Semper Solaris Blog

There has been a rising interest in solar battery storage in recent years. While most homes are still tied to power grids, a solar battery like Tesla Powerwall would allow homeowners to move closer to being “off the grid” for good. For most, the allure of complete autonomy when it comes to electricity production and usage is very enticing. One of the biggest perks of having a solar panel system is to provide more self-sufficiency, after all, and a solar storage battery is just another step towards independence from utility companies that continue to hike electricity prices. That is why we are going to take a look at the benefits and pitfalls of both traditional grid-tied solar power systems and solar power systems backed by battery storage. How Does a Grid-tied Solar Power System Work? Having a solar power system for your home gives you much more control over your electricity usage. You are able to harness the power of the sun and convert it into usable energy, majorly cutting back on utility expenses. But will solar panels produce enough power for your home? What about those times when the sun doesn’t shine through the clouds or a stormy day hampers energy production? For most homeowners, the solution is being tied to a power grid. For any energy demands they have that their solar production doesn’t cover, they will start pulling from the power grid instead. Even though homeowners essentially have to “buy” energy during these times, they often have credits to cover the expenses. This means that during evening hours without sunlight, cloudier days, or other circumstances, homeowners can still ensure their electricity needs are covered -- and still benefit from previous over-production of electricity needs. In some states, homeowners can even earn money for any additional electricity their panels have produced that they don’t use from the grid. There is also great assurance knowing that there will always be some source of power to pull from should a home’s solar panels not provide the electricity needed.   As states continue to adopt models for charging solar panel customers, power companies stand to benefit the most from having customers still tied to the grid. This also means that the threat of facing time-of-use rates and other spikes in utility costs is still very real for homeowners with a grid-tied solar power system. How Does a Battery Storage Solar Power System Work? In theory, a solar power system that has a solar storage battery could be completely grid-free. That means homeowners have ultimate control over their electricity needs. They don’t have to worry about using credits to cover additional energy demands during low production hours, time-of-use rates, or other challenges that come with a regular grid-tied system. Battery technology isn’t new, but using batteries for home solar power storage is still not widespread yet. However, the interest in energy storage is growing greatly. As products continue to be developed, the efficiency and storage capacity of these batteries will continue to improve. However, some home electricity demands would still exceed the storage capacity of a solar battery. If you tried to go completely “off the grid,” you could be left without power once you depleted your backup resource until the sun comes back out.   Why a Hybrid System Is Gaining Popularity It is clear that both a grid-tied system and battery-backed system boast plenty of perks – and challenges alike. Instead of weighing the pros and cons to the point of pulling out your hair, consider an alternative solution: a hybrid system. A hybrid solar power system can include the pros of both sides, while essentially eliminating the cons. A home can have the perks of being tied to the grid for any energy needs they have once they’ve used up their solar panel production and battery storage. Homeowners have the ability to draw electricity from both their local power grid, as well as from their home solar batteries. They can choose to invest in more solar batteries for more independence overtime or simply get one for backup purposes. Having a hybrid system also gives homeowners more flexibility and control. They may choose to reserve their solar power storage for emergency usage only, after the sun goes down, or as backup in case electricity prices surge during certain hours of the day. Combining a grid-tied system and battery system allows for a consistent and more controlled flow of energy throughout the day and night for homeowners. When is a hybrid system the most desirable? For homeowners who live in an area without favorable compensation rates for excess electricity produced by solar panels, having a hybrid system can be crucial. Rather than simply sending excess electricity to the grid at a low rate, a homeowner can save some of that valuable electricity for future use, only sending what they don’t use or store. How California’s Net Metering Policy Has Changed Homeowners who live in California may be even more inclined to consider a hybrid solar power system. Net Metering 2.0 (NEM 2.0) is an update to California’s original policy on net metering, now including time-of-use rates, non-bypassable charges, and some additional fees. The estimated additional cost will jump up to around $10/month for an average homeowner. The time-of-use rates will be the biggest adjustment for many homeowners, which will adjust the credit given for solar electricity depending on the time of day it was produced. Typically, any excess electricity that is sent back to the grid during higher demand or peak hours will be given more credit. Overall, the policy is still favorable for homeowners, but having a solar battery to store excess electricity can provide more flexibility to bypass lower time-of-use rates and send by electricity during those peak value hours. Whether you are considering completely disconnecting from your local power grid with solar storage batteries or just want to create the most efficient home solar power system, talk to Semper Solaris about your battery options today.  

