Solar power has seen a dramatic evolution in a short amount of time. It’s been around for decades with limited use, but solar is now in the hands of everyone from homeowners to campers to NFL stadiums. Solar has a reputation as a long-term investment -- and it’s true that your savings will build over the years. But could solar still be worth it if you’re already planning a move in just a few years?
The short-term answer to this important question is yes. It’s always worth it to make the turn to solar energy. Not only do some of the cost savings begin immediately, but it may be easier to sell your home with this critical upgrade. Take a look at our overview of installing solar as a short-term solution to energy and financial needs. Hint: you can get more out of a solar installation than just energy efficiency.
Short-Term Benefits of Solar Installation
The long-term incentives of putting up solar are clear: in California, you can save more than $20,000 in energy costs over the course of 20 years. Moving soon means you can’t capitalize on these decades-long projected savings, of course. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing in it for you. Installing solar panels on your home can still lead to:
A significant jump in the value of your home. Even if you move within a year, you’re still likely to recoup the costs of installing the panels (plus a little more). A new owner who recognizes the potential savings of going solar will pay a premium to buy a property that offers them life without an electrical bill -- and no hassle of handling the installation themselves.
Immediate energy savings. You won’t see the full return of solar savings if you move soon after going solar, but you will eliminate most energy costs for the duration of your time in the home. That’s still worth something. If you can sell some of your energy back to the grid, you’ll see even more immediate benefits.
Tax credits. You can deduct up to 30% of the cost of solar installation from your federal tax returns, and there isn’t a dollar amount cap. As long as you’re still living in the property when you file next year’s tax returns, you’ll enjoy the tax savings regardless of how long you stay in the home after that.
Maximizing the Value of Solar Panels
All solar power systems help the environment and can increase the value of your property. Still, there are ways to increase the benefits of installing PV panels on your roof. As it turns out, not all solar panel installations are created equally! It’s particularly important to maximize the value of a solar installation when you know you’ll be putting your home on the market sooner than later. Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of your switch to solar, even if you’re hitting the road in a year or two:
Use a professional installation. An installer with a good reputation will make sure you have enough watts to power the property and leave the roof better than they found it. Hire the cheapest bid without asking around, and you could be doing yourself a disservice. Vet the company doing your installation as carefully as you would someone doing a total plumbing renovation. Keep your receipts to show the buyers the date of installation and prove the quality of workmanship you chose.
Don’t go crazy on wattage. In a study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2015, researchers found that any solar power increases the value of the home. They discovered that a larger system won’t necessarily increase your returns. In fact, if the property value increase is the same regardless of the number of solar panels, you’ll get less back per watt by installing extra panels.
Create an environment for solar power to thrive. Cut back tall trees that shade your roof and position solar panels to absorb as many of the sun’s rays as possible. Your solar system will be more appealing to a future buyer and serve the property better if you eliminate obstacles to the sun. Most homes are a candidate for solar, but you can maximize the returns by placing the panels strategically.
Marketing Your Home with Solar Panels
You’re pretty jazzed about the new solar panels on your home, but getting everyone else to feel the same way may take a careful strategy. If solar is newly popular in your area, some buyers may be skeptical.
The good news is that there is plenty of science and real cost savings to back up the benefits of trading grid electricity for PV panels. You can convert potential buyers into champions of the solar movement, so don’t be afraid to get solar panels just because you plan to sell your home in a few years. Consider this when you’re ready to move and begin marketing your home with solar panels:
Solar panels are contagious. Some of the country’s biggest solar lease installers say that a full third of their customers are referred by friends and neighbors. The fact is that one house installing solar panels increases the chances that the neighbors will, too. If you move soon after installing solar and you’re one of the first on the block to have it, you can market your property the most energy-efficiency property in the neighborhood. If everyone else has already begun installing solar, putting up panels keeps your home competitive in the real estate market.
Middle-class homes are turning to solar more than ever. Solar panels aren’t just for expensive homes anymore. People with middle-class incomes are adopting solar energy in large numbers across the country. Market your home with solar to all potential buyers, not just those who have traditionally invested in new, progressive, expensive home additions.
The right highlights may depend on where you live. Remember to customize your marketing plan to the environment where you live. In more progressive areas, the focus on environmental benefits may strike a cord, while other communities will see a higher benefit in being independent of reliance on city electricity grids. No matter where you live, eliminating a utility bill is a pretty appealing benefit.
