repair costs. The prospect of saving money by hiring a day laborer or a “guy with truck” on Craigslist is tempting, but you are rolling the dice! Know the Right Credentials for a San Diego Roofing Company So we are a no-go on day laborers and the Jack-of-All-Trades. Now it’s time to look for the right type of San Diego roofing company. The roofing contractor you work with should be properly licensed, insured, and credentialed. It is crucial that the roofing contractor possess: General liability insurance Workers' compensation insurance Written manufacturer warranties Roofing credentials General liability insurance covers any damage to your property that a contractor causes during the job. For example, if a worker makes a mistake and part of the roof caves in, damaging your kitchen, the contractor’s liability insurance will cover the cost of your kitchen repair. Workers’ compensation insurance is also extremely important. Even when a roofing contractor follows strict safety protocols, workers can still be injured. If this happens, the contractor’s insurance will cover their medical care. NOTE: If a day laborer or “guy with truck” falls off your roof and breaks his leg, you could be responsible for his hefty medical bills. Just one more reason to hire a licensed and insured roofing company! Good roofing contractors only work with roofing manufacturers that offer warranties on their roofing systems. These warranties cover things like the roofing materials as well as the work of the contractor. They provide important protections against flawed roofing materials or poor workmanship. Warranties also give homeowners peace of mind. After all the money you spend on repairing or overhauling your roof, it’s good to know that it’ll last a while. (At Semper Solaris, we are proud to work with top roofing manufacturers, including Owens Corning and GAF.) Finally, you definitely want to hire a company that specializes in repairing roofs and possesses roofing credentials. Some remodeling and design contractors in San Diego will also claim to fix roofs, though they likely spend most of their time remodeling kitchens and master bathrooms. When it comes to roofing, they will likely hire a sub-contractor, which is not an ideal scenario. Hire Local Roofing Contractors in San Diego It isn’t unheard of for roofing companies to come trawling for clients after a big storm. You might get a knock on your door or find a flyer stuck on your porch from some out-of-town roofing company offering big savings for a quick Roof Installation. There are many reasons to throw these flyers in the trash and work with a local roofing company instead. For one, we believe it’s a good idea to support local businesses who employ locally and contribute positively to the local economy. There are also more selfish reasons to pick a local roofing contractor. Contractors who live and operate in your city know much more about local rules and code regulations as well as the common roofing styles and materials in the community. For example, roofing contractors in San Diego need to be highly familiar with clay and concrete tiles, which are very popular in the area.   There’s one more reason to hire locally. While out-of-town roofing companies can split if you aren’t happy with their work, local companies are here to stay. They live, work, and raise their families in their community and want it to thrive. This means that it is in their best interest to do excellent work. After all, they’re working on the houses of their neighbors! Don’t Automatically Choose the Lowest Bidder Would you eat at a roadside sushi vendor because it was the cheapest food available? We hope on behalf of your digestive system that the answer is no. In many cases, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Lower pricing often means rushed work, corners cut, poor overall quality, and a short product lifespan. The same goes for roofing. A cheap roofing contractor may not have the correct license or be paying for workers’ compensation insurance or general liability insurance. Even if a company is licensed and insured, those cost cuts have to come from somewhere. They may use lower quality materials or underpay their staff. This means you won’t have highly experienced and motivated employees working on your roof. It all adds up to a higher risk of problems and a poor-quality Roof Installation! Roof Installations aren’t cheap, but remember the adage:“You get what you pay for!” Check Reviews and Testimonials Top roofing contractors care deeply about making sure each customer is satisfied with their work. These companies rely on referrals, which means that it’s important to do a great job on every single project. They care about their reputation, and this should be obvious by the testimonials and reviews they receive from their clients. As a consumer, check out each potential roofing contractor before signing any contracts. We recommend visiting the Better Business Bureau as well as popular review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. See what real customers say about the way the company communicates, how well they stick to a timeline, whether they gave an accurate price proposal, and the quality of the workmanship. It’s also a good idea to see how long a company has been around. A roofing company won’t survive long if they don’t do good work. At Semper Solaris, we proudly point our potential customers to the major review sites where we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and received a Super Service award from Angie’s List in 2016. High-quality roofing companies should want you to see their customer reviews! Time to Schedule a Consultation Now that you know to follow the recommendations above, you’ll be a savvy consumer who knows how to find a high-quality, honest, and reliable roofing contractor in San Diego. When it’s time to finally get started on that Roof Installation so you can stop annoying leaks or put on solar panels, we would appreciate the opportunity to compete for your business. Please contact us to schedule a free, no-pressure roof consultation.

