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Semper Solaris Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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