With many rooftop solar panels appearing on houses all over the city, it would come as no surprise if the city of San Diego became known as "Solar San Diego." The city has become so energy aware that San Diego has been recognized as one of the leading solar energy producers in the United States, and a majority of that solar energy is coming from residential construction. Is it time for you to join the solar movement in San Diego and make the switch to solar energy? When it comes to solar, San Diego generates more power from grid-connected solar panels on residential, commercial, and government buildings than any other city in California According to an analysis released on Tuesday by the Environment California Research & Policy Center. The study heralds San Diego’s role as a leader in the deployment of rooftop and similar on-site solar installations. There were more than 4,500 solar installations within city limits as of August 2011, ahead of runners-up Los Angeles and San Jose, the analysis found. “San Diego has been an early and consistent leader in terms of embracing robust solar policies” – Michelle Kinman, co-author of the study. The report focuses on solar photovoltaic systems mostly owned by ratepayers or third-party financing companies, as opposed to electric utilities. Data was provided by state regulators, the state’s private and public utilities, and the California Center for Sustainable Energy that administers state solar initiatives in the San Diego area. The report did not include solar energy systems that are not connected to the grid because of limitations on data. California’s Top Cities for Solar: San Diego Leads California's top 10 solar cities Peak capacity in megawatts Number of installations San Diego 37 4,507 Los Angeles 36 4,018 San Jose 31 2,733 Fresno 22 2,146 San Francisco 17 2,405 Bakersfield 16 1,643 Sacramento 16 1,119 Santa Rosa 14 1,467 Oakland 10 1,010 Chico 9 1,170 Source: Environment California Research & Policy Center For all its solar progress, San Diego trails other areas in per capita measurements. The greatest penetration rates for solar are in the Bay Area, the Sierra foothills, and the Central Valley. In several small towns in northern California, there are roughly 10 solar installations for every 100 residents. San Diego has between three and four solar installations for every 1,000 residents. Among larger cities, Santa Rosa and Clovis stand out in terms of solar-power adoption, with about 10 installations, or 80 kilowatts of capacity, per 1,000 residents. Small Towns Embrace Solar Top solar towns per capita Installations per 100 residents Sebastopol 10.3 Newcastle 10.2 Nevada City 9.9 Penn Valley 8 Coarsegold 6.3 San Diego 3.5 per 1,000 Source: Environment California Research & Policy Center Kinman said some of the geographic imbalances can be traced to higher levels of home ownership in some small communities. Rental properties and multifamily dwellings have been slower to add solar equipment. “That happily is changing as the state is promoting policies that promote renters and multifamily projects getting access to solar” – Michelle Kinman California leads the nation in rooftop solar generation, surpassing the 1-gigawatt capacity mark last year. Gov. Jerry Brown has set a goal of producing 12 gigawatts of distributed electricity generation capacity, mostly through rooftop solar, by 2020. The state’s total peak electricity demand was about 64 gigawatts in 2011. The on-site generation goals are separate from requirements that electricity retailers procure 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020. The Environment California Research & Policy Center provides research on government incentives and public policies that can lead to more distributed solar installations. It is not a political lobbying group. Those on-site solar installations are seen not only as a way to decrease dependency on fossil fuels but also as a way to reduce the size and number of power lines by producing electricity closer to where it is used. The report released on Tuesday recommends maintaining or enhancing state provisions for “net metering” that allows utility customers who generate a one-kilowatt hour of energy to buy one less from the utility. San Diego is about halfway toward a cap on net metering currently set at 5 percent of peak demand. Utilities including San Diego Gas & Electric have begun to question the fairness of net metering provisions that they say force non-solar customers to pay a greater share of infrastructure costs. The intermittent nature of solar power also presents future challenges in balancing electricity production and demand. SDG&E has proposed its own pilot programs that would allow customers to offset electricity bills with solar-generated electricity from installations within the utility’s service territory. The Environment California study was financed by several private foundations: Arntz Family Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Michael Lee Environmental Foundation, the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust and the Tilia Foundation. If you’re interested in joining the rest of “Solar San Diego” in making the switch to solar energy, contact Semper Solaris for more information. 