Semper Solaris Blog

California homeowners are becoming more aware of the advantages offered by solar panels. With the great amount of savings and affordable installation costs, solar panels provide an appealing means for residents who want to cut back on energy usage and spending. That’s why many corporations, small businesses, and religious organizations are also investing in solar panels. In fact, many synagogues have already taken advantage of solar panels. Switching to solar energy can be a mitzvah and an act of tzedakah, which is an obligation to act for social good. Switching to solar panels can additionally allow for extra savings to be put toward charitable causes. What to Consider When Switching to Solar Stay local - Opt to work with a company you can get to know and trust to work on your project. That means keeping it local and investing back into your own community. Semper Solaris is a veteran-owned and operated company with military roots and a customer-first mindset. We operate based on trust, keeping your best interests our top priority. Stick with a fair labor standards manufacturer - Solar panel manufacturing can vary. It is important to find a manufacturer that you can have peace of mind about providing solar panels for your synagogue. Semper Solaris uses American-designed solar panels dedicated to environmental responsibility and sustainability. Keep your project cost effective - Switching to solar can quickly become a bigger-than-needed expense. Strategically laying out your installation options protects your investment. Semper Solaris helps you benefit from all possible credits and savings, offering the most affordable solar options in California. We are here to make sure that your decision is economically viable while being environmentally responsible. Being a member of a congregation carries responsibility to your fellow worshipers and to the rabbis and cantors who lead them. To recommend sustainable energy in the form of solar panels is a good work, a mitzvah. Want to learn more? Contact Semper Solaris to get started on solar installation at your synagogue or temple.  

The sun is one of the most powerful energy sources known to man. It provides us with warmth and is a vital energy source to help plants, trees, and flowers grow. The sun is also one of the most efficient forms of energy. In fact, this ultimate solar energy system allows us to harness the sun’s energy to heat, cool, and provide electricity for our homes and businesses. Most people take the sun for granted, but it’s so much more than a bright, shiny object in the sky. Without the sun, humans wouldn’t be able to survive. Learn more about our special sun and how it serves as the ultimate solar energy system. Fun Sun Facts for Kids The Sun by the Numbers Most people just take the Sun for granted and just simply acknowledge that it is there. But the Sun is more than just a bright shiny object in the sky. It is much more! The Sun is the center of our solar system, the object that other planets revolve around. It also is an important source of energy that can be used to heat and cool us. And, the Sun is also important that it provides physical and mental health benefits by just being out. Without the rays of the Sun, we would not be able to survive. So, the next time, you go outside and see the bright sunshine, take a moment to appreciate all the things that our Sun provides us. To learn more about all that the sun does for us as the ultimate solar energy system, and the possibilities of California solar power, take a look at the following information. Practical Uses of Solar Energy Common Uses for Solar Energy Solar Energy Science Projects Solar Power Uses Renewable Solar Energy The Sun in Folklore The Sun in Mythology Sun Myths Solar Energy Resources Solar Energy Resource Center Solar Energy Basics for Kids