Benefits to the Community
Even if you’re moving soon, you will still leave behind something good for your community by installing solar now. Aside from the personal benefits, your family will reap from increasing the property value, you can feel good about beginning a solar trend in your area. Here are just some of the ways turning a property into a solar-powered home are good for the neighborhood long after you’ve settled in somewhere else:
Solar makes a home energy independent. The property will be able to self-sustain, storing excess energy in batteries to draw upon for a literal cloudy day. Not only does being self-sustaining mean that worrying about utility blackouts is a thing of the past, but the home will not put a strain on the local grid.
You can sell power back to the grid. A property with solar panels can often sell energy back to the city grid for use by other properties. The process depends on your local government (in some places the practice not allowed at all), but you can help the community avoid blackouts by providing the energy you collected and don’t need. Plus, you -- and future owners -- will get paid for the energy.
You’re leaving less of a footprint on the environment. By going energy independent and using a renewable source, you’re reducing the carbon footprint of your property. If you want to encourage your community to think about clean energy, starting a local trend of installing PV panels is a great way to make a serious difference. Solar is even good for public health.
Are you ready to make the leap to solar? Even if you’re moving soon, the investment is still worth it. You’ll see an immediate return in the reduction of energy costs and you may even earn some extra cash by selling energy to the city. Plus, the increase in your home’s value is no joke.
If you want to know more about how to get a solar installation, make an appointment with Semper Solaris now. We’ll go over all your options and give you a no-pressure bid for your PV panels!
Bakersfield is one of the best places in the nation to install solar panels for your home.
It has lots of sunshine and utility power through PG&E is expensive. This combination, as well as some great incentives, makes installing solar panels for your home in Bakersfield a great investment.
Many homeowners in Bakersfield have been able to buy a solar power system that lasts 25 years but which pays for itself in only 6 years. That's 19 years of living with free power!!!
Many others have been able to get zero down solutions where the monthly repayments are $50 or less than the power bill savings that they have obtained by installing the panels. This risk-free profit is hard to ignore but your house must suit solar.
Does PG&E offer an upfront rebate for the installation of solar panels in Bakersfield?
The cost of solar has fallen a lot in California over the last 5 years and so PG&E no longer offer upfront rebates to install solar panels on your home other than some specific low income and multi-family programs.
To find out if your home might be eligible for one of these specific programs you really need to speak to a local solar company.
Is net metering available for PG&E customers in Bakersfield?
PG&E is required by law to provide net metering to all their solar customers.
How does net metering work?
When a solar system produces more power than what is being used in the home excess power is sent to the grid and credited by your utility provider at the retail power rate per. Electricity is sold and measured in kilowatt hours (kwh). A kilowatt-hour is equivalent to 1,000 watts of electricity used continuously for an hour.
Each kWh of power your solar system exports offsets the cost of another kWh drawn from the grid at a time your solar system couldn't service the demand of your home (such as at night or on a cloudy day).
Net metering is a very valuable incentive since most homeowners use little power during the day and so quite a lot of solar power generated can be exported to the grid.
Net metering gives you the financial benefit similar to storing your excess solar in a battery without the cost of needing to install a battery like Tesla Powerwall.
What if my solar system exports more energy in a month than my home draws from the grid?
PG&E carries over any unused credit at retail rates to the next month.
Any remaining credit at the end of the yearly billing cycle (where you have exported more to the grid than what you have used from the grid) will be paid out at a lower rate. This lower rate is called an avoided cost rate (2-3 cents per kWh) and deposited into your account. This annual process is known as a true up.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to selecting the right roofing material for your home in Bakersfield. Your roof plays an important role in protecting your home from the natural elements. It also increases the value of your home depending on its insulation quality and appearance.
What all started with just banana leaves and haystacks to prepare a shelter from the rain and sun has now emerged as an industry with an extensive range of products. Roofers now offer materials and styles like natural slate and wood to man-made products such as asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers. What type of material is used to roof your home is not solely based on aesthetics, while that is important what climate you are in also has a lot to do with it. So these are the best types of roofs for the climate in Bakersfield.
Metal roofing was generally used for warehouse construction in the past, but with advanced technological changes, many people are choosing metal roofing for their residential homes. They are available in copper, aluminum, and stainless steel with a high percentage of recycled content.
The look varies from traditional metal roof panels to simulating wood shakes and shingles, slate, or tile. Metal roofing is lightweight, fire resistant and durable. Apart from its longevity, it is much lighter than most materials and resistant to adverse weather.
