Semper Solaris Blog

Many homeowners in California are interested in going solar, but solar panel system costs stop them in their tracks. It’s true that solar panels carry a big price tag, but is solar an investment that will eventually pay dividends? We believe that the answer is yes. Solar panels can provide financial savings in the long run, and their value extends much farther than nickels and dimes. Solar panels can also help you support great careers in your community and fight the devastating effects of climate change. Let’s look at all the ways solar panels can add value to your bank account, your community, and to the planet. But first, here’s a quick review of the costs associated with solar panels. Why are Solar Panels Worth the Value? Leasing options do exist, but if you want to own your solar panels, you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket, take out a loan, or find another financing option. While today’s solar panel system costs may seem high, you are actually getting an incredible deal! Solar power system costs have plummeted 60% over the last decade, while efficiency rates have climbed dramatically. That means today’s solar panels systems work better than ever and cost less money! Of course, that might not make you feel better if you’re looking at a hefty price quote from a solar installer. Where are all these costs coming from? Solar Panels Themselves The solar panels themselves are a major component of the cost of a solar system. The amount of your price quote will depend upon the energy needs of your home. Households that use more energy will require more solar panels. Additionally, the cost of solar panels will vary by brand. Just as with most consumer products, you’ll pay a premium for the top models. Learn More: Five Questions to Ask to Make Sure You’re Getting Top Rated Solar Panels Equipment A solar system consists of more than just solar panels. You’ll also need racking to keep the solar panels on your roof as well as an inverter that converts the energy the solar panels produce to the energy your appliances and electronics needs. Permits Your solar installation team will need to pull permits in order to satisfy the local building codes in your state and city. Labor It takes knowledge and expertise to assess your roof, design a solar panel system, and then to correctly install that system. An experienced installation company will ensure that the panels are placed on the roof to produce the maximum amount of energy and that the racking is installed correctly so as not to damage your roof. Learn More: How to Make Your Solar System Installation More Affordable Roofing If your roof is old or damaged, it is possible that it may need to be repaired or replaced before solar panels can be installed. Replacing a roof is a significant cost, but it will certainly be necessary anyway, whether or not you ultimately decide to move forward with solar panels. Learn More: Do You Need a New Roof? Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of where solar panel system costs come from, let’s look at the five reasons why solar panels can be a smart investment despite their daunting price tag. Value 1 – Lower Energy Bills The beauty of solar panels is that they effortlessly produce energy using an abundant and free resource – sunlight. Though you will have to pay the upfront costs for your solar panel system, as soon as the system is in place, you’ll begin saving each month. Ideally, your solar panel system should produce the majority of the energy your home needs, meaning your energy bills will be extremely low or even non-existent. California makes it even easier to save big because it offers net metering. In a nutshell, when your solar panels produce more energy than your household needs (usually in the middle of the day when the sun is out but fewer people are at home), that excess energy goes back into the grid, and you receive a credit from the utility company. During cloudy days or at night when your solar panels can’t produce the energy you need, you can pull energy from the grid. If you have the right size system, by the end of the year, your energy credits should mostly cancel out the debts. All told, your solar panel system should eventually pay for itself through energy savings and then offer you a net value. Consider also that utility prices always go up. That means that the savings your solar system offers will only increase over time as energy prices increase. Learn More – How to Reduce Your Electric Bill This Summer Value 2 – Increased Home Value One great way to think about solar panel system costs is not to imagine that money disappearing forever. Instead, you are banking a big chunk of that money in your home. That’s because initial research from the Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that homes with solar panels were worth up to $17,000 more than similar homes without solar panels. Solar panels can increase the value of your home. That’s money you’ll get back if you decide to sell or even money you may be able to utilize if you refinance in the future. Keep in mind that this added home value comes on top of the energy savings you’ll enjoy each month! One other thing to note is that replacing your roof also provides a spectacular return on investment for the cost. According to the well-regarded 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange roof replacement in the Pacific region of the United States offers a return of 79.3%. Learn More – Homes Are Worth More with Solar Panels Value 3 – Government Incentives Many local programs are still up and running, including a program offered to all customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) that offers a one-time rebate of $0.25 per watt.  Your solar panel installation team should be able to tell you about which incentives you qualify for. They should also handle all the steps to ensuring you qualify for the incentive. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by. There’s a reason you may have heard that solar incentives don’t exist anymore. Many programs have wound down as their funds have been used. The federal program has only been extended for two more years, and it’s unclear when the LADWP program will be complete. Let the government help pay for your solar panel system. Incentives help take some of the stings out of the initial setup cost of solar and allow your solar panel investment to pay off much sooner. Learn More – What to Know About LADWP’s Solar Incentive Program Value 4 – Protecting the Environment Let’s take a step back and consider the value of solar panels outside of the financial realm. Yes, it’s great to have a nearly non-existent energy bill each month, but solar panels can offer value in much more powerful ways. Like, helping you save the planet… at least a little. Californians are already dealing with the effects of climate change. Our summers are growing hotter, and wildfire season has turned into a year-round event. We’re still recovering from the devastating 2017-2018 wildfire season even as flames rage across the state this summer, forcing Californians from their homes and stealing lives far too soon. Solar panels use the clean, abundant energy of the sun to produce power, and by investing in solar panels, you can dramatically lower the carbon footprint of your home. In essence, investing in solar panels is an investment in a clean, stable future for yourself, your family, and all the generations to come. Learn More – Growing Solar Energy Means Less Oil Dependency Value 5 – Investing in Your Community When it comes time to purchase a solar panel system, consider hiring a local solar panel installation company. Investing in a local company means that you can support great, high-paying jobs in your community. The solar panel industry offers a variety of stable, well-paying careers and has a low bar to entry. Many solar jobs don’t require a college degree. The solar industry is also a popular career option for military veterans looking to transition back into civilian life. A thriving community provides endless value and makes your city a better place to live overall. At Semper Solaris, we are proud to be a veteran-owned company that makes a special effort to hire veterans at our locations throughout California. Learn More – Seven Inspiring Facts About Clean Energy Jobs Solar Panel System Costs Are Worth the Value When you ask a solar installation company to assess your home for solar panels, prepare yourself for the price quote. That’s a lot of money, but don’t forget all the value that solar panels can offer you. The energy savings alone will eventually pay for the solar panel system costs, especially as the utility companies continue to hike prices. Also, keep in mind that some of that investment will go right back into your home in the form of increased value. Government incentives can also help take some of the stings off the initial purchase price, but only if you start the purchase process before they run out! Your investment in solar panels is about more than dollar bills. Solar panels will help you lower your carbon footprint, making you a climate change warrior. Even small acts add up and can help preserve our future! Finally, your investment in solar panels is also an investment in your community if you choose a local installation company. The solar industry offers great jobs and can provide stable career opportunities for your neighbors and friends and help your community thrive. Convinced that solar panels are well worth the cost? Then start the process of getting solar panels with a free, no-pressure energy consultation from Semper Solaris. We have opened locations throughout California to provide local solar and roofing expertise. Schedule your energy consultation today!