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So you’re shopping around for a new roof, apart from your foundation your roof is probably the most important exterior structure of your home. Having a new roof put onto your home is a major home improvement decision as well as a long term investment. Depending on the climate in your area and the type of roof you decide upon, this should be an investment that lasts the next 20 years or more. After you have made the decision to replace your roof, the next to step to choose your contractor and this is always a difficult decision if you are not a part of the industry. We will be addressing the top five questions you should ask a roofing contractor before hiring them to work on your home. Will you remove my old roof? This may sound like a silly question to ask since most of us would assume that removal would be included. However some unscrupulous contractors will leave this cost off of their initial bid. Then when you get final invoice for the project there will be an extra couple of thousand dollars for removal and disposal or they will shingle over the old roof and just cover up any leaks and soft spots with new shingles so it all looks ok.  What is the warranty on my new roof? What you want to hear is that your new roof has a minimum of a 25 year warranty. Modern dimensional style shingles, cost roughly the same as the older style shingles. Either of those products should come with a 25 year warranty.  What will you do to protect my gutters? This may not be something that is on your mind as you contemplate a new roof, however if you fail to find out if they will be using stabilizers or standoffs for their ladders you could end up with a new roof and a bill from a gutter contractor who has to come and replace them.   Do you bring a container for refuse material? Refuse from the old roof, such as shingles, will need to be placed somewhere as it comes down. The company you hire should bring a container to the job site to contain the refuse. You should not be required to supply this container, nor should you have to deal with the refuse once the job is completed.  What is the cost of plywood should you find rotten roof or soft roof decking? Unscrupulous roofers might skip over this information as you head into an agreement. Once the roof is up, it’s tough for you to dispute an overinflated cost for plywood sheeting to fix what was rotten underneath. For this reason, you need to ask how much it will-cost for plywood sheeting should the roofer find rotten or soft pieces that need to be replaced. This will leave you with no surprises during the job, and it will allow you to compare one roofer’s estimate to another’s.

Owning a solar power system isn’t as uncommon as it was just a few years ago. But the history of solar energy is an interesting and surprising story. While humanity has enjoyed the sun and used its warmth and light for our entire existence, it wasn’t until the last few hundred years that we were able to harness the sun’s energy for electricity. The development of the first solar power system began with observations in 1839. In a decade where the United States was only twenty-six states large and the sewing machine just began to be used, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel observed something interesting. He noticed that some materials, when exposed to light, would produce small amounts of electric current. Becquerel experimented with this for a while, and documented his discoveries. Thirty-seven years later, William Grylls Adams and his student Richard Evans Day refined this discovery with the observation of selenium. Selenium produced energy when exposed to light, and these two men created a photovoltaic cell to harness and convert this energy into usable electricity. However, it was only a small experimental cell and not easily reproducible or cost-efficient. It only produced electricity at 1-2% efficiency. Developing a Solar Power System Becomes Reality It was over 100 years later, in 1954, that creating a solar power system became a real possibility. Researchers at Bell Laboratories patented the first practical solar cell, using silicon rather than selenium. The next year, these solar cells began to be sold. Though they were only 2% efficient, compared to an average of 18% efficient today, these sold for $1,785 per watt in the equivalent of 1955 dollars. In the 1960s and 70s, however, solar power began to be more practical. Efficiency levels grew to close to 10% with new technology, and the idea of renewable energy was becoming more and more popular. Further, space exploration was becoming a greater priority, and a solar power system seemed like a useful alternative energy source for space travel. Solar-powered calculators and watches entered the scene. By the 1980s, solar power was readily available to citizens, and federal acts gave incentives and tax credits to installing renewable energy in homes. In 1983, sales of solar cells exceeded $250,000,000. History since the 1980s has seen continuous growth of the pervasiveness and quantity of solar energy technology. Countries around the world have instituted bills and laws to help provide solar energy for their citizens, and technology is only becoming more and more efficient and refined. Further, solar is much more readily available than it was when it first began. While prices used to be $1,785 per watt, they’re now predicted to be below $1 per watt by 2020. Solar technology may have had a slow start, but it’s quickly becoming one of the most significant areas of technological advancement in our history. Are you looking to own a solar power system? Get started with California solar today with Semper Solaris.