Wood Shingles and Shakes
Wood shingles and shakes are available in different qualities of wood like cedar, redwood, southern pine. Shingles are made with the help of a machine whereas shakes are handmade and have a rougher look. Since this type of roofing is more aesthetically appealing due to its natural appearance, it’s much more expensive than asphalt.
However, in recent years, its use has been a concern due to its lack of fire resistance and the potential of mold in heavy rainfall.
These shingle and shakes have been categorized underclass ‘A’ and ‘B’ according to the character of the specified. Class ‘B’ products have been pressure treated with fire retardants and are readily available.
Studies show that more than 75% of Americans choose this roofing material because of its low cost, easy installation, and resiliency. These are made of fiberglass mat which is saturated with asphalt and coated with colored mineral granules.
They have low insulation quality and a shorter lifespan than any other roofing material. Standard shingles are available in a wide variety of colors and are the cheapest option in roofing material.
Clay and Concrete Tile
Clay tile is made from natural clay which is fired in a kiln whereas concrete tile is made from a mixture of Portland cement and sand. These tiles give comparable benefits to slate but with a greater variety and at a lower cost. Tile is very durable and fire resistant but it’s much more heavy and expensive than other materials like asphalt shingles, fiber cement products, so your roof may require a reinforcement if you are planning to go for tile roofing.
Slate is a dense natural material that is non-absorbent. Its color is determined by its chemical and mineral compositions. As we know these factors vary from place to place, slate is available in a variety of colors. These factors also influence the responsiveness of slate towards changing color upon exposure to weather.
Those with minimum change in color are known as ‘’permanent’’ slates while those with the most color changes are known as “weathering” slates.
Reroofing with slate will require reinforcement of the roof to carry its heavy load. Although it’s non-leaching and lasts for hundreds of years and its natural beauty is unparalleled, it is one of the most expensive of steep slope roofing materials. Its installation is labor intensive and requires considerable skills.
You've likely noticed the explosion of solar energy systems appearing all over the place in recent years. Solar farms are appearing across the United States, and many people are choosing to have solar energy systems installed at their home and business locations. Still, plenty of people haven't subscribed to the solar energy idea yet. If this point describes you, you may want to consider some of the benefits you may enjoy if you had a solar energy system installed.
Below are five specific benefits of solar energy systems for your Bakersfield home and how they will enable you to get the most out of such an upgrade.
Solar Energy Systems Save Money
First and foremost, remember that solar energy is free. The sun shines several hours a day, every day of the year, especially if you’re in Bakersfield. So you can save a tremendous amount of money by having a solar array on your home that captures that free energy whenever the sun is out. The best solar energy systems can pay for themselves in just a few years, reducing what you spend on energy immensely.
With Solar in Bakersfield, You Aren’t Dependent on Energy Companies
A major benefit of solar energy systems is that they allow you to cut the cord from the electric companies. It’s a necessity that you’ve been using your entire life, so you likely never thought of it, but you are completely reliant on a company that can change rates, alter availability, or suffers outages outside of your control. With solar panels, you can own your electric source and not need to rely on such a company ever again.
Solar Energy is 100 Percent Renewable
This is the big one, the reason this is such an incredible potential energy source for so many people in Kern County and other year-round sunny locations. Solar energy is renewable. It’s never running out. Fuel prices, wars, and commodity shifts—none of it will affect the cost of your electricity if you have solar panels installed on your home.
Benefits of Solar Energy to the Environment
Right alongside renewability and sustainability comes another important factor: New solar energy systems benefit the environment in the form of a heavy reduction in CO2 emissions. Almost every other form of major electricity production in the United States burns fossil fuels. With solar panels on your home, you won’t be contributing to what is becoming an increasingly dire situation. Better yet, you’ll be able to help by producing your own electricity.
Get Paid for Your Energy
With the right solar panel array on your home, you may produce more energy than you actually need. This can result in Solar Renewable Energy Credits that can then be sold for cash. That’s right, you can actually earn tax credits and rebates for installing new solar panels on your home! If you remain on the grid, you can feed back into the system as well so that when you underproduce your needs, it balances out against what you’ve given to the grid.
Is Solar Energy Right for You?
The benefits of solar panels are plenty, including freedom from the energy grid, a chance to do your part to help the environment, and a way to both save and possibly even earn money. It’s a perfect fit for anyone looking for a substantial upgrade for the home with long-term benefits.
Above are just a few of the many amazing benefits associated with solar energy systems. If you’d like more information on solar panels for home use, don’t hesitate to contact Semper Solaris.