"California dreaming" is a famous catchphrase, but our state doesn’t linger in wistfulness. Instead, we dream big and then we go big. Our state isn’t afraid to embrace change and lead the pack. Nowhere is this sentiment truer than in how our politicians, institutions, businesses, and citizens have embraced California solar power and other sources of renewable energy. And our efforts continue to pay off. California is the number one producer of solar power in the country. We didn’t just eek out this victory, we shattered the record. In fact, we’ve broken quite a few solar energy records over the past decades and are likely to keep breaking them as we lead the country into a renewable energy future. California Record 1: State that produces the most solar energy in the country. Setting the Groundwork One of the biggest reasons California is such a huge producer of solar energy is because our state and local officials have a history of lowering our carbon footprint. That started back in 2006, when Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which required a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, Governor Brown signed an even more ambitious bill in 2015. The Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act calls for the Golden State to produce at least half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. This bill has put the rest of the country on notice that California is leading the charge, and the results speak for themselves! Our state government isn’t the only one jumping on board the solar panel train. Many of our cities and municipalities are making headlines for their groundbreaking programs. For example, in 2016, San Francisco became the first city to pass a law requiring most new buildings to incorporate rooftop solar panels or solar heating units! California Record 2: San Francisco was the first city to legally require certain new buildings to have rooftop solar. Building the Infrastructure Legislation like the California Global Warming Solutions Act and the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act, along with buy-in from the state’s public utility companies, has led to a golden age of solar energy in California. Companies have flocked to start building a solar energy empire within our borders. Many of our long stretches of sun-soaked deserts are now home to massive solar panel farms as well as solar thermal power plants. It should come as no surprise that our state is home to the oldest solar power plant, the Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert, which was completed in 1990. We can also boast about the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, which is currently the largest solar thermal power plant in the world. Its 173,500 heliostats have the capacity to produce 392 MW (megawatts) of energy each year. Our state isn’t slowing down, either. In Kings County, Westlands Solar Park near Fresno is under construction. The park, with its numerous photovoltaic power plants, will be the largest photovoltaic power plant in the world, with an estimated capacity of over 2,000 MW a year! California’s residents aren’t sitting out of the solar revolution. According to the Los Angeles Times, 234,000 residents had solar panels sitting on their roofs in 2014. That number is likely to be dramatically higher today. So many Californians have invested in California solar energy that residential solar panels account for roughly 4% of the state’s entire energy production! Let’s see more of those records roll in: California Record 3: Home of the oldest solar power plant in the world, the SEGS thermal plant. California Record 4: Home to the largest solar thermal power plant in the world, the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. California Record 5: Home to the largest photovoltaic power plant under construction, the Westlands Solar Park. California Record 6: Most residents with residential solar panels. A Solar Leader With the political willpower and solar infrastructure in place, it’s no surprise that California has become a solar energy record-smashing machine. In 2016, California was ranked above any other U.S. state for cumulative solar capacity, leading the pack with over 18,000 MW of installed solar electric capacity. That’s enough to power over 4.7 million homes in the state! Just for comparison, the next closest state, North Carolina, had just over 3,000 MW of installed solar energy capacity in the same year, enough to power around 340,000 homes. California’s solar energy revolution has also led to big headlines. In March of 2017,  the state crossed a huge threshold, producing 67.2% of its energy from renewable resources and proving that our goal for 2030 isn’t just another big California dream. Additionally, our California solar power revolution has led to other records lying in the dust. We employed over 100,000 workers in the solar energy field in 2016, the highest number in the country. We have the capacity to produce 466 watts of renewable energy per resident each year — although that actually isn’t a record. Nevada owns the title for highest solar energy capacity per capita at 745 watts per resident. However, considering that California has a population of 39.5 million while Nevada’s population is just under 3 million, we’re okay losing out on this particular title! Here are our final California solar power records: California Record 7: Produced over 67% of its energy from renewable resources. California Record 8: Has the highest number of solar industry jobs in the country. Join the Winning Team Holding all of these solar energy records feels pretty good, don’t you think? Everyone loves being a winner, especially when victory also means our state is taking real steps to lower its carbon footprint, which can help combat climate change. We have no doubt that California’s big ideas and ambitious renewable energy goals will translate into even more shattered California solar energy records in the future. Do you want to help our state reach its goal to produce 50% of its energy needs through renewable resources by 2030? Then it’s time to take advantage of historically low pricing on solar panels by scheduling an energy audit with Semper Solaris. We are proud to help homeowners throughout California, including San Diego and Los Angeles, lower their electric bills and their carbon footprint. Let’s keep leading the solar energy pack together!  

Have you noticed solar panels dotting a lot of the roofs in your neighborhood? If you want in on solar energy, you likely have some questions before you take out your checkbook. As you research solar panels in California, you’ll notice that you have dozens of brands to choose from. And each solar panel brand comes with a different price tag. You want to get the best solar panels for your money, so how do you compare the cost of solar panels in California? It can be confusing to accurately compare pricing on solar panels and to figure out what you’re really getting for your money. This is especially true if you receive wildly different quotes from different solar panel installation companies. Here’s everything you need to know to compare the cost of solar panels in California. Comparing the Details Before you can even start comparing solar panel pricing, you need to make sure everyone’s playing on the same field. First, make sure each quote you receive from a solar installation company gives you the same payment option. If one company quotes you a price to purchase the solar panels outright while another quotes you for leasing the panels, the price tag is going to be very different! Next, double check that each installation company quotes you on the same solar power system size. The size of your solar system is a measure of how much energy the system will produce, and how many solar panels you need. If solar Company A quotes you for a 5kW system (kilowatts per hour) while Company B quotes you for a 7kW system, then Company B’s quote is going to be a lot higher. (Not sure what size solar power system you need? No problem! This article will help you figure out how many solar panels you need for your home.) Comparing Cost Per Watt As you start looking at the price tag of individual solar panel brands, you’ll notice they can vary by quite a bit. As with most industries, within the solar world you have your top-tier brands of solar panels as well as workhorse models that will save you on costs upfront but may not offer the same level of efficiency or lifespan as the premium models. The best way to directly compare costs between different brands of panels is to find the average cost per watt of each panel. This will give you a direct head-to-head comparison of what you’ll be paying for each watt of electricity your system produces. For example, our best-selling solar panel brand at Semper Solaris is SolarWorld. With SolarWorld, you can expect an average cost of $5.62 per watt before tax credits are calculated into the equation. Comparing Warranties If you were in the market for a new car, you probably wouldn’t just pick the cheapest option on the lot. Instead, you’d look for a car with all the features you want. The same logic holds true for solar panels. Cost is part of the equation, but there are other factors to consider; one of the most important is the type of warranty offered. Most solar panel manufacturers provide some form of warranty on their panels, which guarantees that the panels will meet certain levels of efficiency for a certain amount of time. The length of the warranty varies from brand to brand. A warranty gives you peace of mind in your solar panel investment and also demonstrates the quality and pride a manufacturer has in their product. Panels with longer warranties tend to be more expensive, but you’re also getting a premium product. Comparing Reputations of Solar Brands A low-quality solar panel that will quickly lose efficiency or break down isn’t worth your investment, but how do you know which solar panels are the Cadillacs and which are the lemons? A great starting place is your solar panel installation specialist. As you search or solar installation companies, ask the representatives which solar panels they recommend. Each solar panel installation specialist will have their own favorite brands, but they can also give you inside information on many different brands on the market. Another great resource are homeowners who have already purchased the solar panels you are considering. Check out SolarReviews for feedback from real-life homeowners. These reviews and the advice of your solar installation specialist can help you understand the true value of different solar panel brands. Comparing Installation Cost The cost of your solar panels is only part of the price that come with installing panels on your California home. You’ll also need to pay for the installation and accessory parts. Don’t overlook these costs during your price comparison! It’s also wise to do your homework on the installation company. As with the solar panels, when it comes to solar installation companies, cheaper usually isn’t better! Semper Solaris, for example, is the only company to ever win the National Dealer of the Year Award two years in a row. Finally, make sure to ask each installation company about the rebates and incentives they offer. Here at Semper Solaris, we are excited to extend to our customers $500 off our installation services. We also provide additional discounts to veterans and first responders, and provide a variety of zero-down financing options. We even offer additional discounts if you discover that you need a new roof and use us to install it. Be a Savvy Solar Panel Customer Solar panels are a big investment, so do your homework before you make your purchase. As a savvy solar panel customer, make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to financing and the size of your solar panel system. Look at the average cost per watt to get a true price comparison between different solar panel brands, but don’t decide on price alone! If you wouldn’t buy the cheapest car in the lot, don’t automatically buy the cheapest solar panel. Instead, look at additional factors to get a true sense of each brand’s value, including its warranty and its reputation. Still not sure which solar panels are the right pick for your energy needs and budget? If you live in California, sign up for a free energy analysis. We’d love to tell you about which solar panel brands we recommend to our clients and use on our own homes!