Los Angeles is a great place to invest in solar panels. Not only does the most populous city in the Golden State get plenty of sunshine throughout the year, but the city itself actively encourages its residents to go solar through its Solar Incentive Program (SIP). To make the cost of solar panels in Los Angeles a little more affordable, SIP offers rebates to residents who purchase or lease solar panels. (It helps to have the assistance of an experienced solar panel company in Los Angeles to obtain the rebate.)  That’s right, Los Angeles will actually give you money to put solar panels on your roof. How does the SIP work, and, more importantly, how can you get your check in the mail? In this article, we’ll explore the history of the Solar Incentive Program, explain how it can put money in your pocket, walk you through the steps to apply, and tell you why now is the best time to take advantage of the program. (Hint: It might not be around for much longer!) Why Los Angeles Wants to Pay You to Go Solar   In 2006, the year of his re-election, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made history when he signed the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which required that all California utility companies implement a solar incentive program. The CSI was designed to increase the amount of renewable energy that California produced by making solar installation more affordable for businesses and homeowners. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles was ahead of the curve. Its massive public utility company, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) had already implemented its own Solar Incentive Program (SIP) all the way back in 2000. The California Solar Initiative supercharged the LADWP’s program by handing the utility $313 million to funnel to its residents and businesses. In 2007, the LADWP Board of Commissioners released a revised Solar Incentive Program that offered rebates (also called “incentives”) to residents and businesses that installed solar panels on their property. The program was designed so that the amount of the rebates would decline over time as certain solar power goals were met. The program was slated to wrap in 2017 (ten years after it started) or whenever the program met its solar energy production goals. Fortunately for you, Los Angeles still hasn’t met its goals, so the program is still currently open. (More on that toward the end of this article.) How the California Solar Initiative Works In the simplest terms, the SIP is a one-time rebate that is calculated based on the energy your solar panel system produces. In this way, the more energy your system produces, the bigger your rebate will be. The effect of this system is that homeowners who invest in larger (more expensive) solar installations will receive a bigger rebate to help offset their expanded costs. One of the really nice things about the SIP is that it is available for homeowners who purchase or lease their solar panels. If you don’t have enough money to purchase your solar panels out-of-pocket, leasing allows you to get solar panels, often with no money down, for a fixed cost. As a bonus, you’ll still get your SIP rebate! As of this writing, the SIP rebate for a residential solar system is $0.25 per watt. How Much Can You Save? How much savings can you expect from a SIP rebate? The answer will depend upon the size of your system and ultimately how its capacity is calculated according to the SIP’s formula. If you really want to know what type of rebate you could be looking at, it’s best to schedule a consultation with a solar panel company in Los Angeles. Your solar installation company can make a recommendation on the right size solar system for your energy needs and budget and then use that calculation to do some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate your SIP rebate. Let us stress that these are only ballpark figures, and you should definitely speak with a professional solar installation company with experience in Los Angeles before making your purchase decision. How to Get Bonus Savings Want an even bigger rebate for your solar panel purchase? The SIP hands out a bonus rebate if you invest in solar panels (also called photovoltaic cells) that were manufactured in Los Angeles. Again, we encourage you to work with a solar panel company in Los Angeles to determine the right brand of solar panel for your project. How to Qualify for the SIP Rebate This whole “get the city of Los Angeles to give you money for purchasing solar panels” thing sounds pretty good, right? Before you start dreaming about how to spend your rebate check (tickets to Wicked at the Pantages, anyone?), make sure that you qualify for the program. It’s not that hard unless you veer pretty far off the normal solar panel path. Here’s how to qualify for a SIP rebate:   Be a customer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Purchase solar panels (solar batteries and solar water heaters do not qualify) Purchase solar panels and equipment that is certified, meet national standards, and come