You may think summertime is the best time to repair a roof, but the autumn months are preferred. In bright sunny Orange County, roofing projects can be extremely hot and dangerous in the summertime. A crisp fall morning is a much better time to undergo a roofing project to prepare for winter, and your roofing contractor will thank you as well!
Orange County Winters
Although it never snows in coastal OC towns such as Newport Beach or Huntington, it still gets windy, and there’s still a little bit of rain. Completing a roofing project in fall is a great way to prevent any issues you may have with an old roof in the wintertime - i.e. leaks, pooling water or rotting asphalt shingles.
If you have any broken shingles, they will only get worse in the winter and those few broken shingles may compromise the integrity of your entire roof as well as your attic space.
Furthermore, a new roof will save you money on your utility bill.
OC homeowners often forget that a roof is more than just a set of shingles. Getting a new roof in the fall will help insulate and ventilate your home before the colder winter months. This could save you money in the long run by allowing your furnace to not have to work as hard. You’ll also be saving money year-round because a well-insulated home will offer the same benefits for your AC in the summer.
Fall has the Perfect Temperature for Roofing Projects
As we’ve mentioned before, Orange County summers are hot. The heat offers more issues than just a tough time for workers though. Hot weather can also warp asphalt shingles and cause issues with properly fitting your roofing materials together. That’s just another big reason why fall is the best time to install a roof for Orange County residents.
Contact Semper Solaris today to make sure your home’s roof is ready for winter. Our team of expert roofers is local to the Orange County area and we take great pride in offering the best roof replacement services in OC.
With its year-round gorgeous weather and more than 800 miles of superb coastline, it’s no wonder that California is a boating Mecca. According to a 2002 study by the U.S. Coast Guard, California is the number one boating state, boasting over one million registered boats within its borders. (Fun fact: California contains more boats than South Dakota does people!) Of course, Californians will put their own spin on boating. That’s why more and more Golden State boaters are installing solar panels on their floating castles to improve their life at sea and to protect the fragile ocean beneath their hull.
Are you considering solar panels for your boat? You probably have a lot of questions, like do solar panels make sense for boats? How do they work on boats? Where in the world do they go, and what are the unique challenges of going solar on the open water? In this article, we answer your most pressing solar questions, so you can decide whether to add some solar power to your flagship.
Does Solar Make Sense on Boats?
We Californians love our solar panels. Stroll through any subdivision in San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, or Oakland, and you’re bound to see the gleam of panels on many rooftops. In fact, our state is crushing on solar panels so hard, California recently announced that most new homes and structures built after 2020 must incorporate solar panels.
How does this solar crush translate to the sea? Does it really make sense to tether a few panels to your boat? The answer, increasingly, is yes. You may have heard horror stories from wizened sailors of rusted or cracked first-gen solar panels that couldn’t even keep a lightbulb on for an hour. However, over the past decade, solar panel technology and manufacturing has improved by leaps and bounds.
These days, solar panels are much cheaper and more powerful. Best of all, they are both sturdy and flexible, allowing them to survive all the pitches and rolls that come with a life on the high seas. As a result of these improvements, more and more sailors are inviting solar on board. What does that actually look like, and how can solar panels power your through the waves
How to Use Solar Panels on Your Boat
There are two primary ways to utilize solar panels on your boat. The most common (and until recently, only) option is to use solar panels to recharge your ship’s batteries so that you can run all the electronics on your ship without having to periodically turn on your engine.
This is a convenience that lets you charge your tablet, keep your drinks chilled in the fridge, and enjoy lights at night without having to turn on your noisy engine every few hours. Your neighbors in the marina or in the peaceful cove where you’ve dropped anchor will appreciate the extra peace and quiet.
Can this type of setup actually work? According to Emily Fagan, she and her husband Mark relied on solar panels to keep the batteries charged on their 2008 Hunter 44DS named Groovy almost exclusively during a nearly four-year cruise around Mexico. Fagan even recalls that they were forced to rely only on solar power for ten weeks while they waited for an engine alternator replacement. “We had no backup charging system to turn to, and yet we lived and sailed comfortably the entire time,” Fagan writes.
The beauty of rigging solar panels to charge your ship’s batteries is that you don’t need a significant amount of solar power to do the job. Since solar prices have fallen over so much in the last decade, this retrofit is highly affordable for most boaters!