For most people in America, finding ways to save money is big, especially for those who are living on a fixed income. If you are in the phase of life where you want to save as much as possible so that you can stretch your fixed income out, switching to solar can be a major help in keeping your monthly electricity bill low. In some cases, your solar panel system may generate enough electricity to cover your summer and winter months (especially in sunny California), meaning you’d owe zero balance at the end of the year. While solar requires an upfront investment, it quickly pays for itself over time. Do You Know How a Solar Panel System Impacts Your Bills? Switching to solar can be great for savings, however, if you don’t know your local utility billing rules, you could be left scratching your head when you get your yearly bill. Consider an incident that happened in 2013 when a man didn’t fully understand how PG&E was going to bill him for power generated by solar, nor how to read his bill when it came in. Mistakenly, he assumed that his solar panels would help cover the cost of heating his swimming pool. Since he never had a bill that surpassed $35, he assumed all was fine – until he got hit with a massive $7,228.32 bill in July. No, he didn’t use an inordinate amount of energy that month, he just never realized he wasn’t actually getting billed for his electricity usage each month, as solar customers get a yearly electric bill, known as a True-up bill. The other bills show electric power consumption of a system vs. the actual consumption, allowing a customer to have an idea of how they are doing and what they will owe. Since he didn’t know how to read this, he was essentially oblivious to the fact that he’d owe such a big amount. Being on a fixed income, the man was concerned and confused over how we could owe this much. Unfortunately, he had also greatly overestimated the energy production of his solar panel system. The solar company had set him up with a system to cover his pre-pool electrical usage, however, the man had later decided to install a pool that he had heated numerous hours a day. Once the man realized his mistake, he began to cut back on his usage. Ensure Your Solar Investment Protects Your Fixed Income So what’s the takeaway? If you want a system that helps you actually cut back on energy costs or have a zero balance, make sure you are clear with your solar panel provider what your energy needs are. If you decide to upgrade your home, it is important to have an understanding of how much solar energy your panels are producing and what they can cover.

The United States is currently the largest consumer of oil in the world, accounting for an average of 19.6 million barrels of crude each day. This dependence on oil lends to some serious problems for the U.S., not to mention the major price tag. The country’s heavy dependence on foreign oil greatly undermines many of our economic goals and puts a dark cloud over many of our military decisions in the Middle East. Politics aside, America’s economy as a whole has become very vulnerable due to this oil dependency. In 2016, the U.S. was still importing around 7 million barrels of oil a day from foreign sources ranging from Africa to the Middle East according to former Shell Oil CEO, John Hofmeister. That means spikes in prices can develop quickly over any type of international disruption – and remain essentially out of the control of the U.S. So what is the solution? An extremely diligent and concentrated effort to replace any sources of foreign oil with alternative options from within the U.S. This is where solar energy comes into play. Energy Independence Could be Bought with Solar Power While we may be far off from being dependent on renewable energy, our country needs to start taking these strides now if we want to be free from international oil dependency. It may look like a combination of several fuel options, from natural gas to hydrogen to wind energy to solar energy. The goal would be to diversify within the U.S., rather than outside of it. Not only is foreign dependence a problem, but our heavy dependence on fossil fuels is creating a major pollution problem. Our environment and ecosystems are facing dire consequences due to oil dependency. As the largest consumer of oil, the U.S. needs to recognize this problem and take steps to reduce oil consumption in order to protect and preserve the planet. How would solar benefit the country?   Freedom from international oil dependency and connected politic challenges Reduction of harmful greenhouse gases and air pollution Improvement in cost effectiveness of energy sources as a country Savings for individual homeowners utilizing renewable energy   Over time, renewable energy sources like solar essentially pay for themselves and run on an infinite power source. In comparison, fossil fuels require an extensive process, are finite, and consume much more of our other valuable resources (like water) along the way. If our country wants its energy independence back and to ensure future generations have a healthy environment to live in, we must continue to embrace renewable energy sources like solar. As a veteran-owned company, Semper Solaris is proud to be doing our part to not only safeguard our environment, but also free up our country from foreign oil dependency! Call us today to get insight on switching to solar today.