with a minimum 10-year warranty Purchase a minimum 1kW system with a maximum allowable system size of 5mW (megawatts) Hire a licensed California contractor to install the panels These standards are relatively basic, and as long as you work with an experienced and trustworthy solar panel company and receive service from LADWP, you shouldn’t have to worry about qualifying for the rebate. Receiving the rebate, however, is a whole other can of worms! A Step-by-Step Guide to Snagging Your SIP Rebate This section will look at all the steps involved in applying for and receiving a SIP rebate for solar panel systems 10kW or smaller, which will cover the majority of residential systems. The steps may seem complicated, but keep in mind that your solar installation company should handle the entire process on your behalf. It’s useful to understand what’s involved in receiving the rebate, but you shouldn’t need to actually perform any of these steps. Step One: Your solar installer will complete the PV Preliminary Review Information Sheet. You should answer “no” to each question. If you answer “yes” to a question, your solar installer will need to schedule a pre-construction meeting with an LADWP Electric Service Representative. Step Two: Your solar installer will submit your LADWP Solar Reservation Request through the LADWP’s PowerClerk Database on your behalf.   Step Three: Upload the following documents to the PowerClerk Database to reserve your rebate: A signed reservation request form A copy of your solar panel installation contract or your lease agreement Your most recent LADWP electric bill A solar inspection agreement Electronic document authorization form Energy audit Residential Disclosure Agreement Preliminary Review Information Worksheet Copy of Ten Year Warranty Step Four: Assuming your solar installation company knows what they’re doing, you’ll be approved by the LADWP Solar Group and receive an Incentive Payment Claim Form. Your installer will need to complete and submit this form when your solar panel installation is complete. Step Five: Your solar installer will need to pull the required permits in order to start on the installation. A company with a lot of experience working in Los Angeles should have no problem with this step. Step Six: Once all the permits are successfully pulled, your installer can get to work installing your system. At this point, you can just step back and watch as your roof seems to magically sprout solar panels overnight. Step Seven: When your solar system has been installed, your solar contractor will contact the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) to schedule a final inspection. The city will send out an inspector to make sure the system meets all the city’s codes and requirements. As long as you use a legitimate solar installation company, your system should pass inspection with flying colors. Step Eight:  Once you get approval from the LADBS, your installer can formally submit an Incentive Payment Claim Form to the LADWP. Along with this form, the installer will also have to submit: A copy of the approved Building and Safety permit A copy of your invoice for the solar panel system. The invoice must show a zero balance Step Nine: Thought you were done? This is a bureaucracy; of course not! Once your solar installer submits the rebate claim form, the city will send out a Solar Inspector to verify the size, tilt, orientation, and shading of your system in order to confirm that your solar system will produce that amount of power you claim. The inspector will also confirm that you used the equipment you listed in your submission. If everything looks good, the Solar Inspector will install your net meter so that you can actually turn on your system. Hooray! Step Ten: If everything goes according to plan, your Solar Inspector will submit the approval of your system, and you will – at long last – receive your rebate check in the mail. Aw, the sweet smell of success. Why You Should Call a Solar Panel Company in Los Angeles ASAP At the beginning of the article, we mentioned that the LADWP’s Solar Incentive Program was designed to run out in 2017 or when the LADWP had met its solar power generation goal. The calendar says that it’s past the middle of 2018, and the program is still active, which means that it’s basically living on borrowed time. If you are considering solar panels, there is seriously no better time to invest in solar power in Los Angeles. Hopefully, this has shown that the LADWP’s solar rebate program can be a little complicated. That’s why it’s so important to work with a local solar panel company in Los Angeles that understands exactly how to use the program. You wouldn’t want to miss out on your rebate, because a national solar installation company doesn’t know what they are doing! At Semper Solaris, we are proud to have locations throughout California, including in Los Angeles. Our Los Angeles team knows how to obtain SIP rebates for our clients in a smooth and effective way. To start on your solar journey, contact us for a free energy analysis today.  