Sailing on the Sun
More recently, a small but growing number of sailors have started to sail using solar power. In 2017, Captain Jim Greer completed the “Great Loop,” a 7,200-mile cruise through the Great Lakes, inland rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean, on his 48-foot tri-hull named Ra, using only solar power. (He didn’t even power up at the marinas.)
His boat didn’t exactly break any speed records – he recorded a top speed of 10.7 miles per hour – but he made the entire trip without using a drop of fossil fuels. This was made possible by using solar-charged batteries. Boaters who want to preserve the beautiful oceans and waterways that keep them afloat may now be able to cruise those waters while burning less or even no diesel gas at all!
Whether you want to dip your toe into the solar waters by installing a system that charges your electronics or you’re ready to sail the world using only solar panels, how do you actually incorporate solar panels onto your boat?
Adding Solar Panels to Your Boat
Thinking about adding solar panels to your flagship? Your first step is to decide whether you want the solar panels to power just your electronics or your whole ship. If you’re looking to sail just on solar alone, be ready to invest in a hefty solar power system. You should also be the type of person who loves planning – you’re going to need to keep a close eye on your batteries and make sure you always have enough juice to stay safe!
Like most sailors, you want to start with the smaller goal of using solar to power your on-board electronics, your next step is to calculate your energy needs. That sounds harder than it actually is. Simply determine the energy requirements of each piece of electronic equipment on your ship, including the things you want to regularly charge. For example, you should be able to figure out how many watts your phone requires per charge or how much energy your fridge and freezer take to run for an hour. Next, determine how much you typically use each item. If you just like to take your boat out of the San Diego harbor for half a day on the weekends, you won’t need nearly as much power as you would if you plan to live on your boat full-time, like Emily and Mark Fagan.
Your energy needs will help you determine how many solar panels you’ll need to purchase and what type of panels will be best for your boat.
Finding the Space
One of the biggest challenges of incorporating solar panels on a boat is finding the space to install them. Unless you are captaining a luxury yacht, space is likely to be at a premium. While solar panels have gone down in size over the past decade, they still take up space.
The best option for you will depend on the dimensions and layout of your boat. Obviously, the smaller the boat, the more difficult it will likely be to find space for panels. Some sailors have solved this problem by crafting overhead structures or racks on which to place panels. Others have placed solar panels on the sides of the boat, embedded them in the deck, or purchased foldable panels that they can take out and reposition around the ship.
It may be a good idea to work with an experienced solar installation company to determine the best ways to safely and effectively incorporate solar panels onto your boat. This is especially true because where you place the solar panels can dramatically impact how well they perform!
Avoiding the Shadows
Anything that blocks the sun’s photons from hitting your panels can dramatically lower the energy your panels produce. Besides the unavoidable clouds in the sky, homeowners generally don’t have to worry about bothersome shadows when they have solar panels installed on their rooftops. Boat owners face a more difficult challenge.
Between the mast, sail, spreaders, boom, and the radome, solar panels on a boat often get hit with energy-dampening shadows. To make things even more complicated, the shadows will change depending on the heading and location of your boat, which changes by the second!
When it comes time to install your solar panels, be aware of how shadows could affect your system’s energy production. Try to install the panels in a way that avoids the most drastic shadows and consider purchasing more solar panels to offset any restrictions that may come from unavoidable shadows.
Install Your Own Solar Panels or Hire a Solar Installation Expert?
Once you’ve decided to take the solar challenge, you’ve got one more important decision to make. Can you install the solar panels on your own, or should you hire a licensed expert to help? The right answer will be different for each boat owner
Many boat owners pride themselves on their independence and could enjoy the challenge of wiring up their own solar system. Certainly, if you only want to dabble with a smaller system or even start with a portable solar panel setup to recharge a few of your devices each day, you can probably handle the installation yourself.
For larger installations, however, it is usually best to work with an expert team. A licensed solar installer can help you determine which type of solar panel would be ideal for your boat and would hold up best on the open water. An experienced California solar installer may also be able to either build a new structure on your boat to support the solar panels or hire a subcontractor that specializes in this type of work. Most importantly, a solar installer will ensure that your system is designed and installed correctly so that you don’t accidentally damage your boat’s batteries and so that the system doesn’t underperform due to shadows.
If you’d love to drift along a quiet cove without turning on your boat’s engine every few hours to charge your battery, or if you dream of cutting your carbon footprint to protect the ocean and all its amazing inhabitants, contact Semper Solaris. We are a California solar installer that understands the call of the open sea. Let us help you add a little sun to power to your boat. Contact for a free solar consultation today.