In 2017, there were 20.4 million veterans, of which 370,000 were reported to be unemployed. While the percentages of unemployment are declining in recent years, it is still clear that many challenges remain for men and women returning from service. Coming “home” isn’t always as easy as we would like to believe for those who have dedicated their lives to protecting and serving our country and the freedoms we all get to enjoy. As a former Captain in the US Marine Corps, Kelly Shawhan, co-founder of Semper Solaris, knew this problem was too serious to overlook. Being in the business of solar power, Shawhan and co-founder John Almond already placed great stock in supporting the environment and providing affordable energy solutions to the local community. They saw their business as an opportunity to create another channel of support for the community by striving to hire as many veterans as possible. Solar Creates Veteran Unemployment Solutions Semper Solaris has seen significant growth over recent years, especially as renewable energy sources like solar begin to become more popular. For example, the U.S. installed an estimated 10.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity in 2017 alone. The total is expected to double over the course of the next 5 years, with 2023 seeing estimates of more than 15 GW of PV capacity installed on an annual basis according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. So what does this have to do with veterans and their unemployment rates? Solar is a booming job market, one that Semper Solaris has not overlooked. We stand by our commitment to create more jobs for veterans, especially as the market for solar continues to grow. We have every branch of service represented by our staff. Our vets truly set our company apart, not just because of their dedication to their craft and impeccable work ethic, but also in the way that they raise the bar for our entire team. While not all the members of our staff our veterans, Shawhan views them all as his marines. The mindset of every employee is influenced by our military roots. Shawhan has confidence in each and every one of his team members, proudly stating that he has “no problem being in a foxhole with any of them.” Honored to Have a Loyal Group of Veterans on Our Team Don’t misunderstand – hiring veterans isn’t an act of charity for Semper Solaris, it’s a wise business decision. Why? Because we know that veterans are hard workers who we can trust to get the job done right and never quit. We want to employ the best, which is why we look to service members to become a part of our staff. We love being able to employ some of the sharpest, most highly trained, caring, dedicated, and loyal individuals. The fact that they are veterans is what makes them the best of the best; something Semper Solaris knows that not nearly enough companies recognize. As a veteran-owned solar company in San Diego, we take pride in having products that are designed in America and installed by highly trained professionals, many of whom are veterans. We know these individuals don’t just “deserve” a quality job, but have earned it. We are honored and proud to be able to provide a home for so many hard working and sacrificial veterans.

For many people, saving the planet or helping the environment sounds like a good thing, they just don’t know where to start. Even if you aren’t sure that “going green” is something you really want to do, consider this: helping the environment doesn’t just save the planet, it helps save your quality of life. Since you are daily breathing in the air from your environment, wouldn’t you want to keep it as clean and “green” as possible? Solar energy has numerous benefits, including the ability to help decrease respiratory and cardio health problems. That alone should be motivation enough for homeowners to go solar – and then you add in the cost-saving perks and things start to sound too good to be true (trust us, it’s the real deal).   Check out some of the environmental benefits of installing solar panels below!   How Solar Energy Is Paving the Way for a Better Tomorrow Better Air Quality Nothing like being able to breathe easy, especially in Southern California. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to worry about the quality of air we breathe every day, but could just know it was clean and pure? Solar energy moves us towards a green source of energy, putting a stop to so many of the harmful air pollutants we are subject to when we step outside our homes. According to an analysis done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, if solar become the major energy provider, it would create a major reduction of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and other harmful emissions that lead to health concerns. Reduced Pollution & Consumption of Water Sources Did you know that natural gas and coal energy plants are reliant on large amounts of water to create their energy sources? In comparison, solar panel manufacturing only requires a minimal amount of water. After that, they don’t require any valuable local water sources to provide electricity to homes. Switching to solar would cut back on the water-sucking cooling requirements of biomass and geothermal power plants, eliminating competition with drinking water, agriculture resources, and more. Especially in California, we know that water is a precious resource that can’t be taken for granted – especially in times of drought. Solar energy can help eliminate the large usage of water simply to create power resources. Cuts Back on Emissions of Greenhouse Gas We all hear about how bad greenhouse gas emissions are, but what can we do to fix it? By opting for solar power to generate our electricity instead of harmful fossil fuels, we can cut back on the emission of gases like CO2, which can lead to rising temperatures on the planet, creating a more drastic climate change. The U.S. Energy Information Administration found that a household that switches to solar power instead of fossil fuels can have a similar impact as planting 150+ trees (depending on the region). For example, an average home in New York uses around 7,092 kWh of electricity on a yearly basis – that would require roughly 5,250 pounds of coal to be burned per year to produce just that single home’s energy. Imagine if all the homes in New York switched to solar and were able to cut back that much on greenhouse gas emissions? More than that, solar energy is a renewable source of energy, rather than a finite one. The sun’s energy can be used repeatedly without any fear that it will run out like fossil fuels. The sooner we become dependent on infinite solar energy rather than finite alternatives, the better. Don’t wait any longer to start doing your part for the environment. Go solar today and go green. Contact Semper Solaris if you have questions about switching to solar.

These days, it seems like solar panels are everywhere — especially in Southern California. The large number of homes with solar panels in Los Angeles may be attributed to our ideal climate, along with state or local initiatives that encourage solar installation. Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the U.S., ranks #2 in the nation for most solar energy systems installed. At the end of 2016, the city had 267 megawatts of total solar installed, falling just behind San Diego, at 303 megawatts. For those looking to live in the Los Angeles area, here are the top neighborhoods for solar based on a combination of factors, including solar saturation (the amount of solar homes out of the total houses in a zip code) as well as key attributes that contribute to the overall quality of living. Santa Clarita The town of Santa Clarita has a solar saturation of 21.2%, making it the third most saturated neighborhood for solar panels in the Los Angeles area. With 225,000 residents and 6,000 business owners, the L.A. suburb is booming with life; CNN Money Magazine even deemed it “one of the best places to live in California.” Santa Clarita is distinguished by its award-winning schools, and the town boasts extensive trail systems, and culture and recreational programs that make it especially enjoyable to live in. For those looking to buy, the median home value is $417,400 and average rent sits around $1,650. Additionally, the residential demographic holds an A+ rating based on ethnic and economic diversity. The Santa Clarita neighborhood of Valencia, in particular, is the most solar-saturated zip code in all of Los Angeles. Not only is solar panel installation for Los Angeles’ already-high standards extra prominent here, it’s a great place to settle down. Castaic Just south of Santa Clarita, still within the northern part of Los Angeles county, is the suburb of Castaic. Here, nearly 15% of homes have solar panels. Los Angeles County residents that reside here are surrounded by alternative energy, as Castaic Lake — part of the California Water Project — is the site of a hydro-electric power plant. The town has a population of more than 19,000 with a median home value of $425,200. Median rent is $1,346 and the median age of its residents is 36 years old. It’s known for its good public schools, diversity and being a top place to raise families. Manhattan Beach For Manhattan Beach, one of the top beach towns in Los Angeles, the sun is no stranger. It’s one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the area, with a median home value of $1,537,200. Manhattan Beach also falls into the top 10 in California for the categories of “Best Places to Retire,” “Best Suburbs to Live,” and “Best Suburbs to Raise a Family,” according to Niche.com. Its top-rated schools make it appealing for families, its bustling nightlife attracts the urbanites, and, business professionals frequent the area thanks to its close proximity to LAX. Solar panels in this Los Angeles beach-town complement the nature of the area; while the cost of living is higher, residents look to solar energy as a way to save — and capitalize on the abundant sunlight. Glendale Glendale is the third largest city in Los Angeles County and is considered one of the most livable areas. It’s home to nearly 200,000 residents and ranks in the A-grade category for public schools, diversity, nightlife and families (it was even deemed one of the safest cities in America by the FBI!). The L.A. Zoo, Norton Simon Museum and hiking trails in the San Gabriel Mountains are some major attractions nearby. Solar panels for Los Angeles residents that reside here are a viable option and way to save on electricity bills in your median $809,000 home, and you’ll fit in with your eco- and health-conscious neighbors. In fact, Glendale ranks #13 among the “Healthiest Cities in America” and the “Healthiest Places to Live in America”. South Pasadena Just six miles from downtown Los Angeles, South Pasadena ranks #15 as the “Best Suburb to Live in California”. It’s known as the City of Trees (21,000+ to be more exact), which plays well with its environment-friendly theme that welcomes solar panels. Los Angeles residents that reside here will find a charming community known for its stunning homes, robust small business economy and top-notch schools. Homes here have a median value of $876,900, with average rent around $1,500. Find Your Solar Panel Installer in Los Angeles These neighborhoods for solar installation in Los Angeles have earned their spot at the top. Their overall high livability and other friendly features make them very attractive to those looking to settle in Los Angeles; but since L.A. is known for its dense population and high pollution levels, it’s important to consider installing solar panels. Los Angeles residents not only are able to reduce their carbon-footprint by investing in solar energy, they can invest in improving the overall quality of air in the area. Ready to join them? Learn more about Semper Solaris, the #1 trusted solar company in Los Angeles.