One of the most common criticisms lobbed at those who believe that solar power is key to helping the world transition to renewable energy is that solar panels only work for half the day. After all, they are called "solar" panels, so what happens when the sun sinks below the horizon? Do solar panels simply stop working, leaving solar panel owners literally in the dark? In this article, we’ll tackle this criticism head-on. We’ll review how solar panels work, what happens to solar panels on cloudy days and at night, and how solar panels can still help power the world whether the sun is shining or not. A Quick Review of How Solar Panels Work Do solar panels generate power at night? The simple answer is “no.” To understand why we first need to look at how solar panels work. Get ready; we’re about to get sciency! The sun produces massive amounts of energy that it sends to Earth in the form of photons. Solar panels are made up of lots of little photovoltaic cells, usually sandwiched between two slabs of silicon. (This is why solar panels are often referred to as photovoltaic or PV panels.) When photons hit the photovoltaic cells, they knock electrons loose from their atom. The two slabs of silicon each have a different charge, which creates an electric field. This electric field forces the wayward electron to scurry through a circuit. It’s this movement of electrons that creates a direct current (DC) that is then converted into the alternating current (AC) that powers your appliances, light bulbs, and all other electronics. Without photons from the sun to knock them loose, the electrons within a solar cell stay snug in their orbits around an atom and don’t create power. For this reason, solar panels essentially do not create power or “work” during the night. (Nope, the moon doesn’t send down its own photons. It’s not a star like the sun.) Does this mean that solar panels can’t provide enough energy for homeowners and will cause them to lose power at night? Absolutely not. Before we explain why, let’s look at another common and related question: Do Solar Panels Operate on Cloudy Days? Solar panels don’t work at night, but does that mean that they are equally useless during cloudy days? Many homeowners who live in more overcast parts of the state ask us this question, worried that solar panels won’t be a good option for them. We are happy to report that solar panels DO function during cloudy days. Just as clouds don’t block all of the sunlight on a cloudy day, they also can’t stop all of the sun’s photons from hitting the earth and your solar panels. (This is also why you can still get sunburned on a cloudy day and should wear sunscreen even when the sky is overcast!) Cloudy days do affect solar panel efficiency. Less sun equals less energy creation. Depending on how overcast the sky is, a cloudy day can reduce solar panels to 25% to 10% of their normal efficiency. This is a pretty big drop in efficiency, but the key detail is that solar panels can operate in cloudy conditions. Homeowners who live in cloudier parts of California, especially in areas of the state with higher-than-average energy costs, can still benefit from investing in solar panel systems. Their systems will have to be larger than the systems of a similar home in a sunnier part of the state in order to produce the same amount of energy. Still, solar panels can be a good deal for these homeowners, helping them to save on their energy bills. Most importantly, these systems will still pay for themselves over time. Even in the cloudiest parts of the state, a solar system will typically pay for itself in six to nine years! (Check out our previous blog post all about how weather affects solar panel.) Wait, what? Didn’t we just explain that solar panels don’t produce energy at night? True, but that doesn’t mean solar panels can’t power your home after the sun goes down. In fact, there are two different ways your solar panels can generate enough power to cover your energy needs day and night. The first method is through California’s net metering system. The second option is to take advantage of the improving slate of solar batteries on the market. Net Metering Stores Your Power California has a net metering system, which allows homeowners with solar panels to send excess energy back into the energy grid in exchange for energy credits. (Your energy meter will actually tick backwards!) When homeowners need more power than their solar panels produce, they can then take energy back out of the grid, causing their energy meter to tick forward. Ideally, your solar panel installer will help you determine your home’s average monthly energy use and then recommend a system size that produces that equivalent of power. (Learn about how to figure out how many solar panels you need for your home.) This doesn’t mean that your system will produce the same amount of power each day, each week, or even each month. For example, during the long days of summer, your system will likely produce an excess of power, which will allow you to stockpile credits. During the shorter winter days, you’ll use those credits as you pull energy from the grid. If your system is designed correctly, everything should balance out by the end of the year, helping you realize big energy savings. In this way, your public utility acts as a sort of storage system for your solar power. During the day when your panels are producing their maximum amount of power, your family members may be at work or school and not be using a lot of power at home. Your system will pump that excess power into the grid to build up your credits. At night, when you need to turn on more lights, or when you want to put on the air conditioning to cool the house down before bed, you’ll use your credits and pull energy back out of the grid. Net metering is one of the reasons that solar technology has been so successful in California and why it quickly helps homeowners recoup their solar panel investment. Rather than relying on a public utility to store your excess power until you need it at night, you could always store the power your solar panels create during the day yourself with the help of a solar battery. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a new generation of residential solar batteries hit the market like Tesla Powerwall. These batteries are much more powerful than their previous iterations and can hold significantly more power for a longer period of time. Solar batteries can be a great solution is you don’t receive service from a public utility provider, or if you want to live off the grid as much as possible. Of course, relying on a battery does require a more focused approach to your energy usage. You’ll have to keep a close eye on your battery’s charge and how much energy you use. Additionally, short winter days or a week of overcast weather could make it difficult for your solar panels to create all the power you need even with a battery. Still, the technology behind solar batteries only continues to improve, and as the economies of scale increase, prices for solar batteries like Tesla Powerwall will begin to drop, just as they have for solar panels. Do solar panels work at night? No. But the idea that they can’t help Californians dramatically lower their energy costs or be part of the solution to transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy is false. Solar power is one of the main driving forces helping California reach its 2030 goal to generate half of its power from renewable energy. In fact, Californians have embraced solar so much that a 2017 report from the California Public Utilities Commission found that the Golden State may hit this “ambitious” goal a decade early! California’s net metering system, as well as the recent improvements in solar battery technology, have allowed homeowners to power their home day and night with a solar panel system on their roof. Are you interested in learning more about solar panels for your home? At Semper Solaris, we have established offices throughout California. Our solar representatives can help you determine how much power your home requires on an average monthly basis, which will let us recommend the ideal solar panel system for your energy needs and budget. We also offer solar batteries and can install your solar panel system and your solar battery together if you would prefer to live off the grid. If you want to take advantage of California’s net metering system, we will work with your local public utility to have your system permitted, reviewed, approved, and connected to your local utility provider. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation energy audit of your home.

Several years ago, Elon Musk steered Tesla Motors into the renewable energy market with an innovative home energy storage product – Tesla Powerwall. This home battery is designed with the same dedication to detail and innovation as Tesla’s cutting-edge electric vehicles and other ventures. While Tesla certainly didn’t invent solar storage batteries, they certainly used their reputation as a leading-edge tech and renewable energy-conscious company to launch their Powerwall into a mostly untapped market. With Tesla’s stamp of approval, new buzz and interest have surrounded the prospect of storing solar energy created by a home’s solar panels. So what exactly is the Powerwall? According to Tesla, it is a small-scale rechargeable lithium ion battery that provides homeowners with more access to self-sustaining energy for their homes Understanding Tesla Powerwall These batteries are designed for optimal use with a solar panel system. How does having the Powerwall installed change the game for homeowners with solar panels? It gives them much more independence from the grid when it comes to energy needs during low production times. Essentially, the Powerwall allows a homeowner to fully control their electricity production and usage by storing home energy for later use. As would be expected, Tesla spent a significant amount of time and energy developing the Powerwall into a reliable, effective home battery for regular use. The battery works by storing any excess electricity your solar panels produce vs. allowing that electricity to be sent back to the grid (usually for a credit in most states). Even in states with a credit, homeowners are still technically “buying” electricity from the grid when their panels don’t produce electricity at certain times. The battery allows any surplus to be stored and used during these times rather than grid dependency. While a single Powerwall battery won’t enable you to go completely “off the grid,” it does allow you much more freedom and starts to transition your home towards being much more self-sufficient. How Long Will Tesla Powerwall Last? Tesla backs it Powerwall up with a completely unlimited 10-year warranty. This warranty covers daily charging and usage, so essentially as much wear and tear as possible. The warranty also guarantees that a home’s Powerwall will maintain a minimum of 70% of its full charge capacity over this time. It is typical for batteries to lose some of their ability to maintain a charge with usage. Is Tesla Powerwall Right for Your Home? Adding a solar battery to a home solar panel system isn’t right for everyone. Further, solar batteries are still pretty new to the market, meaning the technology will continue to improve with time. If you have a utility system that provides net metering for solar panel owners, a solar battery may not be as necessary. In comparison, homeowners in areas that enforce time-of-use rates for electricity would be wise to consider investing in a solar battery to curb their expenses. Finding out if a solar battery is a good investment for your home starts with talking to a solar expert. Semper Solaris is a Tesla Powerwall certified installer and can answer any questions you have about Tesla Powerwall or similar solar energy batteries.