Ahh, summer: Barbecues and vacations come to mind but when it comes to the California sun, It’s time to crank up the AC and hope it doesn’t cost a fortune to cool your home! As the heat continues to rise, there are a few things we can to do to prepare our homes for the season, specifically your attic and roof. These tips will help you keep your home cool and your power bill manageable. When was the last time you visited your attic? Maybe the last time was when you were looking for something one of the kids may have put in a box last time you moved? This often-overlooked portion of your home plays a pivotal role in keeping your home cool. Did you know that your attic can reach temperatures in excess of 140 degrees? Yes! This can rob you of all the cool air that is being pumped into your house if it is not properly insulated and maintained. If moisture is also present, it is a perfect opportunity for mold. This can ruin your roof and lead to a costly replacement. It’s a must to have your homes attic and roof inspected at least once a year. Summer Roofing Tips Most summer roofing tips to keep your home cool actually come from underneath your roof. That's right, your attic plays a huge role in the ventilation and reflection of hot air and radiant sunlight. Below are the 4 main things to check up on to make sure your roof is efficiently working to keep your home cool this summer. Check your exhaust and bathroom fans Ensure that your attic is free from small signs of damage Get a cool, lighter-colored roof Insulation Check your exhaust and bathroom fans: If these are installed incorrectly they will just blow all of the moisture from your bathrooms or stove into the attic and create a massive mold or rot issue. These could also be pulling cool air from your living areas and pushing it into the attic where you do not necessarily want it to be. While properly venting your attic will help lower the temperature of your entire home. Ensure that your attic is free from small signs of damage: These small spots can turn into large ones if not properly attended to. These infiltrations may not seem like a big deal but in the summer with heat and possible moisture, they can cause the underlayment to warp which will compromise the integrity of the roof. Get a cool, lighter-colored roof: Have your old black tar shingles replaced with either a lighter colored shingle or tile. This switch to a lighter colored or tile roof means that your home's roof will reflect more heat and absorb less into your home. Insulation: Having additional insulation installed in your attic will help contain the heat in the attic rather than allowing it to radiate into your home. An extra layer of insulation board between the attic joists and the main attic cavity will keep the home cooler overall. Homeowners are strongly encouraged to have their roof and attic professionally examined at least once per year to ensure that their roof does not become a liability.