If you live in Chula Vista, you’ve probably considered joining the ever-growing community of solar-powered homes and businesses. Semper Solaris offers information on switching to solar in San Diego County by helping you get the financial support you need to get started. We’re happy to offer guidelines on where to find financial assistance to support your switch to solar energy. For starters, the staff at the Public Works Department is always ready to provide up-to-date information on solar financing and incentives. Switch to solar panels and enjoy a clean, renewable energy source that makes a difference on your home’s energy usage and utility bills. Federal Solar Incentives – Tax Credits Taxpayers are eligible to apply for a Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit or a Business Energy Investment Tax Credit that can be equal to 26 percent of costs related to photovoltaic panel system installation. For more information on incentives related to solar, San Diego residents can find more information on our website. Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (PACE) PACE offers low-cost, long-term financing for energy-saving projects like solar system installation, repaid as a special assessment/tax on your regular property tax bill. Semper Solaris can help you confirm eligibility, which is based on equity and ability to pay, through Ygrene Energy Fund. Secured Financing Semper Solaris offers secured financing through local credit unions, including Metropolitan Federal Credit Union and Point Loma Credit Union. With this type of financing, homeowners use their home as collateral for the loan. Typically, these loans provide lower interest rates than unsecured loans, and the interest is usually tax-deductible. Federal Housing Administration 203(k) Rehabilitation Loans are mortgage programs provided through lenders that have been approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These mortgages are intended for various home upgrades, among other photovoltaic (PV) systems. PowerSaver Loans (which can be both secured and unsecured) that can amount to $25,000 are intended for single families who want to have small to moderate home improvements aimed at better energy-efficiency and renewables. Unsecured Financing Fannie Mae Energy Loan is a direct, unsecured loan for energy-efficiency home improvements in the maximum amount of $20,000. The loan has a fixed rate, low interest and quite long pay back terms in comparison with bank loans. Clean Energy Upgrade Financing Program ABX1 14 is an unsecured loan for residential and small commercial property. This program targets owners who want to install renewable distributed generation, the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles or energy- and water-efficient systems. The program can provide financing up to $25 million through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA). Third Party Ownership Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) are arrangements in which the customer sites a solar panel system and buys the electricity at a low cost from the third party that owns, maintains and operates the system. The benefit for the customer in this case is the zero-out-of-pocket aspect for installation costs. Solar Lease Programs are very similar to the previous arrangement, but in this case the customer pays a fixed monthly amount regardless of the energy used and is responsible for operating, monitoring and maintaining the system. Other Methods of Financing Feed-in Tariff allows the owner of the renewable distributed generation to get a refund for the electricity they produced but sent back to the utility grid because they didn’t need it. Virtual Net Metering is designed for multi-metered properties. Production credits form one PV system can be sent to individual homeowners. Are you ready to go solar in San Diego County? Contact us to learn about going solar and see how much you can save on our highest efficiency solar panels.