As solar energy becomes a more popular renewable energy source, switching becomes more and more attractive to homeowners. There are numerous factors to weigh, especially the cost of investing in solar panels compared to the rising cost of electricity. Any type of change can be somewhat intimidating at first. You may be wondering if switching to solar power would be too much of a hassle or if the panels will even last long enough to make the switch worth it. If you need a little motivation to push you over to the solar side, Semper Solaris is here to help. Top Motivations for Going Solar Promotes a Healthier Environment The earth is full of precious resources that people have been harvesting and using for countless years. However, other resources -- such as certain fossil fuels -- have been causing serious damage to the environment. The health of our environment should far outweigh the benefits of fossil fuels – which is why solar energy has gained significant popularity in the last few decades. The more homes and businesses that switch to solar, the less our world is reliant on more harmful fossil fuels. Instead of being dependent on fossil fuels, a switch to primarily solar can significantly cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Not only that, but studies have found that if solar energy was adopted on a wider scale, various respiratory problems could be lessened as well. For example, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that an increase in solar energy usage vs. fossil fuels would cut back on harmful emissions that can sometimes result in bronchitis, respiratory issues, and even cardiovascular problems. Solar Helps Boost the Economy There is no denying that the market for solar is booming. In fact, the International Renewable Energy Agency reported that solar employment has grown 17 times faster than the rest of the country’s economy. More than 250,000 people were employed in the solar industry in 2017, with numbers expected to continue to grow. Gives You Back Control of Your Utility Bills Having to stress over the rise and fall of electricity costs can be stressful. You have to monitor and track your use, be conservative with your usage at times that may be convenient, and ultimately, don’t have any control over the prices you are charged. The good news? Switching to solar energy gives you back control. With a solar panel system, you are able to convert the sun’s rays into usable energy for all your household needs. Another positive? In most areas, any excess electricity created will go to the grid and be credited back to you, which means during the evening or on cloudy days, you still have your electricity needs covered. These are just a few of the most compelling reasons to switch to solar, so if you’d like to learn more about going solar, our solar panel experts can provide insight.

While there are plenty of energy options available to consumers, solar energy is emerging as one of the most effective. Energy harnessed from the sun’s rays is unique in that it is essentially “clean,” providing homeowners, schools, businesses, and all types of facilities with a renewable source of energy. California is one of the leaders in solar power production. In fact, it is leading the nation in number of projects installed, currently sitting at 842,977. California Legislature has even proposed that all of the state’s electricity resources come from renewable energy by 2045. What does this mean for homeowners considering their energy options? As solar power continues to become a priority for California, the incentive to switch to solar grows more and more. Fossil Fuels vs. Solar Energy So what about the old, still heavily used energy source, fossil fuel? Most commonly, fossil fuels refer to natural gas, coal, and oil. Collectively, these fossil fuels have accounted for a majority of the earth’s energy usage. Drilling for these natural resources can be costly and damaging to the earth’s surface, water sources, and more. Not only that, but we are coming dangerously close to depleting many of our main sources of fuels. That means either investing a significant amount of time and money mining for additional resources or finding a new source of energy. At the end of the day, no matter how useful we’ve found fossil fuels in the past, society cannot ignore the fact that fossil fuels create serious pollution. Fossil fuels are not renewable and take much longer to form vs. the rate we are using them. What exactly does the pollution problem look like? Around 21.3 billion tons of CO2 every year, which is considered to be a global warming contributor by scientists. Solar Changes the Energy Game Solar power is changing the game though. By converting sunlight into electricity through solar panel systems, people all over California (and the country) have access to a much cleaner source of energy. But how do we get the equipment to harvest the sun’s power? It is true that solar panels are manufactured using some fossil fuels at this point, however, it is a very minimal amount compared to utilizing fossil fuels for all electricity needs. As PV panel prices continue to drop and more innovation drives the way solar panels are manufactured, the process will get much cleaner. Not only that, but the financial advantages of switching to primarily renewable energy (both wind and solar) significantly outweigh the expense of harvesting and using fossil fuels in the long-run. In comparison with other renewable energy sources, solar power is the most accessible for homeowners. Panels can affordably be installed based on a family’s budget, home size, and overall electricity needs. This means a clean earth has never been more accessible and affordable to our modern world. So why wait? Find out how you can make the switch to solar today. Contact Semper Solaris to learn more about our team and our solar options.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You need to spend money to make money.”? That’s all well and good… as long as you have the money to spend! Take solar panels for your home as an example. Solar panels can help you dramatically lower or even eliminate your monthly energy bills, but what if you can’t afford the hefty price tag? Then it’s time to consider a solar lease. This financing option is extremely popular with homeowners throughout California because a solar lease offers you a viable way to get solar panels with little or even no money down. In this article, we’ll take a look at solar leases work and answer all of your burning solar lease questions. What Is a Solar Lease? Many of us don’t have thousands or tens of thousands of dollars sitting in our savings account that we can spend on a new solar power system. Likewise, you may be wary of taking on a solar loan to pay for your system or refinancing your house to scrounge up the money. A solar lease can be an excellent way still obtain solar panels without handing over your life’s savings. A solar lease is a financing option that lets you essentially “rent” your solar panels from a solar leasing company for a set cost each month. (A car lease works essentially the same way.) The solar leasing company owns the panels and all the equipment and shoulders the full cost of installing, maintaining, and monitoring your system. A solar lease is an ideal choice if you don’t want to pay out-of-pocket for your solar panels. It’s also an excellent way for you to support renewable energy production and lower your carbon footprint. How Much Will My Solar Lease Cost? Every solar lease company offers different lease terms, but most provide zero-down payment options, meaning that you can lease your solar panel system without an upfront payment. Certain solar leases do require a small down payment, so make sure you review the terms of your solar lease carefully before signing the agreement. The actual monthly cost of your solar system will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your solar system, the type of solar panels that make up the system, and labor costs in your geographic