When it comes to roofs, there are a wide range of options to select from. You’ve got everything from TPO for many commercial buildings to classic shingle for residential homes. Materials can range from metal to wood to cement to plastic to clay. What makes one material more preferred over the other? It can vary greatly based on the use of building, geographical location, weather, budget, and style.
So what are some of the most common types of roofs that can be found in the Bay Area? We break down the region’s most popular roofing options. Keep reading to find out more!
What Type of Roof Do You Have?
Wondering if your roofing material makes it in the top four most common roofing materials? Check the list below to learn more about your home’s roofing material or other options available to you.
Here are some of the Bay Area’s top roofing materials:
Slate: The pristine, elegant beauty of slate has been proven reliable for homeowners time and time again. Weather-resistant, slate roofs boast a lifespan ranging from 80 to 100 years. The natural appearance of slate lends itself to many different patterns and styles, making it a diverse roofing material. Slate tiles are also fire-resistant and rather easy to keep looking good for years to come.
Clay / Terracotta: As a very common option found throughout California, clay (or terracotta) tiles exude Mediterranean or Spanish style. Due to the durability of clay, it is a very popular selection -- it can withstand fires, rot, and even insect pestering. Another feature that makes clay tiles so common is the range of colors and styles available. You can customize these details to best suit the style of your home, making them very versatile.
Wood Shakes: Though they are a little more susceptible to fire damage and rot than other roofing materials, wood shakes provide great insulation and air circulation for homes. This style of roofing can come in numerous colors, wood types, and patterns, making it ideal for customization. Wood shake roof designs can look anywhere from rustic chic to old world romantic.
Composite Shingles: As one of the most affordable roofing materials, composite shingles can be used for a range of different home types. Homeowners often have a broad selection of colors and styles of shingles, even recycled shingle options. Other options include fiberglass and asphalt.
Ready to Upgrade Your Roofing? Schedule Replacement!
Whether you have a slate roof or clay shingles, if your roof is in serious need of replacement, leave it to the pros at Semper Solaris. Why consider a roof replacement? Not only can an upgraded roof better protect your home and personal property, but it can also add to the value of your house. A sturdy roof means peace of mind and boosted curb appeal. If you’ve considered going solar, having a stable, strong, and reliable roof is all the more important to complete your home improvement project.
Interested in learning more about our roof replacement in the Bay Area? We are here to help. Contact us today to get informed.
Solar has grown immensely in Inland Empire and steadily in the past 5 years. The introduction of ITC (Investment Tax Credit) has been the single biggest driver in encouraging homeowners to go solar – it has made the costs of solar come dive by whopping 70% since it started in 2006. Besides the federal tax credit system, there’s a myriad of other financing options and net-metering. These options help homeowners with the upfront costs, but net metering also allows some owners of residential solar manage to cancel out their utility bills.
US solar capacity has risen by around 2.7 GW (around 4.6 million homes) and in the second quarter by around 1.4GW, marking a milestone for the States because now there are over 20GW of solar power coast to coast. Unfortunately, it’s not likely they will.
The current SCE net metering system gives Inland Empire homeowners an opportunity to zero out their bills in the next 20 years.
Going solar as soon as possible will allow homeowners to invest more money into their PV system before tax credit funds run out. It will also be possible to have the system installed for the smallest possible budget, since the price of materials and installation itself will jack up when the tax credit system runs out. A third of the costs covered by the government is quite a relief for your wallet. Plus, you’ll be able to cancel out your utility bills or significantly reduce them for the period of next 20 years. And one more reason why it’s better to go solar sooner rather than later – an increased demand is expected to take place quite soon as people start to realize solar is the most affordable just now. A larger demand entails longer waiting periods – so the sooner you jump on the bandwagon, the sooner you’ll have clean solar energy for your home.
If you are considering going solar in Riverside, CA, or anywhere in the Inland Empire, don’t hesitate to call Semper Solaris for a quote. We are ready to answer all your questions and provide you with the most accurate information regarding residential solar, so you can make an informed decision. Our veteran-owned and operated company is based on trust, premier products, and first-class workmanship. We deliver what we promise. Contact us today!
While typically found on commercial roofs, some more modern or minimalist home designs may also feature flat roofs. Flat roofs are very popular in the Bay Area, primarily due to the influence of famed architect Joseph Eichler, who promoted affordable midcentury-modern designs in San Francisco and surrounding areas.