California is a big state filled with big ideas and great people. Here in the Golden State, we’re not afraid to take the lead in tackling thorny problems or try innovative solutions. You could say that our “sunny” disposition inspires us to embrace new ideas. So it’s no surprise that we were one of the first states to recognize the potential of solar energy to combat climate change, or that we’re recognized as #1 on SEIA’s Top 10 Solar States list, producing more megawatts (MWs) of solar power than the next nine states combined! In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of California solar power. How did our state become the leader in producing and utilizing solar energy, and what does the future have in store? Power from the Sun If you were to take a helicopter tour over any major city in California, you would notice the sheer number of solar panels dotting the roofs of homes and businesses. Where did these panels come from? The history of California solar starts in 1839, when French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, demonstrating that a solar cell could convert sunlight into electricity.   A few decades later, American inventor Charles Fritts designed the world’s first solar array, but it would still be a long time before solar panels landed on any roofs. Bell Labs patented the first silicon-based solar cells in 1954, and Hoffman Electronics-Semiconductor Division developed the first commercial solar panel the next year. This baby boasted a measly 2% efficiency rate! Just to compare, today’s top-rated solar panels can give you a 17% to 20% efficiency rate depending what brand you use. In these early days, solar panels were mostly just an idea stuck on a drawing board. It would take a major world event and open-minded politicians to truly spark the California solar energy movement. Oil and Blood The 1970s saw great unrest in the Middle East, which led to the Iran hostage crisis and the Arab oil embargo. At home, oil prices soared, and images of long lines of cars waiting at gas stations splashed the front pages of newspapers. In response, President Jimmy Carter made energy policy a hallmark of his administration. In 1978, Congress passed the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which was designed to promote energy conservation and laid the groundwork for net metering. As part of the act, PURPA allowed independent power producers the ability to interconnect with their local utility. In the same year, Congress also passed the Energy Tax Act, which offered the very first tax credits to consumers who invested in renewable energy for their homes. Carter even famously installed solar panels at the White House. Even though the solar panels came down and the tax incentives were phased out by Ronald Reagan, these early laws woke Americans up to the possibility of solar energy. They also helped encourage the creation of wind and solar energy companies, which found a very friendly reception in California. (Interesting to note: solar panels were eventually installed once again at the White House, this time under President Barack Obama.) California Sun   More than any other state, California embraced the potential of solar power even in the industry’s nascent beginnings. In 1979, ARCO Solar broke ground on the world’s largest photovoltaic facility in Camarillo, California.  ARCO’s project was soon followed by others, including a 6 MW facility in central California, the construction of solar towers, and an attempt to build the world’s largest solar thermal electricity facility in the Mojave Desert, known as the LUZ Solar Energy Generating Stations. Not all of these projects were a success. Some ran out of money and others were eventually closed down due to disappointing results. Some observers believed that solar would never be more than a fringe power source, just another big California dream that went nowhere. However, these early stumbles didn’t deter California. Producers learned from each trial, and as solar technology improved and costs decreased, more ambitious solar projects got underway. As of this writing, California is home to a variety of big solar projects, including the Desert Solar Farm in the Mojave Desert, the California Valley Solar Ranch in the Carrizo Plain, the Mount Signal Solar project near Calexico, and the Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, which was the world’s largest photovoltaic power plant when it was completed in 2014. While ARCO’s original solar facility in 1979 produced just 1 MW a year, these facilities produce between 260 to 550 MW per year! California can also brag about being home to the world’s largest solar thermal power project, the Invanpah Solar Power Facility, which was completed in 2014. It resides in the Mojave Desert and produces 392 MW per year. The Mojave Desert is also home to the Solar Energy Generating Systems, the Genesis Solar Energy Project, and the Mojave Solar Project, which together produced 71.2% of all solar thermal generation in the United States in 2015. None of these projects would have been possible if California hadn’t aggressively supported investment in renewable energy and forged a path toward a carbon-neutral future. Taking the Lead California was once known for the debilitating smog that choked its cities and its people. These days, it’s earned a new reputation as a state that has passed some of the most ambitious and progressive energy laws in the country. It may have started in 1996 with the Electric Utility Industry Restructuring Act (Assembly Bill 1890) signed by Governor Pete Wilson, which deregulated the state’s utility companies and incentivized them to adopt net metering policies. Without net metering, which allows homes and businesses to feed excess solar energy into the grid, solar panels in California would likely never have taken off. AB 1890 also created state rebates to reduce the cost of this expensive new technology. Perhaps the biggest boost to California solar energy came in 2006, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Solar Initiative, which offered rebates to residents who invested in solar energy technology. The goal of the initiative was to install 1,940 MW of new solar generation capacity by 2016. It worked out so well that the state exhausted its incentives two years early, and the program surpassed its production target. (Don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways to save on solar panels in California.) The California Solar Initiative was followed in 2015 by the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (Senate Bill 350) signed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 350 stipulates that California must produce half of its power from renewable sources by 2030. This is an incredibly ambitious goal, but if anyone can do it, we know California can. Our state produced 18,296 MW of electricity in 2016, which was enough energy to power more than 4.7 million homes in our state. As solar panels in California continue to become more efficient and more affordable, we know these numbers will keep going up! The Future of California Solar Power What’s in store for California’s solar future? Will we produce half our power from renewable resources by 2030 and meet the mandate of the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act? Currently, several big photovoltaic solar farms are in production, including the Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside County and the California Flats Solar Project in the Cholame Hills, which will produce even more solar energy for our state. As for Sacramento, we won’t be surprised if our state sets more aggressive goals for renewable energy output. In 2017, senate leader Kevin de León introduced the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act, which set the target for California to receive all its energy from clean energy sources by 2045. The bill was dropped at the last minute, but many assume the bill will be presented again during this year’s legislative session. Here at Semper Solaris, we are proud to help California meet its renewable energy goals. We can learn a lot from our state’s history, but we’re also excited to see what the future of California solar power brings. Help us make that future by scheduling a free energy audit today.  