area. Will a Solar Lease Save Me Money? That’s the idea! Your solar lease provider will charge you a set rate each month based upon an estimate on how much energy your solar panel system will generate. Typically,  solar lease clients enjoy a savings of between 10% and 30% each month on their energy costs. The beauty of a solar lease is that your savings are likely to increase over time. As the utility companies continue to raise their rates, you’ll save more and more compared to your neighbors who don’t have solar panels. How Long Does a Solar Lease Last? Your solar lease will be active for a set amount of time as defined in your solar lease agreement. Typically, these agreements last between 20 and 25 years. Again, a solar lease allows you to pay the same set rate each month for all the energy your system produces. Over 25 years, utility costs are almost guaranteed to rise significantly, leading to even bigger cost savings for you! What Happens If My Solar Panels Break? One of the things that make solar leases so convenient is that the solar leasing company owns your solar panel system and is responsible for continually maintaining and monitoring the system. In the rare instance that your solar panels break, or their performance drops, your solar leasing company will come out and fix the issue. You won’t have to pay out-of-pocket to replace your solar panels or to hire a repair team. Will My Solar System Cover All My Energy Needs? Ideally, if you are working with an experienced and high-quality solar panel company, your solar installer will accurately assess your home’s energy usage and recommend a system that covers your energy needs. That being said, your energy usage will fluctuate from month-to-month. For example, when the sizzling summer months roll around, you’ll probably want to switch on your energy-guzzling air conditioning. Your solar lease payment only covers the energy your solar panels produce. If you use more energy than your system generates, you’ll need to get the rest of your energy from your public utility provider and will be charged their rates. This is an important factor to understand and to consider as you plan your solar lease system. Energy usage changes over time in most households. For example, if you purchase an electric car in the future, your energy needs could quickly outpace what your panels produce. The same is true if your kids come back from college or a parent moves into your home. On the flip side, if your kids will be heading out on their own in a few years, you may want to consider leasing a system that is a little smaller than your current, kid-juiced energy usage rates would indicate. What Is the Difference Between Solar Leases and Power Purchase Agreements? As you research solar leases, you may come across the term “Power Purchase Agreement” (PPA) or see solar leases and PPAs used interchangeably. PPAs are very similar to solar leases, but they operate in a slightly different way. With a solar lease, you “rent” your solar panel system and all the power it generates for a set monthly fee. With a power purchase agreement, you pay a set fee for every kWh (kilowatt hour) the system produces. Your monthly payment will vary depending on how much energy your system creates. For example, in winter, you may pay less, since longer nights mean less sunlight your system can convert into energy. In summer, your PPA payment will be higher as your panels drink in all that extra sunlight. Can I Still Get Renewable Energy Incentives if I Lease? Depending on where you live, homeowners in your area who invest in solar panels may qualify for local rebates or other tax incentives. One of the biggest incentives is the federal tax deduction, which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar panel system from your tax bill. Unfortunately, all of these incentives go to the owner of the solar panel system. If you choose a solar lease, these incentives will go to the solar leasing company, not to you. Remember though, that the solar leasing company is paying for the panels, the equipment, and the installation. Renewable energy incentives allow them to offer you low lease rates and no-money-down financing options. Can I Purchase My Solar Panels? Most solar leases will allow you to purchase your solar panel system during the lease period or when the lease expires. You may have to pay a predefined price as laid out in the lease agreement or the fair market value of the system (usually whichever amount is higher). Purchasing your solar panel system may be a good idea if your income increases over time and you would rather eliminate your energy costs altogether rather than pay the set lease rate each month. What Happens If I Want to Sell My House? As you’ve learned in this article, a solar lease typically lasts between 20 and 25 years. That’s a long time. Considering that the average American stays in their home for 13 years, chances are more likely than not that you’ll move out of your house before your lease expires. In this situation, you have two options. You can choose to purchase the solar panel system outright and include it in the price of your home. The second option is to transfer the remainder of the lease to the new homeowners. Your solar leasing company has handled this issue plenty of times and can work with you and the new homeowner to transfer the lease. Unfortunately, if the home buyer does not want to take on the lease, you may face a steep financial penalty if you need to break your lease. In this situation, it may be a better idea to simply purchase the system and include it in the sales price of your home. What Happens at the End of My Solar Lease? Maybe you are currently living in your dream home and plan to stick it out into your golden years. In this case, you may wonder what happens when your solar lease comes to an end. At that point, you’ll have a few options on how to deal with the solar panels on your roof. You could simply choose to renew your lease, though your terms and payment rate may change. If you’re done with leasing, you can decline to renew the lease, and the leasing company will come out and remove your solar panel system. Your final option is to purchase the system. It is worth speaking with a solar installation company to determine if purchasing your current system is a good idea. Solar technology continues to improve at a rapid pace even as prices continue to drop. In 20 years, it may actually be a better deal to purchase a brand new solar panel system! Should I Buy Solar Panels for My Home or a Solar Lease? It’s important to carefully weigh the benefits and the drawbacks of solar leasing before you make a final decision. Leasing is the most cost-effective option in the short term. You can get solar panels on your roof with little or no money down and begin saving on your monthly energy bills immediately. Solar leasing is also convenient. You don’t have to worry about installation, maintaining the system, or monitoring it. You’ll also get one reliable lease bill each month for the duration of your agreement. However, if you want the most savings over time, it’s probably a better idea to purchase solar panels for your home. You’ll have to pay a big chunk of money out of pocket, but your system will significantly lower or even entirely eliminate your monthly energy bill. You’ll also get to take advantage of the federal tax deduction and any local tax incentives and rebates available, which can help lower the overall cost of your system. Most studies find that solar panel systems in California will pay for themselves in six to seven years. After that point, your solar panels will be keeping money in your pocket while you protect the environment. Not sure whether to purchase your solar panels or go with a solar lease? Talk to a local solar installation company to learn more about the pros and cons of each option.  At Semper Solaris, you can contact us today to schedule a free energy analysis, and we’ll send a trained solar representative to your home to walk you through your financing options.