With that stylized look comes a little more maintenance and upkeep than your average roof. One of the biggest challenges is determining if your roof just needs some repair work or is due for a major replacement. This becomes even tricky to determine when you have a flat roof. The good news? We’ve outlined a few of the most common problems that indicate its time to have your roof inspected or worked on.
What to Keep an Eye Out For
Water Puddles or Pools
A typical roof has a slant to it to prevent water from building up anywhere. Flat roofs don’t have this advantage. With exposure to the elements, your roof can begin to develop some dips or uneven spots. Since that rain or snow really has no natural runoff point, these areas could begin to collect water. While your roofing materials are likely designed to withstand rain and snowfall, it is still good to inspect for pools a day or so after rain and ensure these spots are drained quickly to avoid deterioration at all. To avoid these spots, some additional repairs may be required.
A flat roof will typically have an asphalt membrane that is laid across the roof space. While initially flat, the natural movement and shifts of your home will cause some wear and tear to that membrane. If there is an excessive amount of shifting, there could be buckles in the membrane. This is a serious structural issue that requires immediate inspection. Most likely, a buckling membrane indicates is time for a roof replacement.
Roof Cracking or Bubbling
Often referred to as “alligatoring,” a flat roof that begins to crack and bubble (resembling an alligator’s skin) is a telltale sign that a roof replacement is on the horizon. Why does this occur? Roofs that are flat don’t have the natural give that slanted roofs have. Over time, the build-up of pressure can cause the asphalt on your roof to lose some of its elasticity, eventually deteriorating so badly that a replacement is the only option.
Leaks or Water Stains
This is an easy problem to spot -- and one of the most common to plague flat roofs. Moisture spots or leaks can not only be threats to the structural health and integrity of your roof, but also the interior of your home. Thankfully, these types of issues are generally pretty straightforward and easier to resolve without replacement. However, due to the flat shape, moisture doesn’t run off as naturally, so it is important to handle leaks as soon as you notice them try to prevent mold and fungus developments.
Your roof is exposed to the elements 24/7. That means it will endure natural wear and tear over the years. Flashing issues can develop when your flat roof begins to expand and contract due to this exposure and temperature swings. The flashing may start to peel away, exposing corners of the roof to the elements. This means the threat of leaks, mold build up due to unchecked moisture, and other complications.
Have Roofing Problems?
Semper Solaris is proud to offer reliable roof replacement in the Bay Area. If you are concerned about some problems you notice with your flat roof, don’t hesitate to contact our skilled roofing professionals today.
What happens when you have too much of a good thing? Easy, you share the wealth with your neighbors. In this case that “wealth” is California solar power, and California has so much of it, including solar power from Los Angeles, that it has been giving some of that sunshine goodness away to neighboring states, like Arizona and Nevada, for years! How has our state and our big cities like Los Angeles produced so much solar power that they need to give it away (and in some instances actually pay other states to take it)? Is there a way for our state to better utilize our solar energy so we don’t have to send it to neighboring states? Let’s shine a light on these questions and see if we can find some answers.
California’s Aggressive Solar Push
California has long been a renewable energy leader. The Golden State passed Senate Bill 350 in 2015, which requires all utilities in the state to source half of their electricity sales from renewable sources. That obviously wasn’t enough of a stance against carbon-heavy fossil fuels. Earlier this year the California Energy Commission unanimously adopted standards that require solar panels on most new homes and buildings created after January 1st, 2020.
In other words, California is betting big on renewable energy, especially solar. The results have been impressive. In 2010, California’s power plants generated just 15% of their energy from renewable sources, which were mostly wind and geothermal power. By 2017, that number had risen to 27%, almost all of the increase coming from solar. Additionally, in 2017 Pacific Gas & Electric relied on solar for 13% of its power, whereas San Diego Gas & Electric utilized solar for 22% of the energy it provided to its SoCal customers.
Where is all of this solar energy coming from? If you were to jump on a plane and scour the state, you’d come across some of the world’s largest solar farms spread out in California’s desolate inland, including the Topaz Solar Farm (550 megawatt capability) in the Central Valley, as well as the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility (392 megawatts) and the Beacon Solar Project (250 megawatts) in the Mojave Desert. These major facilities combine to provide over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power capability for the state.
Of course, you don’t even need to rent out a plane to see how solar is transforming California. You can see the increase in solar power in Los Angeles just by taking a jog around the neighborhood and counting up all the homes with solar panels on their roofs.