Did you know there are unique considerations to take when it comes to San Diego roofing? Although the city is known for its ideal, sunny weather, the climate may vary depending on the area of San Diego you live in. Inland residents often experience higher temperatures, while those living coastal experience daily marine layers that burn off throughout the day. And while San Diego is technically a desert, rainfall is still a factor that influences rooftop decisions. If you live in San Diego, take the following considerations into account for your roofing needs. Heat-Friendly Rooftops The warm climate is one of the major appeals of living in San Diego. Roofing, because of this, needs to be able to handle the constant sun and hot temperatures in the summer, especially for inland regions like East County. Make sure you have a heat-friendly rooftop, also known as a “cool roof,” which helps to cool the home more efficiently. They usually are lighter in color so, as darker colors tend to absorb heat, and are often made of materials that reflect the sun. There are a few different ways to make a roof a “cool” roof. Clay and terracotta tile roofing is ideal for desert climates because it blocks heat. Slate tile is another good fit for your roof because it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It comes in light and earthy colors that are naturally reflective and durable. Energy-Efficient San Diego Roofing San Diegans can bask in sunnier-than-average climate. And they can capitalize on the sun by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Solar panels soak up the sun’s energy and convert it to power for the home. These panels should be durable and use the latest technology, so when you have your solar panels installed be sure to communicate these needs to your solar installation company. It's also just as important to ensure that your roof has proper insulation. Since 25% of heat in a home leaves through the ceiling, your roof is a key player in stopping this during the colder winter days in San Diego and at night when the temperatures drop significantly. Properly insulated San Diego roofing equates to energy-efficient homes, so you save on your utility bills.   Poorly ventilated rooftops are not ideal for hot weather. They can transfer heat into the living areas and increase air-conditioning consumption, if you’re using one. For those living inland who turn on the AC in the dog days of summer, this can be especially a concern. Proper roof ventilation also helps in the winter, working to prevent moisture damage — especially if you live near the ocean or bay. Timing of San Diego Roof Installations Luckily, San Diego’s mild climates year-round make Roof Installations easier to execute. Fall is usually the busy season for Roof Installations and costs tend to go up due to demand, so consider getting the repair work done in the off-season if it can wait. Another benefit to having your Roof Installationed in the off-season is that it can make for a less stressful situation, because you won’t be behind a waiting list of customers. This is particularly important when making major decisions that involve your roof; a clear mind means the proper steps and considerations can be taken when consulting with your roof installation and repair company. San Diego Roofing with Wildfire Protection Wildfires are an unfortunate reality San Diego homeowners may face. The Southern California region experiences wildfires from time to time, and the dry desert climate further fuels the potential for fire to spread rapidly. Homes located on or near slopes of hills and valleys have a higher risk of getting affected. While location is hard to change, one thing these residents can do is install outdoor sprinkler systems. These sprinklers work to prevent the spread of embers when they come in contact with a house, keeping it protected and safe. Roofing Maintenance in the Winter Although San Diego has mild winters in comparison to other regions of the U.S., it occasionally experiences significant temperature drops. Winter nights can drop to 40- or sometimes 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which can create frost and condensation when it warms up during the day. These conditions can cause mold to grow on your roof during the winter months, especially on flat roofs. Leaves may pile up on your rooftop when the wind blows, and these piles then collect moisture from winter frost. This combination can eventually cause organic growth to form on the roof surface. To prevent mold from forming, make sure you regularly clean your roof and sweep away the leaves. Making Smart Decisions for Your Roof While you may not think the weather in San Diego would have an influence on how you should go about roofing matters, think again! The signature climate does call for special considerations to be made to ensure that your rooftop is both energy-efficient and long-lasting. Plus, doing so will help you avoid having to make extra repairs to your roof.   For further information on how different types of materials, installation, and maintenance impacts your roof, check out some more details on San Diego roofing, and see how Semper Solaris can help you meet the needs your roof requires.

Installing California solar panels is a smart choice that will harness the power of the shining West Coast sun and transform it into useful electricity to power homes or businesses. At Semper Solaris, we are proud to staff many veterans, giving them a career they can be proud of as well. We hire veterans from all branches, and Semper Solaris wouldn’t be the same without them. We hire veterans for two important reasons. First, co-founder Kelly Shawhan committed to helping veterans during his service in the United States Marine Corps. Kelly made a promise with thirteen other Marines during a mission in the Philippines in 1985. He committed to always help out a fellow Marine or service member whenever he could. Now, he carries that promise into his solar company, Semper Solaris. There’s another reason that Semper Solaris hires veterans: veterans do excellent work. The military instills values and skills that carry well into the California solar energy industry. For example, veterans know the value of keeping their word and being faithful. They also know how to communicate within a chain of command. They understand loyalty, and remain loyal to employers and the families that they serve. Loyalty and faithfulness translate to installing solar panels the right way.   The skills that veterans learn in the military can translate to all sorts of jobs within the renewable energy industry. Army E5 Sergeant May Lin Ball and Navy Petty Officer Second Class E5 Tony Saludes both now serve as accounting clerks with Semper Solaris. Semper Solaris employee Marilynn Raptis was an Information Systems Technician Chief on submarines for the United States Naval Reserve. Now, she is an excellent solar warehouse technician. These team members use the character that they built during their service to provide quality, dedicated service. They’re also able give this to homeowners at a great solar panel price. These skills, along with their specific photovoltaic training, help them to install amazing California solar panels. About the Marines, Kelly shares, “It isn’t even so much that your word is your bond—it’s that your word is a fact.” Being able to stick to your word is needed in any home industry, especially solar power. The Semper Solaris team works hard to keep their word. David Fox, for example, is the fleet warehouse and facilities manager. He is also a retired Sergeant Major with the United States Marine Corps Reserve. David helps ensure that the warehouse runs like a well-oiled machine. He uses a proper chain of command similar to the military’s to help the company deliver. Semper Solaris’ commitment to the nation’s veterans is more than hiring them to solar companies. They also offer special discounts to military personnel—and also to first responders and their families. Semper Solaris knows that veterans can make amazing employees. We seek to honor those that have served our country so loyally. Would you like one of our trained veterans to take their work to your home? Get a free energy analysis from local and veteran-owned Semper Solaris.