Semper Solaris is proud to be one of the top solar installers in Southern California. The demand for solar panel systems has never been greater; however, that also means the demand for information and insight on solar energy is also in high demand. We understand that homeowners have lots of questions before diving into the solar energy world – ranging from how much panels cost to how they actually work – which is why we strive to provide all the info they need to make informed decisions. Fact #1: Solar Energy Is Free & Abundant Coming from the powerful rays of the sun, solar energy is a free resource available across the globe. The only costs come from actually harvesting the power of the sun, such as manufacturing, installing, and maintaining a solar panel system. Even still, the fact that the sun is readily available to produce solar energy throughout the day is a reassuring fact in light of the depleting nature of fossil fuels. Fact #2: Solar Is Growing to a Favored Energy Source Solar energy has many advantages and long-term benefits for the planet as a whole. Due to its minimal impact, solar is considered one of the most popular renewable energy sources. Because of this, solar has grown to be a leading renewable energy source, with states like California pushing to be completely renewable energy dependent in less than 30 years. Fact #3: Solar Is a Non-Polluting Energy Source Not only is solar energy considered one of the top sources of renewable energy, but it also counteracts the Greenhouse effect on the earth’s climate. The recent global warming issue is thought to be caused greatly by human’s significant use of fossil fuels. In fact, solar energy doesn’t produce any pollution, which means it doesn’t harm the environment like other energy sources do. While there are other renewable energy sources on the market, solar energy is one of the most broadly accepted and used as technology continues to be developed for converting solar energy into electricity. Fact #4: Solar Panels Are Basically Maintenance Free Unlike other home applications, solar panels require little to no maintenance, making them a hassle-free energy source. Solar panels convert power and send it to batteries that don’t need any service or tune-ups, allowing them to last for years with minimal work. Further, once a homeowner has had their solar panels installed and paid for, there are basically no recurring expenses. Fact #5: The Price of Going Solar Is Becoming More Affordable When solar energy was first introduced, it was used by limited groups. Now, countless homeowners across the country have solar panels installed on top of their homes, allowing them to harvest the power of the sun on a daily basis. As the technology continues to improve and advancements are made in the conversion and storage of renewable energy, the cost of having solar panels installed will continue to become more attainable for homeowners and business owners alike. Solar also helps cut down expenses for homeowners, reducing electricity bills and giving them more control.

Ever wonder how long solar panels are meant to last? Sure, getting unlimited power from the sun sounds great, but what if the solar panel system built to harness and convert this “free” power breaks down? Many homeowners interested in solar are hesitant when it comes to going solar because they want to weigh the cost of investing in solar to the actual benefits. One of the many benefits? Solar panels have proven to be extremely reliable over the years. What About Harsh Weather & Other Issues? It is true that solar panels are more likely to “fail” sooner in harsher conditions, such as extreme heat or humidity, hail, wind, or other elements. While this isn’t a major threat and the rates only increase slightly in these regions, it is something to be considered and acknowledged. Of course, any outdoor component of your home is in danger of weather damage; however, just like other materials, solar panels are built to last these conditions as best as possible. Other common causes of solar panel failure can include manufacturing defects, installation errors; however, these are normally considered “outlier” cases rather than normal issues. Solar Panels Are Built to Last Don’t just take our word for it – studies have shown that solar panels are extremely reliable. According to a recent report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) – which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy – an average of only 5 out of every 10,000 panels failed on a yearly basis. The study looked at more than 54,000 photovoltaic panel systems installed over a 10-year period, finding that a median of just .05% of all the panels installed had to be replaced or failed. Additionally, panel failure rates have only improved over the last few decades as solar panel technology improves. With solar panels becoming more resilient and reliable than ever, homeowners who switch to solar now can be confident in their investment. To add even further peace of mind, most high-quality solar panels are backed by extensive warranties to ensure homeowners are protected from any defects, unexpected failures, or really any potential failure. These warranties can range anywhere from 10 years on the low end to 25+ years on the high end. For homeowners, that means even if an unexpected or unlikely panel failure did occur, most likely they would be covered by the panel manufacturer, resulting in a free panel replacement. Take the Next Step Towards Going Solar When you break it down, modern solar panels are becoming all the more reliable, efficient, and effective. What more can you ask for from a renewable energy source? Reach out to Semper Solaris today to get your free energy analysis.