With this rapidly increasing solar capacity, it’s no surprise that California is making gains toward it’s renewable energy goals. What is surprising is just how laughably easy that goal seems now. The state has already easily surpassed its first milestone of generating 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, and we might even hit the entire goal of 50% renewable energy production ten years early.
This is where too much of a good thing might actually become a problem. California has started to generate so much solar power so quickly that the state’s existing infrastructure is scrambling to adapt. In the short term, this has meant handing off some of our solar power to our neighbors and even in some instances begging them to take it!
Why California Doesn’t Use All of Its Renewable Energy
To understand why California is giving away solar power from Los Angeles and its other big cities, we must take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is the state entity in charge of running that state’s massive electrical grid. One of its prime directives is to prevent blackouts and brownouts, which have plagued California in the past.
California generates energy from a wide variety of sources, including from natural gas plants. It’s up to CAISO to figure out how to use all of this incoming energy effectively. The rise of solar power has made this balancing act more difficult. That’s because solar power is not a consistent energy source. During long, sunny days in the summer, solar energy can surge. At night, or during a stretch of cloudy days, the amount of available solar power can drop precipitously, forcing the state to rely more heavily on natural gas plants and other power sources.
The biggest energy glut typically comes in the winter, when power usage is low but solar energy production remains high. (In the summer, the heavy use of air conditioning across the state eagerly sucks up excess solar energy.) To some degree, California has the ability to turn off its solar tap. CAISO can ask its utility companies to cut back their solar energy production. Still, this isn’t always enough to manage the incoming energy supply. After all, the utilities can’t turn off the growing number of residential solar power systems.
Why not turn off the natural gas plants during sunny days when solar energy production jumps? That would certainly be a better deal for the environment, but not for California’s budget. It is costly to stop production at natural gas plants, which means solar plants are usually the first target for energy cuts.
In some cases, even cutting back on solar power isn’t enough to stem the flow of too much energy production. If too much power goes through California’s electrical grid, it could cause a brownout or blackout, almost like allowing too much steam to build up in a closed system. When this situation occurs, CAISO has to find a way to release the pressure and get rid of the excessive energy.
It turns out that sharing really is caring! CAISO often turns to California’s neighboring states to offload excess energy. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, California paid Arizona to take its solar power for eight days in January of 2017, nine days in February, and 14 days in March!
Arizona isn’t the only beneficiary of this largess. California has also been known to give its solar power away to Nevada and other neighboring states.
Why Does California Have to Pay for Its Neighbors to Take Its Energy?
You’d think that Arizona and the other states would be happy to get free energy. However, it’s all about supply and demand. If Arizona needs energy, it might be willing to pay California for its excess or accept the energy for free. However, if Arizona is producing enough energy on its own, it will actually need to turn off its own energy valves in order to take California’s energy, which costs it money.
In other words, when California desperately needs to get energy off its hands and no one wants it, we have to pay up!
This seems like a bizarre state of affairs, doesn’t it? California has gotten too good at producing solar power. How can our state figure out a way to actually use all the solar power it produces?
How to Keep Solar Power in Los Angeles
One answer is for California to slow down the pace of or entirely stop greenlighting new natural gas plants in the state. Surprisingly, until relatively recently, state regulators have been giving the thumbs up for new natural gas projects. Some utility officials claim that new plants are needed to stabilize the grid, especially at night or during cloudy days when solar power isn’t available. However, the state is home to plenty of existing natural gas plants, and many activists believe new ones aren’t needed. Instead, they want California to focus on finding better ways to harness solar energy.
That has everything to do with improving the way solar energy is stored. Reliable and efficient solar energy storage would allow California to keep all the excess solar power it produces on sunny days (or at least much more than it currently does) and feed that energy back into the electrical grid at night or during cloudy days.
Fortunately, solar storage technology continues to improve at a rapid pace. For example, solar panel batteries like Tesla Powerwall are getting better and cheaper each year. Soon, effective solar storage systems may help eliminate some of the largest challenges of solar, which could, in turn, allow California to fully embrace its growing solar infrastructure without sending its solar energy out of state.
Last year, California Senate President, Kevin De León, introduced a measure that would have required California to produce 100% of its energy using renewable resources by 2045. That measure was narrowly defeated, but de León vowed to bring it up again. If this measure is adopted, California will likely have to increase its solar production capacity even more and find an effective storage solution.
You can help be part of California’s solar solution! If you want to see our state transition to 100% renewable energy, then now is the time to invest in solar panels for your home. Contact Semper Solaris today to request a free home energy analysis.