Asphalt Shingles More than 70 percent of all single-family homes in the US are roofed with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to more energy-efficient alternative roofing materials. Asphalt shingles dominate the market because they are affordable, offer a variety of attractive options and do a good job protecting homes from the elements. Asphalt Shingles Pros: Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection Shingles are often the most affordable roofing option, especially in good/better ranges The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to dress up a home before putting on the market Asphalt Shingles Cons: Affordable asphalt shingles last as little as 10-12 years in hot, sunny climates Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingle lifespan by cupping or cracking them While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options Wood Shingles and Shakes How are wood shingles and shakes different? Wood shingles are machine-cut and feature cleaner edges and a smooth surface to produce a more uniform appearance. Wood shakes are hand-cut from blocks of wood, so they have a more rustic appearance. They’re thicker too, so they're slightly more expensive than wood shingles. Wood Shingle Pros: Wood has a natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating They can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan Wood Shingle Cons: Wood roofing is prohibited in some areas prone to wildfire, so be sure to check with your building department first Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe While DIY installation is possible if you have a good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood Roof Tiles This ancient roofing option has been thoroughly modernized with newer and stronger materials that look fantastic. Roof Tile Pros: All types - clay, concrete, and fiber cement, offer 50+ years of durability Tiles resist fire and insects The rich aesthetics of tile increase curb appeal Light-colored tile reflects sunlight, in turn reducing heat penetration and cooling requirements Roof Tile Cons: Tile is heavier than most roofing material and some types require extra framing support at a higher cost The cost of tile is higher than asphalt, metal, and wood Tiles may break if walked on, so repairing chimneys and other roofing issues is trickier when the roof is tile Metal Roofing Your great-grandfather’s home or barn might well have been roofed in metal, and some of those 100-year old roofs are still going strong. Metal roofing has enjoyed a recent resurgence led by demand for durability, eco-friendly roofing and the introduction of new styles. Metal roofing is still manufactured in rolls, but most is rigid sheet roofing with vertical-seam panels and modular press-formed panels that can be painted or coated with granules. The manufacturing processes allow for a variety of appearance options including the traditional metal roof style and roofing made to look like shingles, shakes and tiles. The most common metals used are aluminum, lightweight steel and zinc. Copper metal roofs are a beautiful but costly specialty! Metal Roofing Pros: New styles can mimic shingles, shakes, slate and tile, and dozens of colors are available Metal is a 50 to 100-year roofing material with warranties of 30-50 years Metal reflects solar radiant heat, keeping your home cooler and control energy costs in hot weather when compared with asphalt Many metal roofing profiles have a Class A fire rating Metal Roofing Cons: The cost of metal roofing is higher (copper roofing is in a league of its own as the most expensive option) than asphalt shingles and wood roofing, but that is usually offset by its durability and longevity Without an attic space or a proper substrate such as solid sheathing (boards or plywood), metal roofs installed over open framing and directly over living space can be noisier than other materials when the rain hits it The material can dent when hit with a heavy object, and replacing metal panels is costlier than replacing asphalt, wood or tiles, although many metal roofing styles are rated to withstand large hail

Most homeowners figure they need a new roof after they spot a leak in their ceiling. This leak could be due to many different roofing problems. But, what factors really determine whether a Roof Installation will solve the problem or the house needs a roof replacement? Here are some tips to help you determine if you need a new roof: Roof age How old is your existing asphalt shingle roof? Most experts agree that a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof. Shingles curling and buckling Shingles that are curled or buckling are another sign that you may need a new roof. Look at the slopes of your home that get direct sunlight and if you notice the shingles are curling and losing granules, it could mean the shingles are past their life expectancy. There could also be a possibility that the roof is defective. Roof valleys If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in this area, it's a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important areas of your roof. Snow and rain flow through valleys and into gutters. If the valley is compromised, you could be susceptible to roof leaks. Missing shingles These are another sign your roof could be failing. Check to see if all of the shingle “tabs” are intact. Chimney flashing This is another area to be concerned about. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long-term, water-tight fitting, which would be a metal flashing system. Shingle granules in the gutters Look in your gutters to see whether they are loaded up with shingle granules. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle. Inconsistent or darker color on some parts of the roof is another sign the granules have worn away. Daylight through the roof boards You notice a spongy feel or trampoline bounce when walking on the roof, which means the underlying decking is weakened from moisture. Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards. Also check for moisture in the insulation.