Going solar is not just a popular trend — as of 2020, California is requiring most new home builds to include solar panels (also called PV panels). Solar creates jobs, uses clean energy, and saves homeowners big time on their long-term costs. Semper Solaris is also inviting veterans to become a part of our workforce — a whopping 11.1% of people working in solar are veterans! But how much are solar panels really worth to homeowners who will have to install their own systems after they move in? As it turns out, quite a lot! We’ll look into finding out how installing PV panels on your home will not only increase your property value, but pay for itself by way of monthly energy savings and additional income. Solar Panels and Home Value The addition of solar panels tends to add significant value to a home. At least one study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL) shows that you don’t even have to live in a bright southwestern state to reap financial rewards from solar panels. In California, homeowners will see about a $4 increase for every watt of solar power installed, but homes in other states still see a $3/watt increase in value on average. To put it another way, a homeowner in California can instantly increase their home equity by $20,000 by putting in 5,000 watts of solar power. You may also increase the value of your home by leasing a solar panel system rather than buying, though not all buyers will want to take on a lease responsibility. But does this value really last? If you’re in your forever home it’s normal to be concerned that the immediate value of your solar panels will wear off only to be replaced by high maintenance costs, or that within a few years your solar panels won’t harness the same amount of energy. The news is good in this department, too. Over the life of your homeownership, EnergySage estimates that you can save about $20,000 over the course of 20 years with just energy savings alone. Combined that will the surge in your home’s value, and you can realize a big return even if you don’t sell your home soon while the PV panels are brand new. Lifespan of a Solar Panel But, how long will your solar panels last? If you live in your home for 25 years, should you expect them to go kaput? While the average warranty on a solar panel is 20 years -- that doesn’t mean their life expectancy is exactly two decades. According to a meta-analysis of solar studies conducted by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar panels may be effective for far longer than previously thought. Most estimates of PV panels predicted that after 20 years, solar panels would still produce 80% of the energy that they did in the beginning. What the analysis by NREL found was that this figure is wrong -- which is actually promising for homeowners. PV panels have been performing well beyond expectations! In fact, the degradation rate for PV panels is just 0.4% per year for panels manufactured after 2000 (and only 0.5% for older panels) and not the 1% per year that had been assumed. What that means is that after 20 years, you can expect your solar panels to operate at 92% of the original power. The improved degradation rate figure benefits you in a few ways. First, it increases the value for you as a long-term homeowner. You will continue to enjoy lower utility costs for many years. Slow degradation also means that when you sell your home you can promise the future owner -- in good conscience -- that the PV panels will continue to yield financial benefit. Selling Energy to Local Grids The value of your PV panels lies not just in an increase in home value and reduced utility bills, but also in their potential for earning you a monthly check from your energy company. If you’re in one of the 40 states that allow net metering, you could earn a monthly check by sending your unused energy credits back to the utility company. How does this work exactly? Your PV panels collect energy from the sun, even when your lights are all off and you’re not at home. If you use other energy saving techniques, such as energy efficient appliances, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use all of the energy your panels capture. The solar energy is stored on the local energy grid, and you draw from it each time you start using power. Solar power is stored and utilized in kilowatt-hours (kWh) units. You’re only billed for your net energy use. That is, you’re not billed for the gross amount of energy that is generated at by your panels using the regional grid, only what you actually use. This scheme typically results in 20-40% of your energy being sent to the grid -- and you’ll be financially compensated. Excess energy is used by the utility company for other customers. Net metering payments have no expiration period. Meaning an energy company won’t stop buying back your energy units once the PV panels reach a certain age or once you’ve maxed out on a finite number of kWh. Even after a few years, you can continue to take advantage of net metering so long as it remains legal in your area. Selling Solar Panels If you decide you don’t want to keep your PV panels you can sell them so long as you own the panels and are not leasing. Just as if you were selling a used appliance or hot water heater, you will likely sell the panels at a reduced cost. Some companies specialize in purchasing used PV panels, or you can advertise your panels and accept the best honor. Their worth will depend on how much power they continue to generate and their general condition. Keeping up with regular maintenance, such as proper cleaning that avoids scratching the panels while removing smog residue or other dirt. How Much are Solar Panels Worth in the End? Deciding whether solar panels are a good investment for your home depends on myriad factors. They are typically a good financial decision, and they allow you to reap the benefits of energy independence. As you weight whether to get PV panels installed at home, here are some things to consider: Does your state allow you to use net metering and make money by selling back your energy? In California, you are able to use net metering if your system’s peak output is 1,000 kW or less. You must apply and receive approval from your utility company to take advantage of net metering. How long will you be in your home? If you’re only having solar panels installed to increase the home’s value, you won’t realize as great a financial return as if you stay in the home and reduce utility costs over the course of many years. Do you have tax incentives available for installing solar panels and other green energy initiatives at home? The federal investment tax credit (ITC) lets you deduct 30% of the cost of solar installation from your taxes the following year. Some states also offer additional incentives for going solar. Is your roof ideal for solar panels? You may want to consider a roof replacement if the current tiles are not in good condition. If your roof is heavily shaded by trees, consider trimming them back to allow more direct sunlight onto the PV panels. How much are solar panels worth in the long haul? Given their potential to improve your home’s resale value and the ability to slash your energy costs, they can be worth quite a lot. Aside from their financial benefit, solar panels are also worth a lot in regards to improving your way of life. Installing PV panels at home is an investment that frees you from dependence on fossil fuels and reduces your negative footprint on the environment. You’re also helping to create jobs in one of the most promising energy markets in the world! If you’re ready to get serious about adding solar panels to your home, it’s time to schedule a free energy analysis with Semper Solaris! There’s no pressure and we’ll never send you any spam. Contact us today for more information.