If you’re thinking about adding solar power to your San Diego home, you have a lot of choices when it comes to hiring local solar panel installation companies. So, what makes Semper Solaris different from the rest? First and foremost, we’re committed to offering our customers unparalleled service and the highest quality solar panels on the market. However, what really gets to the heart of our company is our passion for the San Diego community, our support of local veterans, and our commitment to help San Diego County and California retain its role as a renewable energy and environmental leader in our country. Veterans Hiring Veterans San Diego is a military town, and it isn’t just because we are home to top military bases, including Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, and the naval bases in Coronado, Point Loma, and San Diego (homeport of the Pacific Fleet). Even after completing their service, many veterans make San Diego their long-term home. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 230,000 veterans live, play and raise their families in San Diego County. That’s the third-highest number of veterans by county in the entire country! Of course, you don’t need to rely on these numbers. You’ll see veterans everywhere: at the grocery store, jogging down the street, and moving in next door. These men and women have a special bearing, a sense of duty, and a fierce patriotism that never fades, even after they leave the service. At Semper Solaris, we love that so many veterans live in our city. We are a veteran-owned business and are committed to hiring veterans. Our co-founder Kelly Shawhan proudly served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, and knows that it can be challenging for veterans to transition into civilian life. That’s why we make a special effort hire veterans. We are proud of our workforce, which includes veterans from nearly every branch of the service. (Check out this video introducing some of the veterans on our team.) Military veterans are the backbone of San Diego, a city we love. That’s why we are especially proud to make our city a little cleaner and a little more energy-independent by offering solar power in San Diego. We’d like to think our efforts help San Diego pursue its renewable energy and environmental goals. San Diego Stays Classy and Clean California gets a lot of attention for its progressive (in fact, some might call it controversial) environmental initiatives, but we’re a big state, and each local city and county has a lot of control over their own environmental policies. San Diego may not make the headlines as often as our state, but our leaders are committed to lowering our environmental footprint and keeping our diverse county clean and beautiful for its residents. Solar energy in San Diego is a big part of these efforts. Here are just a few environmental initiatives, programs, and benefits that San Diego residents should know about. The Climate Action Plan (CAP) Perhaps the most ambitious local initiative in San Diego is the city’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which calls for cutting all greenhouse gas emissions in the city in half by 2035. There’s one more little thing that makes the plan stand out: the city also wants to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. This is a big goal, but as more and more businesses and homes adopt solar power in San Diego, it seems possible that we can achieve it. The CAP program is made of up of many different initiatives to try to achieve this goal, including: Expanding its Green Business Program Supporting residential and commercial environmental upgrades Assisting low-income households with weatherization and energy-efficient upgrades Retrofitting 13,000 to 15,000 streetlights with adaptive “smart” lights Public Transportation The city of San Diego isn’t the only one getting into the lower-carbon-footprint game. Throughout San Diego County, you can see efforts to encourage people to drive less. You can’t miss the iconic blue and green Sprinter Trains getting students to college and residents to work. You’ll also notice Breeze buses picking up and dropping off residents all across the county. As you get closer to the city, you’ll pass city dwellers cruising by on Discover, Lime and Byrd rideshare bikes and hear the Trolley arriving into town. Want to see where these options can take you? Here’s a convenient list of San Diego’s primary public transportation options. HOV and Bike Lanes Even if you have to jump into a car to get to your destination, San Diego County rewards you for carpooling when you can. Most of our major highways include High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes that let you zip past traffic if you’re carrying passengers. Have an electric vehicle? You may be able to get a special pass to use the HOV lanes to your heart’s content. When you can, San Diego makes it safe and easy to switch from four wheels to two. You’ll find dedicated bike lanes throughout the city and the county on most major roadways. No wonder our city is considered a cycling destination! Solar Energy in San Diego Solar power in San Diego will play a big role in meeting CAP’s goal of producing 100% of electricity through renewable resources by 2035. Though this goal may seem “pie-in-the-sky,” it may be closer to reality than you think. A report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that in 2016, solar “added more generating capacity than any other source of energy for the first time ever.” To us, that sounds like we’re moving in the right direction! In many ways, San Diego is following California’s lead in pushing for big changes to lower our state’s carbon footprint and combat climate change. California Leads the Way California gets a lot of attention for its environmental policies, which are often some of the most progressive and ambitious in the nation. The state is also credited with leading the way for other states to adopt similar policies. But this wasn’t always the case. In the 1940s, California was famous for something else – the thick blankets of smog that choked its cities. In response, California got to work. It became the only state to receive a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set its own emission standards. Our state hasn’t looked back since. Here’s a short timeline of our biggest environmental achievements: 2002 – California becomes the first state to approve new standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars, including the requirement for most cars to use catalytic converters. 2006 – California passes AB 32, The California Global Warming Solutions Act, which is hailed as a watershed moment in the state’s history. The bill requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. 2013 – California institutes a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon levels. After early stumbles and legal challenges, the program auctioned off 64 million carbon credits in 2017 in partnership with Quebec, which raised billions of dollars for energy programs and the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. 2015 – Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 350 into law, which requires that California receive half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. 2017 – In response to the United States pulling out of the Paris climate accord, California, signs onto the United States Climate Alliance, along with over a dozen other states. The Alliance  commits to reducing carbon dioxide to fulfill the U.S.’s original pledge. At Semper Solaris, we are proud to put veterans to work and to stand with San Diego to support policies that will ensure a cleaner city and a cleaner state. Interested in lowering your electricity bill and helping San Diego meet its Climate Action Plan goals? If you are ready to join the movement, learn how to get solar energy in San Diego by scheduling a free energy audit with Semper Solaris.

You may not give a lot of thought to how your electrical bill is calculated, but if you have or plan to install solar panels, it’s important to understand how your electrical company measures your energy use. For Southern California Edison customers, this calculation is about to change. The current system of net metering is the more beneficial option for families with solar panels. If you want access to net metering, you should install your solar panels now so that you can lock in lower electrical rates. Read more to learn about how net metering works. What is net metering? Net metering is straightforward: the electric company measures how much energy you use from the grid, and how much energy your solar panels export to the grid. You get charged for whatever energy you use that isn’t covered by your solar panels. Let’s say that your solar panels produced more energy than you used. In that case, the electric company would actually pay you for that extra energy! However, under the new plan, you could get paid less for the extra energy that you produce! The old program for homeowners with solar panels was called NEM (Net Energy Metering). Southern California Edison has now initiated NEM 2.0, with changing rates and charges. NEM 2.0 customers will now have to be on a TOU (Time of Use) schedule, and will be charged higher rates for energy usage during peak hours—and get paid lower rates for power produced not during peak hours. Electric rates are only going up. Southern California Edison initiated a high usage charge starting January 1st. Homeowners who use much more than the average will be paying 31 cents per kilowatt hour—almost twice the amount as the lowest tier. This charge could make your bill go up significantly, and it’s not going away. If you want to avoid this high usage rate, or if you just want to stop paying ever-increasing amounts for electricity, now is the time to go solar! If you’re going solar, there’s no better option than Semper Solaris. Semper Solaris is locally and veteran-owned, and was co-founded by John Almond—San Diego resident and in the business world for over twenty years—and Kelly Shawhan, former U.S. Marine Corps Captain. We pride ourselves on our strong military values such as keeping our word, taking responsibility for our actions, and communicating clearly and constantly. We love to hire our nation’s veterans, and we also show our support for veterans by offering special discounts for military, first responders, and their families. Our solar installation experts are known for being friendly, professional, and well-trained in their abilities—so much so that Semper Solaris has earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau for our outstanding customer service, not to mention our excellent ratings with customers through services like Yelp. Semper Solaris also uses the incomparable SunPower solar panels, which are designed in the United States. SunPower panels are especially durable because of a special copper backing and have won world records in efficiency. They also come with a powerful 25-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, unlike any other company’s warranty. Call Semper Solaris today to set up an appointment. One of our courteous professionals will be happy to come to your home and work with you to evaluate how solar panels might work for your home and to help you start saving money today.