So you want to take advantage of all the gorgeous sunshine San Diego receives throughout the year to lower your energy bills and shrink your environmental footprint. Awesome! It’s time to start thinking about solar panels for your home, but what exactly does solar installation entail? You definitely don’t want to feel like you’re fumbling in the dark as you start this solar journey, so we’ve created this handy checklist to light your way. Our solar checklist lays out each step in the process, so you know exactly what to expect from start to finish. Step 1 – Make Sure Your Roof Will Hold Up Before you can put solar panels on your roof, you need to make sure your roof can handle the extra load. Materials Some roof materials are not conducive to solar panels, including slate and wooden roofs. Fortunately, here in San Diego, a majority of roofs are made with clay and Spanish tile, which are great for solar installation. Ownership If you live in a condo or townhome, your roof is probably owned by your homeowners’ association (HOA), and your CC&Rs likely do not allow you to make any modifications. In this situation, you can always lobby your HOA to invest in solar panels on behalf of all homeowners. Roof Size A small roof offers less area for solar panel placement. This may require you to invest in more efficient solar panels, which are smaller but also more expensive. Location Ideally, solar panels should face true south to receive the most direct sunlight. However, solar panels can still operate well (though less efficiently) on east- and west-facing roofs. Age Most solar panel systems can last an estimated 25 – 40 years. If your roof is on its last legs, it’s probably smarter to deal with that issue first! (Did you know we also repair and replace roofs in San Diego?) Shade The amount of shade your roof receives during the day can affect the efficiency of solar panels. If a big tree looms over your house or a taller neighboring house casts shade, your panels won’t work as well. Even if your roof isn’t ideal for solar panels, all is not lost. Old roofs can be replaced, or you can consider a ground mounted solar panel system.  Step 2 – Determine How Much Energy You Use If order for a San Diego solar installation company to provide you with an estimate on your solar system, you need to determine the size of the system you want. To do this, you’ll need to work backwards and figure out the average amount of energy you need the system to generate each month. This may seem tricky, but it’s actually simple. You should be able to log onto the website of your electrical provider and download your statements for the last year. Each statement will list how much energy you used that month in kilowatt hours (kWh). Add up your energy usage from the last 12 months and divide by 12. This will give you your average monthly usage. You’ll want your solar system to generate this amount of energy for you each month so your solar panels can cover all your energy needs. Note: If you plan on increasing your energy usage in the future, such as by purchasing an electric car, make sure to take this into consideration when determining the size of your solar system. Step 3 – Select Your Financing Do you want to own solar panels for your home, or does ownership not matter as long as you don’t have to write a big check? You have a variety of financing options. You can purchase your panels outright, either with cash or through a loan. Most solar companies also offer solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). With solar leases and PPAs, the solar company owns the panels and charges you a set fee for your energy usage that is usually less than what you would pay the utility company. The upside of this arrangement is that you don’t have to pay a dime for your panels! Step 4 – Choose Your Solar Installation Vendor San Diegans have a lot of choice when it comes to solar installation companies. That’s a good thing! The best place to start your search is to ask your family, neighbors, and friends who have already invested in solar panels about the company they used. Another smart move is to check a company’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Yelp, so you can read what past clients experienced with them. Finally, we encourage you to work with a local company. Hiring local keeps your money in the community and supports local jobs and local families. Plus, local companies are invested in the community. They live and work here, so it’s in their best interest to do a great job for their neighbors. You should always get at least a few different quotes so you can compare and make the best decision for your project goals and budget. Price will, of course, be a factor in your decision, but don’t just choose the lowest-priced vendor. Make sure the company you pick has great reviews and a history of service in your community. Step 5 – Choose Your Solar Panels Your chosen solar vendor will probably have a few preferred solar panel brands that they recommend to you. Listen carefully to their recommendations, but know that you can choose a different brand. Premium brand solar panels tend to offer higher efficiency, better design, and a longer warranty, but you’ll also pay a premium price. Solar Reviews is a great resource for learning more about the dozens of available solar panel brands. They also host reviews from homeowners. Step 6 – Sit Back and Relax Once you’ve chosen your San Diego solar panel installation company, your financing plan, and your solar panel brand, it’s time for you to step back and let the solar company take the baton. Now it’s their job to: Order the panels and other equipment Pull all the necessary permits Install the mounting, panels, and inverter Receive permission to hook your panels into the local electrical grid Check the system and turn everything on A good solar company will walk you through each of these steps so that you understand exactly what’s happening and when. After the installation is complete and your solar panels are online, you’ll be able to check your meter to follow your energy usage. Most solar companies also offer monitoring software that lets you see how much energy your panels produced each day, so you can watch them work! We hope this solar installation checklist was helpful. If you live in California and have additional questions about solar panels for your home, let us know! We’d be happy to perform an onsite evaluation to determine if your home would be a good candidate for solar panels. We are proud to live and work here in San Diego and to employ veterans and San Diego residents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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