Renewable energy is a necessity that is slowly being appreciated by everyone today. There are a growing number of homes, buildings, outdoor establishments that utilize solar batteries. With the rising cost for service necessities, such as electricity, people are slowly moving to newer sources for energy. Solar batteries have been out in the market for those who wish to cut on expensive costs of electricity. Solar batteries are used to store electric energy with the utilization of solar panels to capture sunlight and convert it to renewable energy. The process in which electricity is made possible by solar batteries is simple, it absorbs solar light, collects proton energy, and triggers electrons that eventually creates energy. Electricity is then stored in these batteries allowing energy to be used whenever it is needed. You may be wondering why you should even consider shifting from traditional sources of electricity to those powered by solar batteries. There are important factors which you should consider, thus allowing you to appreciate its advantages: Low electricity bills Rising costs in electricity bills only get worse with time. The reason for this is that resources are becoming scarce and the population of people is not getting any smaller. Solar batteries are able to supply electricity to appliances needed to survive everyday life. Examples of these appliances are cooking stoves, cooling systems for houses, heaters, lights for both indoors and outdoors. Low contribution to pollution Solar batteries do not contribute to pollution. They are renewable energy that does not emit harmful toxins that destroy our environment. It collects energy that is needed by you, and collects once more when energy is depleted. Unlimited supply of electricity With the integration of solar batteries used by homes today, electricity can now be stored in greater numbers. These batteries have the capacity to store certain amounts of electricity depending on the model you purchase from your local dealer. Free source of power Sunlight is the main source of energy which solar batteries derive their power from. As long as the sun keeps shining, your batteries never run out of power. The beauty of sunlight is that companies cannot create business from everyone using sunlight. Portable energy Solar batteries are capable of transportation for use in the most obscure areas. Unlike traditional power sources, solar energy can be used anywhere. As long as you have the solar batteries and the sun keeps shining then you're good to go!

Nearly all photovoltaics installed are made up of some kind of silicon; however, solar panels can be made up of a wide range of silicon variations, from monocrystalline to polycrystalline. Why does this matter? Depending on how pure the silicon is, solar cells can better convert sunlight into electricity. Obviously, this means that panels that are considered the most efficient will likely be made up of the purest types of silicon. This also means higher price tags – which is why efficiency isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to selecting the right type of solar panel for your property. Factors such as cost, amount of space needed, and actual energy needs can also help determine the best option. We are going to compare three of the most common solar panel types below. Keep reading to get informed before going solar. Polycrystalline Solar Cells First introduced in the 1980s, polycrystalline silicon solar panels are made by melting raw silicone and pouring that melted material into molds. Once cooled, they are cut into square wafers, making it a much simpler process compared to other solar panel types, especially monocrystalline. This also means that polycrystalline panels tend to be more affordable as well. However, they typically have less tolerance towards heat than monocrystalline panels. While this could mean a greater wear and tear over time, the amount is so small it usually isn’t even taken into account by buyers. These panels have an efficiency of 13-16% on average, which is lower than monocrystalline solar panels since they are not as high in purity levels. That also means you need to cover more space to get equivalent energy generation. Monocrystalline Solar Cells Known to be some of the purest silicon-based solar panels, monocrystalline boast a uniform appearance and coloring. This is because of the high-purity silicon they are made from. The design is made to not only lower costs of a single solar cell, but also maximize the space, making it as efficient as possible. Efficiency ratings tend to range from 15 to 20%, putting them above polycrystalline solar panels. SunPower, our trusted solar panel provider, is known to produce the highest efficiency monocrystalline solar panels available on the market, reaching a record-breaking efficiency rate of 22.8%. These panels are also very space-efficient and durable, taking up the least amount of space while yielding high outputs of power. All these advantages do come at a cost, making monocrystalline panels the most expensive investment. Thin-Film Solar Cells This option is a little different than the former two, made by layering thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate. Materials used to make these solar cells can range from amorphous silicon to copper indium gallium selenide. Maximum efficiency for thin-film panels caps out around an optimistic 13%. Improving modules are expected to reach as much as 10 to 16% over time. While the mass production of these types of solar panels is easier and possibly more affordable than crystalline competitors, efficiency levels don’t compare just yet. Also, they are typically more flexible and aren’t as impacted by shading, high temperatures, and other factors like crystalline-based panels are. Unfortunately, these panels are not yet ideal for residential spaces, as they tend to take up a significant amount of space. While the panels are more affordable, due to the lack of efficiency, supporting materials tend to add a significant amount to the total cost. Get Expert Advice on Solar Panel Selection Think it’s time to call in the experts? Semper Solaris is a veteran-owned and operated company that cares about our customers. We want to make sure you get the right solar panel type for your specific property and budget. Talk to us today about how going solar could work for you!