“The solar industry is booming.” That’s according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which found that the solar industry has grown by an average annual rate of 59% over the last ten years. The rise in solar installation has spurred the appearance of many different solar installers, including large, national chains. If you’re in the market for solar panels, you have more solar installation companies to choose from than ever before. With so many options, you may be wondering, “Do I really need to choose from solar providers near me?” It’s tempting to work with a national solar installation chain for several reasons. These huge companies have plenty of money for slick advertising and also offer competitive pricing. You may even run into their friendly representatives at Costco or Home Depot. However, by choosing a national corporation instead of a local solar installer, you may be shortchanging your community, your wallet, and the integrity of your solar panel system! Here are five big reasons that the answer to the question, “Do I need to choose from solar providers near me?” should be YES! Local Companies Understand Your Roof Your city and neighborhood has a unique character and architectural history. It’s important that any contractor who works on your home possesses a deep understanding of the design standards and common building materials of your area. A local solar installation company will have plenty of experience working on the types of roofs that are common in your city. This is important because the installers need to know how to work on your roof without damaging it and how to correctly install the racking that attaches to your roof and holds the solar panels in place. It makes a big difference if your roof is made from clay tiles, asphalt shingles, rubber slate, or metal. Understanding your roofing structure is especially important if you need to replace your roof before installing solar panels. Some solar companies (including Semper Solaris) also offer roof replacement services. A roof is much more than just tiles or shingles on top of your house. It is a complex system that requires an in-depth knowledge of local materials and local roof styles. Your roof protects your home and can help make your house much more energy efficient. Don’t trust it to a big, national company that doesn’t understand local roof styles and hasn’t worked extensively with the roof materials that are common to your area. Local Companies Know the Local Law Every state, county, city, and town has its own local ordinances, including specific building and safety standards that contractors must meet when making changes to residential homes. Local solar installation companies are very familiar with all these local building requirements. They are pros at submitting paperwork, pulling the correct permits, and setting up final inspections once a solar power system has been installed. They also know how to work with local homeowners associations to get projects approved. In fact, a local solar installation company may already have experience working with your HOA. You can’t put a price on this knowledge. Local companies can save lots of time and headaches just by knowing the lay of the land. On the other hand, a national company will have to figure all of the local rules and building codes out from scratch. This increases the chances of delay, or worse, and error. A national company may overlook needed paperwork or fail to pull the correct permit, which could endanger your entire project! Local Companies Can Help You Get Renewal Energy Incentives Cities all across California offer homeowners valuable incentives to invest in solar. However, these incentives are only available to homeowners in the know… or, more accurately, to solar installers who know how to obtain them. For example, Los Angeles currently offers homeowners a one-time rebate of $0.25 per watt on their new solar panel installation. Depending on the size of your solar panel system, you could receive a rebate check in the mail worth thousands of dollars! However, the steps to qualify for the rebate aren’t easy. It requires submitting specialized paperwork as well as scheduling an on-site inspection through the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, among other steps. If your solar installer gets even one step wrong, you could wave bye-bye to that juicy rebate check! (Live in Los Angeles and interested in learning about this solar rebate? We recently posted an entire article about it.) A local solar installation company is your best shot at getting every available rebate. First of all, they know which rebates are available in your area and whether or not you would qualify. They also know how to navigate the different programs in order to achieve a successful outcome. A national company just doesn’t have this level of localized regional experience, which means it’s more likely that they don't know about a program and/or will struggle to figure all the required steps. Local Companies Hire Local Workers A healthy community is able to attract and retain residents by offering high-paying, steady employment. Over the past decade, the solar industry has been on a hiring frenzy and now employs almost 250,000 Americans across the country, according to SEIA. Solar jobs typically pay well above minimum wage. Many jobs in the solar field are also among the few remaining employment avenues where  Americans can make a good living without a college degree. When you hire a local solar installation company, you are investing in well-paying jobs within your own community. Solar installation companies seek project coordinators, installation technicians, interconnection representatives, warehouse managers, electricians, crew foremen, solar sales consultants, and more. Each of these great jobs could be available to your neighbors, friends, or even your local family members and offer them a rewarding career that allows them to support their family! Their salaries, in turn, go right back into the community every time they go grocery shopping, grab a movie, or sign their children up for a local sports league. National companies may hire a local team to install your solar panels, but the majority of their workforce (and the best-paying jobs) will stay in their headquarters far away. Much more of your investment will stay in your community when you work with a local installation company. Local Companies Need to Do a Good Job We’re sure that national solar companies want to do a great job and make every customer happy, but if they happen to do a poor job for one customer in one town, it really doesn’t affect their bottom line. That’s because there are endless potential customers across the country. A local company doesn’t have the luxury of disappointing their customers. They live, play, and work in the same community, and their success depends upon building a strong reputation for reliability, integrity, and high-quality work. Most local solar installation companies rely heavily on customer referrals and good customer reviews to bring new clients in the door. Unlike large national companies, they literally can’t afford to write off customers or shirk their duties. Local companies will often go the extra mile to provide great customer service. They’ll listen closely to their customers, address concerns, and fix any problems that might arise. They know that if a customer isn’t completely satisfied, that customer will gripe to their neighbors, friends, fellow PTA parents, and all their social media followers! Where to Find Solar Providers Near Me There are so many reasons to hire a local company to install your solar panels. Local companies know how to work on your roof, they understand the local laws, and they know how to get you all the solar incentives you deserve. They also put their reputation on the line with each project they take, which is a great incentive to do the best job possible. Finally, by hiring a local company, you’ll support local jobs and keep your hard-earned money in your community. Sound good? If the answer is yes, then your next task is to find a local solar installer. At Semper Solaris, we’ve opened offices throughout California as part of our mission to invest in local communities and to hire local workers. Our offices cover Southern, Central, and Northern California. In each location, we’ve made a special commitment to hire veterans who are looking to transition into civilian life. We love investing in communities across California and providing great careers for veterans, as well as your other neighbors, friends, and family members. We also love doing a great job for each and every one of our customers. Don’t take our word for it. Check out our excellent ratings on SolarReviews.com, Angie’s List, The Better Business Bureau, and Yelp. If you are ready to hire a solar installation company that really cares about your community and about doing a great job for you, then contact us today to schedule a no-pressure, no-obligation energy analysis.